Charlie Sherman is among the top five players to play for him over the past 39 years."> Charlie Sherman is among the top five players to play for him over the past 39 years.">

Coaches Corner: Frank Negri — Foothill HS

Frank Negri played at Oregon State under legendary coach Tommy Prothro back in the 1950s. Since 1965, Negri has been head football coach at Foothill High School in Sacramento, Calif. Negri says that CU verbal commit <a href="http://scout.theinsiders.com/a.z?s=148&p=8&c=1&nid=1050311">Charlie Sherman</a> is among the top five players to play for him over the past 39 years.

Sherman, who ran Foothill's option offense the past three years at quarterback, committed to play in Boulder in November. He'll likely play at wide receiver for the Buffs, and Negri thinks he's got a chance to succeed wherever he finds a spot on the field.

"He's an old-fashioned player," Negri said. "He didn't play a lot on defense, but we did play him a couple times early this year. He came up with an interception at the goal line. And he can punt and kickoff. He kicked off because our kickoff guy was ineligible."

Foothill won the Capitol Valley League with an unblemished 10-0 mark the past two seasons, before falling in the first round of the playoffs both times. Sherman finished with 1,125 yards rushing with 17 touchdowns, and also had 700 yards passing with eight touchdowns in 2003.

"He's won a lot more games for me than he's lost, just on his natural talent," Negri said. "He's won ballgames all by himself."

One of those games came this past season vs. Center High. Foothill had the ball at midfield with the game tied at 21-21, and under a minute to play. Negri called an option play, thinking Foothill would run out the clock and play for overtime. But Sherman broke some tackles, found an opening and ran all the way to the 3-yard line. It was one of the only times, Negri says, that Sherman was caught from behind.

"It was one of the greatest runs I've ever seen," Negri said. "Not only that, the guy caught him at the 8, and he drug him to the 3."

Foothill scored soon after and won the game.

"Don't ask me what is 40 time is, because I couldn't tell you," Negri said. "But he is football fast."

Listening to Negri talk about Sherman, the image of a playmaker emerges. Sometimes, the playmaker — nicknamed White Lightning — gave his coach some grey hairs.

"He used to get on our scout team and play wide receiver and he was great," Negri said. "But diving catches? Here was our only quarterback out there making tumbling catches near benches. I said, ‘Jeez, you don't have to go out there and make that catch, and land two yards from the practice field benches!' I saw my season flashing by."

Negri had planned on retiring after this past season. But a successful fundraising campaign — spearheaded in part by Sherman's father — has gathered enough momentum that Foothill is building a new $8 million football facility beginning in April. So Negri will stay on at Foothill. But he says he'll miss Sherman.

"He's just got reat instincts, great natural moves. He's a playmaker," Negri said. "And he's a great kid."

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