Archive for the ‘Sports’ Category

Tickets available to Antioch students, residents for Warriors game on Nov. 2; get photos with, autographs from players

Saturday, October 24th, 2015

By Velma Wilson

The Warriors just released the last 60 tickets to me to sell for the game on November 2nd. With these tickets I have LIMITED space for kids to be able to either high-five the players as they enter the Arena after Half-Time or stand with the players during the National Anthem. Either option includes photos with the players and autographs. The deadline to purchase is Sunday, Oct 25th. Accepting Visa, Mastercard, American Express or Discover. SPREAD THE WORD!

Warriors vs Grizzlies for Antioch

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Miscommunication, delays, confusion cause for Deer Valley football team, Pittsburg High band incident

Wednesday, October 21st, 2015

No evidence to support malicious misbehavior by players; Pittsburg parents want Deer Valley coaches fired, football program canceled; complaint states band violated Code of Ethics; Deer Valley side couldn’t hear National Anthem, at first

By Allen Payton

Last Friday night’s Deer Valley versus Pittsburg High School (PHS) football game has many people talking and debating. But the game is not the subject of discussion; it’s the pregame performance of the Pittsburg High band at the same time the Deer Valley football team was on the field, warming up. The incident has gone viral and has made Bay Area and even national news.

Several videos from that night, from the Pittsburg side of the field, were posted on Facebook and collectively gained over 100,000 views. They show footage of the band marching onto the field, while the football team continued to practice and warm up, following instructions from the coaches to do so, causing an intermingling of the two groups of students. Another video shows the team continuing to practice, while the band performed the National Anthem, while facing the Pittsburg side of the stadium, angering many who viewed it. But, with little details attached to the videos, the result was a large amount of speculation, assumptions and allegations.

Many parents and others, who commented on Facebook, are angry and have made allegations of the football players being disrespectful and unpatriotic, and even abusive to band members During a public meeting in PHS’s theater Tuesday night, parents claimed that numerous band members were assaulted via being shoving, kicking and spitting by Deer Valley High School (DVHS) coaches and players alike.

No Conclusive Evidence of Malicious Behavior

However, after hours of analyzing videos, Pittsburg Unified School District Superintendent Dr. Janet Schultz and PHS Principal Todd Whitmire said there was no conclusive evidence of malicious physical behavior coming from Deer Valley. Band Director Jenny Martinez and PHS Athletic Director Marcus Blacksher were on the field during the incident, and said they did not witness any vicious assaults, but stated that non-aggressive bumping and shoving did occur. Martinez added that two of her wind instrument players had bloody lips as a result, but no one was seen for medical attention or hospitalized. Whitmire also said that, following the game, a band member talked to police about being assaulted, which was referred to as groping, according to one parent of a band member, in a comment on Facebook. Police questioned the girl and a Deer Valley coach, but did not move forward with the case due to being too much “he said, she said,” according to Whitmire.

Approximately one hundred people were in attendance at Tuesday evening’s meeting, and the wide majority of parents were in favor and adamant about getting Deer Valley head coach Robert Hubbard, who is also a special education teacher, and his staff fired. Many also wanted DVHS to cancel its football program indefinitely.

Complaint States Band Violated Rule for Interfering with Team’s Practice

In Deer Valley’s defense, Principal Kenneth Gardner said the team had the right to be on the field. According to California Interscholastic Federation Sports and General Handbook Section 305H, subsection F, entertainment performers are not allowed to enter the field until players and coaches have completely exited to the sideline. Section 305H Code of Ethics for Bands and Other Support Groups reads: “Bands, song girls, entertainment, etc., should never interfere with officials, practicing teams, or the playing of the game.”

Gardner also said the team was not given the proper amount of time to warm up, which is a minimum of 30 minutes.

Deer Valley started warming up on Pittsburg’s practice field, adjacent to the stadium until, according to Gardner, the team was asked by the band to move. The team went back to the locker room until an “unidentified Pittsburg staff member,” told the coach to “go practice on the field from the 30-yard-line to the end zone.” The players and coaches then transitioned to the main field. However, the team practiced from the 50-yard line.

