Football finale

It’s nice to have my Friday nights back again. From September 12 to December 13, the 2008-09 high school football season has finally come to an end*. Of the 14 weeks of games, I shot 12 of them, including every Friday of the 10-week regular season. Every game I shot were blow outs with one side completely dominating the other.

(*But wait…football isn’t quite done just yet. St. Mary’s has been selected to compete in CIF division II State Bowl game against Cathedral Catholic of San Diego on Saturday in Carson. We’re sending someone else to cover the game, so at least for me, the season is over.)

The season culminated in the Sac-Joaquin section football championship game between perennial Stockton powerhouse St. Mary’s Rams and upstart Pleasant Grove Eagles of Elk Grove held at the University of the Pacific’s Amos Alonzo Stagg Memorial Stadium.There seemed to be an almost palpable perception that St. Mary’s was going to handle Pleasant Grove easily. The Stockton team has a long tradition of excellence and has been in playoff and championship games many times before. On the other hand, this was only the Elk Grove school’s third varsity season.


Obadiah Johnson from Pleasant Grove hits St. Mary’s QB Cody Vaz as he releases the ball for an interception in the championship football game at UOP in Stockton Saturday. (Camera: Nikon D300. Lens: Nikkor 300mm. Exposure: 1/500th sec. @ f/4. ISO: 200)


Josh Harper is helped off the field after he was injured when tackled by Pleasant Grove’s Kevin Harris. (Camera: Nikon D300. Lens: Nikkor 300mm. Exposure: 1/1000th sec. @ f/ 5.6. ISO: 200)

Although the Rams scored first, the Eagles surprised everyone by scoring two quick touchdowns to take the lead. The Pleasant Grove defense, for the moment stymied St. Mary’s. The Rams’ quarterback Cody Vaz was harassed all day by the Eagle’s Obadiah Johnson (what a great name). Josh Harper, St. Mary’s standout receiver/safety was injured in the first quarter and did not return.


St Mary’s Maurice House makes a move on Pleasant Grove’s Donnie Pettenger during Championship football game in Stockton. (Camera: Nikon D300. Lens: Nikkor 300mm. Exposure: 1/1000th sec. @ f/5. ISO: 200)


St Mary’s Louie Lechich catches a pass over Pleasant Grove’s Russell Vonschoech during the Sac-Joaquin Section football championship game at the University of the Pacific’s Amos Alonzo Stagg Memorial Stadium in Stockton. (Camera: Nikon D300. Lens: Nikkor 300mm. Exposure: 1/500th sec. @ f/5. ISO: 200)

St. Mary’s then showed the stuff they were made of. The rest of the team stepped up to fill Harper’s void and methodically worked through Pleasant Grove’s road blocks to take back the lead. The Rams kicked it into high gear and shut out the Eagles for the rest of the game.


St. Mary’s High receiver Louie Lechich dives over the goal line to score a TD on a pass form Cody Vaz during the Sac-Joaquin Section championship game against Pleasant Grove High. (Camera: Nikon D300. Lens: Nikkor 300mm. Exposure: 1/1000th sec. @ f/6.3. ISO: 200)


St. Mary’s High fans cheer for their team in the championship football game against Pleasant Grove High from Elk Grove. (Camera: Nikon D300. Lens: Nikkor 300mm. Exposure: 1/500th sec. @ f/6.3. ISO: 200)

This game seemed at first to have the makings of a close game, in the end it was like the rest of the games I shot during the season, a one-sided contest.

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