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2015 high school football season preview – Antioch favorite to win league, Deer Valley poised to improve

Thursday, August 27th, 2015
AH QB 4 in scrimmage vs Northgate 1024x682 2015 high school football season preview   Antioch favorite to win league, Deer Valley poised to improve

Antioch High QB junior #4 Abram Karnthong, in scrimmage vs. Northgate, Friday, August 21, 2015. photo by Luns Louie, DeltaSportsMag.com.

By Luke Johnson

The high school football season is about to kickoff, and Antioch and Deer Valley are ready to make some noise.

Coaches and players across the Bay Valley Athletic League (BVAL) feel that Antioch is a strong contender to finish in first place. The team is led by returning BVAL MVP Najee Harris, a junior, who is ranked the number one running back in the country by various scouting websites. He broke two school records last season: rushing yards in a game (371) and in a season (2,263). The 6-foot-2, 222 pound junior has offers from some of the top schools in the country such as USC, Oregon and reigning NCAA Champs Ohio State, but verbally committed to Alabama in April during an unofficial visit.

The Panthers finished with a 7-5 record, and a victory in the first round of the North Coast Section Playoffs for the first time since 1984, which is also the last time they won a league title. The team will be returning many star players such as wide receiver/defensive back Ryan Payne, running back Nick Perry and linebacker Kobie Beltram, who is well on pace for breaking the school’s career tackle record and has a scholarship offer from Oregon State.

The Yoc Boyz, which became for a nickname for the team last year, will welcome three talented incoming transfers: defensive backs Issac Freytes (Freedom), Dawon Boyd (Deer Valley) and wide receiver Keonte Taylor (James Logan-Union City), who had 11 touchdown receptions last season. The squad also expects big things from wide receiver/defensive back Antione Tanner and lineman Sir Forbes whom are coming up from JV last year.

I know Najee gets all the attention, but it’s not just Najee,” said offensive coordinator Brett Dudley. “We have weapons all over the place now.”

Deer Valley is not coming off its best performance, last season with a record of just 4-6. The Wolverines went 0-5 in interleague competition and were outscored 182-28 throughout those games. But things are looking up with new head coach Robert Hubbard at the helm, who is unanimously liked by players and fellow coaches, including opposing coaches.

He’s a good dude. I know he loves the kids and is very organized,” said Dudley. “I have a lot of confidence that he is going to get them going in the right direction.”

As a player, Hubbard holds the single-season rushing record at Diablo Valley College (1,518), and had 2,403 all-purpose yards in two seasons at the University of Nevada. Prior to being named head coach at Deer Valley, he was an assistant coach at Northgate-Walnut Creek.

Fortunately for Hubbard, Deer Valley returns approximately 24 varsity football players, including three All-BVAL selections: running back Rai Shyan Alexander, offensive lineman Latu Toetuu and kicker Christian Rodriguez. The Wolverines also bring back key starters such as quarterback Devin Gould, lineman Troy Decuir, linebacker Brandon Faatalale and wide receiver Elijah Womack.

Hubbard said there is a lot of potential at Deer Valley, but added, “Potential means you haven’t done anything yet.” He feels the team is currently in a better mental state after dealing with off the field issues last year.

For Deer Valley and Antioch the season begins Friday, August 28. The Panthers will host Acalanes in their new $7-million stadium, while Deer Valley travels to Granada. The two will face each other on Oct. 30 in the annual Mayor’s Cup at Antioch High School.

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Tailgaters to host annual Fantasy Football League draft party, Friday night Aug 21

Saturday, August 15th, 2015

FANTASY FOOTBALL TG 696x1024 Tailgaters to host annual Fantasy Football League draft party, Friday night Aug 21

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Antioch High’s winningest coach, Joe Gambetta passes at 95

Sunday, August 9th, 2015
JoeGambetta Antioch High’s winningest coach, Joe Gambetta passes at 95

Joe Gambetta

By Luke Johnson

One of Antioch High School’s greatest and most accomplished legends died from natural causes on June 8. Joe Gambetta coached the golf team to 22 League Championships, a school record, and on top of that won the biggest prize of them all, a State Championship, in 1987.

