Archive for the ‘Sports’ Category

Antioch football caps off historic season, will play De La Salle next year

Thursday, December 24th, 2015
Antioch's Najee Harris, the top running back in America, this season, hurdles a Foothill player, during Antioch's North Coast semi-final loss on Friday, November 28, 2015. photo by Michael Pohl

Najee Harris, the top running back in America, this season, hurdles a Foothill player, during Antioch’s North Coast semi-final loss on Friday, November 28, 2015. photo by Michael Pohl

By Luke Johnson

The Panthers’ magical season came to an end after a nail-biting 55-54 defeat to Foothill High School in the North Coast Section Semifinals on Thanksgiving weekend. Overall, Antioch’s football team broke countless records and reached feats that had not been witnessed in decades.

The Panthers caught the attention of De La Salle (Concord), arguably the most prestigious high school football team in the country, and have collectively agreed to battle each other in week four of the 2016 regular season. The game is scheduled to take place in Concord and is in the works of being nationally broadcasted on ESPN according to Antioch head coach John Lucido.

“They contacted us, and said they wanted a game,” Lucido said. “It’s a compliment for a team like that wanting to play us, and to be on the big stage… It will feature two great teams going at it, and we’ll see where we stand.”

This year, Antioch won a league championship for the first time since 1984, and finished the regular season undefeated for the first time since 1977. But two years ago, Antioch experienced the lowest of lows, finishing with a miserable 1-9 record. Despite the team’s misfortunes, the future seemed promising with five sophomores and one freshman on the roster.

“I knew we were going to be good one year,” Najee Harris said, who was the sole freshman on that team. “Last year was a year for development, and this year was the year to execute… And hopefully next year we’ll do the same and go farther.”

Harris now holds every rushing record in the 90-year history of Antioch football: yards in a career (5,127), yards in a season (2,744), yards in a game (396), touchdowns in a career (60, plus three receiving), touchdowns in a season (36, plus three receiving) and  touchdowns in a game (six on two occasions). Brian Boccio formerly held the career touchdown record at 32, but Harris shattered that with 39 this season alone — one more and he will double the previous career mark. The oldest milestone Harris surpassed was Worth Shaw’s single-season touchdown record of 25 set back in 1945. The junior also set a new record with yards per carry by averaging over a fresh set of downs each time with 11.3.

Complimenting Harris on the scoreboard was senior Ryan Payne, who found the end zone via: reception, rush, interception, fumble, kick and punt return. His 14 touchdowns combined with Harris’s set a new all-time high in the Bay Valley Athletic League for combined touchdowns by two teammates with 53 — breaking Joe Mixon and Darrell Daniels’ (Freedom) record of 50.

Another player to make a huge name for himself was senior Kobie Beltram, who eclipsed his brothers, Richie and Markie, for the most tackles in a career at Antioch by collecting 343, almost a hundred more than the previous record. On a side note, both Beltram and Payne were also on the 2013 team that went 1-9.

Out of all these records and milestones, Harris said the most memorable one was defeating arch-rival Pittsburg for the first time in nine years in a 44-42 Saturday afternoon thriller.

Lucido said the team is looking forward to next season with a sufficient amount of returning key players. Antoine Tanner, Kyle Brown, Isaiah Dunn, Neel Sahota and Joey Gray each earned All-BVAL honors as underclassman. Another player to look out for is sophomore Omari Harris, whose potential has a high ceiling according to his coaches and teammates.

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Results of the annual Holiday Run & Walk for Health at Contra Loma in Antioch, on Saturday

Monday, December 14th, 2015
Runners begin the 10K race at the annual Holiday Run & Walk for Health at Contra Loma Regional Park in Antioch on Saturday, December 12, 2015.

Runners begin the 10K race at the annual Holiday Run & Walk for Health at Contra Loma Regional Park in Antioch on Saturday, December 12, 2015.

Following are the winners of the three races run at Contra Loma Regional Park in Antioch, as part of the annual Holiday Run & Walk for Health, sponsored by the Kiwanis Club of the Delta and State Superintendent of Public Instruction Tom Torlakson, on Saturday, December 12, 2015:

Runners in the 1-Mile Run/Walk prepare to start their race.

