Doug Martin '07, Two Time Pro-Bowler Vists St. Mary's
Martin, Class of 2007, a
two-time Pro Bowler, and
a running back for
the Tampa Bay
Buccaneers, made a
surprise visit to St.
Mary's to say "Hello"
and to spend some time
with the students and
faculty. He is pictured
with Principal Kathy
Smith and Athletic
Director Jim Brusa.
MaxPreps Names Ram To All Section
The MaxPreps.com 2015 All-Northern California football team
was released and Popo Aumavae leads the group as a
first-team defensive lineman. Aumavae, a 6-foot-6 force for
the Rams, already has six NCAA Division I offers, including
Football: Popo Aumavae lineman
Popo Aumavae, a junior offensive and defensive lineman for
the Rams, was named to MaxPreps.com's Junior All-American
Team, as a second-team offensive lineman. Aumavae was the
Tri-City Athletic League MVP and a Record first team member
Football: MaxPreps All-Section
Selection Includes Rams
Popo Aumavae along with Michael Relloque were chosen as
All-Section selections by MaxPreps. Popo was a first team
selection while Michael received second team honors.
Football: Coach and Team Get
St. Mary's head varsity football coach Tony Franks was
chosen as The Record All-Area Football Coach of the Year. In
the article announcing the award The Record wrote as
follows: "Franks, the St. Mary’s coach of the past 14
seasons, plus 1984- 86, is one of the more quiet voices on
the field during most practices. He lets his assistants do
their thing, and on Friday nights, too. Yet, he keeps close
relationships with each player, reminding each of them to
play with a focus on selflessness — which he swears by, and
knows is a powerful tool.… “This was an extremely rewarding
year, coaching-wise,” Franks said, giving a nod to his
entire staff for their efforts. “This was one of those years
where you really saw a significant and dramatic improvement
in our team’s ability to play football from the beginning of
the season to the end of the season.”
First Team All-Area honors went to Brandon Zaunbrecher
Keaton Hampton Dewey Cotton Popo Aumavae Tony Harper and
David Ford. Second Team honors were won by Jake Dunniway,
Mike Prefling, Adam Jumaoas, Michael Relloque, Brandon
Sanders. Honorable Mention went to Dusty Frampton and
Eric Williams, Class of 1980,
Presents Golden Football to St. Mary's.
Eric Williams, SM Class of 1980, a member of the
Super Bowl XXVI winning Redskins team came to St.
Mary's on December 11, 2015 to present a Golden
Football that the NFL is using to commemorate Super
golden football was being presented to the high schools of
those players that had been members of teams in prior Super
On hand to accept the gift were school president and NFL
official Peter Morelli, school principle Kathy Smith and the
Rams football team.
After graduating from St. Mary's Eric,
Washington State University where he was voted All-Pac 10.
began his professional career with the Detroit Lions in
1984. He remained there until 1990 when he joined the
Washington Redskins where he was the starting defensive
tackle. He retired from the NFL after the 1993 season.
the founder and CEO of Applied Sports Technology.
Article from The Record
STOCKTON — Eric Williams returned to his high school alma
mater and presented a gold-colored football to the St.
Mary’s football program to commemorate Super Bowl 50.
The 53-year-old resident of Tyler, Texas, hadn’t perused his
old stomping grounds in many years. Much has changed:
Sanguinetti Field now has turf and metal bleachers, a far
cry from the chopped-up grass field and wooden bleachers
when he played; the Chase Family Center, where Williams
presented the football, is a new, state-of-the-art athletic
training complex that stands just east of the new Cortopassi
Aquatics Center. Neither facility existed when Williams
attended the school.
And many of Williams’ classmates, who were there to see him
Friday, have grown up nicely and are in the school’s
administration or in business.
It was an emotional and enjoyable visit for the former NFL
“I haven’t been back in many years,” Williams said. “When I
drove on campus, I didn’t know if I was at the right place.
It’s a pretty rare deal to have a ball like that and it’s
cool to present it.”
This year, the NFL created the Super Bowl Honor Roll in
conjunction with Super Bowl 50, which will be played on Feb.
