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Prep Roundup

More Sierra College Gridders Moving On To Div. I Ranks

Colfax High Product Mike Cody signs with UC Davis
By: Mike Ray, Gold Country News Services
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While the pickings were slim for foothills area high school Division I football signings last week, let’s not forget that Sierra College’s football program continued its recent trend of churning out scholarship caliber athletes. Since the 2004 season, Sierra has had no fewer than 38 athletes ink scholarships to further their playing careers and more importantly their educations, Included in the schools that Sierra has had players move on to are Florida, Oregon, SMU, UNLV, Hawaii, San Diego State, and San Jose State. Last week, a total of six Sierra players signed letters of intent including the following: Paul Vassallo (Reno), Arizona; Perry Jackson (Laguna Creek), San Diego State; Deonte Williams (Pleasant Grove), San Diego State; Mike Cody (Colfax), UC Davis; Leki Fuapau (Rio Linda) Idaho State and Brandon Michalkiewicz (Granite Bay), Cal Poly-SLO. “It’s a good crop moving on,” said Sierra coach Jeff Tisdel. “I think they’ll all do well at the next level.” Speaking of Sierra, Tisdel also noted that next year’s Valley Conference make-up will see a change with West Hills of Coalinga leaving and Modesto JC moving in. In other Wolverines notes, Tisdel has a trio of quarterbacks working out this spring including Sam Martinez, who was Casa Roble’s quarterback in the Rams’ 13-0 2008 season; Tanner Mathias, a 6-5 220-pounder out of Bear River, and Cole Saunders, who graduated from Del Oro in 2008 and is back playing football after accepting a baseball scholarship to Nevada. Regional Fields Increase Something new for prep basketball followers this post season will be the increasing of divisional brackets for the NorCal Regional Tournament which is set to run March 9 thru March 20. The Regional Tournament will then lead into the CIF State Championships set for March 26-27 in Bakersfield. While the regional brackets will increase, there are parameters that the CIF will be following. Sections with more than 25 schools in a division, will be allowed to send four teams to regional competition. The CIF Sac-Joaquin Section, which has 30 or more schools in all five of its basketball division will thus qualify four teams for regional play. However, the idea that each division will be a 16-team bracket is something of a misnomer. The Central Coast Section, which covers the San Francisco peninsula, San Jose and the Santa Cruz-Monterey area, has notified the CIF that it will be sending just its top two teams to regional competition. “There’s a good chance in some divisions of having say 10 to 12 teams with byes involved,” said assistant Sac-Joaquin commissioner John Williams. “Each division could shape up differently.” Blankenship Lands At Aptos A few years back veteran prep football coach Randy Blankenship came within a whisker of being handed the grid reins at Placer High in Auburn. And, after stepping down at Madera North following last season, it wasn’t known that Blankenship would again coach anywhere at all. However, the 58-year-old Blankenship was named last week as the new head coach at Aptos High after the school failed in an effort to have Ernie Cooper of Granite Bay return to his old stomping grounds. Blankenship, who has won 202 games in a 25-year career, has coached at Nevada Union, Clovis West, Fallbrook, Capistrano Valley, Granbury (Texas), and Madera. In 1998 he was the Cal-Hi Sports State Coach of the Year.