Runners in the 1-Mile Run/Walk prepare to start their race.

1-Mile Run/Walk Winners

Overall and Top Male – Eben Zaragoza, age 10, of Antioch, with a time of 7:29

Top Female – Riley MacPherson, age 10, of Brentwood, with a time of 7:36

3-Mile Run/Walk Winners

Overall and Top Male – Marcus Dawal, Jr., age 15 of Brentwood, with a time of 18:29

Top Female – Madison MacPherson, age 15, of Brentwood and a sophomore at Liberty  High School, with a time of 20:01

Assistant Coach for the Antioch High School Cross Country team, William Berger, age 29, placed first in his age division and second overall, with a time of 18:30, providing a good example for his team.

The 3-Mile Run/Walk competitors and participants start the race.

The 3-Mile Run/Walk competitors and participants start the race.

10K Run/Walk Winners

Overall and Top Male – Brian Mohrlant, age 35 of Napa, with a time of 42:18

Top Female – Roxanna Aranda, age 53 of Antioch, with a time of 53:04

See all race results by clicking here. For more information about the Holiday Run, visit www.holidayrun.org and for more information about the Kiwanis Club of the Delta, visit www.delta-antioch.kiwanisone.org.

 

Antioch High Assistant Cross Country coach William Berger crosses the finish line second in the 3-Mile race, and first in his age division.

Antioch High Assistant Cross Country coach William Berger crosses the finish line second in the 3-Mile race, and first in his age division.

Top female in the 3-Mile Run/Walk, Madison MacPherson finishes her race.

Top female in the 3-Mile Run/Walk, Madison MacPherson finishes her race.

 

Overall 10K Run winner Brian Mohrlant crosses the finish line after picking up his daughter near the end of the race.

Overall 10K Run winner Brian Mohrlant crosses the finish line after picking up his daughter near the end of the race.

Top female winner in the 10K Run, Roxanna Aranda, finishes the race.

Top female winner in the 10K Run, Roxanna Aranda, finishes the race.

Glenn Moffatt of Antioch, displays his ribbon, after placing first in the 10K race in his age division.

Glenn Moffatt of Antioch, displays his ribbon, after placing first in the 10K race in his age division.

Three "ballerinas" who are teachers at Mno Grant Elementary cross the finish line together in the 3-Mile Run/Walk.

Three “ballerinas”, Heather Werkheiser, Veronica Dyson and Shawna Lucey, all teachers at Mno Grant Elementary cross the finish line together in the 3-Mile Run/Walk.

Mno Grant runners

The runners from Mno Grant Elementary in Antioch, including Principal Janeen Zuniga (back right in Santa hat) and her husband , to her right, Jesse Zuniga, after their race.

Lucas Stuart-Chilcote, wearing his Antioch High Varsity Cross Country team shirt.

Lucas Stuart-Chilcote, wearing his Antioch High Varsity Cross Country team shirt.

 

Lucas Stuart-Chilcote, who placed 7th in his age division and 15th overall in the 10K race, displays his participant's ribbon.

Lucas Stuart-Chilcote, who placed 7th in his age division and 15th overall in the 10K race, displays his participant’s ribbon.

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Local Sons In Retirement Branch announces 2015 Golf Champions

Tuesday, December 8th, 2015
SIR Branch #19 2015 Golf Champions (left to right) are Rich Peterson, Gary Kaufmann, Bill Boyer, Jerry Burton and Jack Duncan.

SIR Branch #19 2015 Golf Champions (left to right) are Rich Peterson, Gary Kaufmann, Bill Boyer, Jerry Burton and Jack Duncan.

The local Sons In Retirement (SIR) Branch 19 just announced its 2015 Golf Champions.  According to Jerry Burton, the Branch’s golf program director: “… our Annual Championships are determined every Fall with a three round tournament at Lone Tree Golf Course in Antioch.  The scoring uses the two lowest net scores for each player across several flights.  A Match Play tournament is also played during the season with one annual Winner based on the net scores.”

“The winners were recognized at our annual golf awards luncheon at the Guadalajara Grill,” he added. “Along with the recognition each winner received a special monogrammed golf shirt.”

