Former teammates to clash in Causeway Classic

AJ Taylor

Sacramento State’s John Bloomfield will battle a familiar foe in his only Causeway Classic this Saturday.

Bloomfield played his first football games in the parking lots of apartment complexes. This self described 9-year-old wide receiver that could never see past high school somehow made it to the defensive line at Sacramento State.

Michael Cody, a UC Davis tight end, grew up at the intersection of Interstate 80 and State Route 174, otherwise known as Colfax. Cody played guard for the Colfax High School Falcons because, as he said, “football was the thing to do at Colfax.” Eligibility was never a problem for Cody, who played all four seasons at Colfax High.

Neither the kid from the inner city nor the young man from the Sierra Foothills knew it, but one day their football paths would cross, they would be teammates at Sierra College.

“It’s something special to see guys you’ve worked with, on the same grind as you from the beginning, playing the game they love,” Bloomfield said.

In high school, Bloomfield described himself as “an athlete but never a student.” At least this was the case until the last of his four years when he played special teams for an undefeated Grant High School team.

Bloomfield’s first head coach and The Sacramento Bee Coach of the Decade Mike Alberghini recalls after one season with the Pacers, “John was recognized by all of his peers as one of the toughest kids we had on the team.”

When he left Grant High, Bloomfield considered his academic career over.

“I never had thoughts about college, never looked past high school,” Bloomfield said.

After only one year of high school football, Bloomfield had work to do before he landed on the university recruiting radar.

But it was no sweat off Bloomfield’s nose, he had a championship and he earned himself a GED and he considered himself lucky to have both.

For Cody, who had played baseball and soccer since the time he was a young boy, athletics were life. But scholarship offers were short for undersized high school guards in 2007.

Each took time off school after graduating. Cody, who now stands 6 feet, 4 inches tall and weighs 245 pounds took a freshman offensive lineman coaching position at Colfax High at the same time Bloomfield left Sacramento to work for his father in East Palo Alto in the contracting business.

Cody coached the freshman offensive line to a championship season that year and he hopes to continue coaching after graduating with his degree in psychology from UC Davis.

“You’re the player’s biggest fans. You just want them to do well and that’s my favorite part. It’s fun scheming, but I didn’t do much of that, it’s just freshman football. Just knowing you coached those guys, you take pride in it,” Cody said.

In the spring of 2008, Cody enrolled at Sierra College where head coach Jeff Tisdel converted him to a tight end.

And one year after Cody enrolled, Bloomfield felt the urge to play football again. He enrolled at Sierra College and began lifting weights with the football team in the spring of 2009.

When he first arrived at Sierra, Bloomfield had hopes of becoming a defensive back. For the first round of 40-yard dashes, the man who now stands at 6 feet, 1 inch tall and weighs 230 pounds ran with the safeties.

“After my first 40 that was my last time running with the DBs. Coach Tisdel told me to run with the linebackers group after that,” Bloomfield said.

A rivalry was born at Sierra College between the two men, who played on opposite sides of the ball.

The one-time linebacker’s face still lights up when he hears the name “Michael Cody.”

Bloomfield still remembers the days at practice that he would silently plot against Cody, searching for a new way – any way – he could get past the first-team All-Bay Valley Conference tight end. Cody caught eight passes for 120 yards that season.

“I used to work all my moves on Michael,” Bloomfield said. “If I had a move in my head, I would test it out on him because he was one of the best blocking tight ends in the conference.”

Bloomfield remembers one practice in particular when he had been practicing a new move on Cody called the ‘club rip,’ which is a technique used by pass rushers to move past blockers. Bloomfield had been practicing the move for the first time on his teammate and had ‘clubbed’ Cody in the head a couple times on accident.

“Cody walked over to me after practice and said, ‘Those were some great moves you were working, but the club was a little too high’ and we both started laughing,” Bloomfield said.

Bloomfield spent the 2009 football season under the tutelage Eaton who taught him the art of the pass rush. It took no more than a year for the outside linebacker to figure it out. In his first season on defense, Bloomfield recorded 60 tackles, 12.5 for a loss.

“Michael made me a better pass rusher,” Bloomfield said.

The two won a Bay Valley Conference championship together before Cody became an Aggie.

Bloomfield majors in ethnic studies and has another year of school in front of him. When asked about his future, Bloomfield just laughs.

“A lot of the friends that I had growing up are either locked up in prison, dead, selling drugs or doing something still stuck back in the ghetto. I was able to land this movie role where I get to do a lot of things that my friends aren’t able to do which makes me feel more responsible for being a representative for those back in the city where I come from… I don’t know what’s going to happen next, I don’t know what the next scene is,” he said.

The 58th annual Causeway Classic will be the backdrop for the next scene. On Saturday at 1:05 p.m. the one-time teammates will meet as rivals.

AJ Taylor can be reached at [email protected].