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Prep Football Almost Here!

By mbower
Tuesday, July 29th, 2008 at 10:39 pm in East Bay Football.

We have just over a month to go until the 2008 prep football season kicks off.

This should be an exciting season as powerhouse De La Salle moves to the East Bay Athletic League and the North Coast Section has a new playoff alignment in place, which combines the East Bay with the Redwood Empire.

Also, there will now be five divisions, which means more teams will make the playoffs. Not sure if that is a good thing or bad thing? Making the playoffs use to mean something, not sure that will be the case anymore? I don’t know, I haven’t made up my mind on that one yet. I will let everyone else out there throw out their thoughts.

Anyway, I was out at Las Lomas High last week and got a chance to watch San Ramon Valley and the Knights play seven-on-seven (there were no linemen). Obviously, SRV quarterback Joe Southwick stood out. He showed off a very strong arm and great accuracy in the drills. Standing out for Las Lomas was senior receiver Diante Jackson. He was running some great patterns. At one point, he caught about five passes in a row on the SRV defense.

I wanted to get the football string going for the fans out there. I want to hear your thoughts on the upcoming season. Who should make our 25 players to watch list? What teams will shock? What are your predictions? Anything prep football related, we want to hear about it!

See ya out at the games soon!

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  • http://BOD Coach

    John Brown – Encinal – QB, SS, dominated the ACCAL in 2007. 6’1″ 195 lbs, extremley fast, has been offered several scholarships. Will compete in the BSAL.
    Dominique Sashington – ENCINAL – DB, RB, extremely fast shut down corner and hard hitting safety. 6 ft., 185 lbs.
    Xavier Milton – ENCINAL – WR, DB, great numbers recieveing. Great hands, never tackled on the first attempt. 6’1″ 180 lbs. Possibly the fastest Jet. Top 3 best reciever in ACCAL 2007.

  • Michael Bower

    Sounds like Encinal should have a solid squad this year!

  • dnrapp

    San Leandro should win the HAAL, probally undefeated in league again this year. Only close league game should be vs BOD which is @SL this year. They have the entire Off. back, except for RB Tyler Mason, most will be seniors. The tough non league schedule of Valley Christian(SJ), SRV and Cal High should get them ready for HAAL play.

  • junior

    The race is on for the second place in the EBAL! Noone will beat De La Salle. I have read that the EBAL will be tougher for the Spartans, but they beat the EBAL’s BEST teams in the playoffs every year-why would it be any different in the regular season? I am a football fan and get tired of the complainers. Lets just enjoy the excellence of the Green machine because we dont know how much longer coach Lad will be around- we may NEVER see a program so well run and executed.

  • Michael Bower

    I am still up in the air as to who I will pick to win the HAAL. It will obviously be between San Leandro and Bishop O’Dowd.

    San Leandro is definitely playing the tougher schedule out of the two teams, but O’Dowd’s running game is going to be awesome this year. Should easily be the best in the league. We will see how Chris Martin is utilized on offense, if used at all. He can be a key guy, too.

    I think it comes down to how well San Leandro’s Travis Gardner throws the ball and how well the defense can stop the run. San Leandro has always had a tough run defense. We will see if it will be the same this year. As usual, stopping the run will be the key to beating O’Dowd.

    Seems like the HAAL is back to its traditional San Leandro-Bishop O’Dowd wars. A team to keep an eye on is Castro Valley, though.

  • EBAL Fan

    Wow Junior, what a bold prediction that no one will beat DLS in the EBAL. Thanks for clearing that up, as I was a little concerned for the Spartans!!!!! I think what people mean about the EBAL being tougher, is they may have to play their starters a bit longer than they have in the past with the BVAL. Over the course of a season, that may put a little more wear and tear on the Green Machine. There is no one whining in the EBAL about DLS coming here, so I am not sure where you get your information. The EBAL coaches have for years correctly touted the EBAL as the best league top to bottom in the section. That doesn’t mean they have the best team, but from top to bottom the best league. Anyone who argues that, to be honest, lives in a cave. San Leandro, Logan and Pittsburg over the years would have won their fair of EBAL titles, but there’s not the American’s, Mt Eden’s, etc. of the world. Say what you want about Livermore, but the Cowboys have played well in non-EBAL games and are getting better in the league.