Ongoing golf activities are played at nearby courses including Lone Tree Golf Course, Oakhurst Country Club, Deer Ridge, Delta View, Diablo Creek Golf Course, and Eagle Vines in Napa, among others.  Players have an active NCGA handicap index to compete in the various games.

The 2015 Winners are:

A Flight Champion – Jack Duncan

B Flight Champion – Bill Boyer

C Flight Champion -  Jerry Burton

D Flight Champion – Rich Peterson

Match Play Champion – Gary Kaufmann

The Sons in Retirement (SIR) is an organization for retired men focused on the enjoyment of their senior years.  Members have the chance to make new friends and  enjoy a variety of sporting and recreational activities.  These include golf, bowling, hiking, bocce ball, various travel outings, dine-outs, and other activities.  Couples also attend at some events.  The Branch meets monthly at Oakhurst Country Club.  These luncheon gatherings also feature presentations from interesting cultural and content experts.  SIR membership is free.  Prospective members can attend as a guest at one of the monthly meetings.

For more information email Bruce Persons at:  brucep@astound.net,  call the SIR Branch 19 Hotline at: 925-338-1996, see the website at:  www.sir19.org.

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Tickets still available for Jan 25th Antioch High Family Night at the Warriors

Sunday, December 6th, 2015

AHS at the Warriors 1-25-16

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Family friendly pro wrestling show at Antioch Indoor Sports Center, Sunday afternoon

Saturday, November 21st, 2015

Pro Wrestling at AISC Sun 11-22

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Antioch beats Pittsburg in Big Little Game, wins first football league title since 1984

Saturday, November 7th, 2015
Najee Harris dives for the final touchdown for Antioch, making the score 44-35 in their Big Little Game victory, Saturday, November 7, 2015. photo by Allen Payton

Najee Harris dives over a Pittsburg defender, for the final touchdown by Antioch, making the score 44-35 in their Big Little Game victory on Saturday, November 7, 2015. photos by Allen Payton

High-scoring thriller is Panthers first victory in the rivalry since 2006

Antioch wins team celebrates

The Antioch Panthers celebrate their victory.

By Luke Johnson

It was the most anticipated Big Little Game of all time, and it exceeded expectations before a standing room crowd estimated at 7,000. Alabama-commit Najee Harris rushed for 268 yards and four touchdowns for Antioch High School to defeat host Pittsburg in a wild comeback, 44-42. The Panthers won their first League Championship in 31 years, and finished the season undefeated, 10-0.

#11 Duwon Boyd runs it in for a 2-point conversion.

#11 Duwon Boyd runs it in for a 2-point conversion.

We knew we were going to be in a dog fight, so we expected all of this,” Harris said. “The feeling is unreal right now. I’m just trying to enjoy the moment.”

Harris’s teammate, Ryan Payne was a difference maker in the game by scoring two touchdowns on defense, a 45-yard interception and 15-yard fumble return.

A second fumble by Antioch within the 5-yard line, this one in the third quarter, was grabbed by Pittsburg. But on the first play following the turnover, Antioch forced a safety, which was the two point difference in the final score.

Two years ago, Antioch finished 1-9, and became an afterthought in the Bay Valley Athletic League (BVAL). But the team featured promising, young talent such as Harris, Payne, Nick Perry and Antioch’s all time leading tackler, Kobie Beltram.

I worked so hard for this,” Beltram said with tears of happiness running down his face. “All that time dedicated at Malu Fitness has paid off. It was a great experience.”

Beat Pitt sign on the Antioch side.

Sign on the Antioch side.

Besides becoming BVAL Champs, Antioch achieved many milestones in this game. It was the first time the Panthers finished the regular season 10-0 since 1977; it was the first time they won the Big Little Game since 2006; and they also ended Pittsburg’s 18-game winning streak against league opponents.

Pittsburg’s offense was led by running back Montaz Thompson and wide receiver Dushawn Thomas, whom had three touchdowns a piece. Thompson also had 218 yards on the ground.

Late in the fourth quarter, Antioch quarterback Numan Najib connected with wide reeceiver Antione Tanner for 50 yards to set a up a crucial 9-yard touchdown run by Harris. It was only Tanner’s second catch of the year, and it gave Antioch much needed insurance at 44 points.

