Archive for the ‘Sports’ Category

Antioch Speedway to remember local legend Larry Damitz during season opener, Saturday night

Tuesday, March 21st, 2017

Larry Damitz #15 after one of his Limited Late Model wins last season. Photo by Paul Gould

By Don Martin, II

When Antioch Speedway opens for its 57th season of All Star Series racing this Saturday night, they will do so without Larry Damitz. During the offseason, we learned that he passed away.  On March 11th, many of his friends and family came to remember him at a special memorial service.  His three race cars were on display.

Larry started his racing career back in 1953 and competed or helped others at the race track every year since.

“I’m really not sure what got me started in racing,” Larry shared in an older interview. “I’ve always liked cars and I started working on cars when I was nine.  I’ve always been interested in automobiles.  Another guy and I knew of a Hardtop that was halfway completed, so we went over and finished it off and started racing.”

He was hooked.  He continued to race his Hardtop at the old Vallejo Speedway and Contra Costa Speedway in Pacheco.  The competition was much tougher than it is today.

“They had one class, and they had enough cars that they had a C Race,” Larry recalled. “Every car in the Main Event could win.  There were always some Main Event cars in the B Main.”

Winning seemed to come easy for Larry in Limited Late Models at Antioch.  At 87-years-old, he was still winning and was track champion for the fifth time in six seasons.  However, he paid his dues to get that first win.

“I didn’t win a Main Event until 1963,” said Larry. “Everybody that comes out here and they think in their first year they’re supposed to clean house and win a Main Event.  They race all year, two years, don’t win a main and they quit.”

By the time Larry was done with Hardtops In the mid 1970’s, his resume included three track championships and a win in the Chet Thomson Memorial 100 lap race.  He was second to Gene Dudley by just 8 points at Vallejo in the 1960’s.  The highly competitive Super Stock division awaited.  He was Vallejo champion in 1978 and Petaluma champion in 1980 and 1981.  For good measure, he raced on Friday nights in Chico when he could make the tow and won 11 times in 1977.

It was 30 years into his career when he started racing at Antioch Speedway.  He won his first Late Model feature there in 1984.  He broke a shoulder blade in a crash there in 1985.  After recovery time, he returned and won 10 Main Events in 1986, finishing second to Ed Sans Jr. in points.

“Back then, the configuration of this track was altogether different than any other track,” Damitz recalled.  “It was fun to drive.  It was a lot of fun.  They had it banked right up to the wall, and you had to run right around the wall.  I just wanted to come back and run on that track some more.”

Larry ushered in Late Models at Petaluma in 1987 by winning the first championship.  He then took on the role of crew chief for his nephew, Milt McGinnis, who won the next two championships.  He started racing and winning again after that, but he again took on a helper role with Jim Pettit II.  He let Jim drive his car at times in 1991 as Pettit won that Antioch championship.

“Winning the championship definitely wouldn’t have been possible without Larry Damitz and everybody’s involvement in the the whole Sundrop Racing Team,” Pettit recalled.  “I mean, there were no balks or anything about me driving their car.”

After that, Larry won another three Late Model championships at Petaluma.  Track statistician Harlan Osborne counted 58 wins just in a 20-year span at Petaluma from 1987 to 2007, and there were more than that.  As the current decade came around, Larry entered his 80’s with no signs of slowing down.  Why was he doing it?  He loved cars, he loved the sport and he loved people.  Winning was just the icing on the cake.

After finishing second to Mitch Machado in 2010, Damitz won five of the next six championships and two more at Merced.  Jim Freethy bears the distinction of being the only driver during that run to beat him for a championship.  He wasn’t planning to quit.  He would have turned 88 in May and had every intention of competing in his familiar blue and orange Limited Late Model once again.  He had over 60 wins just at Antioch, and estimates are that he won over 150 Main Events in his career along with 17 track championships.

The loss of Damitz hit the people at Antioch Speedway pretty hard.  Promoter John M. Soares raced with Larry for many years.  As Soares enters his 20th season as Speedway Promoter, he had a crew put a special monument to Larry where he used to park.  He was an inspiration to many.  It wasn’t just that he could still win races at that age, but because he was a genuinely nice and down to earth guy.

On My 13th, Antioch Speedway will hold the Larry Damitz Memorial Race in Limited Late Models.  This Saturday night, there will be a special Memorial Lap as Antioch Speedway opens with DIRTcar Late Models, Limited Late Models, Wingless Spec Sprints, B Modifieds, Hobby Stocks and Dwarf Cars.  For further information, go to www.antiochspeedway.com.

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Antioch High basketball team honors teacher’s late wife in playoff victory over Deer Valley

Wednesday, February 22nd, 2017

Antioch High Panthers on their way to defeating the Deer Valley Wolverines in the first round of the NCS playoffs on Tuesday, Feb. 21, 2017. photos by Jesus Cano

The armband worn by the AHS players in memory of Yvette Mattthews.

