There were upsets, overtime thrillers, and impressive individual performances, but the most intriguing game on Friday night was #1 De La Salle’s 34-14 win over #18 Clayton Valley.
For one, the losing team displayed great confidence and looked like a clear favorite to repeat as NCS Division II champions. In fact, it’s looking like Clayton Valley could be playing a foe from the Sac-Joaquin Section in the NorCal Division II Bowl Game.
Despite modest numbers (68 yards passing, TD, 2 INT) Gabe Taylor appears to be an upgrade at quarterback from a year ago and Miles Harrison is a sure star after rushing for 175 yards and a touchdown last night. The offense, which averaged 49 points and 481.6 yards last year, might be even better this season. The numbers will once again be ridiculous.
As for the Spartans, one might think that the close game means they are vulnerable or not as good as seasons past. Uh, think again.
It wasn’t the blowout we’ve come to expect, but we did see some typical De La Salle football, including a time-consuming scoring drive in the third quarter to help make a winner of Justin Alumbaugh in his head coaching debut.
In our postgame interview, assistant coach Terry Eidson remarked how pleased he is with the depth on the team and how the defense, while it may take time to gel, has the makings of a good unit.
“At halftime we made adjustments,” corner Kevin Griffin told Prep2Prep’s Chris Jackson. “We focused on the play-action. They were passing on us in the first half, but we just got it together and stopped the passing.”
On offense, quarterback Chris Williams’ mobility was hindered a bit because of a bruised knee suffered in the scrimmage at Pittsburg, but he still managed to throw for 102 yards and a score on only eight attempts. Williams will have a big year and everybody seems to be pleased with him in his second year as starter.
It’s hard to imagine another high school offensive line better than De La Salle’s massive unit. When Williams wasn’t passing, John Velasco was the beneficiary on the ground, with 184 yards and three touchdowns.
Eidson said he envisioned Velasco getting about 15-16 carries per game and it sounds like Alumbaugh and the coaches are very pleased with Velasco’s strength. De La Salle backs have to run hard and the 5-foot-7 senior does just that.
The most interesting part of my conversation with Terry Eidson was when I asked about this being Alumbaugh’s first game as head coach and Bob Ladouceur being on the sidelines in an assistant role.
“I really felt like he was calling Lad’s game,” said Eidson. “Don’t forget he and Lad worked together on all of this for 10-12 years. When he’s talking to the team, I hear Bob Ladouceur. When he calls plays, that’s a Bob Ladouceur call. This isn’t a transition with someone out of the blue. This is a guy we’ve been grooming for this job.”
Eidson suggested the coaching staff is even better with Ladouceur as an assistant.
“When you’re a head coach, there’s a lot of people pulling at you,” said Eidson. “Bob Ladouceur is a great football coach. So we actually get him to coach more football now. I don’t think people understand how he knows every position out there. Obviously he’s one of the greatest coaches of all-time. He didn’t retire, he resigned (as head coach), he’s still with us… and he’s a huge addition to our football staff. I think, if anything, the coaching staff got a little better.”
Other notes from Clayton Valley-De La Salle:
- I hope for the best but it sounds like Clayton Valley’s Kristian Mamea, who caught a touchdown pass in the first half, might have suffered a broken leg when he was taken out on a personal foul penalty from De La Salle’s Jevari Anderson on what was going to be a Dasmond Tautalatasi pick-six. The Spartans coaching staff was livid with their own player, and as he attended to Mamea, Clayton Valley coach Tim Murphy shouted some things toward the De La Salle sideline.
I hope nobody makes a big deal of it because both coaching staffs embraced after the game and have a ton of respect for one another. Murphy was rightfully upset about a key player getting hurt and nobody on the Spartans wanted to see it happen, either.
- To put Harrison’s night in perspective, no team even ran for 100 yards against De La Salle last season until last year’s playoffs.
- Clayton Valley could be in the #1 spot this week in the CalHiSports NorCal Division II bowl rankings this week after #1 Vista del Lago got hammered by Oak Ridge, 38-0.
