30Q-2-Kickoff (No. 14): Who will beat the Dawgs?

Today, I’ll take on an entire league.

Alhambra enters 2010 as the defending Diablo Foothill Athletic League champion, but repeating may be another thing altogether. Who might knock the Bulldogs off their perch?

This year’s DFAL looks like an interesting race to me. Last year was something of a transition year for a couple programs and Alhambra took advantage, going undefeated in league play. Acalanes and Las Lomas finished in a tie for second and traditional powers Miramonte and Campolindo took their lumps a little. Dublin had a big win too, beating Miramonte, and Dougherty Valley continued to get accustomed to the DFAL.

So, where do we go now? Well, until further notice, I’ll call Alhambra the favorite. You have to, right? I think there’s a fair amount of optimism in Martinez because of the guys they have returning (see Trevor Davis, Jared Leaf, Rich Manuli, Maurice Poyadue and the like).

Last year’s second-place teams have some questions as well. Las Lomas has a new quarterback (Jackson Miller) after the graduation of Lucas Gorton. What the Knights also have is a definite preseason contender for DFAL MVP in RB Marquis Waters. Waters is as explosive a runner as you’ll find in the East Bay, and that’s a great building block to start with. Also, we can’t expect the nonleague schedule to be nearly as tough as last year, when the Knights took on Rocklin (made a state bowl game) and Mitty-San Jose (won the WCAL) and got pounded. Morale should be a bit higher going into the league season this year.

Now, there’s a rumor going around that Acalanes is going back to coach Mike Ivankovich’s preferred offense, the double-wing, double-tight ground and pound attack. If that’s the case, there’s no telling how good the Dons will be. Big time runners Bo McSwine and Tyler Malley are gone, but QB Mike Leamy returns along with WR Trent Baker. I have a hunch that the passing game will still factor for the Dons. Plus, you can count on Coach I having them ready to go.

Staying in Lamorinda, you can never, ever count out Miramonte. John Wade is too good a coach, and when you look at the Mats’ roster from last year, you realize they had eight sophomores on it. One of them was QB Ross Anderson, and I would expect him to continue to get better. Of course, it helps to have a big fella like Ross Dolbec on the offensive line. He’s going to be tough to move.

In Moraga, Campolindo is dealing with the loss of QB Tommy Stephens, who graduated. The Cougars have a 2010 roster up already, and they list three signal-callers who will try to step in for Stephens. One is his younger brother, Brett, and he started as a freshman on last year’s NCS title winning baseball team. The others are Griffin Piatt and Nick Zolintakis. Whoever plays there will have a great target in Andrew Ahr, who had a good season last year. After going 3-3 last year, there are definite questions (judging by the weights listed, there doesn’t look to be a ton of size up front), but I’d figure the Cougars for a bounce back season.

For Dublin and Dougherty Valley, continued progress is the goal for this season. Dublin struggled with injury problems last year, and I continue to hear good things about QB Ed Achziger. He’ll be a junior this year. Dougherty Valley returns Michael Spivey, but his running mate last year, Jeremy Sites, has graduated. And, Spivey is listed as a running back on MaxPreps, so that means the Wildcats will have a new quarterback this year. We’ll have to wait and see how they look early in the season.

Well, that’s what I know at this point. DFAL fans, sound off. Who ya got this year?

Ben Enos

  • You wanted a break down, you gotta a breakdown. All you bloggers making statements who have you seen play this year? If its nothing this time of the year then why are you making comments. I can see making pre-season calls but by now if you saying this team will for sure beat that team what are you basing it on?

  • brandonbeard

    In the BSAL the Jets are still the team to beat! No question about that!!!!

  • François “Papa Doc” Duvalier

    Man Down,

    I hear Encinal has 4 very good, very athletic Varsity QB’s ready to go. Grades ranging from 10th – 12th. I hear Encinal also has 4 JV QB’s ready to go (3 9th graders and 1 10th grader). And if you know Encinal, that will become 8 very solid defensive players. Lets be for real. Encinal is a small school competing at a very big level. A lot of their pre-season workouts are a bit watered down. On Friday night and unfortunatley some Saturdays which I think is extremley lame (Serra)the Nail-House will be ready to play.

  • François “Papa Doc” Duvalier

    Jimmy Durkin,

    What does Miramonte look like? I only remember their QB from last year. A pretty decent runner. Who is his supporting cast? Did that lineman play in any playoff games last year? I dont remember any outstanding lineman, he must have been hurt??? I know your co-worker is riding them but did he mention a RB from Miramonte also? Who is that cat? Give me some numbers Jimmy baby. Word has it that EHS has figured out their line play – coached by former long time Encinal coach Jack Schramm (Dive and Option).

  • ManDown

    Reggie Hammond, Is this years team better or worse than last years team?


    ManDown, PAPA DOC,

    Miramonte destroyed Berkeley in their scrimage.

