Notebook: CIF To Discuss Possible Club Football Violations

By John Hull | @JohnHullEG

The Sac-Joaquin Section of the California Interscholastic Federation (CIF) is reportedly going to discuss possible sanctions against area high schools who participated in club football activities during the COVID-19 pandemic, according to a story earlier this week in the Modesto Bee.

Generally, club sports operate completely apart from any high school’s sports program. However, during the recently-concluded academic year, CIF was allowing athletes to participate in club sports alongside any kind of school-sponsored activities because school sports were limited in games and practices.

Club sports typically have few organizational and participatory rules and thus, just about anything goes. That’s been a focus of criticism from observers and sometimes a matter of concern by coaches and school administrators, which is perhaps a topic for another Notebook in the future.

But, when it comes to football CIF in recent years has instituted limits for physical contact drills and practice sessions onto its member institutions. During the pandemic many football coaches (along with basketball, volleyball and wrestling coaches) were told it was likely their sport would not be played. Thus, those athletes turned to a pretty active schedule of club sports outside of the schools, using facilities where ever they could.

And, for the first time – perhaps ever – club football teams were organized, much to the chagrin of CIF officials. In fact, in February a cautionary letter was sent out by Sac-Joaquin Section commissioner Mike Garrison warning any school involved with what was called the CAPS Club Football League “could face serious consequences, including fines and dismissal.”

According to the Modesto Bee, the only area schools under this scrutiny is Capital Christian and Grant. Reportedly, at a Feb. 12 game at Capital Christian used the school’s inflatable mascot for its players to run through before kickoff. (See video:

Some teams were shut down from county health departments and never played a game, while others stopped once the prep football season started in March. According to the Bee, the other schools involved were Vacaville Christian, Hughson, Big Valley Christian in Modesto, Central Catholic, also in Modesto, Stone Ridge Christian, Woodland Christian and Ripon Christian.

The Section’s Executive Committee meets June 17 to discuss these possible sanctions.

Awards and Honors

Last week I wrote about former Sheldon High School softball standout Shea Moreno’s trek through college since graduation. Late in the week, as she was playing for Seminole State College of Oklahoma in the National Junior College Athletic Association’s national championship tournament it was announced that Moreno was named the NJCAA player of the year. She batted over .673 with 21 homers and 36 stolen bases in 46 games.

Moreno will head to Mississippi State in the fall.

The Delta League honored Elk Grove High School’s Joey Bellotti as its baseball coach of the year. The Herd was 16-2 this season as it won the league championship this spring.

Andres Gallan of Franklin was named the player of the year.

High school basketball recently wrapped up a brief season and the Herd’s Dustin Monday was named the boys’ basketball coach of the year.

Madrigal Injured

The  Chicago White Sox announced that second baseman Nick Madrigal is going on the 60-day injured list with a proximal tear of his right hamstring. The former Elk Grove High School infielder has a complete tear of one hamstring tendon and a partial tear in another, per team sources, who says the club will decide on a course of action for his rehab in about a week.

Madrigal left Wednesday night’s game after coming up lame while running to first base on a grounder. While there’s obviously still hope he can avoid surgery and make it back this season, his immediate placement on the 60-day IL demonstrates that even the best-case scenario involves a months-long absence. He won’t be eligible to return until the second week of August, and the Sox surely wouldn’t have placed Madrigal directly on the 60-day IL if there were any chance he’d be able to recover any sooner than that.

A former top five draft pick and well-regarded prospect, Madrigal has begun his major league career in strong fashion. The diminutive infielder made his MLB debut last July, and he’s proven a highly productive player from that point forward. Madrigal has picked up 324 plate appearances over the past two years and combined to hit .317/.358/.406.

Larson Wins, Again

Elk Grove’s Kyle Larson held off two of the sport’s top road course racers – Chase Elliott and Martin Truex Jr. – to win the Toyota/Save Mart 350 in a thrilling overtime finish Sunday at Sonoma Raceway.

Larson, who started on the pole, dominated the action in the NASCAR Cup Series race in his No. 5 Hendrick Motorsports Chevy Camaro, winning the first two stages and leading a race-best 57 laps on the 2.52-mile, 12-turn road course to take his third victory of the year, ninth win of his career and first-ever victory at Sonoma.

In the closing laps, Larson had to outduel defending series champion and recent road course master Elliott, three-time Sonoma winner Truex Jr. and Team Penske’s Joey Logano to take the checkered flag. Larson finished .614-of a second in front of Elliott at the checkered flag.

“It was not easy,” said Larson of his first career road course victory in the Cup Series. “Any road course isn’t easy, just trying to keep it on track is tough; especially when you’ve got two of the best behind you on the last restart, Chase (Elliott) and Martin (Truex, Jr.). I felt like I did a good job at the one before and stretched it out a little bit and didn’t want to give him another try at it, but he kept the pressure on. Martin was strong too, but what a car. The is unbelievable. I thought I would be okay today, but I just didn’t know how I would race. I don’t think of us really do with no practice. But our car was really good there and I can’t say enough about it.”

 “(Winning here) means a lot,” said Larson during his post-race news conference.  He spent quite a bit of time at Sonoma Raceway as a youngster watching races and dreaming of one day becoming a professional race car driver. 

 “Northern California will always be home to me, even if I live way out on the East Coast now,” Larson continued. “Thanks to all the fans for coming out. I know there’s a lot of Sprint Car fans in the stands and around this race track. I got to see a lot of my friends here today. I’ve got my family here. This is unbelievable.

“And to get back-to-back wins in the Cup Series is something I’ve always dreamed of doing and to get it done feels great. To win last week on Memorial Day weekend, four in a row now, if you count my dirt racing too. And we’ve got a big week of racing coming up. I look forward to all that and just look forward to keeping the streak going.”

NASCAR’s Cup Series will race at the Texas Motor Speedway Sunday evening in the “All-Star Clash.”

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



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