You can call PGHS win over Jesuit an upset - if you want to. I'll call it the natural progression of a well coached extremely talented High School football team. With a bunch of "around the way " kids (neighborhood kids) that attend one of the nicest schools in the Elk Grove School District. Pleasant Grove's second string players could easily be starters at any school.
None of the local sports writers picked Pleasant Grove to win against Jesuit and that's pretty sad. While PGHS is a new school, with a new program, the kids and coaches are not new to football. This is a significant factor that everyone has overlooked.
PGHS head coach, Joe Catollico, is a winning well respected coach from the San Jose area. His assistant coaches, like Phil Paggett, are a cut above what you'd expect in an assistant coach. Many of them could easily go to a local high school and run their own programs. Catollico has assembled the cream of the crop in his coaching staff.
The Senior and Junior Class are full of transfers that come from established programs. i.e. Sheldon H.S. and Elk Grove High School . They are not touching the football for the first time. The writers that didn't give PGHS a chance are stuck back in a time when Elk Grove High was the main power house in town and are probably Elk Grove High grads to boot. This win should be a wake up call for those writers. It's time for them to give Pleasant Grove High School, the coaching staff, and definitely the kids, the credit they deserve. So, let me help by profiling some of the athletes on the PGHS Football team:
Armond Armstead, Senior – T/DT # 55, what can I say about this kid that I already haven't.
Just read my previous article on him. He's just incredible. He's the most versatile player I've ever seen. Check out the picture of him chasing down a Jesuit running back.
I've previously written that he's the King of the Grid Iron Jungle and I haven't been wrong yet. He's so athletic and versatile he can literally play any position out there. I must admit that I haven't seen him throw, but I'm sure he can. USC was smart to offer him a scholarship. He's truly the best out there and a great kid as well. I can't wait for Basketball season to start so I can watch him dominate on the hard wood as well – simply incredible.
Larry Bates, Senior - T/NG # 64, comes in at 6'6" and a hardy 338 pounds.
He's a monumental figure on the field. I watched him through a 200 pound Jesuit running back about 8 feet, as if he were a rag doll. Just ask for the PGHS vs. Jesuit game film and be prepared to be amazed. He had 2 sacks in the Jesuit game as well as 2 tackles, with an average of 1 tackle per game. His only competition in the area is Armond Armstead, and luckily for PGHS they are on the same team.
Brandon Burns, Senior – C/NG #50, stands 5'11" tall and weighs in at 257 pounds.
He averages 3.2 tackles per game and had a sack in the Jesuit game. He's a hard worker in practice and solid in the game. He's hard to move him when he plays nose guard.
Kevin Harris, Junior - TE/DE #21, stands 6'3" tall and weighs in at 176 pounds.
Harris has averaged 19.17 yards per reception and 2 tackles per game. He had 1 touchdown against Jesuit high school. Work hard as the starting tight end and will only get better next year as a senior.
Taylor Herbert, QB/WR/DE #7, since PGHS has switched to mostly a running game Taylor has moved into the wide receiver position but has contributed immensely to the team on defense and on special teams.
He's now the backup quarterback for the team. A controversial move which seams to be paying off for both the team and Herbert. Who better than a quarterback to read the offense of the opposing team. He averages 4 tackles per game and has an average punt of 44.6 yards on special teams. Taylor was also the place kick holder for the winning field goal against Jesuit High School. He is ranked 25th in the state for punting and first in the Delta River League. He's also an incredibly talented baseball player for Pleasant grove.
Darron Powe-Reed, RB/LB # 27, pure muscle machine.
Darron averages 6 sacks per game and has an interception for a 33 yard return. I interviewed head Pleasant Grove Football coach Joe Cattolico at the beginning of the season on Powe-Reed. He had the following to say about Darron's performance last year " he's an outstanding football player and was our leading tackler last year. Runs very, very well for a linebacker and does a great job getting to the football .. pretty good player for us offensively to .. a versatile player. He can run with the football, catch the football, block, and return kicks. " By watching Darron play this season he's been much of the same – spectacular. He's had interest in him from a few D1 schools, and as PGHS moves into the post season his stock, interest in him, will rise. It's Players like Darron that help make winning teams – winning teams.
Andrew Watkins, WR/CB #2, is a two sport standout.
He also runs track and is one of the fastest sprinters in Northern California, just check his track stats. He runs a 4.5 second 40. Watkins has averaged 4.3 sacks per game this season. He had a season high of 7 tackles against powerhouse Jesuit High School. He also had 1 sack, 1 blocked field goal, and 1 blocked punt against Jesuit. I know that he's had interest in him following his performance at a football combine last season. He was chosen by the Sacramento Bee newspaper as a " Week 8 prepstar". Andrew has interest in playing for Oregon State, Fresno State, San Diego State and Stanford. He's putting together a high light tape and will attend the spring combines to show off his skills. Definitely an athlete worth looking at now and definitely post season.
Deonte Williams, RB/S # 20, has come into his own at PGHS.
He's a transfer from Valley H.S. and was a reserve player there – big mistake Valley. It just goes to show you what happens when you have the right combination on the field. This kid will break 2,000 yards this season – for sure. He's already been offered scholarships by D1 programs. You can read more about him in my other article on him.
So, was beating power house Jesuit High School An upset, as most sports writers have written?
Maybe – when you compare the tuition they pay at Jesuit vs. nothing at PGHS
An upset? – Maybe if you take into account that the Jesuit can recruit from anywhere that's a reasonable commute.. say 100 miles
An upset? – Maybe If you consider A bunch of around the way kids, from all walks of life, beating the kids of Societies most privileged .. This win for PGHS is apropos to what football and being American is all about.
An upset ? – I'd say no .. but just a natural progression for their football program .. and "The Beginning of a New Tradition" at Pleasant Grove High School .. and in no way is this article a dig at the Jesuit H.S. football program. Just the recognition of a bunch of hard working kids and coaching staff at Pleasant Grove High school.
And that's the American way …. Pleasant Grove High School Football – An All American Football Team