“So that’s on us,” Gardner stated. “But the Pittsburg High band stretched all the way to the 15-yard line.”

The team proceeded to run its pregame routine inside the stadium for about five minutes before the band entered, according to Deer Valley’s assistant coach Lionel Barnes, who was the acting head coach at practice Monday. He was unable to comment on why Head Coach Robert Hubbard was absent and when or if he will return.

“When the band entered the field, they did so at a rapid click,” Gardner said. “They didn’t run. I don’t know if it was double time. But, it was pretty fast.”

“The Deer Valley coach (Hubbard) was protesting to anyone who would listen,” he added.

Pittsburg’s football team was not present during the band’s performance, as they were in their locker room. That led to more confusion for Deer Valley as to why the game was starting with its opponents outside the stadium.

Deer Valley Side Couldn’t Hear National Anthem, At First

Deer Valley’s ending sequence is to have the punter kick the ball toward the end zone, and then the team runs to him and they walk off the field, Gardner explained. That’s what they were doing while the Pittsburg band lined up in a semi-circle, facing the Pittsburg side and performed the National Anthem.

“I couldn’t hear the National Anthem because of the direction of the band and due to the cacophony of noise,” he stated. “I was standing on the sidelines around the 40- or 50-yard line and with all the booing from the Pittsburg stands, I didn’t recognize the National Anthem, at first.”

“As soon as I did, I turned and stood at attention,” Gardner continued. “The players had their helmets on. They couldn’t hear it, either.”

“We investigated it by speaking to our parents, players and coaching staff on Monday,” he said. “None of them realized the National Anthem was being played. Pittsburg’s team was in the locker room when the band entered the field. I can’t say it was premature, but it was in violation of the rules.”

Joint Investigation: Series of Delays, Miscommunication

Antioch and Pittsburg Unified School Districts began a joint investigation Saturday morning, and issued a joint press release Monday night stating the situation was caused confusion due to miscommunication.

The JV game ran 30 minutes over; medical emergency staff were on the field attending to a Deer Valley player injured late in that game; band members were honored before the game for Senior Night; there was also a surprise tribute to Pittsburg football coach Victor Galli, who broke a 72-year school record for career wins the week prior. All these things created a tight and confusing pregame schedule and a delay in the start of the varsity game.

Gardner confirmed the tight schedule, but added that never once did the Pittsburg staff provide him nor Hubbard with a game plan, which should have included a list of when the sequence of events should happen, that night.

“They knew I was there and had been since 5:00 p.m.,” he said. “Pittsburg administration and staff failed to communicate with a visiting team except to say the game might start late, and denied us the ability to warm up.”

However, one of the officials offered Coach Hubbard an additional 15 minutes so they could finish warming up, which he declined, saying “No, let’s get it started,” according to Gardner.

“Looking at the situation, why aggravate it more?” he asked.

“To be fair, there’s a new Pittsburg AD (Athletic Director) and a new Deer Valley varsity coach and staff,” Gardner continued. “But the AD should have known better.”

Speaking of the Deer Valley football players, Gardner said “There might have been contact when the band entered the field. It’s regrettable. I apologize for that failure. But, at no time did they intend to harm anyone or disrespect the playing of our National Anthem. Had they done that I would have held them responsible, being a retired military officer, myself.”

“It is an unfortunate situation for both parties,” Galli said. “I hope no one loses their job over this.”

Schulze Issues Additional Statement, Gardner Files Complaint

Following the joint press release, Schultz issued an additional statement early Tuesday morning defending Pittsburg’s band, and blaming Deer Valley’s coaches. In response, Gardner filed a complaint that afternoon to the Bay Valley Athletic League for violation of the Code of Ethics by the band.

Asked why he was filing the complaint, Gardner responded, “to defend my students.”

