30Q-2-KICKOFF (No. 20): A look to the south

It’s time to head to the southernmost tip of the East Bay and discuss the Mission Valley Athletic League?

Can someone other than James Logan or Washington win the MVAL?

In the past 22 seasons of MVAL football, only once has an MVAL squad not named Logan or Washington earned an outright league title. That came in 2005 when Irvington went 6-0 to take the MVAL and eventually advanced to the NCS championship game. Before that, you have to go back to 1988 to find a tri-championship by Kennedy (not surprisingly the title was shared with both Logan and Washington). American’s championship in 1987 is the last outright title (other than Irvington in ’05) not won by the Colts or Huskies.

So yes, the odds are definitely stacked against another team in the league stepping up and winning a title. Since 1987, Logan has 15 outright championships and two other co-championships. Washington has four outright and two co-championships in that same span. For the last two years, it’s come down to the showdown between the Colts and Huskies to decide the title.

Will that happen again? It certainly looks as though it could. Both teams lost talented multi-purpose quarterbacks (Logan’s Jonathan Willis and Washington’s David Ross) and outstanding tight end/defensive lineman (Logan’s Toni Pole and Washington’s Cedric Lousi). Those guys will be tough to replace.

For Logan, youth could be a concern as the quarterback battle is between a pair of sophomores in Jeffrey Prothro and Ryan Bua, both of whom should see playing time in the early season. Two more sophomores, Damond Beasley and Miles Long, are competing for time at running back. That means two things. 1) Logan may take its lumps a bit, particularly early this season, and 2) The Colts should be REALLY good the next two years.

The strength for the Colts should be their linebacking unit, led by returning second-team All-East Bay pick Albert Bell, a senior outside linebacker, and senior inside linebacker Matt Haney, a first-team All-MVAL selection last year (along with Bell).

Much of Washington’s success will likely be based on the talented Deandre Carter, who will see action at wide receiver, running back, defensive back and in the return game. He’s probably the most electric player in the league and last year was a first-team All-MVAL pickĀ at both receiver and defensive back and a second-team all-leaguer at kick returner. Another name to watch for the Huskies that I’ve heard rave reviews about is Haniteli Lousi, the younger brother of Cedric. He plays offensive tackle and defensive end.

If someone other than Logan or Washington were to contend, it would likely be Newark Memorial. TE/DE Kendall Andrews should be a force after a solid first year of football last season. QB/DB Nick Pohndorf was a first-team All-MVAL pick defensively last year and the Cougars are always competing for a playoff spot. If the Colts and Huskies slip up, there’s a shot Newark could slide in and take advantage.

I’m hearing that good things are being said about what is building at American under fourth-year coach Nick Amato. RB Shawn Wong returns after earning second team All-MVAL honors last year for a team that did make the Division I playoffs (and was kindly greeted with a meeting with eventual state Open Division champion De La Salle). The Eagles are down to Division II this year, which tends to qualify much more teams for the playoffs than D-1, so the road to the postseason might be tougher even if the field isn’t quite as brutal.

Kennedy obviously has veteran coaching (46 years for Pete Michaletos qualifies as veteran, right?) and the Eagles should be competitive within the middle of the league’s pack. Irvington will break in new coach Zach Silvernale and try to get things turned back in the right direction. And then there’s Mission San Jose, which hasn’t won a game on the field since Oct. 20, 2007 when it beat a now defunct Wilson Prep team 10-6. That’s a stretch of 23 straight losses on the field (one loss, in 2008 to Albany, became a forfeit win, so technically the losing streak is at 18 games).

OK MVAL fans, let us know you’re out there. Who do you like this season?

Jimmy Durkin

Jimmy Durkin is a sports writer for the Bay Area News Group.

  • Showtime

    I like the huskies this year. Logan is young, Newark has to change that offense if they want to be sucessfull anytime soon. American has a very talented team this year, they might even take the #2 spot this year. But overall I think the huskies with Carter will get it done

  • Fandango

    I’ve watched every team play this summer. Washington will not only win the MVAL this year but they will put on a De La Salle type streak on this league. Logan is down & the lower levels are not as strong. American, Newark & possibly Irvington can beat Logan this year.
    American has speedy backs & a dominating inside linebacker. Newark has a better line than Logan. Irvington looks good under the new coach. Good size upfront with a strong running game. Break out the champagne b/c Mission San Jose will score on Logan this year & be in the game for a half.

