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…
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