30Q-2-KICKOFF (No. 29): Surprise (players this time)!!!!

OK, so Jimmy and I introduced you to some teams we thought might surprise yesterday. Today, we’ll extend that thought process to some individuals that might be flying under the radar.

What players might have a breakout season this year?


Last year, we had some absolute studs break onto the scene. One was Monte Vista’s Bryce McGovern, who had a record-breaking season as just a junior. It seems like every year we have someone step onto the scene that we just weren’t expecting.

This year, I can think of a couple guys that might be flying under the radar a little. The first one that comes to mind is Concord WR Kelly Starnes. Concord throws… a lot. Starnes is going to be the No. 1 receiver in that high-powered offense, he has a Division I quarterback in Ricky Lloyd and he has hands that won’t quit (he’s a good baseball player too). He could put up monster numbers this year.

Another is new Las Lomas QB Jackson Miller. Those who follow swimming know the name. He’s already a NCS-title winner in the pool, and this year he takes over the Knights offense as just a sophomore. What makes him even more promising is the fact that he won’t be asked to do too much because Marquis Waters is the focus of the offense.

Finally, I’m going to pick someone that I just recently saw for the first time in California QB Drew Reil. I saw the Grizzlies at the Pittsburg scrimmage last weekend and, while there were some rough edges, you could see definite potential in Cal’s new signal-caller. I have to think that the underneath routes and screens that Dave Kravitz used extensively at San Ramon Valley will make an appearance in Cal’s offense, and I think they will serve Reil well in his attempt to hit the ground running.

Jimmy, what say you?


My first pick as a surprise, probably isn’t really that much of a surprise. But he is a guy that I think could become a household name. That’s Berkeley’s Michael Ned. He averaged nearly 10 yards per carry last year as Rickey Galvin’s backup and finished with over 700 yards and nine touchdowns. That came primarily during the second half of blowouts when he took over for Galvin. With him taking over the full load this year and still having a guy like OL Isaiah Henderson to run behind, I’d expect him to easily eclipse the 1,000 yard mark and work his way into the top-five in the East Bay in rushing.

I’ll stay in Berkeley for my next pick and go with St. Mary’s RB Isaac Richard III. He had a couple of big games toward the end of last season after Demetrius Brown-Ryan got injured and delivered quite well. Panthers coach Keith Minor praised his offseason work, saying he dropped about 15 pounds and is in great shape to have a breakout season as the primary back.

Alright, let’s hear from you who will emerge this season. And be sure to join us tomorrow as we wrap up our 30 Questions to Kickoff feature.

Ben Enos

  • Lakeview

    Ben, Are you planning on being at MV this friday? I heard SRV,Hayward, and someone else will be scrimmaging at MV.

  • Ben Enos

    Nope, it’s go time for me. Gotta cover the games that count, so I’ll be down at Foothill for the Pitt-Foothill game.

  • Anyone know when the top 25 to watch is being announced?

  • flyer

    Here’s a name you will be hearing a lot the next 3 years. Brett Stevens (Soph) – QB – Campo. His brother was the qb the last 3 years and Brett is a better athlete. This kid’s going to be a stud. Started on vasity baseball as a freshman for the NCS D2 Champs.

  • ManDown

    Did your son make it?

  • The 25 to watch will come out in Thursday’s high school football preview special section. It’s a 10 page special section insert to the paper.

  • ??

    How come there is no such hoopla and special coverage for the other big sports like Basketball and Baseball? There are just as many of these sports fans around the East Bay as football.


    no there isn’t..;)

  • junior

    Ben- good call on Reil. I liked his accuracy Friday night and Billecci/Kravitz have coached him well in the play action pass.

  • bigeasy

    Ben I am sorry to say that the Foothill Pitt game on Saturday is going to be a blowout. Julius Mozee is just too good for an inexperienced team.
    As for the players to look for, I would look to Sean Miller Wr for San Ramon. He is blazing fast and catches everything thrown his way. He will be one of Klines top options this year on what is looking to be a good team. I would also look out for Jeff Lockie QB for Monte Vista. He steps into a potent offense as Brett Nottingham’s replacement. Brett Nottingham faced similar uncertinty two years ago when he replaced Drew Mcallister. Finally I would look to Andrew Ve’e QB for Encinal. He figures to be the replacement for Tyrone Duckett. He was a soph last year on varstiy. He is a big strong athletic kid and apears to have the talent to continue the Jets QB legacy

  • renegades10

    ??…it’s because basketball season starts while football is still going on. Most of these writers, especially now since a lot of papers have had to make cuts, have to fulfill the duties of covering a lot of football games before basketball. As the playoffs get closer to the championship and there are not as many games to cover, then the b-ball coverage picks up. there was plenty of coverage on the b-ball season last year. but they are able to do all this stuff for football, because we are just coming off of summer where there are no high school sports to cover, hence why there is so much buildup as opposed to b-ball season which starts during football season.

    Bigeasy- so Lockie is going to be starting over Finnegan? The qb is always one to look out for at MV because of the system they run.

  • bigeasy

    According to a reliable source he is definatly in the starting spot right now…But the battle has been going back and forth all summer. Come week 1 I would say 75% chance Lockie starts but the scrimmage this Friday at MV aganist SRV and Hayward should be a major factor in the final decision.

