30Q-2-KICKOFF (No. 17): In the shadow of Mt. Diablo

Today, I’ll take on another league.

Ygnacio Valley and Concord are the defending Diablo Valley Athletic League co-champions, but will another team rise back to the top in their always competitive league?

Of all the leagues in the East Bay, the DVAL might be the toughest to predict this year. You’ve got the defending champion Warriors and Minutemen, but you’ve also got teams like Clayton Valley and College Park that you always expect to be in the hunt because they’re so well coached.

On paper, you have to think Concord looks pretty strong coming into the season. Ricky Lloyd probably projects right now as the most-touted senior QB in the East Bay. DE Kevin Chase is getting Division I looks. And then there’s Alec Pica, who will be a two-way monster at running back and linebacker. And don’t discount their defense, led by MLB Sitani Malupo. There’s a good amount of talent in Minuteman Land this year, but health will again be an issue. They need to stay healthy to stay in it.

We’ve already covered the Warriors in depth, so I won’t go into too much detail here except to say that I wouldn’t expect the drop off to be as severe as people have made it out to be. They still have a solid core, and I would expect their game against Concord in the final week of the season to still have major league title implications.

A couple teams we haven’t talked much about are College Park and Clayton Valley. For the Falcons, it starts under center with returning QB Taylor Valdez. Coach Bill Kepler’s teams are traditionally good when the QB is returning, and I expect that veer attack to be in fine form this year. Also, let me introduce you to the name Oshry Elor, who will anchor the offensive line. At 6 foot 4, 330 pounds, I find it hard to believe many defensive linemen will move him around a lot.

Over at Clayton Valley, I think the Eagles have the pieces to have a pretty good year. It starts up front, with a solid trio of linemen in Nick Mazza, Kevin Jo and Rudy Ellison. They’ll protect improving junior QB Mateo Gomez, and they’ll create holes for RB Joe Protheroe, who has transferred from Mt. Diablo (according to their roster on MaxPreps) and who I thought was very talented last year.

The question for CV comes defensively because they’re losing a blue-chip player and leader in LB Vince Buhagiar. Now at Clayton Valley, Buhagiar was the heart and soul of that unit. If I know the Uglies though, they’ll find a way to fill that spot.

I think I said this last year too, but I’ve heard good things from summer camps when it comes to Northgate. The Broncos return talented RBs Matt Butler and Cameron Stover, two guys that really worked well in the double-wing, double-tight offense last year. They’re having a QB competition in training camp, but the key to success for them will be the line. If the offensive line, led by Ben Davidson, Max Levy and Dean Weeks, plays well then the Broncos could be the team to make a move this year, much like Mt. Diablo did in 2009.

Finally, Mt. Diablo is coming off one of the best seasons in school history and they’ll have to adapt to new coach Jerry Reese. A lot of the familiar faces from last year, QB Ethan Morrow, RB Deon Turner, Protheroe, etc. have transferred, leaving Reese with what looks like a clean slate to start anew. As a result, I can’t say I know a ton about the guys coming back. But, I’m anxious to see what Reese can do with those guys because he’s a good football man and he’s enthusiastic about working with the kids. That’s always a good starting point.

Ben Enos

  • DFAL Champs

    What camps have Northgate played well in and who was in it? Where do these high expectations come from? Were they really giving people the business? Who has seen Northgate play? What aree they good at?

  • DFAL Champs

    I just don’t see them challenging for a title.

  • KillerD

    I think Concord is too tough with their QB and has the upper hand overall on the league.

    Hamilton is a proven coach and loves to rack up the points. Concord lost some talent but seems to have less holes than everybody else in that league.

    Concord can lock in at least 7 wins and 9 might be very possible during the reg season.

    Concord wins it and I just don’t see YV winning 8 games this season.

  • W/Fan

    Northgate camps?? They went to ONE camp St. Mary’s. They got blown up, came in like 3rd or 4th. They got smashed up on in league last year and NEVER won a game They are the coaches favorite pick to pulverize for homecomings. The last time they won the Battle of the Creek was 2001-2002 season. Last time they won league the current team were in diapers!! Yep that was 1994 I’ve got no idea why every year we gotta listen to the same garbage about Northgate. Best laugh……wait for it The QB situation. Cost is a pretty good QB (but he has had a couple concussions) but, the back up Ryan weighs in about 130 LB’s probably less after he puked all over himself at the start of 2 a days. He can’t get out of his own way (dead slow) and he sure ain’t blocking anyone. Yeah watch out for Northgate…..NOT

  • outsider

    How come College Park only shows four league games on Maxpreps? They are not shown to play Mt. Diablo. The rest of the DVAL plays five league games. EBAL plays seven league games with tougher opponents. Guess that is why the EBAL is so beat up by the end of the season.