“Dr. Schulze basically absolved her school and I find that reprehensible. And that is why I am filing a formal complaint…”

There is no one solely responsible for leading the award winning band of approximately 230 performers onto the field. It is a collaborative effort among Martinez, Blacksher and other PHS employees, according to Blacksher, who was hired as the athletic director in July. He said he did not know of CIF rule 305H, adding this has been a learning experience for him, and he will exercise a different way of communication between the band and the opposing team for a greater outcome.

Pre-Game Penalty Unrelated to Band Incident

“Immediately before the game, the Deer Valley team gathered at mid-field with the coach and were being taunted by the Pittsburg side with boo’s,” Gardner explained. “One or more of the Deer Valley players responded to the taunts, right next to the officials who immediately thre a flag and penalized the team 15 yards for taunting. It had nothing to do with what happened with the band, earlier.”

“You can speak with the head official to confirm that, if you’d like,” he added.

Spitting Allegations

Accusations have been made that Deer Valley players and a coach spit on one or more of the Pittsburg band members. In response, Gardner stated that “Pittsburg has investigated some and we are investigating and we will hold those responsible, accountable.”

Not Band’s First Conflict

Pittsburg has a prestigious marching show band program. It competes and performs both nationally and internationally, having marched in the 2009 Macy’s Thanksgiving Day Parade and 2014 New Year’s Day Parade in London, and performs annually at Oakland Raider games.

But, Friday night’s incident wasn’t the first time the band has had a conflict with an opposing team. Martinez said a similar incident happened against Granite Bay High School five years ago.

“The Granite Bay game was pretty serious. [We had] a lot of injured musicians,” said Martinez, who was emotionally choked up and concerned for the safety of her students. “I just hope we can resolve this and go back to having a friendly rivalry.”

Perspective of DVHS Vidoegrapher, Player’s Parent

“From my standpoint we were on the field, same as usual, at the 50-yard line doing our routine,” said Dave Keleti, who is the videographer for and whose son plays on the Deer Valley varsity team. “When we came together, the band was coming out. I thought they were going to stop at the 50-yard line. But then they overpassed us.”

“I ran to one of the parents walking with the band and asked her ‘what are you doing? We’re warming up.’ She turned and said ‘Don’t you know, it’s our time. We always do this,’ and then she walked away.”

“I’m the guy in the dark shorts in the video,” he explained. “The players are going between the band members and the band members were going between the players.”

“I just came back from Afghanistan, in 2014,” Keleti shared. “I didn’t even hear the National Anthem when the band first started playing. The players were all jumping up and down. But, when I did, I started yelling at the players, ‘hey, it’s the National Anthem.’”

So, you can see on the video, the players were all walking away and getting on the sideline and they were all facing the flag, at the end.”

Good, Well-Played Game; Adults Failed

“It was a good, well-played game. Even Galli said that,” Gardner said. “There were no personal fouls against Deer Valley and they lost by a little. There was no cursing on the sidelines because Coach Hubbard doesn’t allow it of players or staff.”

“Pittsburg got a 30-yard penalty for a personal foul which was twice as long as the 15-yard team foul (against Deer Valley),” he added.

“Coach Hubbard has done a fantastic job with the team,” Gardner continued. “They are respectful, gracious, honorable and they should not be painted in any other way. The adults failed. During the game, our kids played a very clean game.”

Desire to Move Past This

Martinez, Schultz, Whitmire, Blacksher and Barnes all agreed they want to move past this controversy, let bygones be bygones, and get back to focusing on the task at hand, which is educating children.

Barnes said Deer Valley was treated unfairly by local publication East County Today, and it never attempted to get their side of the story. He, along with PHS employees, feel the comments on ECT’s Facebook page were classless and uncalled for.

“I just wish for the truth to get out before people start judging,” Barnes said. “He (Mike Burkholder of ECT) said we weren’t patriotic. I served my country for 25 years. I did four tours over in Iraq. Then to have somebody say, that during the National Anthem, that I’m not patriotic. Ask him, ‘Did he serve his country? Did he watch his buddies die? Did he get a scar?’ That’s what really got to me.”