By Jesus Cano

Antioch’s victory went beyond the court Tuesday night, as they defeated crosstown rival Deer Valley in the first round of the NCS Division 1 boys basketball playoffs. The win was dedicated to Yvette Matthews, who unexpectedly passed away this last weekend. Matthews was the wife of Antioch English teacher, Chris Matthews. Antioch players wore black armbands with the initials YM in yellow to show their respects.

“We wanted to let him know that the staff players and whole school is behind him,” Antioch head coach Andrew Riva said. “You never know when things like this are going to happen so we have to appreciate the moments we have.”

After leading 20-10 at the end of the first quarter, Antioch looked to carry their momentum. Deer Valley was able to tie up the game as Dominic Pino stole the ball and handed it over to Darius Ware for the game tying layup. This all coming after Dubem Boardman and Raydale Robinson contributed with nine points to reach the Panthers.

Kirmarje Trent scored the most with 26 points in the game and Antioch retained their lead with plays from Trent and Kaleb Smith, and at halftime they led 35-31.

“Coach always tells us that we’re going to have our ups and downs in the game,” Trent said. “We made sure we had more runs than them to make sure we executed in the game.”

The third quarter was a back and forth shootout between the teams. Antioch dominated half of the third quarter but the Wolverines countered back by going on a 11-point scoring streak, as Boardman built up eight of those points but Antioch still lead 53-45 at the end.

Trent’s biggest performance came in the final quarter, as he dropped 11 points. Towards the end of the game however, Antioch kept on fouling Deer Valley, handing them points. Elijah Sturgis was the man that kept them alive by completing four free throws along with dumping two points. It wasn’t enough as the Panthers kept pounding the rim, and defeated the Wolverines 81-72.

Antioch will travel to Dublin to face the top seeded Gales on Friday, February 24th.4

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Antioch girl places third in nation at NFL Punt, Pass & Kick contest during Pro Bowl weekend

Monday, February 20th, 2017

Kori Margain with her Third Place trophy in the national 2016 NFL Punt, Pass & Kick competition.

By Allen Payton

Antioch nine-year old, Kori Margain brought home the bronze by placing third at the NFL Punt, Pass & Kick competition during the Pro Bowl weekend in Florida, on Saturday, January 27, 2017. She was one of four girls to represent the Oakland Raiders nationally, but one of only four girls in the eight- and nine-year-old age group to make it to the finals.

According to their website, NFL Punt, Pass & Kick is “the oldest grassroots initiative at the NFL” and allows children ages 6-15 “to experience the fun of learning football fundamentals in an engaging and supportive non-contact environment.”

“Kori, a fourth-grader, started last November in a local competition,” said her mother Melissa Margain, a former field representative for County Supervisor Mary Piepho. “She won first place, there and moved up to sectionals and team competition, which was held in the Oakland Coliseum before the Raiders game in December.”

Since she was the winner of that competition, Kori earned the right to go the Raiders game, later that day and of course, Mom went with her.

The scores from that day from all the sectionals across the country were then sent to the NFL for comparison.

“They took only the top four scores from each of the 32 teams for each age group to determine who would go to the national finals,” Melissa explained.

Kori competed in the competition for eight- and nine-year-old girls and was one of the top four competitors from the Raiders.

The NFL selected the top four scores in the nation for each age category and Kori’s score was one of them, earning her a spot in the final competition.

During the competition on Saturday, “she placed third in the nation for her scores,” Melissa stated

“They sent the competitors to the Pro Bowl weekend for four days, including a trip to Disney World, interviews by the football players during a media day, and they got to attend the Pro Bowl,” said Melissa.

Asked if Mom got to attend, as well, Melissa responded with a laugh, “I did.”

This was Kori’s second year competing in the contest.

“I participated, last year, too,” Kori said.

Kori with some of her friends from the competition.

She made it to the team competition but not to the finals, the first time. Then, for this year’s competition, she said “I practiced with my family” to improve her skills.

“I competed on Friday and went to Disneyworld on Saturday,” Kori shared. Then they went to the Pro Bowl

game on Sunday.

The most fun Kori said she had was hanging out with her new friends from the competition.

“One from the Oakland Raiders, one from the Chicago Bears, one from the Seattle Seahawks and one from the Chargers,” she said.

Asked if she thinks other kids should participate in the competition, Kori responded, “Yes, it’s fun, you make good friends.”

Her favorite subjects in school are math and reading, and when asked if she wants to play on the high school football team, Kori replied, “No. I’m more into basketball.” She wants to be a WNBA player when she grows up.

A message was posted on the Antioch Unified School District’s Facebook page congratulating Kori for her success in the competition.

“Congratulations to Kori Morgain, 4th grade student at John Muir Elementary, who recently competed in the National NFL Punt, Pass, and Kick competition where she placed third in The United States. Prior to the national completion, Kori beat out thousands of other children in her age category and placed first in her local, sectional, and team competitions. More than 300,000 children throughout The United States participated in the event where they represented a professional football team. Kori represented The Raiders who recognized her at a recent game. Congratulations Kori!”