    That being said, the EBAL coaches realize if you want to be called the best, you have to play the best. You think Bergman, Sanchez, Sweeney, Sira and the rest don’t know what they have with the Spartans in the league. Each know it’s going to be very, very tough, but I guarantee each one of them respects the hell out of Lad and his team and each relishes the chance to put on the helmets and compete with DLS. I for one say

  • EBAL Fan

    WELCOME TO THE EBAL DE LA SALLE — we are glad to have you in the best league in all of NORTHERN CALIFORNIA. That’s just more banners for the EBAL to hang!!!!!!

  • Jimmy Durkin

    Hey Bower and all,
    One thing to keep in mind about the “switch” to five divisions. We’ve had at least five divisions dating back to 1991, sometimes more depending on the breakup of Redwood Empire and East Bay. I think a lot of people forget about the Class A and Class B. Last year’s format had 53 playoff teams (the 2A Redwood Empire had only seven eligible teams so there was one fewer) in five divisions. This format has 54, the same number last year’s postseason should’ve had. The divisions are just broken up differently and East Bay and Redwood won’t be separated in the brackets, which could create some extra spots for East Bay teams. But there definitely isn’t a diluting of the playoff talent pool because simply, the same amount of teams are going to the playoffs. So Bower, that should help make up your mind on if you like the new format.

  • Michael Bower

    Durkin is back with some info! I like it. Thanks for clearing all that up for me. That certainly helps make up my mind. Bring on the new format! I am liking it. I think Tennyson is set for its first playoff berth. What you think, Durkin?

  • EBAL Fan

    I think we should get rid of all the leagues and have one big playoff format….Just kidding. More is better in the long run. Does it dilute the playoffs, you bet. But, and this is the kicker, high school sports is all about the experience for the kids and getting more kids a chance to play in the postseason is what really matters. It’s a lifetime experience for many of these kids who will never play football again after high school.

  • Jimmy Durkin

    Bower, yeah it should help the Lancers chances. You’re the expert on how Terry Smith’s bunch should look this year, so if you say their in, I’m buying it. A .500 record should get them in and with their schedule, I think that’s definitely doable. You know Terry believes in his bunch. Check out this quote from him on Calpreps.com, “We believe we have improved enough to make the Division II playoffs in 2008,” said Coach Smith. I like it.

  • billjohnson

    anyone heard anything on st.patricks/st.vincente

  • billjohnson

    what’s the deal with bishop o’dowd’s non-league looks soft to me stop hiding o’dowd play teams with better athletes.

  • billjohnson

    who are the top 25 players in the eastbay this season?

  • Desmond Camper

    I take Coach Smiths Comment and raise it to the NCS DIV II title game
    vs Pinole Valley.

  • Desmond Camper

    bower who do we (tennyson)look

  • Michael Bower

    Desmond,

    Not to be a jinx, but I think this could be one of the best years in a long time for Tennyson. My prediction is the Lancers and Farmers will be fighting it out for a fourth-place finish in league and maybe even third place.

    Not sure who is going to take the title, but I am guessing San Leandro or Bishop O’Dowd with Castro Valley being a sleeper.

    You never know about Hayward sneaking in there, either. The Farmers always have a crop of dangerous players. It’s just a matter of them sticking together for an entire season.

    My predictions for the HAAL aren’t set in stone because I haven’t talked with all the coaches, but here they are for the moment.

    1. San Leandro
    2. Bishop O’Dowd
    3. Castro Valley
    4. Tennyson
    5. Hayward
    6. Arroyo
    7. Mt. Eden
    8. San Lorenzo

    Remember, these aren’t set in stone. So, I don’t want to hear anybody get on me for my selections just yet! Well, go ahead if you really want.

  • Michael Bower

    Bill,

    You are going to have to wait for our preview section to come out for our top 25 players in the East Bay. Feel free to throw some names out there, though. We always welcome knowledge droppers!

  • Desmond Camper

    Bill,

    ima leave you these names Tennyson Seniors for TOP 25

    Max Carmona QB Tennyson
    Desmond CamperDETennyson
    Dimitrius Bow WR Tennyson
    Puma Rivas DL Tennyson
    John Pangealina LB Tennyson
    and when is the preview

  • Desmond Camper

    make sure all u reporters come check out our double days next week at especially the 6 o’clock period

  • EBAL FAN

    Top 25? I am guessing one from the MVAL, one from the HAAL, two from the EBAL (maybe three with DLS in there now) and 20 from the BVAL and DFAL!!

  • billjohnson

    who do u see winning the bsal & accal this season?

  • Jimmy Durkin

    Just like Bower, these comments are all without the benefit of talking to any of the coaches yet about how the teams are looking, so don’t get too mad at me.