In response, Burkholder stated, “I said it was disrespectful, not unpatriotic. I sent an email to all the coaches on Tuesday, but none of them have responded. Gardner said he couldn’t make the coaches respond. Now, I’m defending the coaches and Gardner on Facebook, today, based on some who are saying they are not patriotic.” Later, he added via a comment on Facebook, “That is not true, most of the coaching staff served in the armed forces.”

Additional information will be provided once the outcome of the league’s response to Principal Gardner’s formal complaint is provided.

Luke Johnson contributed to this report.

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Deer Valley Principal files complaint with league over rule violation by Pittsburg High band in response to Superintendent’s additional statement

Tuesday, October 20th, 2015

By Allen Payton

In response to an early morning additional statement by Pittsburg Unified School District Superintendent Janet Shulze blaming the Deer Valley High School (DVHS) football team for causing the incident with the Pittsburg High band, prior to last Friday night’s game, earlier today, DVHS Principal Ken Gardner filed a complaint against Pittsburg High School with the Bay Valley Athletic League (BVAL) over rule violations.

Dr. Schulze basically absolved her school and I find that reprehensible,” he stated during an interview with Herald staff, this morning.“And that is why I am filing a formal complaint…over violation of rule 305H, subsection f.”

Section “305H Code of Ethics for Bands and Other Support Groups,” subsection “f” states “Bands, song girls, entertainment, etc., should never interfere with the officials, the practicing teams, or the playing of the game.”

In addition, Gardner mentioned the rule which gives each team 30 minutes of warm-up prior to the game, which he states Deer Valley was not provided.

Pittsburg administrators and staff failed to communicate with a visiting team, except to say the game might start late and denied us the ability to warm up,” Gardner added.

UPDATE: Following is the complete text of the complaint letter regarding the incident, a copy of which can be viewed by clicking here: DVHS – BVAL Complaint 10.16.15

October 20, 2015

Bud Beemer


Bay Valley Athletic League

1050 Neroly Road

Oakley, CA 94561

Commissioner Beemer,

On Friday, October 16, 2015 Deer Valley High School and Pittsburg High School were scheduled for a varsity football game at 7:00 PM. We received one communication prior to the football game from Connie Spinnato, Vice Principal of Pittsburg High School, stating that the game may be late due to the senior celebration of the senior band members and the celebration for Vic Galli for his accomplishments.

We did not receive the customary game plan with a schedule showing the sequence of events, practice areas for warm-ups and field restrictions if any.

Prior to the game our varsity football team was on the practice field behind the visiting side bleachers beginning their warm-ups, when they were directed to leave the area because the band needed the field. Coach Hubbard asked where they could warm up and did not receive a definitive answer, so he took the team back to the locker room. He was then contacted by an unknown member of the Pittsburg Staff in the locker room advising him that he could warm up the team on the stadium football field. He proceeded to the field where Steve Ahonen, Pittsburg USD Administrator, told him that he could warm up the team from the Southern thirty (30) yard line to the goal post for the team. Coach Hubbard took the team to the area for the warm up. During the time for the warm up, prior to the game, with no communication with Coach Hubbard, any member of our extensive coaching staff or I did a single member of the Pittsburg staff approach us and request that we clear the field for the Pittsburg Marching Band. We saw the Pittsburg Marching Band form up in the North End Zone however we did not expect them to enter while we were on the field. The Pittsburg Band, under the direction of Ms. Jennifer Martinez, once formed immediately came onto the field while the Deer Valley High School varsity football team was engaged in warm-ups, in violation of Sports and General Handbook Section 305H (f)—Bands, song girls, entertainment, etc., should never interfere with officials, practicing teams, or the playing of the game.