Born on Nov. 28, 1920, Gambetta grew up on his grandfather’s farm with three siblings in Novatto during the Great Depression. He served in World War II as an Air Force pilot who transported supplies to France and brought wounded soldiers back to England. After the war, he retired with the rank of Major.

Gambetta came to Antioch in 1957 and taught U.S. History and Driver’s Education for 34 years. He coached numerous sports, but focused on golf and football. In 1970, he led the football team to its first victory against arch-rival Pittsburg in 20 years. When he retired from teaching and coaching in 1991, his successor Ron Remington named an annual golf tournament after him, The Joe Gambetta Invitational, which is still played today.

He coached PGA competitor Larry Silveira and Antioch Sports Legend Hall of Famer Scott Olds, who defeated future superstar Phil Mickelson in the 1987 State Tournament. One of the most impressive footnotes of Gambetta’s career is that he took a school from a blue collar town, and beat schools from upper scale cities such as San Ramon, Pleasanton and Danville in a country club sport.

Statistical information provided by Tom Lamothe via the Antioch Sports Legends Historical Museum.

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Antioch Speedway: Shawn DeForest takes IMCA Modified Main Event; Mark Garner wins one for his dad; Sorensen victorious in Hobby Stock battle

Tuesday, July 21st, 2015
071815ShawnDeForest01 1024x621 Antioch Speedway: Shawn DeForest takes IMCA Modified Main Event; Mark Garner wins one for his dad; Sorensen victorious in Hobby Stock battle

(071815) Antioch Speedway Action – Shawn DeForest of Livermore slides through the high-banked turns of the Antioch Speedway clay oval in route to winning the IMCA modified feature Saturday night. (Antioch, CA) photo by Mike Adaskaveg

Antioch, CA – Watch the weather forecast if you want to know who is going to win at Antioch Speedway. When humidity rolls in, Livermore’s Shawn DeForest is the driver to beat in the International Motor Contest Association Modified stock car division.

We excel when the track holds a little moisture,” DeForest said after driving the car of Jim Reid from Knightsen to victory. “Don’t bet against us on a night like this.”

DeForest was untouchable in leading the feature event, Saturday night, July 18.. The battle for second between Petaluma’s Michael Paul, Jr. and Kyle Wilson of Salinas had the fans on their feet.

Wilson was challenging Paul, running second for ten laps, for the entire distance to the checkered flag. It was on the last turn of the last lap that Wilson snatched second from Paul, who was held up by the lapped car of Ed Daviess.

I just got sandwiched between Kyle (Wilson) and that lapped car,” Paul, Jr. said. “I had to slow a bit.”

We both stayed on the gas deep into the third and fourth turn,” explained Wilson of he and Paul, Jr.’s battle. “He just lifted his foot for a second and that was all I needed – I took full advantage of it.”

Paul, Jr. charged back to finish alongside Wilson, with Wilson taking second by a half car length.

Bobby Motts, Jr. of San Pablo was fourth, and Scott Busby of Martinez fifth.

Garner Wins for His Dad

Mark Garner of Antioch celebrated a win for his dad in the Northern All Stars Limited Late Model Division. Jerry Garner, battling cancer, was able to be in the stands to see his son bring home a hard fought victory.

It is an important year for us – I’ve dedicated the season to my dad, who is the reason I am racing,” Garner said. “To win with him in the stands is something I will always remember.”

Early leader Jim Freethy of Danville exited with s shredded tire, with Garner taking the lead. Veteran drivers Larry Damitz of Vallejo and Mike Gustafson of Concord then began chasing Garner.

He (Garner) was in the right groove,” said second place Damitz, who got alongside Garner a couple of times. “I tried to pass him but there wasn’t much I could do to get traction.”

Ricky Thatcher from Mariposa chased Gustafson across the line, with Mike Hynes of Suisun City following in fifth.

Sorensen Takes Hobby Stock Thriller

El Sobrante’s Chris Sorensen scored his second win of the season in the Hobby Stock Division, but the win didn’t come easy. Concord’s veteran figure eight racer, Jimmy Robbins jumped into a friends hobby stock to “shake it down” and wound up shaking up Sorensen.

