Antioch High School 1994
Jeremy Newberry may have followed in his father’s footsteps, but he blazed a trail to one of the most outstanding professional careers ever achieved by an Antioch High football player. Like his father, Dave, Jeremy was an all-league offensive lineman for the Panthers who went on to enjoy an outstanding career as an offensive lineman at UC Berkeley.
As a senior at Antioch, Jeremy was first-team All-Bay Valley Athletic League as an offensive and defensive lineman (11 sacks) for the 1993 season. He was selected first-team All-East Bay, All-Bay Area, All-Northern California and All-Far West, and was named to the Cal-Hi Sports All-State second team. Twice he won the Panthers’ Duane Putnam Award, given to the team’s top offensive lineman.
He was selected for the North-South Shrine Game in Los Angeles but elected not to play. Newberry, who was a state champion with the Golden State Wrestling freestyle club, also wrestled for the Panthers for two seasons. He was named the team’s MVP as a senior, after placing sixth at 275 pounds in the North Coast Section championships.
Jeremy, 6-foot-5 and 315 pounds, made an immediate impact at Cal, starting at center for three seasons for the Bears. As a junior, he earned second-team All-Pac-10 honors, and was named Cal’s Lineman of the Year and Most Inspirational player. While his father’s football career ended with the semi-pro Antioch Hornets, Jeremy skipped his senior year and headed to the NFL when the San Francisco 49ers selected him in the second round of the 1998 draft.
A knee injury in training camp cost him a full season, but he came back in 1999 as the 49ers’ starting right guard, then in 2000 moved back to center, where he again blossomed. Between 2000 and 2005 he was one of the most honored linemen in the NFL. Jeremy was a Pro Bowl selection in 2001 and 2002, the same year he was named All-Pro. He received the Bobb McKittrick Award as the 49ers’ Outstanding Lineman in 2000, 2003 and 2005. He was selected as the team’s winner of the Ed Block Courage Award in 2003 and 2005. Each NFL team selects a Block Award winner each year, and Jeremy is the only 49er to receive the award twice.
”When you look up the word ‘finesse,’ Jeremy Newberry’s picture is not there,” former 49er coach Steve Mariucci said. ”He’s one of those guys that you’ve got to have. Tough as nails. Plays with broken bones. He’s salty. He’s a leader in that locker room.”
Newberry was a rock, starting 107 of the 120 games he played in his 11 NFL seasons – nine in San Francisco and one each in Oakland and San Diego before a history of injury finally drove him from the game.
Jeremy has been honored once before in his hometown. On May 22, 2010, former teammates, friends and hundreds of fans attended Jeremy Newberry Day at the Antioch Historical Museum. Tom Cable, who was Jeremy’s line coach at Cal, told the crowd that the former Panther was “the best I ever coached … It’s Antioch’s day to honor him, but he’s always honored where he came from.”
Jeremy is now a Bay Area television sports analyst, is a sports agent, and operates Newberry Estate Vineyards, an events venue in Brentwood.
It only stands to reason that one of the best softball pitchers ever in Contra Costa County would eventually become one of the best softball coaches. That is exactly the legacy left by John Rebstock.
Rebstock’s career as a high school coach spanned 22 years with Antioch and Deer Valley, with one North Coast Section championship and handful of accolades coming in the process.
John was already well-known in fastpitch softball circles before he entered the prep ranks as an assistant coach at Antioch. He was a legend in the men’s industrial leagues in the East Bay – in 1965, for example, he had a string of four straight shutouts for DuPont, the last an 18-strikeout performance over Fibreboard. His drop pitch was clocked at 88 mph, and five times Rebstock pitched in the ASA Men’s Major Division World Championship tournament.
Rebstock brought his expertise to one of the East Bay’s prominent high school girls softball programs in 1985 when Andria Edwards, a 2013 Sports Legends Hall of Fame inductee, brought him on as an assistant coach in 1985. A year later, Antioch won its second NCS championship in three years. Rebstock was named head coach in 1989 after Edwards stepped down, and in 1992 guided the Panthers to the NCS championship. With Rebstock helping to fine-tune pitcher Stephanie Andrews, Antioch racked up a 24-3 record and finished with a shutout of James Logan in the NCS title game.
Rebstock left the Panthers after the 1994 season, and in 1998 became head coach at Deer Valley. Once again grooming his pitchers, the Wolverines made their presence felt quickly. They got to the NCS playoffs four straight years from 2000-03. They fell to Freedom 4-2 in the 2002 3A title game, and twice were knocked out in the semifinals.
Rebstock moved on but stayed in the East County. After he led Heritage High to an NCS 2A championship in its first season of varsity competition in 2007, he was named Cal-Hi Sports Division III Coach of the Year. Then in 2008, the NCS acknowledged Rebstock’s body of work by selecting him as the Softball Honor Coach. John has taken his game to a higher level, as an assistant coach at St. Mary’s College.
Antioch High School 1988
If there was ever an example of sacrificing one’s self for the ultimate good of the team, it was Casey Rhyan, part of the Antioch High wrestling teams from 1986-88. Rhyan finished his career in spectacular fashion, placing third at the CIF State championships and scoring the second-most team points as the Panthers took home the state championship. He took third in the North Coast Section championships at 145 pounds, after placing fifth at a lower weight the previous year. It was how he got there that sets Rhyan apart.
