30Q-2-KICKOFF (No. 22): Who will rule the ACCAL?

It’s time to take a look at a league that could be poised for an uprising.

Can anybody end Berkeley’s three-year reign as Alameda Contra Costa Athletic League champions?

Berkeley has won at least a share of the ACCAL title for three straight years, which happen to be the three seasons the Yellowjackets were coached by Alonzo Carter. Berkeley shared the title with El Cerrito last year after a 13-10 upset by Pinole Valley in the regular season finale. That loss was Berkeley’s only ACCAL loss the past three years, as they compiled an 18-1-1 record and earned outright titles in 2007 and 2008.

Berkeley should still be good this year with QB Logan Murdock back for a third season on varsity and his second as the full-time starter. Michael Ned ran for over 700 yards last year as the backup to Rickey Galvin (now at Washington State) and will find some running room behind large left tackle Isaiah Henderson.

However, there is reason to believe some other teams are capable of contending. El Cerrito was a co-champion a year ago and while the Gauchos lost top receivers Andre Williams and Isaac Goins to graduation, quarterback Byron Thomas returns and linebacker/fullback Lyonel Louis is a force.

Alameda will be young up front as four of its five starters on the offensive line must be replaced. If they new guys can create some holes, talented senior RB Michael Cunningham should be able to add to his standout junior year when he rushed for over 1,413 yards. Tom Ruckman will enter his third year at quarterback for Alameda and is the other reason the Hornets feel like they can turn the corner this season.

Pinole Valley can never be counted out either. The Spartans won two straight titles in 2005-06 before Berkeley began its run and they will hope to get back to that dominance. LB Travis Feeney, who has committed to Arizona, will lead the defensive unit that will hope to shut things down for opposing offenses and give Pinole its chances to pull off some big wins.

De Anza, Hercules and Richmond combined to go 2-16 in ACCAL action last year and all three have strides to make before they can reach a contending stage.

It would appear that things should be a little more even in the league this year, especially within those top four teams. I’d say there’s a reasonable chance that you won’t see any team go undefeated in league play and possibly even two losses could earn a team a share of the title and there will likely be a lot of closes games decided in the fourth quarter.

Jimmy Durkin

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

  • norcalfball

    no doubt berkeley is as talented as any team in the east bay…you call everyone haters, yet you are the ones calling out everyone else. just as last year how you were going to whip dls and everything else…

    now i believe berekely is a very good football team and had a great defense last year. but have to wonder when you only play 1 good offense all year and lose real bad to them you have to question was the defense that good or were the opponents that bad.

    win some playoff games and you will get the respect you want. but with 3000+ students and d1 athletes getting water for your starters you need to win some playoff games.

    seen bhigh in passing and do look a littlle further along in that category which should help this year. run run run pass pass pass all you want in league and preseason and you can be successful…but when it comes time to playoff time if you can’t do both your season will come to a halt real fast…playing at a higher intensity, better competiion, better coaching, more prepation…must be able to keep teams off balance.

    i like bhigh as the 5th or 6th best team in d1 this year so lets see if they can make some noise in the playoffs.

    its almost here!!!

  • renegades10

    Guess we will find out what b-high has this year in that four week stretch when they take on MC, Pitt, PV, and Alameda. I am excited to see what Sims brings to the table this year offensively.

  • norcalfball

    i agree…as good of schedule as i have seen out of bhigh…not as top notch as one would hope…but will be tested at least this year nonetheless…i think it will help serve them better in the playoffs…i think mv was a huge wake up call they werent battle tested for…unfortunately there league isnt the strongest so you got to get the best of the best in non league to prepare.

  • Warrior Jacket

    Season starts next week we will see soon enough who wins and who doesn’t. I feel good about Berkeley’s chances to win the league. To everyone else good luck.

  • E_CULB

    They still use the bench test at the NFL combine.

  • bhsfan

    e culb ur exactly right anybody that watches the combine knows that but we got a bunch of smart guys on this blog, hope ur lil sis rehab is going good

  • island02 how did we do yesterday? had to work but ill see you friday in newark can’t wait.

  • fast andphysical

    Wow things are getting good, welcome Jacketfan,warrior jacket, bshfan, and dad, yea they look good in their scrimmage coach jones is doing a good job on putting the peices together on defense. jalen rosales,jacai DeNeveu,rashod albert, mark harden,and big baby marlon jerrel butler, have the defense playing fast and physical. Berkeley high coaches are teaching, unlike Pinole,who just playing off talent. berkeley better worry about preseason, or will be a 8th seed in playoffs. Hey Rashod, way to be a team leader, with Keir, Goodluck this season, and take one game at a time. Micheal Ned is the truth, and I see you Jamil Whetstone on the corner rerouting receivers, and welcome back to Myles on the line, Best Oline in the East Bay, and will win the weak ACCAL, even with over 3000 students, too many other sports options for kids to participate in. Rickey is banging, and bursting,like the 2010 YellowJackets.

  • fast and physical

    Berkeley High Defense will be one of the top again in the east bay. led by Jalen Rosales, Jacai DeVaneau, Rashod Albert, Mark Hardin, Dont sleep on that Michael Ned kid, with the best oline in northern cal, besides Grant.

  • s1lverngreen

    I hear Jalen has some offers from some D1 schools…he should be a force! Comes from a great family too! I’d like to see a DLS, B high match up in the NCS championship this year!

  • JB”DON”

    Seeing Berkeley twice this year there Def is really strong and once they work on that passing game watch out they could make some noise.Berkeley needs to be in the EBAL/BVAL like the old days !!!!

    Don pride !!!!


    I missed the scrimmage at Arroyo on Saturday, but I heard some good things about Berkeley, Miramonte and MACK. I wish MACK and Miramonte could have stayed longer to participate in the “King of the Hill” competition but the coaches opted to leave. What is that all about? The season starts the 3rd, let the games begin!

  • ManDown

    How is Alameda looking this year? Ready for game one? All these people on here belive that you will beat Encinal this year after taking a beating the past couple of years. That has to have you a little excited that people see what you see in your hornets.

  • ManDown, I’d be lying if I said we were 100% ready to go. I don’t think any coach can say that. We have some things to work on that we saw from our scrimmage with Campo. As far as Encinal goes Coach T will have his players ready and so will Alameda, the one good thing is we’re on our home field which doesn’t neccesarily constitute a home gam ein this case. The house will be packed. Alameda is definately hungry after being handled the past 2 years and look to our seniors to lead the way. Cuningham, Ruckman, Ruck, McLens, Carlson, Cullins, just to name a few can all make plays on both sides of the ball.It’s nice to hear positive things about our program from some of these bloggers, but we still got the haters chiming in , and thats cool too, everyone has an opinion too bad they don’t always base them on facts. Like Coach T said if you’ve never been to a practice , how can you know ?
    To all the coaches on this blog good luck this season and remember to have fun, this game is the kids game to play we just oversee it.

  • François “Papa Doc” Duvalier


    Went to the game. You guys got some work to do. Newark Memorial is not that strong. Cunningham couldnt get it going until the 4th quarter. And was slowed down by holding penalties. I would lose that NT and add a extra linebacker and blitz.

  • Papa Doc, I agree, Cunningham was playing with an aggravated groin as well and had problems cramping. All will be good for O’dowd.