7 at Levi’s Stadium in Santa Clara. The league is
celebrating the high schools and communities that have
contributed to Super Bowl history. Players and head coaches
who were on an active Super Bowl roster are eligible to be
honorees and present their high school alma mater with a
gold football. On the football are the high school’s name,
location and the Super Bowl(s) in which the honoree
On Thursday, Williams flew from his home in Texas and
arrived in Stockton that night. On Friday, he was
accompanied to St. Mary’s by his brother, Scott Williams,
and his sister-in-law, Mary Ellen Williams. Members of the
St. Mary’s football team, head coach Tony Franks, school
president and NFL referee Peter Morelli, principal Kathy
Smith and athletic director Jim Brusa attended the ceremony.
“We have great admiration for Eric and all of his
accomplishments over the years, not just athletically but
outside of athletics,” Brusa said. “He’s led a great life
and is a great example of somebody from our area who has
made St. Mary’s very proud.”
Senior Mike Relloque, 18, who played football for the Rams,
didn’t know his high school had a Super Bowl winning
“That’s cool,” he said. “It connects me and St. Mary’s and
my team to the Super Bowl and the NFL. It’s just a very cool
Williams was born in Stockton and played youth football. He
attended St. Mary’s from 1976-80 and earned a football
scholarship to Washington State. He was an All-Pacific-10
Conference selection his senior year and was selected in the
third round of the 1984 NFL draft by the Detroit Lions.
After six seasons, he went to the Washington Redskins and
was a starting defensive tackle on the Redskins’ Super Bowl
XXVI championship team. He retired following the 1993 season
due to a hip injury. Williams had 30 sacks, two fumble
recoveries and one interception in his 10-year NFL career.
Williams said throughout his career — from youth football to
his days with the Lions — his teams never posted winning
records. That all changed when he joined the Redskins.
“I think my sophomore year in college we had a winning
season,” Williams said. “But I never had a winning season
other than that until I got to the Redskins in my sixth
season in the NFL. And it is such a cool honor to be here at
St. Mary’s. I’m just so pumped up to be here, so pumped up
to have this football and give it to you.”
Williams’ father, Roy, played in the NFL for the Lions and
San Francisco 49ers, and his nephew, Kyle, played football
at USC and the Seattle Seahawks. All three have dealt with
the physical toll of football, but Eric Williams said he
treasures his high school experience and his Super Bowl
“When you look back, it had nothing to do with the Xs and
Os,” Williams said. “It was the camaraderie. So I don’t
think about broken bones or concussions or reconstructions.
I only think of that in the morning when I get up. But the
rest of it is pure pleasure.”
Football: Sac-Joaquin Sections:
Folsom 56, St. Mary’s 49
FOLSOM — The Folsom football team’s vaunted blue turf was
nearly painted St. Mary’s green.
But the Bulldogs, a three-time defending Sac-Joaquin Section
champion, and a reigning state champion, staved off one of
the most thorough upset bids it had seen in recent memory.
No. 5 St. Mary’s, which led by two touchdowns on two
different occasions, was primed to take yet another
two-score lead in the third quarter.
But after losing a fumble on a handoff exchange on the
Folsom 1-yard line, the Bulldogs took off and wouldn’t
relent. And thus No. 1 Folsom staved off St. Mary’s 56-49 in
a Division I semifinal Friday night at home, advancing to
face No. 2 Elk Grove — a 30-18 winner over No. 3 El Dorado
Hills-Oak Ridge in Friday’s other semifinal — in the
Division I title bout.
Folsom has won 43 consecutive home games dating to August
2010, and 29 games overall.
It’s yet another impressive, but painful end for St. Mary’s,
which fell 21-14 in last year’s Division II championship
game against Sacramento-Grant.
“It’s always gut-wrenching for the seniors,” Rams coach Tony
And, at least until August, it might be for the
underclassmen as well.
After Folsom recovered the St. Mary’s fumble on the 2-yard
line, it unfurled a 98-yard drive that extended into the
fourth quarter. Senior quarterback Jake Jeffrey rolled out
and found Brandon Rupchock — who caught an acrobatic 17-yard
touchdown pass while falling out of bounds.
The Bulldogs had tied it 42-42, and forced a three-and-out
on the Rams’ next possession. St. Mary’s considered going
for it on 4th and 1 from its own 34, but instead drew a
delay of game penalty and punted.