I was nervous,” Najib said. “Coaches said, ‘It’s all on you, Numan Either you make this play or we are gonna give them the ball.’”

Antoine kept telling me all year, ‘Pass me the ball,’” he addd. “I have never thrown it to him once the whole year… I saw him down the middle, I just threw it up to him and he did his thing.”

The fans in the Antioch stands went wild cheering “Yoc Boys, Yoc Boys,” the nickname for this year’s team.

Najee Harris interviewed after the game.

Najee Harris interviewed after the game.

Unfortunately, the Big Little Game trophy was not brought to the stadium for presentation to the Panthers, following the game.

“I’ll have to pick it up on Monday,” said Antioch High Principal Louie Rocha.

North Coast Section Playoff seedings will be released Sunday. Antioch is favored to earn a top three position with a first round bye. Pittsburg, who finished the season 8-2, is expected to earn the fourth or fifth seed.

See more photos and videos from the game on the Antioch Herald Facebook page.

Allen Payton contributed to this report.

Antioch fans packed the stands to make it standing room only at the 97th Big Little Game victory over Pittsburg.

Antioch fans packed the stands to make it standing room only at the 97th Big Little Game victory over Pittsburg. They cheered “Yoc Boys, Yoc Boys” the nickname for this year’s team.

More scenes from the game:

Make sure they remember sign

Panther Cheerleaders

Najee Harris gets handoff from Quarterback Numan Najib.

Najee Harris gets the handoff from Quarterback Numan Najib.

 

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Antioch, Pittsburg football teams face off in Big Little Game for the ages, Saturday

Friday, November 6th, 2015

97th Big Little GameOnce in a lifetime gridiron rivalry

By Luke Johnson

One of the most intense and longest-lasting high school rivalries has returned. Antioch and Pittsburg football will meet Saturday afternoon for the 97th annual Big Little Game, and the winner will determine the Bay Valley Athletic League (BVAL) Champion. This is the first time both teams will face each other with undefeated records against league opponents.

The feud dates back to 1924, with over 20 future NFL stars coming from both programs, including Hall of Famers Gino Marchetti (Antioch, 1944) and John Henry Johnson (Pittsburg, 1949). In the earlier years of the contest, the teams met up twice each season.

The Big Little Game Trophy. photo by Luke Johnson

The Big Little Game Trophy. photo by Luke Johnson

The rivalry heated up in the late 1930′s, and from 1939 to 1943 the Big-Little Game was cancelled due to uncontainable hostility between the two towns; which means Antioch’s greatest player (Marchetti) never played in his school’s most important game. The game returned in 1944, and Pittsburg upset an undefeated Antioch team, 12-7, in front of over 7,000 spectators on a Tuesday night; back when both cities combined for a population of approximately 20,000. It was pushed from Friday to Tuesday due to overflowing rain fall.

Bad blood between the two schools continued into the 1970s, and the game was rescheduled for Saturday afternoons, in an effort to decrease game-time violence. Back then, even the cheerleaders had to have a police escort into the stadium.

In the 1980s, Antioch’s concrete panther statue had its head bashed off during the week of multiple Big Little Games. It was eventually replaced in the late 1990′s with a flat-iron statue, and in the 2000′s, it was traditionally spray painted pink by Pittsburg players.

The City of Antioch opened a new high school in 1996, Deer Valley, and AHS lost half its students; weakening its football team. Since that time, the rivalry has lacked some of its luster, and the game was switched back to Friday nights in 2011. Antioch has not won the Big-Little Game since 2006, and has not won in Pittsburg’s stadium since 2001. Pittsburg has generally dominated the series, and leads 65-26-7 (including two playoff wins).

But now it is a different story. With the game back on Saturday, Antioch is undefeated (9-0) and has a chance to win a League Championship for the first time since 1984. The last time the Panthers finish the regular season 10-0 was in 1977.

Vic Galli has been in command of Pittsburg’s football team for 14 seasons. Along the way he has won 10 BVAL Titles, broken a 72-year-old record to become the program’s all-time winningest coach (117 and counting) and holds a 13-1 record against Antioch. His rookie season, 2002, was the last time the Big Little Game decided the BVAL Champion. Pittsburg won that match-up, 31-21.