I tried to get him on the low side, the high side and on the backstretch,” Robbins said. “Man, we had some fun out there.”

Sorensen echoed the excitement.

It was a thrilling race,” Sorensen smiled. “I couldn’t believe he could jump into a hobby stock that hadn’t been driven in a long time and make it perform like that.

Kimo Oreta of Vacaville, who finished third, had a bird’s eye view of the excitement in front of him.

I was ready – and I was worried that it could get ugly as those two battled it out, but everything went just fine,” Oreta said. “I stayed low on the track to get traction, but there wasn’t enough track to make a move.”

Michael Cooper of Bay Point finished fourth, with last week’s winner, Chase Templeton from Brentwood challenging.

Wingless Sprint Heartbreaker

Concord’s Keith Shipherd led the Northern All Stars wingless sprint car feature from the drop of the green until eight laps to go, when Chase Wood, Jr. of Milpitas stalled on the track.

Shipherd, hoping for a win on his birthday, wound up crashing hard at the start of the backstretch as he avoided Wood, Jr.

I had too much speed,” Lamented Shipherd, whose car was wrecked in the front and rear. “I was hit him or hit the wall, so I chose the wall.”

Jim Perry III from Concord passed Rick Panfilli of Antioch to take the win. Perry III overcame an early spinout to make it his third win of the season.

It is strange how things turn out in this division,” Perry said. “After I got bumped and spun, it didn’t look like a win for me. I’m happy I could turn it around and win.”

Marcus Smith of Manteca finished third, followed by Alan Miranda and James East of San Jose.

This Week At Antioch Speedway

IMCA SportMods and DIRTcar late Model Stock cars highlight the five division program at Antioch Speedway on Saturday night July 25. The Northern All Stars Wingless Sprint Car, Hobby Stock and Dwarf car division will also race in a complete program of qualification heats and feature events.

Antioch Speedway is located within the Contra Costa County Fairgrounds, 1201 W. 10th St. in Antioch, Calif. Admission is $15 for adults, $12 for senior citizens, and $10 for children 6-12. Children under six years old are admitted free. A family four pack of tickets is $40. Secured parking is offered by the Fairgrounds for $5. Racing begins at 6:30 p.m. For more information visit www.ovalmotorsports.com.

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Antioch teen plays basketball in Europe, helps team USA bring home the gold

Thursday, July 16th, 2015
The Championship team 1024x576 Antioch teen plays basketball in Europe, helps team USA bring home the gold

The USA Basketball 16 and Under boys championship team.

 

Alan Lloyd Jr with his championship trophy 168x300 Antioch teen plays basketball in Europe, helps team USA bring home the gold

Alan Lloyd Jr with his championship trophy.

By Allen Payton

Alan Lloyd, Jr., of Antioch, traveled to Europe for the United World Games, as part of the USA Basketball team 16 and Under boys and helped them bring home the gold.

They played a lot of good teams,” his father Alan, Sr. said. “And they came out on top.”

Alan, Jr. just celebrated his 13th birthday, this week and will be an eighth grader at Black Diamond Middle School, this year. The talented, young scholar athlete, who had a 3.6 GPA, this year, was the youngest player on the USA team. His teammates will be in 10th and 11th grade. 

He has been playing with high schoolers for the past five years,” Alan, Sr. added.

Now Alan, Jr. is preparing to play in the upcoming West Coast National AAU tournament in Las Vegas, this week, from Thursday to Sunday. Good luck to him and his team!