Folsom (13-0) surged ahead for good on the first play of the
ensuing drive, as Jeffrey round a wide-open Eric Davis, who
dashed away for a 56-yard touchdown.
After another St. Mary’s (10-3) punt, co-captain Tre Green
stormed in for a 3-yard touchdown and a 56-42 Bulldogs edge.
The Rams were unfazed, though.
Junior quarterback Jake Dunniway connected with wide
receivers Dewey Cotton, Keaton Hampton and Ontario Johnson
for critical first downs on the next drive. On third and
goal from the 7, sophomore tailback Dusty Frampton powered
in for his fourth and final TD of the game.
Down 56-49, the St. Mary’s sideline went berserk as Cotton
recovered an onside kick.
With 1:46 to go, and the ball on Folsom’s 46, St. Mary’s
tried four consecutive pass plays — all of which fell
incomplete — to end its season.
On the final try, a look from Dunniway to Hampton, St.
Mary’s players, coaches and fans were livid when a whistle
didn’t blow in their favor. They were seeking a pass
interference or defensive holding call, but it wasn’t to be.
St. Mary’s drew two unsportsmanlike conduct penalties, at
least one of which came from an assistant coach, giving
Folsom the ball on the Rams’ 24.
The field position didn’t matter, however, as St. Mary’s
didn’t have the timeouts to force another drive.
“I don’t want to talk about the officiating,” Franks said.
Franks did say, though, that the Rams thought Hampton likely
scored a touchdown on a reception he had the play before the
key fumble late in the third quarter.
St. Mary’s, inches from ending Folsom’s winning streak and
advancing to championship weekend, had several players in
tears after the last whistle.
But Frampton had the calm of the offseason in front of him.
“We are going to come back strong,” he said. “Offseason
training starts now.”
While Frampton delivered the bulk of the Rams’ scoring,
senior Brandon Zaunbrecher was the top rusher: with 13
carries for 74 yards, including a weaving 31-yard TD.
Dunniway finished with 343 passing yards and touchdown
passes of 15 yards to Johnson and 48 yards to sophomore
St. Mary’s returns the majority of its starters for 2016,
where it hopes to chase down the program’s third section
Said Franks: “Unless you win a state championship, there’s
always unfinished business.”
Football: Sac-Joaquin Sections: St.
Mary's 28, Napa 14
The Rams played superb football on both sides of the line to
defeat the previously unbeaten Indians in Napa in their
quest for a section championsihip, 28-14.
advances to the Sac-Joaquin Section Division I semifinals
for the second consecutive season.
the Record: “We’ve had it all this year,” coach Tony Franks
said. “It’s been an excellent year for our program in terms
of development, particularly in the second half of the
season, particularly going into the playoffs. “Our whole
strategy is to be playing our best football in the playoffs.
Winning games in August and September are one thing, but
November is something else.”
Keaton Hampton caught four touchdown passes from Jake
Dunniway on plays of 8, 19, 79 and 28 yards. Dunniway
finished with 339 yards, completing 16 of 22 passes. Hampton
caught nine passes for 260 yards. The Defense was rock
solid as Brandon Sanders intercepted two Indians’ passes
and St. Mary’s pushed Napa back from the 2-yard line just
before halftime when middle linebacker Michael Relloque
pushed the Indains running back for three yards, followed
by Shawn Villegas sacking the Napa quarterback for a loss
of 10 yards.
will play at Folsom in the Section Semi-final on November
Football: St. Mary's 63, Stagg 35
Dusty Frampton scored four touchdowns to lead the Rams over
the Delta Kings 63-35 in the opening round of the
Sac-Joaquin Playoffs at Sanguinetti Field at the Thompson
Sports Complex at St. Mary's.
The Rams showed their strength by scoring St. Mary’s scored
on its final offensive play of the
first half and its first two snaps from scrimmage in the
second half as they methodically took apart a tenacious and
talented Stagg team, both offensively and defensively.
Quoted in the Record, coach Tony Franks said: “Separation is
a good word for it. We struggled early on to take control of
the game. But those plays to end the (first) half and start
the second half were big.”
The Rams travel to Napa for the second round of their quest
for a section championship.