  • Showtime

    Wen do the players to watch in 2010 come out n the paper?

  • Jimmy Durkin

    That feature will appear in our preview section, which comes out Sept. 2.

  • Showtime

    Wen do the top 25 players to watch come out n the paper? And who do you think will b on it?

  • Showtime

    Thank u. who do u think will b on it?

  • outsider

    What was the reason for all the players transferring out of Mt. Diablo?

  • Showtime

    New coach is my guess

  • Jimmy Durkin

    I know exactly who is on it, but I can’t divulge that information quite yet. You’ll have to wait for us to release in the paper Sept. 2. We’ll also either post or link it here on the blog that day as well.

  • DVAL Watcher

    I guess we will hold our breath for the top 25. Here’s my players to watch for in the DVAL

    Concord: Lloyd QB, Chase DE (6′ 5 @ 240) Pica RB/LB 6’2 @225 fast & strong 40@4.23 squat@480

    College Park: Valdez QB, Byers DB Ferrante RB/CB and hello Elor OL 6’4 @330

    Ygnacio Valley: Rios DE/G, Jones WR/LB, Contreras OL/DL ( both lines are MASSIVE)

    Clayton Valley: Ellison DL 6’4 @265 Jo OL/DL 6’2 @220 Mazza C/DL 6’2 @220

    Northgate: Butler WR/CB Davidson OL/LB Stover RB/LB

    Mt. Diablo: ?? Morrow QB gone (I think he’s in Santa Clara), Turner RB (tearing it up for Pitt.) Protheroe RB (now playing for CV)

  • football_fan926

    its funny how every year people doubt yv,but towards the end of the season their one of the top 2 teams in the dval.

  • The way I see the DVAL final standings looks like this

    College PARK
    Bill Kepler know how to build a line at College Park and that will make the difference…..Ricky Lloyd led Minutemen may just have enough talent to top College Park…Concord faces Whitney of Loomis at the Battle at the Capitol on 9-4 at 5 P.M. and if they can get by them…then they will serve notice to the rest of the league…Both Ygnacio Valley and clayton valley will both be dangerous, but not nearly as much as in 2009..
    Mt. Diablo is a mystery, They have lost a lot and its hard to say if they will be as fired up as last year..North Gate could fool every body and yet they could be the league whipping boy, but lets hope not..

  • Big Boy

    @ Football_fan926

    did you not see the College Park and Ygnacio Valley game
    … Ygnacio Valley was a whole different team when they stepped on that field…

    College Park was a gut check for them… 53-26

  • football_fan926

    @big boy yet again yv was first and concord 2nd.
    i clearly said “top 2 teams in the league”
    not the score from last season’s game i***t.

  • joe

    the kids left mt diablo because they loved the old staff and the new staff has no idea what they have gotten themselves into

  • QB01

    Look for Vince Ferrante to be a huge playmaker at College Park both on offense and defense.

  • Big Boy

    You guys have to realize that talent has droped dramtically all around in some schools… thats why people think its going to be hard in the DVAL… i think it could possibly up for grabs between three teams…
    Concord Ygnacio Valley and College Park..

    College Park… Bill Kepler has to be the most underated coaches in the Bay Area… Hes been at college park probably just as long as Bob Ladacuer has been at De La Salle or maybe more… No one knows to much about him and his success at the school and sometimes is never mentioned after success… Hes always been known to make bad teams with almost no talent and turn them into NCS Playoff contention team…. Just embarrassing Ygnacio valley last yr 56-23 win… then a surprising upset against Amador Valley.
    This year i think College Park can possibly take the DVAL championship with some experience in the backfield and a experienced but not fast QB..

  • DVAL Watcher

    Players to watch in DVAL…..

    Concord: Lloyd QB (the real deal) Chase D/E 6’5@240lbs Pica RB/LB 6’1 @225 (fast & strong) 40@4.23 480 squat kids a beast

    College Park: Valdez QB/FS Byers DB Ferrante RB and hello big man Elor OL 6’4 @330

    Ygnacio Valley: Jones Wr/LB Rios DE/G Contreras OL/DL (both lines are MASSIVE)

    Clayton Valley: Ellison DL 6’4 @265 Jo OL/DL 6’1 @215 (quick) Mazza C/DL 6’2 @225

    Northgate: Butler WR/CB Davidson OL/LB Stover RB/LB

    Mt. Diablo: ??? Morrow QB (I think he’s playing in Santa Clara Turner RB (tearing it up for Pitt) Protheroe RB (playing for CV)

    Who else will play into the mix for the upcoming season? Of last years JV teams College Park dominated, will that tip the scales for CP taking league this year? Concord & YV didn’t have very good JV teams last year.

