Cal High Ready for Challenge

San Ramon (Calif.) California head coach Tony Sanchez was in Seattle this week to meet the press as the Grizzlies will participate in the Best in the West football showcase at Qwest Field next month...

San Ramon (Calif.) California will have it's work cut out for it next month when the Grizzlies head North to play Washington state powerhouse Bellevue.

But for the Grizzlies, playing an elite program is nothing new. Last year, the Grizzlies faced eventual California D-I champion De La Salle of Concord in the CIF-NCS playoffs. They also play in one of the toughest leagues in NorCal in the EBAL, which De La Salle will join to make it even tougher.

Head coach Tony Sanchez was in Seattle this week for a press conference with the other coaches of the Best in the West Classic, which will be held on September 20th at Qwest Field, the home of the Seattle Seahawks.

"We're obviously very excited about this opportunity to play a great program like Bellevue," said Sanchez. "We've come a long way as a program."

Indeed they have.

In the past three seasons, the Grizzlies have won 24 games, an average of eight wins a season. In the previous 29 seasons, they won a total of 70 games. So to say Sanchez and his staff have turned things around would be an understatement.

"We will bring 62 kids up to Seattle with us," said Sanchez. "Things have changed. It wasn't a lack of talent, it was a lack of expectations."

Now, Sanchez expects the Grizzlies to be competitive every year, this year being no different, despite facing one of the most difficult schedules in the Bay Area.

The Grizzlies will face Bellevue, who's won four state titles in the past six seasons in Washington, Las Lomas HS of Walnut Creek and star receiver Diante Jackson, Monte Vista of Danville and their star tight end Zach Ertz and San Ramon Valley high and their stellar quarterback Joe Southwick.

Then comes the regular season finale with De La Salle.

"We won't be overlooking anyone, I can tell you that," said Sanchez.

The Grizzlies will welcome back a strong contingent, including senior running back Leroy Green, quarterback Bo Stompro and offensive lineman Jeff Ferrier.

Defensively, linebacker Derek Goetting and defensive end Daniel Whitaker headline the senior class.

But the top player on the Grizzlies just might be elite 2010 prospect Reggie Davis, a two-way threat who will play some running back but will be the top defensive back.

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