Wolverines look to be loaded again

State-ranked Sierra opens '09 season Saturday at DVC
By: Mike Ray,Gold Country News Services
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Now in his ninth season has head football coach at Sierra College, there isn’t any doubt that Jeff Tisdel has turned the Wolverines into a perennial community college power at both the state and national level. Cultivating the best talent from the foothills area and blending it with a mixture of Sacramento-based products and a slight dash of out-of-area athletes, Tisdel’s 70-17 win-loss mark and five conference championships since 2000 have marked the most successful run of football at Sierra since the school started playing football in the 1950s. And don’t be surprised if history looks ready to repeat itself as the 2009 version of the Wolverines, who are rated 6th in the state JC top ten, look primed to continue their gridiron success. “I think that if we keep improving that we should be right there,” said Tisdel whose Wolverines travel to Pleasant Hill Saturday night to open their season at Diablo Valley College. “We have a good mix of experience and young players this season.” The opener with Diablo Valley is the first of three straight toad tests for Sierra to open the campaign. After away games at Sacramento City (Sept. 11) and San Francisco (Sept. 19), the Wolverines will play their first home game on Sept. 26 when they host American River. “Our conference is so tough that you can’t take a week off,” Tisdel added. “That’s why we try and play a tough non-conference schedule.” Sierra has plenty of firepower back from last season and what has become the norm, the Wolverines have added plenty of punch from a formable group of newcomers. Heading the cast of returnees on offense will be running back C.J. Woodbury (Foothill), receivers Justin Chastain (Colfax) and Brandon Michalkiewicz (Granite Bay), tight end Mike Cody (Colfax) and linemen Joe Williams (Elk Grove) and Marcos Benitez (Oakmont). Expected to fill the quarterback spot is 6-3, 215-pound sophomore Jeff Nelson out of Oregon who played in five games a year ago. The other quarterbacks on the Sierra roster include a trio of freshman, Tanner Mathias (Bear River), Mike Ewing (Oakmont) and Will Olson (Whitney). Among the new faces for the Wolverines that expect to be very much in the mix are the following: *Deonte Williams - A Pleasant Grove running back who was the Big Sky Conference Freshman of the Year at Northen Arizona last season. *Nick Souza - A 6-6 290-pound tackle out of Nevada Union. *Kevin Frank, - An all-purpose standout from Elk Grove who red-shirted at Washington State last season. *Paul Vassalo – A sophomore linebacker from Bishop Manogue in Reno who has committed to Arizona. *Lincoln Togiai – A transfer linebacker from Sacramento City College who already has scholarship offers from Iowa State and San Jose State. In addition, Tisdel is also expecting big things from the likes of Del Oro products Mike Makela (WR), Joe Brunet (LB), Barry Nobles (P) and Cole LaBar (OL); Granite Bay linebacker Clark Partridge and freshman receivers Jeff Divine (Colfax), Mike Elliott of Roseville via Sacramento State and Taylor Schablaske (Ponderosa) via Sacramento State. “We’re building our depth,” said Tisdel. “At the JC level you’d better have players ready to play or it will haunt you.” Sierra will host College of San Mateo on Oct. 3 and then after a bye on Oct. 10 will open Valley Conference play at San Joaquin Delta in Stockton on Oct. 17. 2009 Sierra Football Sat. Sept. 5 – at Diablo Valley College, 7 p.m. Fri. Sept. 11 – at Sacramento City, 7 p.m. Sat. Sept. 19 – at City College San Francisco, 1 p.m. Sat. Sept. 26 – AMERICAN RIVER, 1 p.m. Sat. Oct. 3 – SAN MATEO, 1 p.m. Sat. Oct. 10 – BYE Sat. Oct. 17 – at San Joaquin Delta, 1 p.m. Sat. Oct. 24 – WEST HILLS, 1 p.m. Sat. Oct. 31 – at Fresno City, 7 p.m. Sat. Nov. 7 – REEDLEY COLLEGE, 1 p.m. Sat. Nov. 14 – at College of Sequoias, 7 p.m. Sat. Nov. 21 – PREMIERWEST BANK BOWL