For more information on the NFL Punt, Pass & Kick competition, visit www.nflppk.com.

 

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Watch UFC 208 Holm vs De Randamie at Tailgaters, Saturday night, Feb. 11

Monday, February 6th, 2017

Tailgaters UFC 02-11-17

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Deer Valley High retains Mayor’s Cup after tying Antioch High in annual soccer match

Friday, February 3rd, 2017
Deer Valley High boys soccer team celebrates retaining the Mayor's Cup following the match with Antioch High, Tuesday night, Jan. 31, 2017. photo by Jesus Cano

Deer Valley High boys soccer team celebrates retaining the Mayor’s Cup following the match with Antioch High, Tuesday night, Jan. 31, 2017. photo by Jesus Cano

By Jesus Cano

The City of Antioch Mayor’s Cup means a lot for crosstown rivals Deer Valley High and Antioch High, and Tuesday night’s soccer match painted the picture for everyone as they ended up tying 5-5 in a wild shootout.

The Deer Valley Wolverines started off strong by scoring three consecutive goals. The first, coming from Diego Ruiz, after converting a penalty kick just two minutes into the match. Isaiah Moreira followed, right after as his teammate Rudy Saucedo sent him a pass sharp as a blade. The third goal found the back of the net on a header from Luke Fernandes, and was crossed to him by Edgard Morazan, setting Deer Valley to a comfortable 3-0 lead.

“Even after scoring the first three goals we still wanted more,” Deer Valley JV coach John Delaney said, who was filling in for the absence of head coach Juan Tannus. “Antioch is a great team so you never know what to expect with them.”

Antioch pounded the net on multiple occasions to end the half. Carlos Lopez began it all for the Panthers, as the senior perfectly executed a free kick. 10 minutes later, Abraham Torres took a corner kick that had Bernardo Mendoza’s name written all over it, as Mendoza got a head on the a ball that cut their deficit to 3-2. With less than one minute remaining, Josue Lopez tied up the game at 3-3, that sent the Antioch crowd into a frenzy.

“Our motto is to never give up,” said Antioch head coach Conrad Diaz. “We have to play every minute like it’s 0-0.”

The second half was no different from the first, as in identical fashion Ruiz once again claimed a goal that originated from a penalty kick.

Sophomore Omar Curiel finished a strike from a very difficult angle to tie up the game at 4-4.

After assisting earlier in the match, Morazan came up this time to finish the ball that was just out of the reach of the Antioch goalkeeper. With only seven minutes left in the match, the Wolverines preserved a 5-4 lead.

“Anytime I can help my team improve it’s a blessing,” Ruiz said. “This game is totally different from any other because you only get it once in our lifetime.”

They were had the taste of victory in their mouths with the game coming to a close, but Torres stole a ball and dribble it through defenders before hitting a right foot shot that put the game into a tie.

“Being back on the pitch was a blessing,” Torres explained, after missing most of the season due to personal issue.”Scoring the tying goal was just even better,”

While the game ended in a tie, the cup remains at Deer Valley, as a result of the Wolverines having possession of the award for the last two years.

“Keeping the Cup in my last year here means the world to me,” senior defender Fabian Wence said. “I really hope it (The Cup) never heads to the other side of town.”

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Tickets available for, Antioch teen to sing National Anthem at African American Heritage Night at the Warriors game, Feb. 1st

Tuesday, January 24th, 2017

Black History Nite

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Watch the Super Bowl at Tailgaters, pick the score and win $1,000

Tuesday, January 17th, 2017

Tailgaters Super Bowl promo

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Antioch Little League begins 60th year with sign-ups Saturday, next week

Friday, January 13th, 2017

Little_League_Baseball_-_LogoAntioch Little League has a deep rich history in our community with this being the 60th year. We have had local legendary names that have came through playing, coaching and helping over the years. Our Little League has been fortunate to have family lineages for decades involved. Families like the Martins, Mayjoffos, Pearson, Felix just to name a few and not to slight any for their time and dedication.

The next wave of support and involvement is now needed to keep this great organization teaching the love of baseball to our youth. The town has grown into a City with many opportunities for our children to participate in, it is still the simple joy of baseball in the spring and a parent playing catch with their in the yard that brings many of us back every year.

If this same excitement and love is shared the opportunity is there for everyone. Antioch Little League is in need of Coaches, don’t worry if you have never Coached before there are Coaching classes and assistance available. As any league the more children that sign up the better the league. The more that sign up the more Coaches that are needed.

Here are the upcoming dates and locations for sign ups:

January 14th

Antioch Youth Sports Complex 10am-2pm

Apollo Ct off Wilbur

January 18th

Straw Hat Pizza 6pm-9pm

3001 Delta Fair Blvd

January 21st

Antioch Youth Sports Complex 10am-2pm

Apollo Ct off Wilbur

For more information please visit our website at www.antiochlittleleauge.com.

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