  • Reggie Hamond I have stopped by and watched 2 Jet practices. I have also seen 2 SPSV and 1 Marin Catholic. I try to be objective as possiable regardless of what team I am supporting. I can tell you I wil catch Terra Linda vs. Mt Eden , Novato vs. Heritage and MC vs. SI This weekend. I am sure I watch more than enough football to make educated statements. So if you can put down the contoller and stop playing Madden 04 on your PS 1 borrow a couple of dollars for gas from your little sister come by and watch a game

  • CHALKtalk

    thats funny as hell
    cuz couple of dollars of gas will get u nowhere

  • norcalfball

    when are people going to stop putting so much stock into scrimmages…to say a team destroyed someone in scrimmage is meaningless…so many teams have been sitting their better players or guys with small injuries to keep them healthy…if a team dominates a scrimmage vs a good team than they went in 100% scouted the opponent, put together an offensive gameplan, played there starters a majority of the time etc etc…if you notice most good teams never talk about what they did in a scrimmage because it doesn’t mean much…

    the funny thing is the only teams i have heard talking about how good or bad another team was in a scrimmage were from the middle of the road pack teams…the elite have nothing to prove in a scrimmage…once your team gets to that point where a scrimmage is like an extended practice where you just clean some stuff up, run a water downed offense and defense, play all your players equally, then you know you have arrived…

    a team that shows there offensive and defenisve hand in a scrimmage is merely looking for respect…which isn’t a bad thing i dont blame those teams they need to instill that attitude in their teams…but the really good programs know they are good and have 0 to prove in a scrimmage..which means very few formations, plays, blitzes, coverages, and lots of shared time for the 2nd and 3rd stringers. probably even a few star athletes not playing and probably put 0 gameplan in vs the opponents they were about to see and just ran their stuff.

  • ManDown

    How can you tell how good a team is from practice? Everyone has a differnt way of doing things so for you to base everything from practice is stupid. I can see scrimmage or even camps but practice? Like Iverson said “We talkin about practice…not a game but practice”

  • Mandown there is a lot you can get from watching practice if you know what to look for. For example how good is a QB’s arm is does, he throw a nice ball, what is his range, can the QB and center exchange the ball. The Jet practice I watched showed that the QB throws a nice swing pass but doesn’t have the arm for the deep ball like Brown and Duckett did. The center and QB put the ball on the ground more than a few times and QB to RB exchanges are were not very smooth. Granted this was an early practice but the Jets lost a lot when they lost there center of 35± games. If the Jets cannot throw the ball like years past teams will just stack the box then the huge o line they have will not matter.

  • ManDown

    I keep geting mixed review about the Jets. I guess we will have to wait and see game 1 against El Cerrito. Bleachercoach who do you have winning (Jets or Gauchos)and why?

  • You have never been to any of our practices. If so when? Its not like there are even 10 people there. There are all parents at our practices & I know every one of them. Any odd faces pop up at my practices get removed from the field. If you saw anything its at the rock wall where people fish & thats threw a fence. You never came within 300 yards of a pracitce so atleast say you watched from very far away. Or in a helicopter.

  • Mandown I have seen the last 3 Encinal vs El Cerrito games I base my following opion on that.

    Encinal wins this year by 20. Last year everyone said that EC was young and would be better this year which is the good news the bad news is they are very small and not very fast. They lost there fastest player on last years team WR Andre Williamson to gradution.

    In last years game EC was pretty much stopped at the line of scrimmage and really only scored on a busted coverage on scrabbling pass play and a tipped pass.

    Mean while Johnathan Allen who as a sophmore ran for 200 yards on 12 carries behind mostly the same line. I checked my stat book from last year and the Jets had 465 yards total rushing.

    So with the Jets playing at home with much of the same line and a back who put up huge numbers returning and nothing super new out of EC I think the Jets win.

  • c.sparks

    from what i can remeber from the St.pats jv game a couple of years ago .. encinals QB has a CANNON. he is big and hear he can run the option okay not as well as duckket and brown.. But if that kid transferred , encinal doesnt look to good at Qb, there jv quarterback was an athlete just not an quartback..

  • How can this years Encinal team be better then last year they’re 0-0 trying to earn a win. Nobody has said anything about Encinal this whole off-season we’ve kept it tight lipped & last year after this same scrimmage everyone was downing Encinal saying they’re trash, Alhambra would not let it go through the play-offs constantly bringing up they should be a higher seed ect… And still not one Alhambra person (I know all the same bloggers went to the game that went last year)is gonna come on these blogs & admit what they saw. There was no vendetta trust me Encinal could have killed that QB they let him hold the ball so long without a whistle at times that it was crazy. I don’t believe after that scrimmage that Alhambra wants to go against Encinal or that offense. They practiced against it too you could hear their coaches yelling from the stands, “This is what we worked on all week!” The D?? Pursuit, run defense, & Pass rush looked good. Pass defense with the Encinal #1’s did not look good.

  • ManDown

    Fair statement Reggie Hammond. Whats happened to the starting QB? Why didnt he play in the scrimmage? If Encinal pass defense isnt good then watchout for EC because one thing they can do is throw the rock to there athletes.

  • I don’t know he was walking around looked fine. Your guess is as good as mine. No lie about EC they have 3 guys pretty close to Davis not that good though. That boy can jump. No better test for EHS to go against him before EC. WHo knows might be a blessing in disguise? I heard & it was blogged that EC’s starting QB & D-1 prospect didn’t attend their scrimmage. Guess we’ll all find out Friday when they play JFK.

  • Bulldog Forever

    The Alhambra starting quarterback, Jon Miller, did play. The other QB, who didn’t play, is the second stringer, because he had hurt his ankle in practice.

    Miller is primarily a baseball player. He missed spring and summer football to play baseball. He’ll play better as he gets more time in.

    The other QB is a transfer who’s pretty good. He’ll be a solid addition to the team.

    “they have 3 guys pretty close to Davis”- Reggie, you’re right about that, cause it takes 3 guys to equal one Davis.

    Encinal, good luck with JFK this Friday. We’re playing College Park. These games will be a good bellweather for both of us on how our teams are shaping up. It’s gonna be a fun year.