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Foulger wins again at Antioch Speedway: four-time champ tops DIRTcar Late Model Stock Car field, Templeton wins with Mom along for the ride, Lumpy Sturgill honored with memorial lap

Tuesday, July 14th, 2015
071115AntiochSpeedway FoulgerDecker02a 1024x466 Foulger wins again at Antioch Speedway: four time champ tops DIRTcar Late Model Stock Car field, Templeton wins with Mom along for the ride, Lumpy Sturgill honored with memorial lap

All night long – it was Foulger (49) and Decker (84) battling first in the heat race and then the DIRTcar Late Model Stock Car feature at Antioch Speedway, Saturday, July 11, 2015. photo by Mike Adaskaveg

Antioch, Calif. – Troy Foulger of Martinez fought off challenges from Morgan Hill’s Jeff Decker to win the DIRTcar Late Model Stock Car feature event at Antioch Speedway on Saturday night, July 11, Decker was not only battling with a field of competitors, but was fighting problems with his own car.

Gremlins – that’s what we’ve been fighting with this new car,” Decker said after the race, as he smelled gear oil wafting from under his car. “Even though we had some problems tonight the car has had its best run yet.”

Foulger’s Oakley-based Bowers Motorsports stock car performed flawlessly. Foulger and the Bowers team won the Antioch Sumer Nationals just two weeks earlier. The 22-year-old four-time champ was able to ride high on the track with ease.

I just put my car right out to the fence and it rolled through the turns nicely,” Foulger said. “Paul Guglielmoni was running fantastically tonight, and once I got by him it was clear sailing. My car came out of the turns, dug in, and just took off down the straightaway.”

Chico’s Richard Papenhausen, the strongest runner in the division early in the season, fought Antioch’s Chester Kniss to take third in the waning moments of the race. Guglielmoni challenged Kniss for fourth, but had to settle for fifth at the drop of the checkered flag.

Ryland Keeps On Rolling In the IMCA SportMod Division

Brentwood’s Fred Ryland makes no secret that his calculated racing schedule is a route to possibly becoming the first Californian national champ in the International Motor Contest Association (IMCA) SportMod division.

Ryland tallied his 23rd win of the season, driving to the finish line with his visor covered in mud. He made the pass for the lead two laps earlier, then ran out of the tear-off plastic film that drivers peel from their visors as the race progresses. That allowed second place finisher Trevor Clymens, also of Brentwood, to close the gap between he and Ryland, as Clymens attempted to regain the lead going for the finish line.

I had limited visibility so I slowed down for the last few laps,” Ryland explained. “I held my line – I didn’t want to draw a caution flag from hitting anyone.”

Clymens moved to the front when early leader Mark Garner of Antioch brushed the wall between turns three and four. At the finish, it was Anthony Giuliani of Morgan Hill in third.

071115AntiochSpeedway Templetons01a 300x200 Foulger wins again at Antioch Speedway: four time champ tops DIRTcar Late Model Stock Car field, Templeton wins with Mom along for the ride, Lumpy Sturgill honored with memorial lap

(071115) Antioch Speedway Action – Chase Templeton took his mom, Cathy, on a surprise ride and won the Hobby Stock Feature event at Antioch Speedway.  photo by Mike Adaskaveg

Mom Gets A Surprise Hobby Stock Start

Chase Templeton of Brentwood did not tell his mom that he was starting on the pole position of the 20 lap Hobby Stock main event. That’s because she was just going for a Saturday evening “ride” with him in the two-seater race car.

If I told her I was starting on the pole, with all the top drivers trying to hunt me down, she would never have gotten in the car,” Templeton said.

Looking scared, Cathy Templeton, a fifth grade teacher at the Knightsen grammar school, hugged her son in victory lane. It was his first win in four seasons of trying.

It was both amazing and scary – I wasn’t able to say one word until it was over,” Cathy Templeton said.

That’s because track champ Kimo Oreta of Vacaville and veteran racer Chris Sorensen from El Sobrante took turns trying to snatch the top spot from Templeton.

First, it was Oreta, who tried so hard he spun out in the first and second turns.

The guy (Templeton) just got away from me. I tried everything in the book to catch him,” third place Oreta said.

Then, Sorensen was alongside Templeton.

I just thought he (Templeton) was going to mess up sooner or later because the track was tricky,” second place Sorensen explained. “But, he never messed up.”

