New Coach Reggie Harris Has Inderkum Football Off To A 2-0 Start And Teasing A Jump Into The NorCal Rankings •
NorCal’s best prep football programs — from the Central Coast Section up to the Northern Section — earn a coveted spot in the SportStars Top 20 each week. It seems only a matter of time before Sacramento’s Inderkum High turns its placement among the “Next Five Knocking” into a bonafide number.
The Tigers are one of only seven Sac-Joaquin Section teams to allow 12 or less points through two games (as of Sep. 2.), and of those seven, only Inderkum has faced a 2019 section champion.
First-year coach Reggie Harris picked up his first win in style on opening night Aug. 20 when Inderkum stifled reigning Div. II SJS champion Elk Grove 15-6. A week later, the Tigers overcame a 6-0 deficit to win 17-6 against Grant-Sacramento. The team will look to improve to 3-0 when it travels to Cosumnes Oaks-Elk Grove (0-2) for a 7:15 Friday night kickoff.
Despite significant departures, Inderkum is poised once again to dominate its conference.
The Tigers haven’t lost a league game since falling 49-42 against Yuba City Oct. 5, 2012. Since then, Inderkum has won five Tri-County League titles, two Central Valley Conference championships and 48 straight league contests.
Inderkum has never won an SJS banner (four appearances), but appeared primed for its first when five-time SJS title-winning coach Casey Taylor took reigns of the program in 2020.
The excitement was short-lived. COVID-19 shortened the season, removed playoff brackets and Taylor pivoted for a chance to coach his alma mater, Oak Ridge-El Dorado Hills — Taylor’s fourth different team in just five seasons.
Taylor’s exit became an opportunity for Harris, who was on the coaching staff at Grant when the Pacers won a state title in 2008, and was also an assistant head coach at national power St. Thomas Aquinas High School in Florida.
“Everybody has a choice; this is why we live in America,” Harris said. “If people don’t want to be here, that is fine, we will concentrate on people who do want to be here.
“I don’t think it’s a personal thing. I think Casey Taylor is a great man. He had an opportunity to go back to his home, his roots, and coach there, and there is nothing wrong with that.”
Inderkum also lost 2020 freshman starting quarterback Maealiuaki Smith, thought to now be at Granite Bay, until he appeared on the Serra-San Mateo roster. According to 247sports.com, Smith has scholarship offers from Florida State, Kentucky, Louisville, San Jose State and UNLV.
Another opportunity rises.
Senior Jayden Johnson won a quarterback battle with sophomore Coleton Welch to take the gig, and has thrown for 283 yards and all four Inderkum touchdowns across two games. He’s spread the wealth to Keivin Boone-Nelson, Amani Pressley, and Christian Benham-Sheppard because of another absence.
This one hurts a lot.
Carlos Wilson led the SJS in receiving during the 2020 season (six games, 632 yards, five touchdowns), and reports offers from 11 major schools, including Cal, Oregon, USC, Arizona and Arizona State.
But Wilson also tore his ACL with just two minutes remaining in Inderkum’s 2020 season, and won’t return from that offseason surgery until the 2021 playoffs, at the earliest.
“Everybody has been telling me that in the past, one of these injuries meant your career was over, but (Adrian Peterson) came back early, and he came back great,” Wilson said. “That’s all I needed to hear.”
Wilson still attends Inderkum practices, works with coaches, assists with drills and offers words of encouragement to players in pads.
“It speaks a lot about him, that he’s at practice like that,” Harris said. “He’s just being a leader and concentrating on his grades.”
Luckily, Inderkum has the talent to shine without their star.
Linebacker/running back Oshae Catleberry thrives as team leader, alongside the likes of defenders Toe Tatafu (DL), Jeremiah Tuiileila (DL), Tanner Colvin (DB), Jeremiah Tyes (CB), Vincent Wright (LB), Dontay Hardy (LB), Brandon Lavaki (LB) and Pleasant Grove-Elk Grove transfer Tremell Miles (LB).
It’s a hungry group.
“It takes dedication, commitment and consistency. Not only by the kids, also by the coaching staff,” Harris said. “The process also needs our parents, and all stakeholders to be accountable.
“Everybody has to buy in, in order for it to work, and we are going to align ourselves together and make wise decisions.”
Beware Top 20, Inderkum is knocking.