RamStats: 13 22 21 7—63; Zaunbrecher 5 run (Jamaoas kick);
Villegas 5 run (run failed); Cotton 80 pass from Dunniway
(Cotton pass from Dunniway); Frampton 23 run (Jumaoas kick);
Frampton 5 run (Jumaoas kick); Frampton 20 run (Jumaoas
kick); Hampton 54 pass from Dunniway (Jumoas kick); Frampton
27 run (Jamaoas kick); Villegas 26 run (Jumaoas kick)
St. Mary's 29, Lincoln 14
St. Mary's captured the TCAL Championship with a statement
victory against the Trojan's at Lincoln's Spanos Stadium. It
was the 12th consecutive win by the Rams against Lincoln.
This capped an undefeated league season for St. Mary's.
It was the St. Mary's defense that made the difference,
stopping several Lincoln threats. Quoted in The Record:
Rams senior cornerback Brandon Sanders said. “ “Everyone’s
doubted us this whole season. We earned a lot of believers.”
The Rams offense provided a two point conversion after they
responded to Lincoln's second, and last touchdown of the
game, bringing the score to 15-14. St. Mary's never looked
back, quieting the Lincoln crowd with a grinding offense
leading to 14 unanswered point, holding the Trojans
scoreless in the second half, and taking the victory 29-14.
Quoted after the game, Coach Franks stated, regarding the
win over Lincoln:
special. I feel great for our seniors. It’s a big deal. We
talk about putting numbers on the wall of our gym and
printing championship T-shirts.”
St. Mary's 42, Lodi 6
The Rams were behind for exactly 1
minute after a Flame field goal.
Thereafter it was all St. Mary's as
they rolled up 42 points, while Lodi
only could muster one other field
goal as the Rams continued their
dominance of TCAL by winning at the
Grape Bowl 42-6.
Athletic Hall of Fame
St. Mary's is proud to
announce that 1971 Football team was inducted into the Stockton Athletic Hall of Fame.
1971 Golden Rams
Photo by Flashbacks
Under the guidance of Coach
Duane Isetti, the 1971 Varsity Football team rolled to a 9-0
season record and won the Valley Oak League championship.
Football: St. Mary's 35, Tracy 14
It was Senior Night for St. Mary's and the football team
memorialized it with a strong showing against Tracy, beating
them at Sanquinetti Field before a boisterous crowd 35-14 in
a TCAL matchup.
The Rams took to the air to counter the Bulldogs focus on
stopping the run. This resulted in long yardage touchdowns
by St. Mary's that combined with a stonewall defense to seal
Keaton Hampton burned Tracy for touchdown receptions of 61
and 51 yards. Ontario Johnson scored on a 37-yard pass from
Jake Dunniway. Dunniway, who’s from Tracy, finished 15-of-25
passing for 285 yards, four touchdowns and an interception .
Duniway also had a 37-yard touchdown pass on a quick hit to
Dewey Cotton. Senior running back Brandon Zaunbrecher scored
thegame’s first touchdown on a3-yard run, and led the Rams
with 58 rushing yards. Hampton had four catches for 118
yards and two scores. Cotton, who wears No. 17, celebrated
his 17th birthday Friday, and besides his 17 rushing yards,
had a team-high six catches for 89 yards and a TD. For the
St. Mary’s defense, junior David Ford recovered a fumble.
The Rams are 6-2, 3-0TCAL
St. Mary's Athletic Hall of Fame
Honors 1960 Squad.
The St. Mary's High School Athletic Hall of Fame inducted
the entire 1960 Football Team in this years class. The
coaches and players are as follows:
Varsity Football Team of 1960
Jim “Skip” Declusin
Football: St. Mary's 37, Tokay 6
Lodi News Sentinel
Rams quarterback Jake Dunniway completed 12 of 19 passes for
179 yards, and running back Brandon Zaunbrecher plowed his
way to 95 yards on 14 carries. “Both Dusty (Frampton, 31
yards on seven carries) and Brandon run the ball very hard,
and they’re not shy about lowering their shoulder and giving
you a bunch of shoulder pad to tackle,”
St. Mary’s coach Tony Franks said. “They run tough that way,
and it was a very physical game tonight. St. Mary’s opened
the scoring on its first drive, a nine-play drive that
finished with Dunniway running into the end zone from six
yards out. After that, the teams traded punts, with field
position inching slowly to Tokay’s side of the field.