- It’s obvious Murphy and the Eagles aren’t afraid of anybody. Here’s to more difficult non-league schedules in the future, however. The next four non-league games (Castlemont, Independence, Skyline, Hayward) should all be cakewalks. Of course, maybe nobody wants to schedule Clayton Valley and be the next victim to 50+ point, 500+ yard attack. The only tough games on the schedule appear to be Concord and Northgate, but those games still appear to be sure Eagles wins and they aren’t until November.
- Mitch Stephens wrote a good story on Murphy and how he may be the Bay Area’s most interesting head coach.
- De La Salle sophomore corner Antoine Custer received some praise for his work against the Eagles and is someone we’ll be sure to keep an eye on.
- Spartans linebacker Simba Short appeared to have an ankle sprain, but hopefully we’ll see the junior play on Saturday at Serra.
- Speaking of Serra, the Spartans get a reunion with someone from the Ladouceur coaching tree. Patrick Walsh tries to knock off his alma mater 21 years after winning California Player of the Year for the Spartans.
#17 Deer Valley doesn’t even have a game this week, but the Wolverines look a lot better as a BVAL favorite after a couple surprising results on Friday.
The most stunning result was #5 Pittsburg losing at Analy, 37-21, in what Tigers coach Daniel Bourdon called the biggest win of the program to CalHiSports.
The Tigers’ Jacob Royer threw four touchdown passes, Kerr Johnson caught two of those scores, and speedy Ja’Narrick James ran for 116 yards. The defense also recorded five sacks.
After a 12-1 record and their best season in school history, the Tigers no-huddle attack might be even better this year.
The Pirates, however, were supposed to be one of the Bay Area’s best and they gave up over 400 yards offense, had multiple penalties, and didn’t play top back Harris Ross in the first half because of undisclosed reasons.
Friday superlatives 2: Pittsburg allowing 440 yards to Analy. Also inexperienced QB Walker 29 pass attempts. Not the team I saw a week ago.
— Nate Smith (@coachnatesmith) September 1, 2013
Maybe the Pirates are still adjusting to life without some top players who were expected to be back with the team this season.
You might also remember the Pitt defense was very shaky to start last season and they were still one of the top teams around by season’s end, when they gave De La Salle a decent game in the NCS quarters.
Victor Galli is a tremendous coach and the Pirates will improve. They have to… with Cal’s high-octane offense looming next week.
Amador Valley is a well-coached team and they beat Freedom last season, so maybe we shouldn’t be surprised by their 35-28 win at the home of the Falcons.
#14 Freedom, though, was up 28-14 at the half and running back Joe Mixon scored all four touchdowns and ran for 157 yards. It appeared the Falcons were cruising.
Amador Valley must have made some great adjustments for the win and they were certainly helped by a 188-yard, three-touchdown rushing performance from Michael White.
A return to the postseason looks likely for the Dons as they should be 3-0 heading into their EBAL opener against Monte Vista.
Hopefully, Mixon, who was limited in the second half because of cramps, doesn’t have any more injury issues this season. He finished with 188 yards rushing for Freedom.
Freedom’s Malachi Cheney told Prep2Prep’s Mauricio Baltrons that the Falcons need better focus.
As for this yearly Amador Valley-Freedom game, let’s hope it keeps going for years. The last four meetings have been decided by seven points or less.
Monte Vista has allowed 112 points and 932 rushing yards in their last two games at home.
This is after the #13 Mustangs suffered a 57-56 overtime loss to Castro Valley last night when the Trojans erupted for 509 rushing yards.
And how about the call from Castro Valley coach Nic McMaster to not only go for two and the win in overtime, but do it on a pass play when the Trojans didn’t complete a pass all night?
“We knew they were gearing up to stop our run game, and they probably had an idea of something off tackle, said McMaster. “We released three guys in right half of the end zone, and the quarterback found the right guy.”
