De La Salle Wraps up Third State Title over Westlake

Following Saturday night’s display, De La Salle has impressed the nation again and made the EBAL proud.

Stand out players (hard to name all of them!) QB Bart Houston, RBs Tiupepe Vitale and Joe Teo, LB Michael Barton, LB David Moffit and DE Austin Hooper/Chris Olinger made quite a splash Saturday night with a 35-0 whipping of Westlake Warriors (previously unbeaten, now 13-1)

As usual the defense, running game and execution by the quarterback were keys to the game. It is pretty amazing that Bart Houston went 36-1 as a starter in his three year career and was at the helm for 3 straight California State Titles – having beaten Crenshaw (2009) 28-14;  Servite 48-10 in 2010 and now Westlake.  Of all the games I’ve watched, he was never injured once and never was shy to run it up the middle. Impressive and sets quite a standard for future Spartan players at that position.

On a side note, DLS should be loaded again next year with quite a few of their best players returning.Austin Hooper, Sumner Houson, David Moffit, Michael Hutchings, Daz Tautalasi, Tiupepe Vitale among a few….The key senior losses of are Anthony Williams, Wisconsin Badger bound QB Bart Houston and Cal-bound LB Michael Barton (all sensational players).

DE Austin Hooper pursues the Warrior running game

Tiupepe Vitale (#20) runs for a second half touchdown

Westlake Quarterback Justin Moore attempts a pass as DL Luc Hamilton (#57) pursues

Justin Moore getting wrapped up

Houston winds up to throw over a defender

Houston hands off to #37

 

TE/DE Austin Hooper makes the catch

De La Salle Spartans v Pittsburg Pirates NCS semifinal rd 3

The NCS semi-final was between De La Salle and Pittsburg, with the Pirates being the last team from Nor Cal to beat the Spartans. However that was two decades ago (in 1991) in a similar NCS playoff game.

There would be no repeat performance by Pitt on this night as the Spartans defense dominated the entire game and the offense, aside from an early interception on a gadget play on its first drive, could not be stopped with three different runners scoring TDs and running up a 48-0 first half score that would remain unchanged as the clock was set for a quick finish in the second half.

The one sided affair lacked drama but showed that the Spartans are all business as they attempt to return to the CIF Open title game for a possible 3 game state streak.

Here are the pics…

Spartan RB Joe Teo (#10), in his last action at Owen Field, takes an early hand-off

A trick play with WR #22 Andrew Buckley for a pass ended badly with a Pirate Interception

But DLS got the ball back after one play (forced fumble) and Bart Houston (#13) drops back.

Pitt got the ball back down then QB Malik got sacked by the Spartan D

Spartan RB Tiupepe Vitale (#20) follows blocks

Pirate QB Malik  Watson finding things crowded as he sets up for a pass.

Spartan’s defensive front led by DE Austin Hooper ( #18)

With an ounce of protection on second down, Malik Watson (#8) winds up

Pitt RB #33 Vupinola

#55 Antonio Huey finds it rough going stopping Spartan ball carriers

Spartan D catches up

Tiupepe Vitale #20 breaks loose in route to his first TD

DLS Luc Hamilton #57 and #50 Chris Olinger pursue QB Malik Watson #8

Joe Teo breaking early across the first line of defense on way to TD

LB Michael Barton (#11), David Moffit (#58) and crew were a menacing presence

QB Bart Houston (#13) ran plenty and played physical with rush 2 TDs and other slashes

RB Joe Teo (#10) at it again

Teo breaks into the second level on his way…

Pittsburg Pirates v. Berkeley Yellow Jackets NCS playoff round 2ey


Ok, I headed out to this game in the wind blown fields of San Pablo Saturday night, at 7pm about 54 degrees, all 4 layers needed considering the winds.

It was a charged atmosphere, both the Pitt Pirates and Berkeley Yellow Jackets were fired up after Berkeley had won in an overtime affair earlier in the regular season.

But this night would be a whole lot different as Pitt led from the start on through to the finish and actually knocked stud RB Rudolpho James out of the game with a concussion in the third quarter. Regretful way to wrap up a hell of a career in Berkeley, I expect him to play at the college level.

