Staying in West County, why don’t we talk a little about Pinole Valley.
Chace’s question: For the past three years, the big name (and big questions) during the Spartans’ preseason featured talented running back Deante Purvis. But with Purvis now graduated, Pinole Valley won’t have that big punishing big game threat in the backfield. Should the Spartans be a little nervous without Purvis, or do they have a new wave of playmakers that can take his place? And will the team’s offense look the same?
Ben’s answer: The mighty Spartans are certainly still in the mix for the ACCAL title. And yes, they still have the players to match up with almost any team they want to.My question now is who will provide the consistency? The game breakers are there. On the ground, Tyrell Smallwood will be the one to fill the void created by Purvis’ departure. Keep in mind that Smallwood saw plenty of action last year as Purvis battled with injuries, so he’s got plenty of experience. In the air, Derek Crenshaw returns at quarterback and he’s got one of the East Bay’s top targets to throw to in WR Delton Edwards Jr. Edwards is 6-foot-5 and he’s going to be tough for opposing defenses to match up with.
Another big question I have is about the Spartans’ pass rush. DL Tevita Feau is gone, as is DE Elijah Winston. Those are two pretty talented guys that the front four has to replace. I think any football coach will tell you that the key to defense is the pressure that the line can create and that will be the case at Pinole this year.
I can see a scenario in which the ACCAL is about at the same level as it was last year when it comes to the league standings. Pinole and Berkeley should again find themselves at the top of the list and if teams like Alameda and El Cerrito can put it all together, there may be room to enter themselves in the picture.