Trojans quarterback Kevin Galvan told Prep2Prep’s Derek Lytle about the winning play: “We practice that every day at practice – the sprint right smash. It was key and when he caught it the feeling was great.”
In my Friday night interviews, you could tell in McMaster’s voice that he was yelling all night and I’m sure it was a very satisfying ride home after the Trojans had struggled so often against EBAL opponents over the years.
The Trojans duo of Namane Modise and Demareyeh Lane is one of the top running tandems in the Bay Area and the offensive line dominated. Modine rushed for 222 yards and three touchdowns, while Lane had 163 yards on the ground, offsetting 500 yards of offense from Monte Vista.
“To beat an EBAL school, this is something I’ve been gunning for since I took over as head coach five years ago,” said McMaster. “I know that we have a school and community that can be a successful program. Monte Vista is a great football team. I’ve wanted this thing for awhile.”
Running back Matt Rood had five touchdowns and 118 yards rushing for the Mustangs, but the story was the defense.
Monte Vista, whose season ended in 2012 when they allowed 423 rushing yards to Pittsburg in a 55-29 home loss, has solid players on the defensive line, including Brendan Landman and have to be much better than they showed on Friday. I imagine the respected coaching staff will be working hard to correct the run-game mistakes from this past week.
The Mustangs need to in a hurry with Berkeley and Pittsburg looming in the next two weeks.
WIN ONE, LOSE ONE IN THE SAC-JOAQUIN
You’re always expecting a big challenge from the top teams in the Sac-Joaquin section.
#12 San Ramon Valley was dominant, while #16 James Logan was defeated by Del Oro for the second straight year.
As for the Wolves, they trailed 8-0 early after Buhach Colony executed a double-reverse pass, and all San Ramon Valley did was roll up 320 yards of offense in the first half and go on for an emphatic 67-30 win in Atwater.
As you’d expect, San Ramon Valley had many big-time performers. Marcus de la Pena rushed for 209 yards on 28 carries after running for 167 yards against the Thunder last season. Matt Winaker threw for two scores, ran for another, passed for 171 yards and completed 13 of 16 passes.
“Matt showed great poise, managed the game very effectively, and just managed our offense and allowed us to open up the playbook,” said Wolves coach Mark Kessler during our late night interview after Friday’s game.
Zach Baker also performed well at quarterback and it looks like the Wolves will continue to work in both players at the position.
“Great to see Zach Baker perform at the level he did,” said Kessler. “We’ve got two quarterbacks that we feel confident with and can helps us win football games.”
Kessler added that he was pleased that on how his team responded after a long bus ride and tough environment with a good balance of pass and run, and mostly power football.
I couldn’t get Kessler to admit it, but you get the feeling that the Wolves are extra motivated to beat the teams, such as Buhach Colony and James Logan, that knocked them off last year.
On a much more serious note, it has been a rough week at San Ramon Valley with the passing of student Robert Orlando. Orlando died in a car crash on Monday night.
Coach Kessler made sure to acknowledge how this week can be spent celebrating Orlando’s life and an emotional funeral will be held on Tuesday.
The Wolves next play James Logan on September 13.
Speaking of Logan, they took a 7-0 lead against Del Oro, but it was all Golden Eagles from there. Del Oro has some major playmakers on defense, particularly Tyler Meteer and Brandon Johnson, and they shut the Colts down most of the night.
A bright spot for the Colts included a 73-yard touchdown run from Amari Davis.
Del Oro, though, is one of the top ten teams in Northern California, and Bay Area fans will be interested to know they play at De La Salle on September 20.
RANKED TEAMS WHO TOOK CARE OF BUSINESS
In a battle of teams who were 13-1 last season, #6 El Cerrito won at Sutter, 34-14, as the Gauchos scored a touchdown just before halftime to take a 21-14 lead and then shut down the Huskies offense in the second half.
Keilan Benjamin threw a pair of touchdowns to Jalen Harvey and an early 71-yard scoring pass to his twin brother, Keith.
In one week, we’ll see the Gauchos play Bellarmine in what may be the best local game of the season. I cannot wait for this game as I don’t expect any other games this year to be as physical this one.
