You Alameda County folks are in for a treat this week as I’m going to try to give a little breakdown of all the games in my primary coverage area, which is basically the ACCAL, BSAL and OAL. I’ll toss in a note on the St. Elizabeth-Salesian game and try to give a little breakdown on the HAAL and MVAL, although since I haven’t seen any teams from those leagues, I won’t be able to provide as much info. But I’ll throw out my score predictions just for the heck of it.
Berkeley (7-0, 3-0) at El Cerrito (4-2, 2-0), 5 p.m. Friday
It’s the Game of the Week and the Game of the Year in the ACCAL. El Cerrito figures to be the team with the best chance to give No. 3 ranked Berkeley a run for its money, although I still have to consider the Yellowjackets a heavy favorite. The X-factor is the health of the East Bay’s leading rusher Rickey Galvin. He sat out last week against Richmond with a sore ankle and is expected to play. If the conditions are sloppy at El Cerrito, that could slow him down and give the Gauchos a chance. Andre Williams needs to have a huge game for El Cerrito also to keep it close. Still, considering what I saw from El Cerrito when they played Encinal, I have to think they’ll be overmatched in this game. Score: Berkeley 31, El Cerrito 17.
Actual score: Berkeley 50, El Cerrito 0.
De Anza (0-7, 0-3) at Richmond (2-5, 1-2), 7 p.m. Friday
De Anza has minus-38 rushing yards this season. ‘Nuff said. Oilers pick up their third win of the year. Score: Richmond 22, De Anza 6.
Actual score: Richmond 22, De Anza 17.
Hercules (2-4, 0-2) at Pinole Valley (4-1, 1-1), 7 p.m. Friday
Think the Spartans will be a little upset after they came out flat in a loss to Alameda? They’ll get their revenge in this one. Score: Pinole Valley 31, Hercules 6.
Actual score: Pinole Valley 47, Hercules 22.
St. Patrick-St. Vincent (4-2, 2-1) vs. Albany (1-5, 0-3) at Cougar Field, 5:30 p.m. Friday
Bruins are coming off an unexpected bye thanks to Kennedy’s forfeit and subsequent cancelling of their season. They won’t have a problem in this one against the team with the league’s last ranked offense and defense. Score: St. Pat’s 48, Albany 13.
Actual score: St. Pat’s 41, Albany 7. (Pretty darn close)
St. Mary’s (5-1, 3-0) at Encinal (5-1, 3-0), 7 p.m. Friday
Another huge game for this area as this game will likely decide the BSAL title. My hunch is that this St. Mary’s team is better than last year’s st. Pat’s team (which until about this point of last season was the other major contender with Encinal). I don’t expect a repeat of last year’s Halloween game when Encinal routed the Bruins. Instead, I’d expect something closer to Encinal’s game with Piedmont last year where the Highlanders kept it close before Encinal pulled away in the fourth quarter. The Jets have a huge advantage playing in “The Swamp” and if the field is wet (it’s been known to have puddles even if it hasn’t rained in a week or so), that could slow down Demetrius Brown-Ryan and Najee Lovett a bit. The Jets running tandem of Tyrone Duckett, Jon Trodder, Jonathan Allen and others are used to the conditions and shouldn’t be as affected. Score: Encinal 34, St. Mary’s 22.
Actual score: Encinal 34, St. Mary’s 27.
John Swett (3-3, 1-2) at Moreau Catholic (3-3, 2-1), 7 p.m. Friday
I like what the Mariners have going this year, considering they had only won 10 games combined since 2001 prior to this season. While it could be said that they’ve yet to earn a “good win”, the close game against San Lorenzo is looking more impressive as the Rebels are tied for the HAAL lead. Swett’s a funny team because when they’ve been overmatched, they’ve been blown out. When they’ve overmatched a team, they’ve blown them out. The only close game was a 7-6 win over St. Elizabeth. I think this will be another close game and I think Moreau picks up its best win thus far of the year. Score: Moreau Catholic 21, John Swett 20.
Actual score: Moreau Catholic 39, John Swett 29.
Castlemont (2-3, 1-0) at Skyline (2-4, 0-1), 3:30 p.m. Friday
This is the lone matchup of teams that won last week and the winner can essentially clinch an OAL playoff spot (While it’s mathematically possible, I don’t know if there’s ever been a year where a two-win team didn’t make the four-team OAL playoffs). The Knights earned a solid road win at at Mack last week while Skyline outlasted a Fremont team that’s unlikely to win a game this year. Castlemont has been a polar opposite from the past three years when it won with its defense, but I think as the Knights get back to full strength the defense will improve and the offense — with top-10 rusher Jakari Johnson — will keep rolling. Score: Castlemont 41, Skyline 21.
Actual score: Castlemont 20, Skyline 10.
