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30Q-2-KICKOFF (No. 26): The Pride of the BFL

We start the weekend off by shrinking things down to our smallest league in the East Bay, the Bay Football League.

Can anyone stop Salesian’s run of dominance in the BFL?

The Pride has been the team to beat for quite some time in the BFL, winning at least a share of the league title the past eight years. Salesian has won the title outright the last two years by going 5-0 each season. It shared the title in 2006 and 2007 with The King’s Academy and Sacred Heart Prep both seasons, with each team going 4-1. (TKA and SHP left the BFL after 2007). Those co-championships were preceded by outright titles from 2003-05 and a co-championship with California School for the Deaf and St. Elizabeth in 2002. Salesian has currently won 18 straight BFL games on the field (it’s lone loss in 2007 came via forfeit to SHP).

I’d bank on Salesian’s run continuing against this season. The Pride feature the most intimidating player in the league by far in Freddie Tagaloa, a 6-8, 300 pound two-way lineman. Also returning is Aaron Prier, who took over at RB for the Pride after an injury to the starter Anthony Shorter in the season opener. He went on to run for 1,571 and 21 touchdowns in the regular season. Quarterback Ikaika Woosley also returns for his third year as a starter, which should make the offense run efficiently.

The biggest contender for the Pride should be Valley Christian under coach and former Raider John Parella. The Vikings went on a Cinderella run late last year to reach the NCS Division IV semifinals (just as Salesian did) before falling to Justin-Siena. That came after the No. 12 seed Vikings went on the road to beat No. 5 Cloverdale and No. 4 Middletown, teams that each had just one loss previously. Valley Christian returns 15 starters and seems capable of providing Salesian its stiffest test for years to come.

Berean Christian has proven to be a solid program and should continue to be near the top of the standings and a playoff contender with 13 starters returning, including QB Matt Morgan. St. Elizabeth can probably be expected to struggle after losing 10-year veteran coach Fred Sims, who is now at Berkeley. Greg Morris was hired just a couple weeks ago after Sims’ original replacement Jim Klaczak departed. So the Mustangs are definitely behind the 8-ball. Harker should be a middle of the road program battling the likes of St. Elizabeth. California School for the Deaf returns 11 starters, but the team is still young with its core being primarily juniors.  

Jimmy Durkin

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