TONIGHT, 7 P.M. @ Monte Vista — Get there early.
DANVILLE — What a difference a couple of weeks can make.
It was just two weeks ago the San Ramon Valley High football team was entering its regular-season finale against rival Monte Vista without any momentum.
But a decisive 26-7 victory, followed by a dominant game in the first round of the North Coast Section Division I playoffs — a 42-14 win over San Leandro — changed that.
Now the No. 7-seeded Wolves will return to Monte Vista today for a 7 p.m. game against the second-seeded Mustangs as one of the hottest teams in the area.
“Playing Monte Vista is already a big game, and to play them again in the playoffs is even on a bigger stage,” San Ramon quarterback Joe Southwick said. “There is obviously a lot more on the line because the season is over for whoever loses.”
Losing a postseason game is something the Boise State-bound senior has yet to experience. He led the Wolves to the NCS 3A title a year ago before the section was realigned and San Ramon was slotted in the top division.
Monte Vista won’t have to look very far for motivation. With a first-round bye, the Mustangs have had two weeks to think about the loss and prepare for another crack at their rivals.
“Coach (Craig) Bergman told us there aren’t many mulligans in life, so we have to take advantage when we get them,” Monte Vista quarterback Brett Nottingham said. “We’re happy that the seeding turned out like this, and we feel lucky that we get to play them again.”
Nottingham came away disappointed with his play in the first meeting and acknowledged he needs to take better care of the ball.
Monte Vista moved the ball with relative ease when it had a big field with which to work, but turnovers and penalties plagued the
Mustangs once they got to the red zone.
“We watched the film, and when we got (to the red zone), we got careless and had some penalties,” Nottingham said. “We need to capitalize on those chances and execute much better.”
The winner of tonight’s game will advance to the semifinals to play the winner of Saturday’s game between No. 6 California and No. 3 Pittsburg.