071115AntiochSpeedway MagoonLumpys01a 300x212 Foulger wins again at Antioch Speedway: four time champ tops DIRTcar Late Model Stock Car field, Templeton wins with Mom along for the ride, Lumpy Sturgill honored with memorial lap

(071115) Antioch Speedway Action – Chris Magoon of Oakley, whose sprint car was sponsored by the late Jeremy “Lumpy” Sturgill, follows the memorial lap flying a checkered flag for the late Sturgill. photo by Mike Adaskaveg

Jeremy Lumpy Sturgill Remembered

Restauranteur Jeremy Sturgill, friend and sponsor of racers, was remembered with a memorial lap at the start of the Antioch Speedway Saturday night program.

Drivers from all divisions lined up and followed the car of Mark Garner, flying a Lumpy’s Diner banner. Magoon followed the parade waving a checkered flag from his Lumpy’s Diner sponsored sprint car. The wing from the top of Magoon’s car was autographed by fans and will hang in the Lone Tree Way, Antioch, location of Lumpy’s Diner.

Magoon, later leading the Northern All Stars Winged 360 Sprint Car feature, dropped out with mechanical problems. Jake Haulot of Cotati took the win.

It was Magoon’s race to win,” the Sonoma State College Student said. “I was not expecting his car to fail.”

The win was Haulot’s second of the season. Dan Gonderman of Antioch took second.

This Saturday Night at Antioch Speedway

IMCA Modified Stock Cars headline this Saturday, July 18th’s program at Antioch Speedway. Northern All Stars Econo 360 Wingless Sprint Cars, Limited Late Models and Hobby Stocks are on the card.

Antioch Speedway is located within the Contra Costa County Fairgrounds, 1201 W. 10th St. in Antioch, Calif. Admission is $15 for adults, $12 for senior citizens, and $10 for children 6-12. Children under six years old are admitted free. A family four pack of tickets is $40. Secured parking is offered by the Fairgrounds for $5. Racing begins at 6:30 p.m. For more information visit www.ovalmotorsports.com.

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Hubbard named Deer Valley High football’s interim head coach

Monday, July 6th, 2015
DVHS Football Coach 1024x768 Hubbard named Deer Valley High football’s interim head coach

Robert Hubbard

By Luke Johnson

Deer Valley High School, in Antioch, CA, has hired Robert Hubbard to be interim head coach of varsity football team, following the departure of Richard Woods, who had been in charge of the program for 11 years. Woods had an impressive 75-34 regular season record with the Wolverines.

Despite many rumors and speculations, there has been no confirmation by administration or district officials as to why Woods is gone. The only thing clear is that players expressed their displeasure with Woods through many outlets, especially Twitter, throughout last season, and now he is no longer with the team, at least temporarily. Vice Principal Tim Cooper said the football program was under investigation in November. As of now, Hubbard’s position is not permanent, meaning he has to apply for it again, when the season is over.

Around the area, Hubbard is most well known for holding Diablo Valley College’s single-season rushing record of 1,518 yards, which he set in 2003. He went on to play for the University of Nevada where he had 2,403 all-purpose yards and 21 touchdowns in two seasons.

After his playing career, Hubbard became the varsity running back and defensive back coach, along with taking double-duty as the JV head coach, and special education assistant at Northgate High School in Walnut Creek. He left to focus on earning his teaching credential and master’s degree, and then started working at Deer Valley last year as a special education teacher. When he heard a head coaching position was available, he jumped at the opportunity.

It’s a dream come true,” Hubbard said. “It’s a wonderful opportunity to give back and give something to the kids, who are in similar situations that I was in, being a student athlete and having aspirations in going to college.”

The Wolverines look to build off last year’s record of 4-6 (0-5 in league) with an experienced roster. The team only had five returning players in 2014, but expects to have about 25 returning this season. Standout performers consist of a group of seniors, including running back Rai-Shyan Alexander, quarterback Devin Gould, linebacker Brandon Faatalale and lineman Troy Decuir.

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All day benefit for Lumpy Sturgill’s family at Golfballin in Antioch, Saturday

Monday, July 6th, 2015

Golfballin Lumpy Benefit web ad 526x1024 All day benefit for Lumpy Sturgills family at Golfballin in Antioch, Saturday

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