    In the BSAL, as long as St. Pat’s is around, with the kind of program they run, I have to pick them as the favorite. I could also see Piedmont coming up and challenging St. Pat’s for the crown now that their in the second year of running the A-11 and return some key players. Another team that I expect to be in the running and could easily see winning the title is Encinal, which is moving over from the ACCAL. They had a great year last year and were competitive against the bigger schools in the ACCAL, so I like their chances for at least a top-three finish and to possibly challenge St. Pat’s.

    In the ACCAL, you have to probably pick Berkeley as the early favorite since ‘Zo always fields a competitive team. Pinole Valley also should be dangerous and Alameda is never a slouch.

    I’ll be excited to see how this year turns out and can’t wait for opening day. Chances are my first game to cover this year will be the Island Bowl between Alameda and Encinal on Sept. 5, which now is a non-league game since Encinal was bumped to the BSAL. That should be an exciting one.

  • billjohnson

    who u got winning that island bowl?

  • billjohnson

    why don’t st.pats & salesian ever play both small catholic schools?

  • Jimmy Durkin

    Bill,
    I’ll know more once I talk to more coaches about how the teams are looking, but I know Encinal has some good talent coming back so my early pick will be the Jets to repeat.

    I couldn’t tell you why St. Pat’s and Salesian don’t play. Especially during the Jahvid Best days that would’ve been a great matchup.

  • http://BOD Coach

    Jimmy,
    Could it be that Salesian is scared. If you ask me, Piedmont, St. Mary’s, St. Pat’s, Encinal, Skyline, Castlemont, Mack, Oakland Tech, would all beat Salesian. It seems that they always have an all East Bay Player: Javid Best, David Singleton, Jake Haskell, but they won’t enter the BSAL thus, every team has a bye and it screws everything up, and they get praised every year more and more whats up with that?

  • Jimmy Durkin

    Coach,
    I wouldn’t say that Salesian is scared. It’s not Salesian’s fault they aren’t in the BSAL for football. The NCS tries to align these leagues based on school size and that places Salesian in the BFL against the likes of St. Elizabeth, Berean Christian, CSD, etc. I’m sure any games against those teams you mentioned would be competitive, but I wouldn’t guarantee all those teams would beat Salesian. Remember, Salesian beat McClymonds, Castlemont (the two Silver Bowl opponents) and St. Mary’s last year. Sure, last year is year, but that’s all we can go off for now.

  • billjohnson

    how would you rate bishop o’dowd non-league alameda, san rafael, j.f.k fremont?

  • billjohnson

    who do you like berkeley at home or castlemont?

  • XTower

    Salesian lost to St. Pat’s in the 2006 Class A title game (Jahvid Best’s final game) and I think they played during the regular season that year as well, but someone can double check on that. Hint, hint …

  • Michael Bower

    Alameda will be the only real test for the Dragons in non-league play. If I had to rate O’Dowd’s non-league schedule on a scale from 1 – 10 with 10 being the toughest, I would give it a 3.

    Coach Perenon has contracts with these teams and must honor them. He couldn’t just alter his non-league schedule because his team has returned as one of the best in the East Bay. That explains why the non-league schedule is similiar to last years. A lot of teams make contracts for 2-3 years with other teams for non-league games. Not many school’s have year-to-year changes in the schedule based on how good its team is right now.

  • David Phillip

    I really don’t seem to understand the complete overlooking of Mt. Eden in the race for the HAAL title. No ill will intended, I just don’t seem to see what you guys see.

  • Michael Bower

    David,

    Mt. Eden can be a sleeper team in the HAAL because it will have some new faces. If those guys perform, then the Monarchs can certainly jump to the upper half of the standings.

    I just don’t see them beating San Leandro or Bishop O’Dowd, though. However, I never will say never.

    Mt. Eden did lose a solid crop of running backs and the HAAL Defensive Player of the Year, Paul Fakahua, among other players.

    Also, the new coach at Mt. Eden, George Mitsopoulos (sorry if I butchered the spelling) didn’t get in until June or so. That is a huge disadvantage.

    However, I did talk to him and he says everything is going great and the offense and defense is already installed. So, we will have to see how some of these newcomers fill in the holes.

    But with so much unknown about how these guys will be able to fill in, I can’t include Mt. Eden in talks for the HAAL title at this point. Maybe down the road…

    What’s your take on Mt. Eden, David? Why do you think they can challenge for the league title?

  • Michael Bower

    The preview should be running Sept. 4. I will let you know if that date changes.