Fremont (0-6, 0-1) at Oakland Tech (5-1, 1-0), 3: 30 p.m. Friday
This is the mismatch of the week. Nothing has gone right for Fremont this year, from the forfeit of the season opener with Logan (if it had been played, it probably would’ve been REAL ugly) to another forfeit just a few hours after its 0-0 tie with St. Elizabeth. Sione Tupuoata is a real talent, but one guy isn’t enough to net Fremont a win. Tech’s Ryan Murphy is fourth in the East Bay and tops in the OAL in rushing and should be able to add to that and the East Bay’s top-ranked defense could be primed to pitch a second-straight shutout, although I’ll pencil in one touchdown for Tupuoata. Score: Oakland Tech 42, Fremont 6.
Actual score: Fremont 28, Oakland Tech 7. (Wow!!! Did not see this one coming)
McClymonds (3-3, 0-1) at Oakland (2-3-1, 0-1), 3:30 p.m.
This is the most evenly matched game of the week in the league and should be a close one. Oakland is decimated by injuries and if it is forced to go with Damante Horton again at QB, that seriously hurts their chances. That’s not a knock on Horton as a QB, but rather the fact that they’ll lose a lot by not having Horton lined up at receiver. There also figures to be a big emotional boost going for Mack coach Curtis McCauley, who was the head coach at Oakland in 2007 during an 0-10 season. He spent last year as an assistant at Castlemont watching the Wildcats earn a regular-season co-championship (and hand his Knights their only OAL loss), so he’ll certainly bring an edge as he tries to beat his former team. I really think you can toss a coin for this game, but I’ll call on Mack to earn the big road win. Score: McClymonds 20, Oakland 18.
Actual score: McClymonds 20, Oakland 14. (Pretty proud of this pick)
St. Elizabeth (2-4, 0-2) at Salesian (5-1, 2-0), 1:30 p.m. Saturday
The Mustangs have been a completely up and down team — three times scoring 8 points or fewer and twice scoring 40 or more points. One of their wins was a forfeit of a 0-0 tie with Fremont. Salesian is the class of this league and won’t be all that tested here and they stay in line for a top seed in the NCS Division IV playoffs (behind St. Mary’s however). Score: Salesian 40, St. Elizabeth 14.
Actual score: Salesian 45, St. Elizabeth 26.
Arroyo (1-5, 0-3) at Mt. Eden (1-5, 1-2), 3:30 p.m. Friday
Arroyo showed some life against San Leandro last week and that (along with that earlier win against Newark Memorial) shows me the Dons have some potential. It was nice to see the Monarchs get in the win column against Castro Valley, but I don’t think they’ll do it again this week. Score: Arroyo 28, Mt. Eden 12.
Actual score: Arroyo 42, Mt. Eden 8.
Castro Valley (1-5, 1-2) at Tennyson (2-4, 0-3), 3:30 p.m.
These are two teams that haven’t done nearly as well as they would’ve hoped this year. Tennyson’s season went downhill with tough late-game losses to American and San Lorenzo (turn those around and you have a 4-2 team with an eye on the playoffs). The Trojans hit rock bottom with that loss to Mt. Eden. I’ll give the Lancers the home-field edge here in a close one. Score: Tennyson 21, Castro Valley 19.
Actual score: Castro Valley 21, Tennyson 14.
San Lorenzo (4-2, 3-0) vs. San Leandro (4-2, 3-0) at Burrell Field, 7 p.m. Friday
The Rebels have been a nice story so far and their early season success is lining them up for a shot at an NCS playoff berth, but I don’t see them having the firepower to knock off the Pirates. I thought Hayward had a good chance to give San Leandro a game and we all saw what happened there. I may be proven wrong, but I think San Leandro will flex its muscle here. Score: San Leandro 34, San Lorenzo 21.
Actual score: San Leandro 49, San Lorenzo 7.
Hayward (4-2, 2-1) at Bishop O’Dowd (2-3-1, 2-1), 1:45 p.m. Saturday
After losing its showdown with San Leandro in rather embarassing fashion, Hayward won’t want that to happen again. And flat out, this may be the worst year of O’Dowd football in a couple of decades. This is always a heated rivalry game so I expect the Dragons to play inspired, but I don’t think that will be enough. Score: Hayward 34, Bishop O’Dowd 20.
Actual score: Hayward 20, Bishop O’Dowd 18.
James Logan (4-3, 2-0) vs. American (3-3, 2-1) at Tak Fudenna Stadium, 7 p.m. Thursday
This game is about to kick off and will be a Colts blowout. American’s three wins are nothing to brag about with the toughest part of their schedule ahead of them. Score: James Logan 41, American 6.
Actual score: James Logan 52, American 0.
Irvington (2-5, 1-2) vs. Kennedy-Fremont (3-3, 1-1) at Tak Fudenna Stadium, 7 p.m. Friday
Neither team has a win over another good team this season, but I’ll go with the squad with the eighth ranked defense in the East Bay. Score: Kennedy 20, Irvington 14.
Actual score: Kennedy 21, Irvington 0.
Mission San Jose (0-6, 0-3) vs. Washington (4-2, 2-0) at Tak Fudenna Stadium, 7 p.m. Saturday
Is this even a real game? Not going to sugar coat it, get the running clock ready. Washington can make the final score be whatever it wants. Score: Washington 61, Mission San Jose 0.
Alright, time for you to start bashing me.