The resulting confusion of being surrounded by a very large and unyielding marching band, caused our players to mill around and not respond to the shouted commands of their coaches. The coaches tried to address the issue with members of the Pittsburg High School staff who were on the field who told them to leave the field. The players attempted to continue their warm-ups despite the band’s presence and it appeared that they did not recognize the playing of the national anthem and did not respect the flag or our country. In speaking with coaches and players none of them realized that the national anthem was playing. I was on the 50 yard line and as a military veteran and retiree, I did not recognize the playing of the national anthem until at least one third through the song, at which time I turned to the flag and stood at the position of attention until the completion of the song.

A video was posted of the incident which out of context makes Deer Valley High School and its players appear to be unpatriotic, uncaring and disrespectful to both the national anthem and the Pittsburg High School Marching Band. They are neither, if adults had acted appropriately and if the rules had been followed we would not have been in the situation to begin with.

The ensuing social media criticism, the media commentary and the court of public opinion has painted our students in an extremely negative light which they neither deserve nor should be subjected.

I am also very concerned about the safety of students who have not had adequate time to warm-up, which we were denied.

Respectfully submitted,

Kenneth Gardner


President of the Bay Area Valley Athletic League

Please look for the complete article being investigated by Herald staff, to be published by tomorrow (Wednesday).

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Pittsburg Superintendent emails additional statement, early Tuesday morning, defends Pittsburg band, blames Deer Valley football coaches

Tuesday, October 20th, 2015

By Allen Payton

Attached to an email received Tuesday morning at 1:03 AM, with the subject line “RE: Joint Press Release from Antioch and Pittsburg Unified School Districts,” from the email address of Pittsburg Superintendent Janet Schulze, but not on district letterhead nor signed by her, was an “Additional statement from PUSD Superintendent” defending the Pittsburg High School band and blaming the Deer Valley High School varsity football team coaches, for the incident before last Friday night’s game.

The AdditionalStatementfromPUSDSuperintendent reads as follows:

I support everything in the joint statement and our collaboration with Antioch as we continue the investigation. I do want to offer my additional individual assessment and clarification. I want to be clear that the PHS Band had no part in the miscommunications. They did a terrific performance, as usual! I commend the Band for their professionalism and talent.

It is my opinion that the DVHS coaches used poor judgment in running drills that went near and into the Band’s formation while the Band was playing. This created a situation that was potentially dangerous.

Janet Schulze

However, according to the rules for North Coast Section (NCS) football games, in section “305H Code of Ethics for Bands and Other Support Groups,” subsection “f.” it states “Bands, song girls, entertainment, etc., should never interfere with the officials, the practicing teams, or the playing of the game.” That’s the argument being made by those defending the football team’s actions.

A phone call to and emails were sent to Schulze asking if she was the author of the statement, and if so was she was pressured by her Board members, if she thought it undermined the joint press release with Antioch Superintendent Dr. Don Gill, and if she’s aware of the NCS rules, and why she sent it out without her signature, not on district letterhead and at that time of the morning.

12:52 PM UPDATE: In a phone call from Schulze’s Executive Assistant Barbara Jones, she confirmed that the statement was from Schulze.

In an email from Dr. Schulze, at 1:13 p.m., she stated “It was not at all meant to undermine the joint statement that the two districts worked on. I stated that as the first sentence in order to hopefully make that clear. I also informed Dr. Gill of the two items I would be sharing. I was not pressured by any Board members.”

10:36 PM UPDATE: In a further response to the questions, Schulze stated via email, Tuesday afternoon:

“Pittsburg High School’s Marching Band has a long history of performing pre-game at home games. Both home and visiting audiences have enjoyed the performances for years. It was also our Senior Night. It is not uncommon for the visiting team to be warming up during a Band performance. The Band Director had every expectation to believe the visiting team was aware before bringing out the Band. This is not a student athlete issue, nor is it a Band member issue. It is an adult miscommunication and judgment issue. We are in working in partnership with Antioch to learn from this and move forward together. We have always worked well and collaboratively with Antioch and do not want this one instance to characterize the students or communities.”

No response was provided as to why her additional statement was sent in the manner and at the time it was.