  • Jimmy Durkin

    Bill,
    That Castlemont-Berkeley game is going to be a tough one to call. Zo loves to play that smash mouth, grind-it-out football that keeps games low-scoring. That fits well with Castlemont’s style of play, which is defense first. The Knights have had one of the top defensive units in the area the past couple of years and I’d expect the same this season. (Remember the Silver Bowl anyone? They shut down Andre Island better than any team other than Palo Alto and if they could’ve stopped a two-point conversion in the final minute they would’ve won). Anyways, I expect a very tight game. Something like a 10-7, 14-13 affair and I’ll say it could go either way. It’ll definitely a game I’m looking forward to and I expect to be there to cover it.

    Also, in response to XTower’s comment, no Salesian did not play SPSV during the 2006 regular season. The last time they met in the regular season was 2004, a 49-21 win for St. Pat’s.

  • David Phillip

    I definitely can agree with your assessment of the team’s expected success upon reading your arguments. I just don’t foresee a team which lost by a mere 7 points to an eventual NCS Championship game bound team, in the 11-2 California Grizzlies, ending up 7th in league. Especially, in an 8 team league. I’m pretty sure it may just be some alumni bias, but I see them faring better than that. I don’t expect them to be considered an “odds on favorite” considering the circumstances. I don’t even see them being expected to be top three. But playing on that 8-2 team of 2006 and being expected to repeat our 2-8 performance … I just feel like at times we don’t get our “fair shake”. I do respect your input though and thank you for giving me the perspective of those outside looking in. Seeing as how that’s the perspective of those without slight or bias like mine lol. School loyalty tends to make everything jaded a light shade of blue and gold.

  • Michael Bower

    You wouldn’t be a true alumni if you didn’t feel that way, David. You have to think your squad is going to do better than what I got them at.

    The good thing is that the field decides what this team really can do. I certainly don’t. But it’s always fun to take a guess. Even better when a team shocks me! Maybe Mt. Eden will.

  • billjohnson

    do you see el cerrito competing for a league title? they always play berkeley tough.

  • Jimmy Durkin

    El Cerrito is always a competitive enough team to be mentioned in the league title discussion. I think if they make some strides over last year (I believe they finished 5-5), they can make a run at contending. A couple of tough non-league road games early (at former ACCAL foe Encinal and at Campolindo) should help them get ready for a tough league schedule.

  • http://BOD Coach

    can alameda high win or compete for a league title. what do they have over there?

  • CV fan #25

    I saw Alameda at a summer camp at Merritt College and they were really bad. I think 3-7 is more like it. I watched Castro Valley,Vallejo and Tennyson get the better of them. Alameda only has 1 good receiver. I can see the coaching staff getting thrown out of some games though as I saw them get in several arguements with other coaching staffs & players get into minor fights with other players. They have terrible leaders on that staff. I would expect more from Alameda High.

  • HAAL Fan

    I wonder what’s happened over at Alameda High. Wasn’t too long ago I remember them being one of the first 3A or 2A schools mentioned as a well respected sleeper. I mean, I may be mistaken, but what happened? It seems as if attitude is faltering and in that respect CV Fan #25 is absolutely right … attitude reflects leadership.

  • billjohnson

    they started believing their hype. talked to a coach from berkeley he said last season his team and alameda coaches & players were scouting a team, all alameda players talkin sh*t how they were gonna kick the sh*t out of berkeley beihg very disrespectful toward his staff. there very cocky for not ever winning a playoff game in recent years.

  • billjohnson

    who’s there head coach over at alameda? he must have a lack of discipline or he may b teaching that not sure.

  • billjohnson

    when is cardinal newman gonna play some teams from the east bay? at least novato has been down here a few times for some games.

  • billjohnson

    what’s happen to skyline? i know coach beam left but he pretty much left the staff intact when he departed.

  • HAAL Fan

    Well, now that they merged the 3A East Bay and 3A Redwood Empire classes I’m sure the Cardinal Newman staff will have to go out and schedule tougher inner bay schools to be able to legitimately argue for a top seed. Not saying, that Cardinal Newman needs to show what they’re made of, because we’ve all watched that State Bowl game.

  • billjohnson

    no denying that state game their q.b outplayed clausen but there non-league is suspect. i don’t know y they don’t play novato every year.

  • HAAL Fan

    I would definitely agree with you on that Billjohnson. As a player who went up against that Novato championship team of 2006. I would’ve loved going head to head with them every single season. You can do nothing but better yourself from the experience.