This year, the teams are led by two of the country’s best players. Antioch junior Najee Harris is committed to the University of Alabama, and holds every school rushing and touchdown record [see article here]. He is lighting up the scoreboard this season by totaling 2,078 yards on offense (rushing and receiving) and averaging 12.7 yards per carry with 28 touchdowns. Pittsburg senior Jordan Parker is a shutdown cornerback, who is committed to the University of Oklahoma. Even with quarterbacks avoiding to throw toward his direction, Parker still has the most interceptions in the BVAL for the past two seasons with eight.

Senior linebackers Kobie Beltram (Antioch) and Charlie Ramirez (Pittsburg) have something in common other than earning All-Bay Area accolades at the same position. Both have family history in the Big Little Game. Beltram has surpassed his brothers, Richie and Markie, as Antioch’s all-time leading tackler (310 and counting); while Ramirez’s father, Charlie, Sr., was a starting linebacker on Pittsburg’s 1991 North Coast Section Championship team, which was the last time De La Salle High School lost in Northern California. Beltram said a win would mean a lot to bring home to his family, and added it is equally important to win for his teammates and his city.

Pittsburg is 8-1 this year, with its only loss coming to Monte Vista, 49-42. They also have an 18-game winning streak against the BVAL, dating back to 2012. Galli said he is not impressed with Antioch’s 9-0 record, but added the Panthers still should not be taken lightly.

Every year I schedule games against tough teams to get my players battle tested for the playoffs, and games like this,” Galli said, adding that his schedule against teams from the East Bay Athletic League is much more difficult than Antioch’s schedule.

According to Galli, the record-setting attendance at Pirate Stadium in Pittsburg was approximately 15,000 in a regular season contest versus De La Salle in 1995. He and other people involved in the game expect a crowd of 6,000 to 10,000 tomorrow. Pre-sale tickets went out this week to both schools, and hundreds have already been purchased.

With parking expected to be an issue, Pittsburg security has made precautionary adjustments. The Leber Lane parking lot will only be accessible for handicapped parking, team members and school employees. The Pittsburg City Court House parking lot on Railroad Avenue will be made available, with shuttles transporting people to the stadium. Doors open at 9:30 a.m., JV games starts at 11 a.m. and varsity kickoff is at 1:30 p.m.

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Antioch’s All Sports Training Center produces their first college athletic scholarship recipient

Tuesday, November 3rd, 2015
Niaja Nolan with Trainer Will Stalling at All Sports Training Center in Antioch.

Niaja Nolan with Trainer Will Stalling at All Sports Training Center in Antioch.

Congratulations go out to student-athlete Niaja Nolan, the first client of Antioch’s All Sports Training Center to receive a full-ride, college athletic scholarship. A resident of Pittsburg, Niaja is a junior at Carondelet High School in Concord, where she has maintained a 3.8 grade point average throughout high school.

Since the age of 12, Niaja developed a passion for softball. As she matured, so did her talent and her love for the sport grew. She played so well that the coaches recognized her potential to be great and made her a starter. However, Niaja lacked speed and agility.

Her mother Jessi Nolan, who is her number one fan and greatest supporter, took action to find her help. They hired Will Stalling, founder of All Sports Training Center in Antioch. With the help of Stalling’s personal training, Niaja has been able to maximize her speed, strength, agility and explosion, in a short time.

Since training at All Sports, she was offered a scholarship from Howard University, and committed to the college, this year. It will help Niaja fulfill her dreams of majoring and working in the medical field.

People have told me I did not have what it takes to be fast,” Niaja said. “Now my coaches tell me to steal bases at will. Thanks to my trainer in the matter of three-and-a-half months, with hard work, I am a complete athlete.”

Like I have always said, ‘hard work beats talent, when talent is hardly working,’” she added. “Special thanks to my mentor and trainer at All Sports Training Center, loving mother and supporting family members.”

We would like to congratulate you on your hard work and we wish you well in your future endeavors at Howard University,” Stalling told Niaja.

All Sports is located at 2640 Somersville Road on the outside of the Somersville Towne Center. Contact them at (925) 775-4178 or visit them online at www.allsportstrainingcenter.net.

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