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Antioch, Pittsburg Superintendents say band members, players confused, no intent to disrespect National Anthem, before Friday night football game, investigation continues

Monday, October 19th, 2015

Following is the verbatim press release from the superintendents of both the Antioch and Pittsburg Unified School Districts.

October 19, 2015

6:00 PM

As you are probably aware, an incident occurred prior to the Deer Valley/Pittsburg High Football game over the weekend that has received a lot of media (and social media) attention. We felt it was important for you to hear from both districts regarding the incident and what we plan to do as a result.

First of all, please know that, as educational and community leaders, school and student safety is our highest priority. This commitment stretches beyond classroom walls and applies to sporting events, extra-curricular activities and community activities that involve our students and staff members. Thus, when we learned of an incident that may compromise the safety of students, we take it very seriously. Our districts and schools have always embraced a collaborative and positive working relationship, whether it is in the classroom, in the meeting room, or on the football field.

The incident involving football players and band members was regrettable and should not have occurred. We met today with school principals, athletic directors and other personnel to discuss the incident, collect more information and begin a joint investigation. At this point, we believe a series of miscommunications occurred that resulted in both the Pittsburg High band and Deer Valley High football team being on the field at the same time. This created confusion on the part of the Pittsburg band members and Deer Valley football players.

We believe there was no intent on either side to disrespect the observance of our country’s National Anthem. Both AUSD and PUSD have coaching and support staff who served proudly in the armed forces and who deeply value our flag and country.

The investigation will continue to determine where communication may have broken down and to address the various allegations brought forth as a result of Friday’s game. If we determine any of the allegations to be true, we will take swift and appropriate action.

We will never condone poor sportsmanship at any of our events or activities. We are saddened by the negative messages being portrayed about our students in social media. Both teams showed great sportsmanship during and after the game and no other incidents occurred. We encourage our communities to please not jump to conclusions and understand that we are working cooperatively together, and will continue to work together to promote safe and positive experiences for our students.


Donald Gill, Superintendent                             Janet Shulze, Superintendent

Antioch Unified School District                        Pittsburg Unified School District

To view a copy of the joint press release by the two districts, click here: AUSD PUSD Joint Press Release 10-19-15

Editor’s Note: Herald staff is currently investigating what occurred and will provide a more complete story on the incident, within the next few days.

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Antioch’s Travis “TJ” Carrie is a “New and Improved Raider”

Wednesday, October 14th, 2015
TJ Carrie takes the time to take a selfie with a Raiders fan after a pre-season home game.

TJ Carrie takes the time to take a selfie with a Raiders fan after a pre-season home game. photo by F.D. Purcell

F.D. Purcell, Bay Area Sports Reporter

Antioch Herald

That is the quote on the Oakland Raiders’ second year player, Travis “TJ” Carrie’s Twitter page. Not many get the opportunity to play for their home team – selected in the 7th round, 219th overall in the 2014 draft – but this Antioch native is and he’s taking it all in stride. Carrie is accustomed to playing for a team that’s under the microscope having played at football powerhouse De La Salle. Carrie fell in love with the game watching his three older brothers and one younger brother.

It didn’t matter where the former ball boy played football: in the mud, concrete or street, as long as he played. That passion shows when he’s on the field breaking up plays on receivers or gunning for balls on special teams. It was that very foundation of family and passion that helped cultivate him to the solid young man he is on and off the field. And it shows on his social media pages which are flanked by motivating quotes, family, football and the love o his life fiance and college sweetheart Tyisha, who he’s set to marry next June.

Antioch Herald: What’s it like playing for the hometown team?

TJ Carrie: A tremendous blessing, tremendous opportunity that I was given and I’m having fun out there. I think that’s the biggest most exciting thing is being able to play in front of players you’ve watched and grown up with and there’s nothing better than having this opportunity.

AH: When you go into the season are there any goals you get for yourself?

