Del Oro's pre-game meal feeds inspiration

By: Joyia Emard, Loomis News Staff Writer
-A +A
Counting calories and avoiding carbohydrates are a daily routine for many, but not for Del Oro High School’s varsity football players. Every week during the season, in anticipation of Friday’s big game, the players and coaches share a catered meal and listen to a motivational speaker who talks about a facet of character. “It gets the kids away from the field and football. We do some character building,” said Casey Taylor, head coach. “We want to give them some skills for life. I don’t know if the message is always applied to the next game.” According to Peggy Love, secretary of Golden Eagle Football Association, the meals cost $8 per person and are paid for by the football association, which is the team’s booster club. As the team prepared to meet Granite Bay High School on the football field last week, they loaded up on inspiration and a big meal. Before they filled their plates, the boys met professional baseball player Daniel Nava, 27, whose parents live in Loomis. Nava just finished his first season with the Boston Red Sox and shared the story of his unlikely journey to the pros. Nava said he started high school standing 4 foot, 8 inches tall and weighing only 70 pounds. He said his high school baseball career consisted of bench sitting or batting last in the line-up. At Santa Clara University, he didn’t make the team, but was a manager and did the player’s laundry for two years. He then transferred to a community college, grew to 5 foot, 10 inches and became the team’s star player. Nava returned to Santa Clara on a baseball scholarship. He then played for a professional team, the Chico Outlaws, and later for the Boston Red Sox farm team. He finally “got the call” to the pros last June. “In high school, I worked my butt off every day, but I still sat on the bench. I created good work habits. I took that same work ethic with me,” Nava said. After Nava’s presentation, Randy Ubry, of Randy’s Creative Catering, served tri-tip, chicken, garlic mashed potatoes, two kinds of pasta, green salad and garlic bread. Trays of assorted cookies topped off the meal. “I keep it simple for the guys,” said Ubry, who has been catering the team’s meals for more than 10 years. “I always do a beef and chicken dish, and the pastas. I try to keep it balanced,” he said. When asked if he figures his normal food portions for the football players, he said, “No, they eat twice as much. They love to carbo load.” Calories are obviously not an issue for the young men, who practice 20 hours per week, both in the weight room and on the football field. “They don’t believe in calories. They work out so much,” Ubry said. “They go through the line in a flash. They pretty much inhale their food.” Each of the players seems to have his own idea of what dish of Ubry’s he like best. Tyler Allyn said he loves the garlic bread. Kenny Andri said the garlic mashed potatoes are his pick, while Tanner Pahl said the fettuccini Alfredo is No. 1 with him. Ryan Copes, at 6-foot, 5-inches and 320 pounds, is the largest player on the team. His plate was loaded with beef and garlic bread. He said once a season, Ubry makes the team barbecued ribs, Ryan’s favorite. Cameron Soldano, on the other hand, was eating a well-balanced meal of chicken, garlic bread and a large salad. Alex Bertrando’s plate contained only salad and a cookie. “I ate a big lunch,” Alex said. Ubry, who lives in Loomis, said he’s been in the restaurant and catering business for 33 years and his own son is now on the freshman football team. He said the players remember the meals he makes them and years later hire him for catering jobs. “I’ve catered their going away parties, their welcome home parties and even their weddings,” Ubry said. Ubry will be serving the football players another filling meal this week as the Golden Eagles prepare to do battle with the Tigers at Roseville High School.