Origins of Elk Grove Football – 1926

In summary about American Football, Wikipedia says:

American football evolved in the United States, originating from the sports of soccer and rugby. The first American football match was played on November 6, 1869, between two college teams, Rutgers and Princeton, using rules based on the rules of soccer at the time. A set of rule changes drawn up from 1880 onward by Walter Camp, the “Father of American Football”, established the snap, the line of scrimmage, eleven-player teams, and the concept of downs. Later rule changes legalized the forward pass, created the neutral zone and specified the size and shape of the football. The sport is closely related to Canadian football, which evolved in parallel with and at the same time as the American game, although its rules were developed independently from those of Camp. Most of the features that distinguish American football from rugby and soccer are also present in Canadian football. The two sports are considered the primary variants of gridiron football.

The dominant form of football in the early years was played at the collegiate level. Over time, professional play became increasingly common and by 1922, the NFL had established itself as America’s premier professional football league.

Obviously, it was only a matter of time before the game evolved at a high school level. In Elk Grove, we garnered this information from Elk Grove High School yearbooks…

Elk Grove Football

1926 – The first Elk Grove High School football team was introduced by Coach Harold Cunningham in 1926 and they got trounced. There is no photo or mention of football anywhere in the 1926 yearbook.

1927 – The 1927 yearbook was a flimsy affair like a scrapbook, held together with a black shoestring. It only contained photos, no text whatsoever, but there is a photo of the football team with no other information. See below:

1928 – The 1928 yearbook explains the above history and more, see below:


That was the start of the development of football in the Elk Grove community. The next high school built was the Valley High School Vikings (1977) and then Florin Panthers (1989), Laguna Creek Cardinals (1994), Sheldon Huskies (1997), Franklin Wildcats (2002), Monterey Trail Mustangs (2004), and Pleasant Grove Eagles (2005) and Cosumnes Oaks Wolfpack (2008) followed. Each hit the ground running with football programs. All excelled, some have already established dynasty’s, and some were even involved in State Championships. Many football players went on to play at the college level, and some fortunate athletes made it to professional football. The football history in Elk Grove is rich with players, parents, coaches, and students and every school is proud of their teams.