  • Where did Pica run his 4.23 40 ? That has to be one of if not the fastest 40 nationally. I don’t recall reading his name anywhere , norcal preps , rivals, scout inc, he’s faster than the Atkinsons ?

  • football_fan926

    i know pica aint faster then chris johnson..he probly runs somewhere around 4.9,5.2..not no 4.23 40..

  • DVAL Man

    I have to think Pica’s time is the 5-10-5 or pro agility wich is still impressive stop and go for a guy at 225.

  • W/Fan

    Pica 4.8 in the 40 Anyway he’s a “monster” / “beast” no doubt no one in leagues lookin forward to having tp play four quarters against him!! Great player.

    Is F. Vunipola RB/LB still at Mt. D?

  • No doubt Pica is a beast, great size like Toby Gerhart, 4.23 in the 5-10-5 is exceptional for a player his size. 4.23 40, didn’t sound right, thanks for the clarification.

  • football_fan926

    w/fan f.vunipola is playing at pitt high..how bout the stud d-end that yv has,jesus rios 4.9 40,explosive of the line and likes to hit..wont be surprise if he’s a first team all leaguer.

  • Big Boy

    Football Fan…

    you clearly dont know what your talking about… it has to do with them not being consistent.. to be honest i hate teams that just loose out of the blue like that.. shows that their not discipline team.. thats y ppl doubt the program if you really looked at the whole picture.. which you didnt… plus look who they played in the out of league games… no prestigious teams

  • football_fan926

    your still talking about last year? dang dude its 2010 new season,new players,new coaches etc..the past is the past that dont matter no more.its a new year,new season and the yv warriors are gonna go out there and do what they gotta do.ENOUGH said.

  • Big Boy

    We will see… but you have to look at the starters who are coming back.. so you do have to look in the past

  • 4.23 40 huh? Javid Best didn’t run that. Must be a typo.

  • dval fan

    It is my understanding Clayton Valleys Joe Protheroe, broke his coller bone and is done for the year.

  • Big Boy

    i think clayton valley will struggle this year seems like they dont have any play makers or experience but that can always change

  • Does Clayton Valley still have the same coach? The screamin’ eagles used to scream in pain against De La. Their coach taught dirty football.

  • NorCalFBFollower

    Is Big Joe’s whole purpose on here to talk about DLS, as if they need any more hype??? Did Protheroe really break his collarbone, that will be a big blow if that is the case? Has anyone seen Ellison’s highlight video on YouTube? Looks like a beast for the next season. Don’t the Eagles return a couple of quick backs from last year, I’m thinking maybe Ward was one of them. Maybe Dominguez another. Of course, also looking forward to what kind of ridiculous numbers Lloyd can put up this year for CHS.

  • joe

    the eagles wont be very good.

    Protheroe would have been a good player, sad to see about his collarbone. he was a very good player as just a freshman on Mt. Diablos varsity team last year.

    Their other good Rb is one who robbed some kids.

    they graduated all possible talent at their skill positions. They will have a couple good OL. and an ok QB. thats it.

    But luckily for them, the entire DVAL is so down compared to last season, its laughable

  • DVAL Watcher

    3 upcoming games: DVAL vs DFAL What say you? College Park / Alhambra Ygnacio Valley / Acalanes & Northgate / Dublin
    I think College Park wins a tuff game sends message to league. YV beats Acalanes
    and it’s lights out for Northgate.

  • outsider

    Any predictions for the College Park vs California game in pre-season?

  • W/ Fan

    ALOT of B.S and dissing of Y.V We WILL prove you all wrong!

  • DVAL Observer

    Acalanes 9 – YV 0… looks like those dissing YV were right about you all along. No offense what so ever from what I saw. That massive line couldn’t get the ball into the endzone against a team they out weighed by an average of 50 lbs per man. And the schedule only gets tougher… Alhambra, Concord, College Park, Casa Grande.

    Alhambra 34 – College Park 25… Another supposed well coach team that couldn’t stop the Dawgs all night long.

    Liberty 13 – Clayton Valley 3… The Eagles are truly UGLY now.

    Northgate 48 – Dublin 7… at least someone beat up on a weak team like they were supposed to. But all smoke and mirrors since Northgate padded this years non-league schedule against a bunch of cupcakes. We’ll see if they are for real when league starts. But they will be better than everyone gives them credit for. In fact they will break losing streak to YV for sure.

    DVAL certainly won’t come down to YV-Concord game.

    The three teams to pay attention to in the DVAL are:

    Concord (clear favorite to win DVAL and not share the title this year. Lost the least impact players and coach always goes for the jugular)
    College Park (depending on which team shows up)
    and Northgate (the surprise team of the league especially if they beat CP in first league game)

    The other three lost way too many impact players to be a factor.

  • W/Fan

    YV Mighty Warriors through up a W today in the scorching heat !!