As difficult as it is to beat De La Salle in the NCS Division I playoffs, we’re going to go ahead and crown California as the Bay Area’s public school champions.
There are teams such as El Cerrito and Casa Grande who may also have claim to the throne but the Grizzlies 31-17 victory over Pittsburg on Saturday night was a clinic in how Cal wins games. The Grizzlies are big and physical, known for punishing the opponent at the point of attack and ultimately wear down the opposition to the tune of 17 unanswered points in the final quarter.
The running game wasn’t its usual self as Blake Bierwith was held to 40 rushing yards on 18 carries and they did benefit from the unfortunate injury to Harris Ross as the Pittsburg back got injured in the second quarter after 128 yards on 11 carries.
The story, though, was simply finding a way to win behind a senior backup quarterback. Matt Lorenz, in his fourth start replacing two-year starter Cameron Owen, completed 9-of-12 passes for 134 yards, two touchdowns, a rushing touchdown, and, maybe most importantly, was part of an offense that didn’t turn the ball over once.
Coach Eric Billeci’s track record with turning quarterbacks who aren’t necessarily top recruits into solid players is impeccable. It sounds like that applies to the backups as well.
Adversity is a word you hear a lot this time of year, but Cal has overcome it with the Owen injury and they have playmakers such as C.J. Cornwell to help out Lorenz and company. The senior had 114 yards from scrimmage and scored two touchdowns.
- So Cal gets another game with De La Salle, who crushed the Grizzlies 55-0 in the regular season finale less than a month ago.
The Spartans trailed for the first time in over two months (vs. San Ramon Valley 9/27) with a 14-7 first quarter deficit against Deer Valley and responded with 36 unanswered points on their way to a 57-27 victory.
Antoine Custer rushed for a season-high 172 yards and two touchdowns, while also returning a punt for a score. Custer is now just 88 yards shy of a thousand yard season and backfield mate John Velasco had 159 yards and two scores.
Overall, it was a 375-yard effort on the ground and the defense, despite playing without lineman Kahlil McKenzie (minor injury in a car accident) registered 12 sacks, including 3.5 from Devin Asiasi.
You know De La Salle was scheming all week against quarterback Nsimba Webster and, while they did a better job against him than anyone else, still allowed him to run for two touchdowns and pass for another. De La Salle made him work and were in the backfield all night but Webster’s performance dazzled the onlookers and spoke to his true talent.
The Wolverines 27 points were the most De La Salle has allowed this season and the Spartans have fumbled six times in two playoff wins, losing four.
As for the game versus Cal at Dublin High on Saturday night at 7pm on CSN California, you can bet the De La Salle coaches will be making sure their team doesn’t take the Grizzlies lightly considering three of the last seven meetings were decided by 14 points or less.
#2 Serra might have seen #6 Bellarmine play their best game of the season and still managed to come back from a 17-14 halftime deficit for a 28-17 win to advance to their first CCS Open Division title game.
The Padres read-option game with Kava Cassidy and quarterback Matt Fa’aita was too much for the Bells. Cassidy piled up 135 rushing yards and three touchdowns and the team is now 8-0 when he runs for 100 yards or more. Fa’aita delivered a career-high 122 yards rushing.
We also have to give the Serra defense credit as they shut out Bellarmine in the second half and junior Josh Outman had 13 tackles and a sack.
“The defense stepped it up in the second half,” said Serra coach Patrick Walsh to Prep2Prep’s Adam Hegazy, “This is a classic Serra versus Bellarmine football game, it’s always an instant classic.”
One of the key moments was when Bellarmine turned the ball over on downs at the Serra 32 with 4:33 left in the third quarter. The Padres promptly marched down the field for the go-ahead score and never looked back.
K.J. Carta-Samuels final game was a good one with 231 yards passing and a touchdown despite running for his life on nearly every one of his 33 pass attempts.
The Bells had beat the Padres seven straight times before this season, but Serra won both meetings in 2013.
Serra-Bellarmine is one of the more underrated rivalries as both teams have finished at or near the top of the WCAL for several years. Also, since Patrick Walsh took over at Serra, he is now 9-9 versus Mike Janda and 12 of those games have been decided by single-figures.
Either Serra or #5 Mitty is going to win their school’s first ever CCS Open title on Friday night at 7:30pm at San Jose City College on CSN California.
It’s not easy to beat a talented team such as #8 Valley Christian as soundly as Archbishop Mitty did on Friday, but the Monarchs built a 21-0 lead and never looked back in a 37-7 triumph. Continue reading