Pitt was simply a team on a mission to avenge its loss and continue the momentum it created by beating its rival Antioch twice in consecutive weeks. What characterizes the Pirates is a mostly no nonsense approach to their offense and defense. They do something that is pretty simple: Put their best players on the field and use simple alignments and toss runs or rocket and counters up the middle. When they need to they open it up and throw down the middle of the field though they are much more effective on the ground. They remind me of some of the college teams under Lou Holtz. Play defense, run the ball, don’t make mistakes. That is how their entire night went on Saturday, as I never once thought question their strategy and they fed the ball to their best players using plays that their O-Line can really block. On defense, they were equally up to the task swarming the Berkeley running game and laying some big hits. The squad has 20 players over 200 lbs and that doesnt count their speedsters. They did allow two long passes by Berkeley in the first half that were costly, setting up the Rudolpho TD but that was the only hope they allowed. Had they fixed their coverage they would have played a near perfect game against a very good Yellow Jacket team.

With the win, Pitt gets De La Salle next Friday night and it should be very emotional for Pitt. I went to the last game, in late 2009 in Dublin, the NCS championship and the Pirates could not stop Terron Ward and company all night, and as a sophomore Bart Houston was already looking very good.

In 2011, I know Pitt has a lot better athletes and more cohesiveness –due to improved coaching– and the sophomore kicker I noticed was literally booming kicks (against the wind) to the back of the end zone.

The RB Duo of Mister Marcus Cotton, Vupinola and Lockett (seen below) is fierce and the passing game for the Pirates has improved greatly since September when I saw them have to outrun Monte Vista because they had no passing attack. DLS is a lot to contend with, so I’ll leave it at that.

Above: Pitt QB Malik Watson with hand-off

ALL PHOTOS FOUND HERE ARE COPYRIGHT AND THE PROPERTY OF GREGORY CROSS.

Pirates gather on sideline early into the game.

Rudolpho James before the half

Yellow Jacket defense swarms in second half but cannot locate FB Crajon Monfee #30.

Pirate RB Mister Cotton heads into an opening. (hard to see #24) could be Lockett

Making life tough on the YEllow Jackets is OL #55 Antonio Huey

Loose ball scramble by Pirate defense.

QB Malik Jackson takes snap in first half.

Big catch for Yellow Jacket WR.

#4 for Berkeley Rudolpho James celebrates a lil bit early – his first TD

DL Antonio Huey makes life hard on Berkeley runner

Before the snap, Sir Devonte-Edwards surveys field

Pitt WR Miles Walker #5 makes a catch, from a distance

Pitt RB #24 Mister Cotton makes presence known around left side.

Pitt sealing it up.

Desperation pass for Berkeley in the fourth quarter, #24 Mister Cotton and #7 Jamon Ward close in

Pitt DB Miles Walker wrapping up

#25 Jamal Lockett closing things out with a hard earned yard

San Ramon Valley Danville v. James Logan Union City NCSs

In an NCS Round Two playoff match-up in Union City, the San Ramon Valley (SRV) Wolves met the 10-0 James Logan Colts on Friday night Nov 26th.

The game would be hard fought from start to finish;  but it was squarely in SRV’s favor as they jumped out to a 14-0 lead and would never look back, especially after a surprising on-sides kick that was recovered after their 7-0 lead in the first quarter.

In the end, James Logan made it close, closing in with a second half TD to make it 21-14, but the Wolves defense, always in close pursuit and and grabbing a hardy handful of sacks on Colt’s QB Prothro made the difference.

Cal-bound Zach Kline (#5) had a stellar night throwing for two TDs and running for a third.  The Colts were frustrated all night at the line of scrimmage where they couldn’t break open big enough holes for their backs and couldn’t stop the Wolves sack machine. Even when throwing screens the RBs were run down in short order. It was a great season for both teams. The Wolves keep the EBAL undefeated in NCS post season play and move on to face the winner of Monte Vista vs. San Leandro the following week.

QB Zach Kline takes the snap early in the game.

RB Felipe Parra over the goal line to put Wolves up 14-0.


RB Warren Long follows his blockers

The Logan Colts get into a power offense

#77 DL Jake Simonech for SRV Holds down Warren Long #42 of Logan

Colt QB Jeffrey Prothro (#9) gets the snap

Prothro scrambles as LB #55 Matt Fisher pursues

SRV’s O-line fires off the ball

SRV’s running back (unknown) gains tough yards

Wolves Jeff Greene #23 takes down Damond Beasley (#5) for the Colts

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Logan WR Ferdows Wahab (#21) cannot find room

Colts Damond Beasley scores Logan’s second TD to close to 21-14.

Wolves WR Brian Danis (#9) holds on

RB Jordan Weiss (#42) stretches for final SRV TD, 28-14 lead.

Colin Wilson #25 takes down Logan RB in 4th Quarter.