“It was a physical, hard-hitting, get-after-it kind of a
football game, and Tokay played excellent defense, they
really did,” Franks said. “They attacked the line of
scrimmage well, they attack our point of attack real well,
and did a nice job. They made every inch a struggle.”
The Rams opened up the game in the second quarter with two
field goals from Adam Jumaoas, a safety on a high punt snap
that went out of the back of Tokay’s end zone and a 32-yard
touchdown pass from Dunniway to Zaunbrecher. The senior
running back took the pass in the flat and weaved his way
through the Tigers defense for the score.
A pair of Zermeno interceptions killed what little momentum
Tokay had — in the first quarter he targeted a receiver on
the sideline only to have Rams safety Christopher Leonardini
fly in from the center of the field to pluck it from the
air, and in the third quarter a pass bounced off an open
receiver and fell into the hands of Alex Cedas.
St. Mary’s offensive lineman Popo Aumavae, who at one point
accidentally tackled teammate Zaunbrecher when he made an
unexpected cutback, said the St. Mary’s offense could have
“We didn’t score when we needed to. We need to capitalize on
offense,’ he said. “The defense did their job, with six
points. Offense just needs to pick it up in practice this
week and be ready for Tracy next week.”
Cedas’ interception led to another Rams touchdown, a 38-yard
pass from Dunniway to Keaton Hampton curving in on a skinny
post. The Rams weren’t done yet, going 69 yards in two plays
for another score — covering 48 yards on a Dunniway-to-Hampton
connection over the middle followed by a 21-yard scoring run
“Good, tough, TCAL, hard-fought football game,” Franks said.
Football: St. Mary's 53, West 20
The Wolfpack was touted as a significant challenge to the
Rams as they entered Sanguinetti Statdium only to leave
beaten 53--20 after St. Mary's launched a coordinated
defensive and offensive effort, that The Record titled the
arm and hammer, in the TCAL opener containing West's two
excellent offensive weapons Dancy and Velasco while getting
two touchdowns each from Zaunbrecher
for 136 yards) , Frampton
[7 consecutive for 10 yards per] for 113 yards) and
Cotton and a field goal from Jumaos, who also converted
every PAT he attempted. Villegas contributed a touchdown to
St. Mary's scoring, much to the delight of his mother who
was cheering him on along the sidelines.
The Rams had 502 yards to West's 182 as
Dunniway completed all eight of his passes for 172 yards
Record: “When we have that sort of balance offensively it
can make us tough to defend,” St. Mary’s Coach Tony Franks
said. “We really got the running game going and that opened
it up for the passing attack.”
Zaunbrecher “It really makes us go when the running game is
working, We owe a lot of it to the guys up front. They were
opening some huge holes for us.”
14 22 10 7 – 53; Zaunbrecher 2 run (Jumaoas kick);
Zaunbrecher 19 run (Jumaoas kick); Frampton 12 run (Jumaoas
kick); Cotton 23 pass from Dunniway (Jumaoas kick); Frampton
10 run (Zaunbrecher run); FG Jumaoas 20; Cotton 18 pass from
Dunniway (Jumaoas kick); Villegas 2 run (Jumaoas kick)
Record: 4-2, 1-0 TCAL.
Football: St. Mary’s 38, Buhach
The Rams came to play, and they did, keeping the Thunder
scoreless through three quarters, allowing only a field goal
to win the game 38-3.
Quoted in The Record: coach Tony Franks stated: “The
difference was the way we came out. We wanted to come out
strong and start fast. We felt like teams had been getting
the best of us to start games the past several week. It kind
of put us on our heels and put us in a hole We played
excellent defense. We forced some turnovers. We capitalized
St. Mary’s hosts West to open Tri-City Athletic League play
at 7:15 p.m. next Friday.
Football: Los Gatos 33, St. Mary's 30
A Los Gatos touchdown in the final 18 seconds proved to be
the Rams undoing after they had surged ahead on a Dewey
Coton touchdown from trailing most of the game. Although
St. Mary's attemped a comeback in the short time, a pass was
intercepted and the Wildcats wound the clock down leaving
the Rams with a long bus ride home.