As for Saturday, #8 Marin Catholic trailed Miramonte, 14-3, before Andrew Celis turned the game around with a punt-return score and the Wildcats finished with 42 unanswered points in a 45-14 win.
It was almost a similar story to last season’s opener between the two teams, as the Mats led 14-10 before a 31-14 loss.
In his first start, Marin Catholic quarterback Morgan Mahalak passed for 170 yards, with 123 going to Celis.
Miramonte, who next plays St. Mary’s, has an interesting game at Analy in less than two weeks.
Also on Saturday, #15 Foothill hammered Novato for the second straight year, 51-6. This was after a 52-9 win in Pleasanton in 2012.
You want evidence that the Falcons have an improved ground game? Foothill ran for 256 yards, which is more than they had in any game last season.
The Falcons Matt Luey scored three touchdowns and Jamirr Holland ran for one, plus 123 yards.
Kyle Kearns also passed for 138 yards and two scores.
Foothill is at Freedom on Friday in one of the best games this Friday.
After trailing 19-3 on Friday, #23 Campolindo blitzed Heritage, 40-26, as Jack Stephens threw for 341 yards and three touchdowns. Stephens is replacing Andrew Zolintakis at quarterback while Zolintakis recovers from a stress fracture in his throwing arm and his performance is not surprising at all to any of us who follow Campo football.
Coach Kevin Macy and the Cougars passing offense is a well-oiled machine and Stephens has both Justin Dunn and Phillip Rei to work with at receiver. Each player had over 100 yards receiving.
A concern for the Cougars is allowing 328 yards and a running game that managed only 62 yards. Campo never had a potent ground game last year, either.
As for Heritage, their ground game appears just fine with Leeandre White rushing for 143 yards and a score.
No details were available, but #19 Cardinal Newman scored a 41-28 win at Modesto Christian.
#24 McClymonds routed Highlands on the road, 62-6, and get ready for Ferndale next week before a huge game at Central Catholic on September 13.
#24 Casa Grande dominated in a 51-13 win over Eureka. Senior JaJuan Lawson threw for 198 yards and two touchdowns and also ran for another score as the offense rolled up 472 yards of offense. Up next for the balanced offensive attack are road games at Heritage and Napa.
RISING FROM OBSCURITY
In high school football, it’s easy to assume a bad football team is going to stay bad the following year because, in most cases, you’re going to be right. However, there were a few Bay Area programs that opened some eyes on Friday and served notice to their future foes.
Dougherty Valley had lost 16 consecutive games before their shocking 38-6 win over Newark Memorial on Friday. The Wildcats were not only winless, but were outscored by an average of 45.5 to 13.1 last season. Their closest loss was a 40-19 decision to the Cougars in their 2012 opener.
So, not only did the Wildcats win, but they hammered a team that won last year’s Mission Valley league… on the road. Quarterback Umar Farooq threw for 121 yards and a touchdown on only eight eight attempts and he shared his elation with Prep2Prep’s Erin Woll.
“I can’t even begin to describe the emotion,” Farooq said. “It’s the biggest win of this program. For all the hard work to pay off, 33 straight weeks of grinding and for the results coming out like this, it is an unbelievable feeling.”
Farooq and Dougherty Valley averaged just 55 passing yards per game last year.
The Wildcats are a team that will still rely on their ground game and their next test will be against a College Park team that beat them 49-7 last year. Can they turn the tables again?
As for Newark Memorial, it was a humbling experience to say the least:
Cougars linebacker Anthony Garcia was open about the loss, “We came out thinking were going to win, we beat them last year. We got cocky from last year being past champions, I thought we were going to do it again this year but we got whooped.”
Liberty was winless in the BVAL and scored 132 points in 2012.
The Lions scored 38% of that total in last night’s stunning 50-30 win over Concord. The big explosion came in the fourth quarter when Liberty scored 27 unanswered points, including two punt returns for scores from Alex Hull.
