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30Q-2-KICKOFF (No. 18): Who will run the Town?

It’s time to take a look at the Oakland Athletic League?

Who will win the Silver Bowl and who will be the MVP?

The Oakland Athletic League has certainly become more interesting and a heckuva lot less predictable over the past few years. From 1980-2007, every Silver Bowl included either McClymonds or Skyline. The two schools met seven times and combined for 33 appearances and 21 victories. The past two years have marked the first time a Silver Bowl has been contested without one of those schools and have featured the only times in the Silver Bowl era that Skyline didn’t make the playoffs.

It’s opened things up for Castlemont and Fremont in consecutive years to both earn their first Silver Bowl titles in school history. And long last, every OAL school has earned at least one Silver Bowl title (Skyline still has an overwhelming lead with 16, followed by Mack and Oakland with five and Tech, Castlemont and Fremont with one).

So what’s in store for this year?

On paper, McClymonds should go into the season feeling very good about its chances. Of the league’s top five running backs (statistically), only the Warriors’ Earnest Marshal returns this season. Overall, he was third in the league with 881 yards and in league games he was fifth with 390. Mack also returns Marcus Peters, who was a first-team All-City pick at wide receiver and is probably the top college prospect in the league as a defensive back. Marshall will share carries with another returning running back in Denzale Johnson, who had 507 rushing yards last year. Terrance Silas, another WR/DB, will serve as a threat as well. The player you won’t be able to help but notice is Wendall Taiese, a man child at 6-6, 360 pounds.

Even though it lost plenty of talent, including league MVP Sione Tupouata, you can’t forget about Fremont. Lineman Roydon Fonua should be a two-way leader, as well as Siliveinusi Tomasi, who was a first-team All-City pick last year as a sophomore. The Tigers will certainly be able to push people around and if they can find somebody to run with the ball behind those guys, they’ll be a threat. And don’t get discouraged if they get off to a slow start, the Tigers started the season 0-6 last year before winning five of the final six games to take the Silver Bowl with a final record of 5-7.

Oakland Tech said good-bye to an extremely talented senior class, led by OL/DT Fred Thompson (Oregon State), RB/S Ryan Murphy (Oregon State), WR/DB DiAndre Campbell (Washington State) and WR/DB Edgar Gillies Jr. (Sacramento State). That leaves quite a few holes to fill. But Simione Havea was a first-team All-City center as a sophomore last year and senior Ricky Wilkerson and junior Cameron Manning were second-team All-City defensive lineman. Greg Pierson and Daren Duong, who shared time at quarterback, were both underclassmen. So while some big time talent graduated, there should still be enough left to make another run.

Castlemont and Oakland both break in new coaches with the Knights’ Russell White and the Wildcats’ Nelson Gifford. Castlemont has some talent coming back and quarterback Eakalafi Okusi was impressive at times last year, so I wouldn’t be surprised to see the Knights bounce back even with the big loss of coach James Barnes to Arroyo. Skyline struggled in Jamaal Kizziee’s first year, but did score a pair of upsets when it beat Bishop O’Dowd in nonleague play and handed Silver Bowl champion Fremont a loss during OAL action for the Titans lone league victory.

As for who will take the title, I’ll make McClymonds my early season pick and I’ll go with Marshall as my MVP, mainly because I don’t know if Peters will get enough opportunites on offense to make a major impact on that side of the ball and Marshall might be able to rack up some yards and TDs.

Alright OAL folks, I know we have a lot of you out there. Who will take the title?

Jimmy Durkin

I cover mostly San Jose State football for the San Jose Mercury News/Bay Area News Group, but also fill in from time to time with the 49ers, Warriors, A's and Giants.

  • allRoads

    …sounds of crickets.

  • brandonbeard

    Looks like no one really cares about the OAL!!! What’s up with that?????

  • joe

    because the OAL is an absolute joke.

    Loaded with talent but the level of coaching in the OAL is horrible. If a great coach ever took over an OAL program, he would flat out dominate. Not the brightest football minds in that league

  • Coach Mac

    Joe -

    WOW!!

  • Creme de la creme

    Here we go with this level of coaching in the OAL is horrible talk again…Which great coaches are you talking about??? Cause all the things you have to deal with off the field…I don’t see your so-called “great coaches” staying around to long…”Not the brightest football minds in that league” too funny….

  • Creme de la creme

    I got Mack/Fremont as Champs and Peters as MVP

  • JB”DON”

    What makes a great coach ?

  • joe

    people think the OAL has all the problems,

    the concord, bay point, pittsburg, antioch communities all have similar problems, little funding and support but still produce good football teams.

    Im simply saying from every OAL coach i have seen, they have a very limited knowledge of fundamentals, and scheme. They all seem like great guys, but not the smartest when it comes to scheme.

    Ive watched several Tech, O high, castlemont, and, fremont HS games over the last 2-3 seasons and ive seen teams loaded with talent. The teach team last year looked like a D-1 team, talent wise they were better than most JCs. but all these teams struggled and underperformed to their talent level and it seems to be the coaching.

    running unsound defenses, not properly understanding adjustments on offense. all in all, just not understanding offensive and defensive structure and play calling

  • JB”DON”

    Joe are you a coach ?

  • joe

    why yes,

    yes i am. a former OAL coach actually. Thats why i have such insight as to the idiocy of so many coaches in the league

  • JB”DON”

    So i guess you fall in with the rest of us with that statement you made !!!

  • brandonbeard

    Who is this Joe Guy? what are u talking about? U want to see 20 different formations from every team in the OAL or something High school fdootball hould be simple but effective, there is no need to try to sound smarter than u really are! And that is whatu are doing! How about give coaches there just do for putting in time with kids everyday for multiple hrs when they have their own families! How about how coaches help teach kids to be responsible and dedicated to what they do. How about coaches allow kids to have an outlet and stay out of trouble! Doing something constructive. U are missing the point Coaching is bigger than just playing a minimun of 10 games a yr, it’s about teaching life skills, and helping these youngster beocme men!! Lets stop down talking coaches and learn to appreciate the effort these local oakland Coaches give day in and out!

  • Creme de la creme

    Well put @brandonbeard…Everywhere has its share of problems…But in Oakland the problems are bigger and deeper..You have young men dealing with much more then reg 14-18 year old problems…

    “Limited knowledge of fundamentals” Wow…I know for myself thats what I coach 24/7 and know what I am doing…scheme wise there is more then one way to skin a cat…So if its winning games…Whats the problem??? But oh well I am just a horrible OAL coach too…

  • Fremont high…

    Joe you is one great guy… Lol… This is my 2nd year coaching at Fremont high and the OAL.. Coaching in the OAL is realy more then football..,these kids realy do go through more then we think.. Right now at Fremont we focus on getting the kids to finish school and trying to provide them with more life skills they need for life.. Bring your sorry butt to Fremont and come talk to me face to face and see what we r about at Fremont.. We practice from 4:45 to 6pm.. Come get at us…. I am the DC.. Ask about me..

  • Fremont high…

    To all the OAL coachs… Keep up the good work… As part of the new staff at Fremont high we see what realy goes on.. Anyone outside looking in would not understand… Other then that good luck this year and let’s get it…