B. Zaunbrecher racked up 135 yards rushing and 2 touchdowns
while Dusty Frampton contributed 43 and one TD. Dewey Cotton
had 123 yards receiving and one touchdown including a 74
yard effort. Marcus Aponte had 50 yards receiving. Jack
Duniway had 171 yards passing and 9 yards rushing. Alex
Cedas and David Ford led the defense with 4 tackles apiece
with Ford getting 7 assists. Mike Relloque had 7 assists and
3 tackles. Popo Aumavae had 2 sacks whle Keller Salmon and
Gerald Ohan had 1 apiece.
RamStats: 0-7-7-16. Record: 2-2. Next up is Buhach Colony for
the Homecoming Game.
Football: St. Mary's 47, St.
Playing against Bay Area powerhouse Saint Ignatius, the Rams
began the game poorly when they failed to convert a
fourth-and-1 run on its opening possession, followed by the
Wildcats scoring on their first play from scrimmage. St.
Mary's didn't let this sideline their game plan and they
fought back for a five-point halftime lead, and stopped St.
Ignatius' offense cold in the second, taking the game at
Sanquinetti Field 47-23.
Quoted in The Record, St. Mary's coach Tony Franks said: "
It wasn’t a great start. No question. The poor start is
equally divided between our offense and our defense tonight.
At some point, you come together and you get things figured
Jake Dunniway finished 17-of-22 passing for 307 yards and
five touchdowns along with a 16 yard touchdown run; Dewey
Cotton, who had eight catches for 161 yards and three
touchdowns; Brandon Zaunbrecher had 14 carries for a
game-high 94 yards; Ontario Johnson had two catches for 68
yards, including a 58-yard touchdown. and Frampton had a
touchdown run of 25 yards.
kick); Cotton 12 pass from Dunniway (Jumaoas kick); Cotton
70 pass from Dunniway (Jumaoas kick); Johnson 59 pass from
Dunniway (kick failed); Cotton 15 pass from Dunniway (pass
failed); Dunniway 16 run (Jumaoas kick); Frampton 25 run (Jumaoas
kick) Record 2-1.
Football: Central Catholic 36, St.
The annual Holy Bowl began with a solemn commemoration of
9/11 with MSgt. Richard Pittman, a Congressional Medal of
Honor recipient being honored and the California Highway
Patrol's Honor Guard presenting colors during the singing of
the national anthem, with the St. Mary's cheer and drill
squads unfurling a large flag, followed by a presentation of
arms to MSgt. Pittman.
After MSgt. Pittman did the coin toss, the competition
heated up between the Rams and the Raiders in the customary
The Raiders went out front first, but by half time, the Rams
were leading 22-17 after a 50-yard run by Brandon
Zaunbrecher that sent the Rams into the locker room on an
emotional high . That was going to be the last time St.
Mary's had the lead as Central Catholic plowed ahead and
scored two unanswered touchdowns to take back the Holy Bowl
The loss puts the Rams at 1-1 in the pre-season. They take
on St. Ignatius at home next Friday.
Football: St. Mary's 35, Cardinal
The Rams and Cardinals matched each other point for point
and the game came down to an attempt by Cardinal Newman to
make a 2 point conversion with 45 seconds left that failed,
allowing the Rams to get the ball back and run out the
Quoted in the Santa Rosa Press Democrat, the Rams head coach
Tony Franks, stated: “It was kind of a horse race. It was
whoever had the ball last.”
Even thought the Cardinal scored first, Ram's quarterback
Jake Dunniway connected with wide receive Keaton Hampton for
a 3-yard touchdown to tie the score at 7-7 at the start of
the second quarter.
Five minutes later, the Rams’ running back Brandon
Zaunbrecher was the recipient of Dunniway’s handoff and
carried the ball 5 yards and into the end zone for St.
Mary’s second touchdown and a 14-7 lead. The lead was short
lived as the Rams were intercepted and Cardinal Newman
converted it to tie the game at half time.
The sea-saw battle continued with the Cardinals going ahead
21-14 only to see the Rams respond and Zaunbrecher pushing
across the line for the first of two touchdowns he socred
and the tie at 21-21. According to The Press Democrat: “My
line was blocking hard,” Zaunbrecher crediting his offensive
line. “We played as a team and even though there were a lot
of mistakes, it was a really great game.”
