Today, another league gets the spotlight.
De La Salle again enters as the favorite to win the EBAL. What will the other teams have in store for the Spartans?
So, we’ve covered De La Salle, and today’s post will focus mostly on the rest of the league. In thinking about the EBAL this year, I’m coming up with a lot of questions rather than answers.
Let’s start in Danville with Monte Vista and San Ramon Valley. The Mustangs have a heckuva receiver corps (Bryce McGovern and Dane Turner, to name two), and I think Mike Sullas is a tad underrated. The question comes from who will throw the rock, and the candidates are last year’s backup, Jeff Lockie, and a transfer from Sacred Heart Cathedral, Seamus Finnegan. I think we can figure the Mustangs to be good once again (but don’t sleep on whoever has to replace Dave Wilkerson at LB… he’ll be missed).
San Ramon Valley is a tough one to figure. The Wolves have talent, maybe best exemplified by their junior QB, Zach Kline. And, they’ve got a pair of standout two-way players in Kyle Egan and Ben Teichman. My questions is just how good will the defense be? Nine returning starters mean I think it’ll be pretty good.
Moving to Pleasanton, the search is on at both Amador Valley and Foothill to replace outstanding quarterbacks. At Amador, the task falls to Pat Gibbons to replace the dual-threat ability of Kean Stancil. Gibbons is a good athlete, but stepping into Stancil’s shoes won’t be easy.
As for Foothill, the search is still on to replace Sean Mannion. And, there’s been some coaching turnover with assistant John Mannion taking a job in Oregon and Greg Haubner now the new coach at Livermore. Whoever takes over at QB will have a heckuva safety blanket in Cameron Rowland, who is one of the region’s top returning receivers.
Cal High seems poised for a solid season, with former SRV coach Dave Kravitz in the fold as an assistant. The Grizzlies will have a new QB, but I really think RB Kyle Alvarez is going to have a big season in their run-heavy offense. Once they installed him as the starter last year, he took off. The question, mainly, is will they throw effectively enough to prevent teams from stacking the box?
Finally, let’s look at the Livermore schools. At Granada, the Atkinson brothers return for their senior seasons and hopes have to be high on Wall St. The question will be who can complement George and Josh on offense. If they can get some help, the Mats could surprise.
Finally, Haubner is in year one at Livermore and I’ve heard from several people that it was a fantastic hire by the Livermore administration. I also hear that they’ll be running an option offense this year, so I’ll be curious to see how teams game plan for that.
All in all, I think you can expect the EBAL to be what it always is — tough. I think we can start with Monte Vista as the expected challenger to De La Salle’s throne, but I think we should be prepared for the unexpected this year.