NATE BAKER (right) makes a tackle on Johansen running back Kurtis Keller (with ball) while Ryan Roberson (far left) tries to get in on the action during Sonora's 38-14 win in Week 1. The Wildcats travel to Elk Grove to face Sheldon tomorrow. (Amy Alonzo/Copyright 2003, The Union Democrat).
By KEVIN SAULS
There's more than one coaching legend with the last name of Lombardi.
Vince Lombardi, whose Green Bay Packers won the first two Super Bowls and for whom the Super Bowl trophy is now named, is, of course, the most famous Lombardi. But in Elk Grove, he takes a distance back seat to Ed Lombardi, the new varsity football coach at Sheldon High School.
Ed Lombardi won 113 games and three Sac-Joaquin Section Division I championships while across town at Elk Grove High from 1986-99. He spent the last three seasons coaching at Fresno area powerhouse Clovis West, where he went 17-15-2 with two league championships and a Central Section runner-up finish results that weren't considered to be good enough.
Now, Lombardi is back in the town where he made his name, and he's trying the bring gridiron legitimacy to one of the newer schools in the booming south-of-Sacramento area. Sheldon went 1-9 last year, including a 38-21 loss to Sonora.
The teams meet again tomorrow night at 7:15 in Sheldon's home opener. Both are 1-0, Sonora having beaten Johansen of Modesto 38-14 at Dunlavy Field and Sheldon having matched last year's victory total with a 28-6 defeat of Lodi at the Lodi Grape Bowl.
Lombardi's arrival at Sheldon caused a spike in football interest, as an incredible 200 players turned out for the freshman, sophomore and varsity levels. It's so far, so good for the varsity, which gained 411 yards and nearly posted a shutout last week.
The matchup with Sonora sounds like a good one, as the Wildcats gained 384 yards a super-balanced 203 passing and 181 rushing while holding Johansen to 87 yards until mop-up time.
"They're going to be excited because it's their opener," Sonora coach Robert Cendro said. "We want to be physical with them on offense and try to break their will early."