    MVAL Predictions
    1. Washington 5-0
    2. Newark Memorial 4-1
    3. American 3-2
    4. Irvington 2-3
    5. Logan 1-4
    6. Mission San Jose 0-5

  • Mt. Eden with Perenon wins the HAAL.

  • AroundTheLeague

    Ya.. American has been lookin nice.

  • Fandango

    I don’t know about winning the HAAL. But I think he will know how to beat O’Dowd. My question is what is he working with?

  • MVALFremont

    I think the battle for the top three spots are going to be tighter than they have been in a few years.

  • Donut

    I really hope MSJ American JKF provide some close games like they have last 2 seasons against each other down to the wire. I really love the MVAL for its diversity D-1.D-2.and a D-3 team but how they go out at for Tri-City bragging rights is HUGE!! I am excited for the pecking order after Logan/Washington, but that certainly is not set in stone! Carter is POY so when Washington comes to play every league game will be a thrill! Good Luck to the Eagles, Huskies, Titans, Colts, Warriors, and Vikings. this year will be another one decided in November.

  • CHALKtalk

    y is everyone think LOGAN going 2 b so bad what happen
    plz let me know ;;; I saw 2 got backs and 2 great LB ok lines one good corner wht do u think u need to wuin games

  • ColtsFan

    Logan taking the no. 5 spot in league… really? Thats just wishful thinking buddy. Sorry it wont happen, they will either take first like always, or at the very least second. And you can take that to the bank.

  • MVALFremont

    From what I’ve been hearing though I could be wrong, with Logan despite some good players coming back they lack depth in key positions like quaterback, running back and on the line. Their linebackers are going to carry their defense the whole season I think

  • Fandango

    I’ve never seen a Logan team this bad. I’ve been watching Logan Football since the days of Jackie Crooks. Logan’s line is a notch above Irvington & Irvington is just above Mission San Jose. Don’t be surprised if Logan loses to Arroyo in week one. After looking at their non-league this may be their first losing season in my lifetime.

  • renegades10

    Glad other people are starting to finally see that Logan will probably struggle more then they have in a long time this season. Everybody got used to them dominating the MVAL for so long that it’s weird to think that they could finish third or even fourth this year. Really think American is going to have a great year and should finish behind Washington. I wouldn’t be surprised to see a close game when those two meet. I could see Logan finishing behind those two and maybe even Newark. But I don’t expect the Colts to be down for too long.

  • KillerD

    Logan is the largest high school in Nor Cal.

    But the demographics of Logan have changed dramatically and the impact on the football program will be felt from this year forward.

    Many of the families at Logan do not place an emphasis on American football, instead focusing on soccer or cross country, and even worse, altogether forgoing sports to choose a path for their kids of academcis only.

    Logan’s best years are behind it for good in American football. Yes due to the sheer enrollment of Logan, they will occassionally rise up to challenge for a MVAL title, as they should.

    But the MVAL teams are undergoing a huge shift in demographics, the impact will be seen, felt and observed at every school in that league moving forward from here on out.

    The EBAL will remain dominant for years to come, only an occassional hiccup will let the MVAL teams end up victorious in the long run vs. the EBAL.

    Sad but true…….

  • CHALKtalk

    everyone keeps telling me how good LOGANS coaching staff is THE PROOF IS N THE PUDDING if they pull this off. Ill tip my ht 2 those guys. What is Irvington working with this year

  • Matt Rempel

    Demographics have been an issue in the Fremont area a long time, and it is obvious when you are covering an MVAL team that they just don’t have the numbers wanting to play football that teams from Pleasanton and Danville have. The challenge will be to get kids playing football at a younger age so when they get into high school, there will be enough bodies to fill out the team. I think KillerD is correct, Logan’s mamoth size will keep them competative, but for how long?

  • joe

    saw irvington at a 7 on 7 this summer. Didnt look very good.

    As a whole the MVAL is a very poor league

    Logan and Washington will make playoffs, but probably lose in the first round. MSJ, Irv, Amer, Kenn, NewMem, none of them impress me at all

  • CHALKtalk

    I hear the Haal is making a come back
    i didnt no they were ever there
    anyone have ny insight lol


    sure chalktalk,

    HAAL sucks

  • CHALKtalk

    Murdoc LOL
    why do u think the HAAL is so bad
    they have a great talent pool

  • Chs1012

    A preceding quote is interesting for those that read high school sports blogs.

    “and even worse, altogether forgoing sports to choose a path for their kids of academcis (sic) only.”