He started his junior season wrestling at 138 pounds, but cut to 126 to fill a hole in the lineup. Despite making that kind of cut, he won the Diablo Valley Athletic League tournament and placed fifth at NCS. As a senior, he was an integral part of what became the most dominant lineup in the state. He won the Arcata, Best in the West, Bay Valley and San Marin tournaments, and was second at Overfelt. He injury-defaulted out of the prestigious Clovis Invitational, placing sixth, but there were strong signs of good things ahead.
After winning his second straight DVAL title, Rhyan placed third at NCS, winning two consolation matches after a 3-2 loss in the championship semifinal. A week later, Rhyan clawed his way to third place in the state, finishing with a 41-3 record and leading the team with 20 pins.
Rhyan helped start the wrestling program at Deer Valley High, Antioch’s newest high school, when it opened in 1996. He built the program into a perennial contender in the Bay Valley Athletic League, and in 2002 he helped break the gender barrier when his 114-pounder, Melinda Ripley, became the first female to wrestle in the NCS tournament – she then went on to wrestle at the national and international levels. Rhyan left Deer Valley to become head wrestling coach at Oak Ridge High in El Dorado Hills, California.
Antioch High School 1991
As a swimmer, Stephen Sanchez was in it for the long haul. The 1991 Antioch High graduate specialized as a distance swimmer, and was one of the best in the country.
As a senior at Antioch, Sanchez won the 500-yard freestyle at the North Coast Section finals in 4 minutes, 29.30 seconds, a meet record which stood for seven years. Stephen also placed third in the 200 individual medley in 1:53.60. Both performances earned him first-team All-America honors.
It was the second such honor for Stephen, who earned All-America in the 200 IM as a junior with an NCS-winning time of 1:52.52. He was also third in the 500 freestyle that year, in 4:37.99.
Stephen was a three-time Diablo Valley Athletic League champion in the 200 IM, and won the 500 free as a sophomore and as a senior. Stephen had a personal duel with Northgate’s Chris Lane, finishing second to Lane in the DVAL 500 final and third behind Lane in the NCS final. He got him the next year, beating him in the league final then beating him by less than a second in the NCS final.
Sanchez began swimming with the Delta Waves under coach Craig Carson, then moved to the Concord-Pleasant Hill Swim Club when he was ready for a more competitive program. Though he specialized in distance freestyle, Sanchez was an All-America in the 200 butterfly. As an 18-year-old, he was ranked 11th in the nation in the 200 IM, 17th in the nation in the 200 fly and 15th in the 400 IM. With the CPHSC, he was the leading point scorer in his age group twice in Pacific Swimming, earning Outstanding Swimmer in the 15-16 and 17-18 age groups.
He earned a scholarship to the University of Indiana, one of the NCAA’s perennial swimming powers, and in 1992 qualified for the U.S. Olympic trials.
Stephen earned his degree from Indiana and chose to remain in the Hoosier State. He is an assistant coach at Fishers High in Fishers, Indiana. He is also a coach with the Fishers Area Swimming Tigers, one of the top 40 age-group developmental programs in the country, and was named the Indiana State Coach of the Year for 2014.
With a returning state medalist, one of the city’s best Junior golfers and an underclassman with huge potential leading the way, the chances of the Antioch High golf team improving upon its dismal showing in 1956 seemed pretty good. The Panthers exceeded all expectations when they hoisted the Contra Costa Tournament Championship trophy at the end of an undefeated season.
The Panthers had won their first three matches handily when they faced Acalanes, the seven-time defending County champion. When the day was done, it was clear that Acalanes’ run might be ending. Wayne Sleppy, who later that year would win his second straight Antioch City Championship, set the tone by defeating the Dons’ Wally Marsh 1-up and the Panthers went on to a 5-1 victory. Coach Bruno Favero proclaimed in the Antioch Ledger the next day that the Panthers were now in the driver’s seat in the race for the county championship.
Antioch rolled through its next four opponents, finishing the Diablo Valley Athletic League season with a forfeit victory to complete an 8-0 regular season. The Panthers were the favorites to win the county tournament, and they didn’t disappoint. Co-medalists Sleppy and Phil Anderson each shot a 79, and Bob Heaton was fourth with an 81. The Panthers, with a three-man net of 298, were 14 strokes ahead of second-place Acalanes.
Though Sleppy and Heaton went on to stellar careers in golf, the Panthers’ accomplishment was truly a team achievement. During the course of the season, Antioch golfers Louis Caple, Ray Edwards, Roger Edwards, Jim Green, Keith Guthrie, Don Kovisto and John Stansbury all had key match play victories en route to the season championship. Tom Cesa and Jim Libbey also played on the team.
After the high school season, Anderson finished second in the 1957 Contra Costa County Junior Championship, losing by a stroke in a playoff, then represented the county in the state championship tournament. Sleppy, a 2008 Sports Legends Hall of Fame inductee, went on to win the Antioch City Championship for the second straight year, clinching the victory with the second of his six career holes-in-one. He became the PGA professional at Long Beach Municipal at the age of 20, and in 1964 won the Southern California PGA tournament. Heaton, inducted into the Sports Legends Hall of Fame in 2009, went on to win the NCGA Public Links Championship in 1964. He competed in two USGA Senior Opens and two British Senior Opens, and was a two-time NCGA Player of the Year.