Notebook: Bettencourt out at Cosumnes Oaks/Cattolico in at Granite Bay

By John Hull | @JohnHullEG

The area high school sports world was abuzz late last week upon word that Grant High School football coach Mike Alberghini won’t return in the fall. In his almost 30 years at the Pacers’ helm, he won 282 games, 17 league championships, seven Sac-Joaquin Section championships and a State championship. Opponents circled the games with Grant on the schedule because you knew you were in for a fight in more ways than one.

The reason given for Alberghini’s departure was the proverbial, “…taking the program in a different direction.” If I had a nickle for every time an athletic director or principal told me that in the last 15 years, I’d have enough money to buy a case of Dr. Pepper. No one wants to speak the obvious or tell the truth when not rehiring a coach.

Former Pacer linebacker and now the school’s athletic director Carl Reed will take over. The past couple years Grant had turned ordinary on the field and perhaps Reed and the school administration wanted to find a way to put the fear back into the Pacers’ opponents.

Alberghini’s teams were very well disciplined, always had guys who could fly down the field and run behind huge linemen. His teams had memorable rivalry games with Nevada Union in the 1990s and 2000s and mixed into those games were some big showdowns with Elk Grove.

It is just rare that anyone would coach for anywhere close to 30 years, but Alberghini is that rare kind of guy.

Almost lost in the middle of this was word out of Cosumnes Oaks that Wolfpack football coach Andrew Bettencourt won’t be back this fall, either. They were 10-5 in the past couple seasons under Bettencourt with several talented players leading the team. Reportedly, Bettencourt is taking a job outside of teaching.

He played his high school football at Christian Brothers and was an offensive assistant for his alma mater the five seasons before coming to Cosumnes Oaks.

Pleasant Grove’s first football coach Joe Cattolico has returned to the football sidelines and in the fall will take over at Granite Bay. Under Cattolico, the Eagles won its only Section championship in football in 2010 with the likes of Arik Armstead, now with the San Francisco 49ers, Cody Demps, now playing in the NBA’s G-league with the Stockton Kings, and Jalen Saunders, currently playing wide receiver in the Canadian League.

The past two years Cattolico has been teaching at Roseville High School, coaching the Tigers in 2019 and taking last year off. Now with the Grizzlies in the Sierra Foothill League, Cattolico will get his dream of coaching a football team with potentially plenty of depth and talent. Those SFL schools traditionally have 60-80 guys suited up every game and something Cattolico used to comment to me about over the years was that his teams never had quite the numbers and depth the schools in the foothills had. His Eagles, and for a couple seasons, his Sheldon teams always gave Folsom and the rest of the SFL plenty of good competition, yet seemed to wear down late in the games because of numbers.

This hire of Cattolico could put Granite Bay atop the SFL, or at the minimum, give traditional powerhouse Folsom, along with Del Oro and Oak Ridge a run this fall.

Baseball Notes

There are now six former Elk Grove Thundering Herd baseball players on a Major League Baseball roster. Over the weekend, Detroit called up outfielder Derek Hill.

Earlier this week the St. Louis Cardinals were taking on the New York Mets. St. Louis rookie outfielder Dylan Carlson looked across the diamond into the opposing dugout and saw one of his best friends, Mets infielder J.D. Davis. Both former Herd standouts are having great starts to the season at the plate, but Davis has recently been held out of play due to soreness in his hand which was hit by a pitched ball in the second game of the season.

Carlson is batting .267 for St. Louis and recently has been hitting in the two hole in the lineup. Davis is hitting .390 in 14 games thus far for New York.

Meanwhile their old high school team has been playing quite well this season. Under coach Joey Bellotti Elk Grove is 13-2, losses to De LaSalle last Saturday and St. Mary’s in the opener. Like what seems to be commonplace every season, the Herd reloads with plenty of local talent and this spring is no different.

This week Elk Grove has three games with Jesuit.


Elk Grove NASCAR Cup driver Kyle Larson almost pulled off another win last weekend in Kansas City, leading 132 out of 267 laps in the 400-mile race. The Hendrick Motorsports driver got shuffled back to the second row on the last restart and had contact with Ryan Blaney‘s Ford after taking the final green flag. The two cars slid up and bounced into the wall and out of the groove, allowing Kyle Busch to take the win. He also came close two weeks prior in Atlanta.

Larson finds himself ninth in the Cup series points standings after 11 races. He won earlier this spring in Las Vegas.

And, on a sad note, one of auto racing’s greatest drivers, Bobby Unser passed away Monday. He was 87. I had the honor of interviewing Unser about 30 years ago and found him to be a very kind and gracious gentleman.


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Copyright by Elk Grove News © 2021. All right reserved.



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