    The correct term is scholar-athlete, not vice versa. REAL high sports programs relate quite well to that. Emphasis should be placed where warranted, not wanted. Coaches, Admins, Teachers would all agree a student performing well in school who happens to play a sport is ONE LESS KID they have to worry about when it comes to the progress report the athlete typically turns in to keep playing in season.

    SO WHAT if many kids want to “compete” in academics…it’s called education! I’m proud- and rather fortunate he had the academic and athletic drive- to say my National Merit Winner competed with and against some of the best football players/coaches/programs in the state and he has major props as he heads to D1 rugby at a top tier academic…
    Demographics is a reality, that I get. But talk to enough recruiting coordinators and here’s what you get: Question #1-“What position does________ play?”
    Question #2 -“What’s his/her GPA?” Question #3- “What was his/her combined SAT?”…end of questioning unfortunately for many VERY good athletes. Many of the most talented kids in NCS continue on the next level, but the next level for them academically is Juco.
    Outside of blue chippers, this is the reality….I recently attended a major college insider’s talk about getting to the next level. His concern was not your stats, times, SPARQ rating, on and on…. His first question for the high schoolers who wanted to go onto the next level was, “How are you going to provide for your family…because it doesn’t happen even for those with a signed professional contract.”

  • Barney

    Right on Chs1012. We’ve had recruiters come to our school and say to the head coach: show me D1 quality athletes with a solid GPA, good SAT, no arrests, no suspensions and a quality character.

    If even one of those is missing, they’re not interested and move on.

    Much easier to make a kid better at a position than it is to make him a good student. Habits are set in stone by their senior year, either they know how to survive in the academic world or they don’t. You can teach better athleticism, but by their senior year you can’t teach study habits and excellence in class.

  • MVALfollower

    I am not sold on Newark at all. They have a lot of players back on offense from last year. Which is actually a bad thing since they only averaged 16 points and 200 yards a game in ’09. Unless they change their whole offense around, I don’t see them getting much better.

  • MVALFremont

    The last time Logan finsihed with a losing record was in 1998 with a 4 – 6 record, then junior Otis Amey had to play quaterback that year

  • norcalfball

    i think MVAL will be up a little this year…washington seems to be similiar to last year…logan will be slightly down but maybe still a playoff team. newark should be better with the return of a few key players, but must open offense up if ever going to be successful…american seems to make the biggest jump with all their returners, we will see if that turns to wins though…irvington has nowhere to go but up after that last few years…kennedy should be similiar..and of course MSJ has no where to go but up…

    so not a huge jump but should be a little more competitive this year…

    my predicted finish:
    1) washington
    2) logan (still can’t pick american until i see it)
    3) american
    4) newark
    5) kennedy
    6) irvington
    7) MSJ

  • KillerD

    MVAL Predictions:

    1. Washington
    2. American
    3. Logan
    4. Newark
    5. Kennedy
    6. Irvington
    7. Mission SJ

    Can we get a Thread or new Topic going for Predicting the Outcomes of Every NCS League?

  • Ryan Rodriguez

    Sounds crazy but Washington with a stonger team then last season has a legit shot at being in the discussion for a D.2 State title shot.

    With the emergence of Singh @ the QB position, Oline and Dline averaging 230 across the board, a top 5 secondary in NorCal, top 5 non league schedule, and a game changer on both sides of the ball like Carter don’t sleep on what could be!

    I may be a bit of a homer but if they finish the non league schedule with maybe 1 loss, undefeated in league, and win NCS D.2 title the argument is just?

    Just my thoughts and how I see it playing out but it’s a long road and a tough challenge and so many things could change over the course of the season!

    Good luck to all the student athletes and the season is upon us! GO HUSKIES!!!!!!!!!

  • renegades10

    If Washington were to win the NCS D2 title (and that’s a big if), then of course they would be in the picture, but they would need some help. They’d have to hope that DLS doesn’t get picked for the Open game, because whoever comes out of that SJS D2 section when then be the hands down favorite. Can’t forget the Northern section teams that have been snubbed recently and as seen with the bowl committee, they love making things up to schools and sections. And then of course the CCS which always has solid teams. Don’t think the Huskies would get a bid with even one loss unless the team they lose to has a great season. SRV might be the only team they could lose to that wouldn’t really hurt their chances for a bowl game, but right now they would be middle of the pack for the D2 game.

  • billjohnson

    did albany officially forfeit?