TJ: Definitely. I always set goals and standards for myself. The #1 thing is to be a different player than I was last year. Growing and understanding that last year was a rookie season and coaches allow you to make a little more mistakes when you’re a rookie. Being able to come into a second season and take advantage of the opportunity and know that I have a tremendous amount of growth that I can excel to. That’s one of the biggest goals that I’ve had coming into this year.

AH: Since you’re from the area how do you deal with the ticket requests from family and friends? That comes out of your pocket.

TJ: I have a great family support system. That has definitely been something we had to talk about as a family. They are understanding and they understand the situation that I’m going to try to get everyone and we make the best of that opportunity but I break it up on a good system. I’m glad we’ve been able to get on the same page.

AH: What’s been that largest ticket request?

TJ: When I traveled to Cleveland last season it was about 35 with coaches and players I grew up with, aunts and uncles. It was probably one of the biggest ones I’ve had. It’s great to have them there at the game supporting me. It’s HUGE!

AH: Your family support is tremendous, talk about that.

TJ: My parents moved to Cleveland so they could be near me when I was in college and now I’m back out here (laugh). I have other family members here, but it’s a big homecoming when we play there, because my fiance is from there also.

AH: It’s crazy they’re gone but you have your fiance here, right?

TJ: Yes, and it’s crazy because before I was drafted were here visiting and she said, “Wouldn’t it be great to live here?” Now we’re here and planning to get married next June in Cleveland.

AH: I saw she did something great for your birthday?

TJ: (smiles) Yes we had a helicopter ride and we went to Napa. (You can view the photos on his Instagram page leon18_tj)

AH: Having attended De La Salle you know a thing or two about winning cultures. How do you apply that mindset on a professional level and do you set goals going into each season?

TJ: The biggest things those schools have given me are the traits I have today: dedication, working hard and discipline. All those things are lifestyle changes in itself and bringing them here is something that transforms you more into an athlete because this game is more mental than physical. High school and college experiences have shaped and carried me into this season.

AH: What would you be doing if you weren’t playing football?

TJ: I have my masters in coaching and education so coaching is definitely something I like to do. Something with kids, younger or high school and training them so they can be powerful, successful and helping them pave their future.

AH: What is your greatest Raiders memory thus far?

TJ: The moment it happened (getting drafted) and getting a call from then head coach Dennis Allen on draft day and thinking in my mind, “Wow, I’m going back home.” I’ve been away for so long but having this opportunity is a tremendous blessing to go back home and play the sport I love is really what’s the biggest memory for me and it still is today.

AH: Any final words to the Raider Nation?

TJ: Yes, I’m looking here to stay for the long-haul. You can depend on me and look for me to make some big things happen this year Raider Nation.

You can follow him on Twitter @tj_carrie and Instagram leon18_tj. Read more about him on his Wikipedia page here.

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Antioch’s Rodney Smith to be inducted into Motorcycle Hall of Fame, Saturday

Wednesday, October 14th, 2015
Rodney Smith racing in the Suzuki RMX250 Trophy Team USA, ISDE 1997, from his Facebook page.

Rodney Smith racing in the 1997 International Six Days Enduro as part of the Suzuki RMX250 Trophy Team USA.  from his Facebook page.


By Allen Payton

World champion motorcycle racer Rodney Smith, of Antioch, will be inducted into the American Motorcycle Association (AMA) Hall of Fame as part of the Class of 2015, during a ceremony, this Saturday in Orlando, Florida.

Rodney Smith was one of the most versatile motorcycle racers of the 1990s, excelling in both motocross and off-road at the highest levels,” said Ken Ford, a member of the AMA and American Motorcycle Heritage Foundation boards of directors. “{His) contributions to the world of motorcycling are enduring and substantial.”

According to the AMA website, “Each year, the AMA Motorcycle Hall of Fame welcomes new members.” Smith will be one of six inductees who “will join the ranks of motorcycling’s greatest advocates and champions…during the American International Motorcycle Expo.”