The score ping-ponged until the end, with the Ram win. The
Rams are 1-0.
St. Mary's Rams Retooled and
By Thomas Lawrence
Record Staff Writer
Posted Aug. 24, 2015
STOCKTON – The remaining Rams don’t feel jaded over watching
a section championship slip through their grasp. Instead,
they agree, the heartbreak comes from knowing they could’ve
The St. Mary’s football team came a touchdown away from its
third Sac-Joaquin Section banner, in a 21-14 loss to
Sacramento-Grant in the Division II final last December at
Sacramento State. It was a wild affair in the rain and cold,
including a momentary scuffle between the teams and a
nullified near touchdown catch for then-sophomore Dewey
Yet, St. Mary’s was also stuffed on 4th-and-goal at the
Grant 1, and earned a 1st and goal from the Pacers' 6-yard
line with a chance to tie or take the lead in the game’s
final minute only to fail.
So the only finger-pointing is right back at the green and
“It makes us want to get back to sections that much more,”
senior wide receiver Ontario Johnson said. “Because we feel
like the only reason the game ended that way, was because we
let it end that way.”
Johnson, though he saw playing time in 2014, is one of
several new faces thrust into leadership roles. St. Mary’s
graduated 16 of its 22 starters, including 10 of 11 on
That, 14th-year coach Tony Franks said, is part of the
“That’s kind of the fun of it,” said Franks, a two-time
section champion with St. Mary’s. “I think the players
understand some of the things that we did last year – the
coaches certainly do. It’s just a matter of getting a bunch
of repetitions and going over and over it.”
Senior lineman David Corralejo is the lone returning starter
on defense, though junior A.J. Husary saw time on the line
with him. New to the mix this year are ends Cole Norgaard
and Gerald Ohan. Popo Aumavae, a standout offensive lineman,
will see time on the defensive line, too.
The linebacking corps brings in senior Mike Relloque in the
middle, with seniors Roy Harwell and Nick Herrera, junior
Shawn Villegas and sophomore Harrison Heath, who can be an
outside ’backer or a strong safety. In the secondary,
Johnson, Heath and senior Chris Leonardini plug in at
safety. Seniors Brandon Sanders and Alex Cedas are due to be
starting cornerbacks, while junior Keaton Hampton, a
starting wide receiver, will try his hand on defense.
Sanders, for one, learned plenty from watching Record
All-Area defensive backs Javonte Norman, Kodi Thruston and
Lazarus Ford operate last year.
“Be aggressive, don’t be scared. Always have that mindset of
‘be the better person,’” Sanders said.
The 2014 Rams were certain of their quarterback heading into
the season. And it paid off, as senior Noah Righetti
delivered 32 touchdown passes as The Record’s All-Area
Player of the Year. This time around, it’s a triumvirate of
hopefuls in senior Tommy Alegre, junior Jake Dunniway and
sophomore Marcus Aponte.
All three are viable starters, Franks said, and the decision
wasn't yet made as of the first week of fall camp.
“All three of those young men are talented young men, and
all three of them will make excellent starters,” Franks
said. “It’s been a heck of a competition and it will
continue to be.”
Senior Brandon Zaunbrecher and sophomore Dusty Frampton are
the top two tailbacks. Zaunbrecher showed flashes of
brilliance with limited touches last year, and Frampton
shined as a freshman on St. Mary’s sophomore team.
“I think both of those guys are tenacious,” Franks said.
Hampton, Johnson and Cotton are the trio of wideouts for the
yet-to-be-named quarterback to throw to. Cotton, 5-foot-4,
was 145 pounds as a junior but has put on muscle, and if
possible, seems faster, Franks said.
As much as anyone, Cotton has reason to fume over the
section finals. Photographs revealed on social media during
and after the game showed Cotton touching the pylon on the
touchdown that was called back.
Yet, that flame is already stoked by football, Franks said.
No need for grudge-holding.
“He’s just got that fire. He would’ve done that regardless
of how the Grant game ended up,” Franks said. “He wants to
be great. And he’s willing to work at it.”
Eric Williams, Class of 1980,
seasons in the NFL and started at defensive tackle
for the 1991 Super Bowl champion Washington Redskins