Quarterback Joseph Tolentino also impressed with 217 yards passing and a touchdown, while also running for another score.
Friday superlatives 3: Liberty holds Mitch Daniels and the normally prolific Concord passing attack to 41 second half yards. #pridematters
— Nate Smith (@coachnatesmith) September 1, 2013
As for Concord, a Brian Hamilton-coached team hasn’t allowed 50 points in a game since a September 21, 2007 loss to College Park (54-21).
Don’t count out the Minutemen yet. Hamilton is well-respected and is excited about this year’s group. He also has standout quarterback Mitchell Daniels, who threw for three scores.
It does appear that next week’s game at Amador Valley is an even bigger challenge than we originally thought.
The only two wins for the Liberty last year were against West and Hayward, their next two opponents. It appears that the Lions will make it a 3-0 start before a showdown with Castro Valley with West and Hayward on the schedule for the next few weeks.
However, after a wacky Friday, we can’t assume anything.
You knew points would be easy to come by for California and the Grizzlies delivered with a 46-20 win over Washington. Cameron Owen threw for two scores, but the story was Blake Bierwith, who ran for 191 yards and three touchdowns. I imagine there are plenty of Washington defenders sore this morning thanks to the 220-pound fullback.
The good news for the Huskies and American, who ran for 422 yards in a 47-6 win over Arroyo, is that they are looking better in the MVAL thanks to Newark Memorial’s lackluster performance.
Berkeley rolled up Washington-San Francisco, 41-8, as Noah Suszckiwicz threw three touchdown passes and completed 12 of 15 passes. The Yellowjackets now get their first test at home against Monte Vista.
I kept thinking and hearing Granada was an improved team, but their Friday night showing was a disappointment.
The Mats had some trouble closing out games last season and were outscored 32-7 in the second half in a 39-36 loss to Windsor on Friday as they allowed 332 passing yards to Windsor’s Colin McAlvain. Prep2Prep’s Konnor McIntosh has more on the game and the McAlvain’s big night.
A bright spot for the Mats was a 146-yard rushing effort, including three touchdowns, from Casey Soltis.
Jacob House ran for 150 yards and a touchdown but the Livermore pass defense was victimized in a 27-24 overtime loss at Benicia. The question for the Cowboys is if they can win the next three against Hayward, Northgate, and Arroyo.
Northgate looked a lot like last year’s team with their 49-6 win at Hayward. Jake Smith, Kyle Austin, and Eric Haynes all had big games for the Broncos. San Marin will be a good challenge in the Northgate home opener on Friday.
After a 34-7 win over Hercules last season, Acalanes needed overtime to beat the Titans this year, 35-28.
The Dons were fortunate to overcome five turnovers, including two returned for touchdowns. Junior quarterback Casey Harrington was responsible for two interceptions, but he also tossed the game-tying and game-winning touchdown passes.
Harrington’s development holds the key to the Acalanes season and we’re already curious about how he does against Castro Valley on Friday.
The close loss does seem to solidify Hercules as the favorite in the TCAL Stone Division.
It is interesting that we can see a few overtime games on a Friday night, but still see rivals College Park and Alhambra play to a 41-41 tie in Martinez. I’m sure this was something that was agreed upon well before the game was played but does anyone have any answers they can share with us on why there was no overtime?
Alhambra’s Ciozanne Foster lived up to his preseason billing with 143 rushing yards, two touchdowns, and also blocking what would have been the game-winning extra point attempt from College Park.
As for College Park, the Jacksons (Ray and Timmy) combined for 214 rushing yards in the Falcons veer offense.
Las Lomas junior quarterback Ben Wood ran for 198 yards including two long second half touchdown scampers in the Knights 15-7 win over Bishop O’Dowd. It made a winner of new coach Mike Downing and he has to be ecstatic his defense held O’Dowd to only 95 yards of offense. With Acalanes, Las Lomas, Miramonte, and Alhambra, there is no shortage of DFAL teams looking to knock off favored Campolindo.
