Beloved local high school football coach looks forward to Friday night lights in 2021

Local News

SACRAMENTO, Calif. (KTXL) – A local high school football coach is adjusting to not being able to field his team until 2021 due to the COVID-19 pandemic.

Pacers head coach Mike Alberghini has a way with words.

“I can’t imagine school starting and not having football because it’s the impetus. No matter what your program is, it’s the start of the school year and all the good thoughts and everything people have. Not having it is kind of like driving into a ghost town,” Alberghini told FOX40 Wednesday.

Alberghini has coached students at Grant Union High School the last 50-plus years, many of whom have gone onto major colleges and universities and some even becoming professional athletes.

Alberghini’s Pacers earned respect through a lot of hard work. But it was the 2008 season that really put the high school on the national map when Alberghini led the inter-city school past Long Beach Poly for the state title.

“To get out in front, hold them off and win the game, it was just a euphoria that you don’t experience very often,” Alberghini recalled. “Long Beach was such a national power and they were so arrogant. I think it was the signature time of a signature era for us.”

Twelve years later, the coach is now in his 70s and wants to keep going. He said he’s hopeful his Pacers will get the chance to play again in the new year.

“If you’re good at something and never get the chance to show it, it’s a lost art,” Alberghini explained. “I look forward to those hot days out here in the sun and being grouchy and learning that life goes on.”

And assuming they are able to play in 2021, Alberghini will need just two wins to become the winningest football coach in Sac-Joaquin section history, surpassing Escalon’s Mark Loureiro.

“I mean, it would be just another accomplishment, another thing that you’d think a lot of the day it happened. And two days later, it’s just something that’s done and what are you going to do for me now,” Alberghini said.

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