Rodney Smith

Rodney Smith

Born in 1964 and a 1982 graduate of Antioch High School, Rodney Smith started riding motorcycles in the hills of Northern California with his family in the 1960s and ’70s, and his first race was at age 13 at Sand Hill in Brentwood. From there, he blossomed into a local motocross standout and then an international contender. Smith accepted an offer to race in Brazil in 1985 and won five Brazilian national championships. He then moved to the world level and finished third in the 1988 Fédération Internationale de Moocyclisme 250cc World Motocross Championships before returning to America in 1990.

Back in the United States, Smith turned his focus to off-road racing, where he became one of the most dominant riders of the late 1990s and early 2000s. Smith won 13 AMA-sanctioned national championship series, including five Grand National Cross Country titles, three AMA National Hare Scrambles titles and five AMA National Reliability Enduro Championships. He also excelled in the International Six Days Enduro, winning multiple gold medals, competing on the premier U.S. Trophy Team and twice earning top-American honors. He mainly raced wearing number 31 on his jersey.

His major accomplishments include: 1998, 1999, 2001, 2002 & 2004 Grand National Cross Country Champion; 2001 Parts Unlimited World Off-Road Series – 2nd place; 1996 & 1997 AMA Hare Scramble Series Champion; 1994 & 1995 International Six Days Enduro Gold Medalist; 1993, 1994, 1995, 1996 & 1998: AMA National Reliability Enduro Champion; 1988 World Grand Prix Motocross 250cc – 3rd place; and five-time Brazilian Motocross Champion.

Rodney Smith's trophy case in his home in Antioch - from his Facebook page.

Rodney Smith’s trophy case in his home in Antioch – from his Facebook page.

A true champion can ride in all different conditions, and just when you think you’re done, push harder,” Smith states. His advice to younger riders is “to always remember why you started riding a motorcyle. Because it is fun.”

Since his racing days, according to his website, Smith “has scaled his racing plans back a bit, and after injuries and some frustration, decided to transition into a full-time coach/advisor…to students of all ages and skill levels.”

His RSMX & Offroad Acadmey offers a motorcross riding school, private and group lessons, fitness and dietary training and weekend camps.

According to his father, his parents and brother will be joining Smith in Florida for the ceremony.

For more information on Smith, visit his website at For more information about the 2015 Hall of Fame, click here.

Congratulations, Rodney!

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2015 Grand Nationals at the Cow Palace in October

Wednesday, October 7th, 2015


The old west returns

Since 1941 the Grand National Livestock Exposition, Horse Show & Rodeo has been one of the most prestigious western lifestyle events in the West attracting thousands of participants and fans from California and other western states. The Cow Palace team would like to invite all of you to participate in two weekends of excitement. We are sure there will be something for everyone.

On October 16-17, and October 23-24, 2015 the Cow Palace will come alive with cowgirls, cowboys, an array of livestock, horses, western exhibits, tasty BBQ and our ever popular rodeo! The Grand National PRCA Rodeo will be produced for the 47th year by Cotton Rosser and the Flying U Rodeo Company. Rosser and his team will be bringing top stock for the 600 plus professional cowboys and cowgirls competing in seven rodeo events. Rodeo performances begin each night at 7:30 pm.

The Junior and Open Livestock Shows are “must see” events where youth and adult exhibitors will enter their best stock and compete for top prize money and the honor of showing a Grand National Champion. The Livestock Show starts on October 15 and runs through October 18. Cattle, sheep, goats, dairy cows, hogs and even rabbits will be on display.

In addition to the Livestock Exposition and Rodeo, the make sure to visit the various horse show events, barrel racing, drill team competitions, and stock dog trials. For the Arabian horse lover, the costume class will be showing during the rodeo performances on October 23-24. Grace, beauty and strength are all combined in this lovely presentation.

Don’t miss the Western Marketplace which is open from at 11 am – 11 pm all four days of the rodeo. Tack, jewelry, clothing and special western mementos will be among the items not to be missed. While in the Marketplace be sure to save your appetite for the nightly BBQ which begins at 5 pm, prior to each rodeo performance.

For complete details and up to date schedule information please check our website at

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