As for Dublin, they are well-coached but I have concerns after their 33-20 loss at Alameda. Junior Josh Nobida threw for 175 yards, but also two picks and had 40 attempts. The running game mustered just 101 yards.
We were quite wrong about some results on Friday night, but we did see San Leandro knocking off Valley Christian-Dublin. The Pirates equaled their win total from all of 2012 with a 38-29 win as O’Brien Younger ran for 124 yards and two scores on only five carries.
Moreau Catholic was a 42-11 winner at Mt. Diablo which means a debut win for new quarterback Lucas O’Rourke (no relation). The story, though, was junior Jason Hinton, who rushed for 303 yards and three touchdowns on 19 carries.
Manny Wilkins ran for 96 yards and passed for 99 more, although he completed only nine of 22 attempt as San Marin cruised to a 35-0 win at St. Patrick-St. Vincent.
There’s no way to recap all Bay Area high school alums and how they performed in college football this week, but it was exciting to be in attendance on Saturday night in Berkeley to watch Jared Goff make his debut as a true freshman.
It was a 44-30 Cal loss, but Goff looked like a future star as he threw for 445 yards. The Marin Catholic alum was particularly impressive with his deep out passes, and his long bomb to Chris Harper was a perfect toss. Goff and Harper look like they have played together for years, and with Harper just a sophomore, the duo will be impressing Cal fans for the next few seasons.
Goff getting on the job training for CAL. Some highs &lows tonight but i really like what im seeing overall. He’s going to be really good.
— Joe Frenchwood (@joefrenchwood) September 1, 2013
Because of the youth and tough schedule, it might be difficult for the Golden Bears to get to a bowl game, but they are going to pull off an upset or two.
Cal Rivals charted the good and bad plays from Goff’s night and were as impressed as we were with the 18-year old.
Even if you’re not a Cal fan, it might be tough for Bay Area high school fans to ignore the Bears considering the local talent on the roster. Young players such as Hardy Nickerson (Bishop O’Dowd), Michael Barton (De La Salle), Damariay Drew (Livermore), and Freddie Tagaloa (Salesian) are just a few players on the roster and contributing.
Soon, we’ll soon be seeing Harvey of El Cerrito, and perhaps Mixon at Memorial Stadium.
As Goff continues to develop and impress, it can only help Sonny Dykes and his recruiting efforts in the Bay Area.
The one negative in Goff’s emergence is Zach Kline not getting an opportunity. One would think that the former San Ramon Valley star will transfer to another school where he has a chance to start.
The positive that many seem to be missing for Kline, though, is that he just barely missed out in the quarterback competition. From the sound of it, Goff was better but not much better in the preseason reps. I would hope that increases Kline’s opportunities and that he goes to a good school that values his talent because it seems he should be a Division I starter somewhere.
It was an embarrassing loss for Oregon State on Saturday to Eastern Washington, but Foothill’s Sean Mannion seemed to do all he could with 422 yards passing and completing 86% of his passes. Hopefully, the junior has a strong season for the Beavers, who will bounce back from this loss.
Three of the most anticipated matchups in the Bay Area will be played on Saturday.
Serra at De La Salle, 1pm
Marin Catholic at St. Ignatius, 1pm
Bellarmine vs. El Cerrito at De Anza HS, 7pm
Three games, six teams, each game involves a top-ten Bay Area team, and each game is a CCS versus NCS matchup.
Fortunately for me, I’ll be broadcasting two of these games, as my day starts in San Mateo and ends in Richmond.
We’ll have more on these classic showdowns later in the week, but you should set your schedule now to try to attend at least one of these games.
JOIN OUR TEAM
As you can tell by the Monte Vista-Castro Valley, Newark Memorial-Dougherty Valley, De La Salle-Clayton Valley, Granada-Windsor, and Freedom-Amador Valley game stories, we have some very good prep reporters.
John Murphy and the crew will be delivering more CCS league previews this week.
We’re always on the lookout for more prep writers and and photogs, so be sure to apply here.