30 Questions to Kickoff: Have some Pride

Alright, so here’s Question No. 2 for the day.

Chace’s question: Salesian has been among the most successful small school programs in the Bay Area over the past several years. A lot of that had to with a certain talented running back who will be lining up opposite Michigan State this Saturday as a member of the California Golden Bears. Last year, in its first season without Jahvid Best, the Pride still featured plenty of talent as players like Jon Wheat and Justin Brown led the team to a 10-2 season.  But coach Chad Nightingale had six all-league players graduate, and that leads us to ask the question if the cupboard at Salesian might finally be bare?

Ben’s answer: The cupboard might have some foreign objects, like names you haven’t seen before. But rest assured, the cupboard is not bare.

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30 Questions to Kickoff: Defense in Danville

First of all, Chace needs to apologize. We missed a day, and it’s all his fault. Something about writing three items for the High School Football Preview section that’s coming out on Sept. 4. Anyway, you, the reader, luck out in this scenario because there will be two questions answered today.

Now, everyone knows who plays quarterback at San Ramon Valley. What about the other side of the ball?

Ben’s question: There’s no doubt that QB Joe Southwick was the catalyst for San Ramon Valley’s run to the NCS 3A title last year. But anyone who watched the team consistently knows that the real key to their success was the defense, a hard-hitting bunch that was loaded with senior talent. This year the Wolves are faced with the task of replacing guys like Kai Cummings, Harmon Bruno and Dan Smithwick. With those standouts gone, who will be the defensive leaders for SRV this season?

Chace’s answer: So I’m a day late, but it doesn’t mean I haven’t been thinking about the answer. Actually, I think the Wolves defense should be just fine. Continue Reading


EBAL notes

Alright everyone, we’ve all finished out league previews, so you’ll have to wait for the special section to come out to see all that information, but I thought I’d go ahead and throw out some notes and some of my impressions of the EBAL teams based on what I got from talking with the coaches in the league.

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30 Questions to Kickoff: Island Chatter

Believe it or not we’ve already forged our way through 20 questions. We’re two-thirds of the way home, which means kickoff is just around the corner. Yet, we still have 10 more questions to go. Important ones, too. Like, who is Keyser Söze? Or, who ordered the Code Red?

Okay, a real question then:

Chace’s question: One rivalry game that we didn’t touch on in our “Rivalry City” post last week was, the Island Bowl — which is now a nonleague game in Week 1 now that Encinal has moved to the Bay Shore Athletic League. Both are coming off strong years as Alameda went 7-4 and Encinal went 9-3. So which team looks poised to have the better season in 2008?

Ben’s answer: I gotta admit, I saw the title to this post and immediately wanted to talk about Jimmy Buffett. Oh well. I’ll settle for some football talk.

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30 Questions to Kickoffs: How’s life on Winton Dr.?

So, we’ve avoided them all month. Now, it’s finally time to talk about the big green machine.

Ben’s question: It’s a tremendous stretch to think De La Salle will be good this year, isn’t it? The Spartans have plenty of talent again this season but there are a few questions that need to be answered, especially on offense. First, who will be the backup QB behind Blake Wayne?  Second, with Wayne the full-time starter, will the Spartans still be successful running their old standby offense, the veer?

Chace’s answer: As of now, It appears that the answer to the first question is going to be sophomore southpaw, Travis Pacos. The answer to the second question is an unequivocal yes. Continue Reading


30 Questions to Kickoff: Like a Rolling Stone

Now a question about limitations.

Chace’s question: Does Patrone Wood II have any?  Wood was a rushing machine as an Ygnacio Valley sophomore in 2007. The big guy literally ran over defenses en route to over 1,300 yards, a staggering 8.1 yards per carry, and 16 TD. It would probably be fair to say that his productions slowed a little toward the end of last season, and part of that was likely the fact that the Warriors were facing tougher defenses by that time — all of which were keying on Wood. Now in a new league, there is little question that Patrone Wood is the odds on favorite to lead it in rushing? But just how many yards can we expect?

Ben’s answer: Oddly enough, this question has more to do with Wood’s teammates than it does with him.

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30 Questions to Kickoff: Rivalry City

Let’s get down to what every high school kid loves to think about: rivalry games.

Ben’s question: In high school football these days, rivalry games don’t always come in the final week of the season. With the new realigned leagues, many natural rivals aren’t even in the same league anymore. You’ve got to hand it to the coaches though because in most instances, they kept these rivalries going with nonleague games. We all know that for the players especially, these games just mean more than the others. In that vein, which of the natural rivalries will have the most impact on this season’s final standings?

Chace’s answer: There are two rivarly games that should have ample implications this season. And the high school football fan can see both, if they so desire. Continue Reading


30 Questions to Kickoff: New-look Spartans

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. Continue Reading


30 Questions to Kickoff: Do two quarterbacks equal a title?

And now for the offense that seemingly everyone wants to know about.

Ben’s question: The answer to the title question, in traditional coach speak, is no. If you’ve got two quarterbacks of equal talent and who are playing the same amount of snaps, you probably don’t have a dominant player at the position. Well, the question takes on a whole different meaning when you’re talking about Piedmont. Last year, the two-quarterback system known as the A-11 was something of a novelty. People were more curious about it than anything. But that was before the Highlanders showed they could win with it and now, with QB Jeremy George returning for his senior season, the question becomes: Is this the year the A-11 breaks through and wins a BSAL title?

Chace’s answer: There’s no doubt that the A-11 truly has a buzz about it now. And it’s a sure thing that Piedmont is going to be even better at running it this season than they were a year ago, simply from familiarity and repetition. Still, I can’t say with solid confidence that the trendy new offense will net a league title. Continue Reading


Breaking baseball news: Steen to coach at DLS

Yep, you read that headline right. Rick Steen, longtime San Ramon Valley coach (the ballpark is named after him at SRV), has signed on to coach the Spartans of De La Salle. My colleague Chace Bryson just received word this afternoon via email and he’ll be working on tracking down some more details as the day wears on.

Steen coached at SRV from 1974-2007 and racked up 490 wins. According to the release sent out by De La Salle, Steen’s son Andy is a Spartan alum. And, as Chace points out, Steen will be coaching an EBAL team this year as the Spartans join the EBAL. SRV fans, are you ready to see Rick Steen coaching from the visiting dugout at Rick Steen Ball Park?