Wolves Sack on Colts final drive

Kline takes knee to close out game

 

 

 

Monte Vista Jeff Lockie v Heritage Patriots Captured NCS

On a rainy Saturday night, the Monte Vista Mustangs of Danville hosted the Heritage High Patriots of Brentwood.

This one wouldn’t be close (if you judged by the first half) as the Jeff Lockie (EBAL MVP) torched the Patriots who couldnt get away from their own penalties nor cover the Mustang WRs.  The Patriots stormed back to somehow score 36 points but I had left as it was pouring rain.

In the end MV prevailed, making for a 2-1 record for the league in the opening round of NCS play.  With both Pittsburg and Freedom, tough opponents from the BVAL also advancing, the next three weeks are going to be pretty good. De La Salle will remain a heavy favorite however.

Freedom vs. Cal San Ramon NCS Playoff Captured

Freedom High of Oakley and Cal High San Ramon squared off in the first round of NCS Div 1 on Friday night, Nov. 18th.

A thrilling game, filled with drama and back and forth battles. The home team Falcons, who, after a having been down 28-13, stormed all the way back with a TD, point after, a Field Goal, another TD (game winner).

But that wasn’t all. Leading by 1 point (29-28) with 3:50 on the clock, the Falcons also needed a 4th quarter interception, and lastly, a blocked FG as the last 7 seconds burned off the clock to hold off the Grizzlies who drove it all the way down near their 15 yard line.

A disappointment for Cal which could not assert its ground game, aside from some killer plays by Armani Washington (#3) (what I thought would be dominant) and whose defense–like on other occasions this year– could not stop Freedom’s offense; a mix of wildcat, shotgun and other plays from highly effective offensive sets. But both teams gave maximum effort and great result.

The winning points came on a QB run by Stephen Rodriguez (a last moment stand in for the hurt starter) and kicker Anthony Cantabrana (pictured below) whose kick with 3:42 left was the final necessary point.

The real star of the game with a pair of TDs and the HUGE interception was #5 Darrell Daniels; This guy was a gamer.

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First play for the Falcons

#5 Jerrell Dunn tackles #5 Darrell Daniels

#5 Darrell Daniels has no quit

Cal’s Jerrell Dunn #5 takes a first quarter hand-off

Cal got its ground game off early as it went up 14-0 before the Falcons could respond.

Cal QB Cameron Owen (#15) Launches pass to the end zone

Shane Haley (#8) for Cal breaks the ice on scoring with first TD.

Freedom’s first drive, down 7-0.

RB/DB “do it all” Darrell Daniels #5 around end.

Before half a Falcon looks on

Freedom’s RB Joe Mixon (#20) around left side.

Freedom’s Malik Jackson (#24) flies in for the stop

#5 Jerrell Dunn faces the music, right into the back of #45. OUCH.

Freedom’s head coach, dealing with the stress of ‘win” or “out’ NCS D1.

All things in order for the new QB, Stephen Rodriguez

Cal’s second TD drive, RB Brian Krause (#27) on the move

Brian Krause on track around the left side

Up 14-0, Cal’s D crowds ball carriers

Darell Daniels (#5) Runs Tough as LB Kevin Leathley (#54) closes in

Darell Daniels (#5) plucks his way towards the goal line

Falcon’s (#5) Darrell Daniesl hits paydirt; Freedom on the board with a TD

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Falcon’s #4 Jordan Sheppard eludes Cal S Nicco Mendietta (#45)

#5 Darrell Daniels takes a wildcat snap

A critical first down by (#4) Jordan Sheppard of Freedom to pull the Falcons closer

Second half TD and the come back is on. Believe it was QB Stephen Rodriquez (#2)

#2 Stephen Rodriguez takes the snap.

the SPY, Darrell Daniels sees an errant pass in the 4th Quarter.

The SNAG, INT by Daniels keeps it away from #3 Armani Washington

The Celebration, just after the biggest INT ever; Rodriguez #2 points to the sky

Frustration – Cal’s Armani Washington after the turn-over as Falcons gather up.

Now with the ball in 4th quarter, Falcons work to close the deal

Cal is not out of it yet, Coach Eric Billeci looking for focus

#5 Darrell Daniels would not be denied survival.

What would be the game winning extra point

Cal’s back up QB Cameron Owen *#15) sparks a desperation drive, a critical gain.

The last second FG try by Cal is amazingly blocked

Loose ball, no time, means game over, Freedom 29, Cal 28.

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An incredible celebration as the Falcons know how tough the win was.

Frozen, on a cold night, Freedom travels to Concord next to meet the Spartans

To the victor go the spoils; media interview for Darrell Daniels with Cal Hi Sports

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