  • MV Alum

    It is a nice problem to have for MV, I heard that Love was starting for SRV or splitting time is that true?

  • renegades10

    I can’t imagine Love starting over Kline. That would be pretty strange unless he wants to go with experience, but still Kline was at the national elite 11 camp, not just the local one at Berkeley. Wish we had more SRV guys on here with some knowledge.

  • Micah McMurray from Arroyo.

    Defensive POV of the HAAL as a junior, and he was also a first team running back. Watch out!

  • monarch86

    Enough with the pretty boy QB’s and WR’s what about the big men! Which OL/DL kid break out, all the talk is about Wynn but there are a bunch of strong kids who have done well at the National Combines this summer…

  • monarch86

    In addition, there are a ton of young running backs who have size and speed to help carry the load for the sullas/alvarez/atkinson crowd

  • Bigeasy

    MV Alum I heard that to over the summer that Love was starting for leadership reasons. But that was before the elite 11 camps and such. So I agree with Renegades that Kline should be the starter come week one.

  • Lakeview

    The suspense is killing me! I guess we’ll have a better Idea after Friday’s scrimmage. If it’s Kline or Love and if it’s Lockie or Finnegan?

  • renegades10

    the only other linemen that has gotten much at all besides Dylan is Jacob Welter at MV, Jalen Rosales and Isiah Henderson at Berkeley, the DE at Concord, and an OL at Miramonte, Dolbec I think. But most people already know about them so they wouldn’t be breakout or surprise players this year. Other then that, haven’t hear to much about linemen. There were some talented ones last year, think this year may belong to the skill guys.

    DLS has a stable of rb’s that are capable of handling the load this year. None of them except for Dunne, if he has a good year this year, will probably play at rb at the next level, but all are very good and talented athletes.

  • renegades10

    been hearing some good things about Beasley at Logan too as an rb/lb.

  • junior

    Beasley stood out big time Friday night. I believe he is a sophomore- he is a little guy but played much bigger. I saw him at RB and DB-not LB.

  • MV Alum

    I think Tim Mustion and Zach Dryer from MV and a couple of guys at Cal are very good lineman. RB Alvarez, Sullas, the kid from AV (Ewich I think) is fast but I don’t know how big he is, Drew from Livermore, obviously Atkison, after that not sure about SRV or Foothill.

  • Chs1012

    Rene 10- re #20. When 75% of a rushing offense graduates, a duo in the backfield at the same time so keys to read are doubly challenging, it’s suspect one can replace a Secretariat AND an Affirmed in the barn in one year. That’s a load! It’s asking a LOT of a RB with 10% touches last year, mostly in the blowouts. Plus those two seniors were excellent corners… Yes, la salle will HAVE to throw more this year. (Isn’t that a distinct modification following a solid five year run with exceptional next-level RB’s?)…and with 10 and 67 back, their opponents would be wise to do the same.

  • renegades10

    chs…you are right that I don’t see DLS having another ward and anderson in the backfield, but they have five yes you are reading that right five guys that could be starting backs. Three of them will assuredly be playing at the next level, though not as running backs most likely. Those three would be Pickett, Cotton, and Joseph Te’o a jv guy last year. Lucas Dunne will be one of the starters and has improved vastly, and Gino Demattei is a feisty and quick runner. But Pickett, Cotton, and Te’o are the complete package in terms of size, speed, and physicality and all three of them are home run threats when they touch the ball except if they are getting chased by Crenshaw’s mamba. The main question for DLS is how that line can do for them. Expect that these guys will more then likely split the carries during the season although Demattei may be last year’s Kerry Blakney who may be the pdd man out except during blowouts. But the other four are good and Cotton is probably the best overall athlete. It’s exciting what DLS should be able to do with these guys. So yes I don’t expect another 2,000 yard rusher out of this group, but they will carry the load just fine. I think it’s very realistic that at least two of them cross the 1,000 yard mark and one could be up around 1,400 maybe 1,500. Just my opinion.

    Junior you are probably right I just couldn’t remember if he was an LB or DB.

  • Spazz

    Watch out for miles long. He’s an upcoming sophomore at James Logan. Great speed size and overall athletism. I believe he’s their starting rb and middle linebacker. If not this year then definitely next year. The guy works unbelievably hard and again, look for him to have a breakout year.

  • Prep Fan

    You are right Ben, Reil did impress at the Pittsburg Jamboree. For a player that has never been a starter, he showed some good mobility against some solid defensive teams and was able to make good passes on the run and keep the ball away from the defenders. Kravitz’ fingerprints are already all over him.

  • joe

    Deon Turner – Pitt

    Best player in DVAL last 2 seaons. Transfered to Pitt. and the best player on the team

  • KillerD

    Pitt will be a joy to view this year, a good Pitt team can light up the scoreboard (which has been their thorn) some years past, and shut down another team’s weaponary in very good to great years.

  • ebalfootball

    Good call on Reil, Kravitz has done wonders with that kid, who was completely unknown last year. Another player you need to watch since Reil has stepped up at cal, will be WR John Sarmenta for cal. He was the number one reciever last year on a Grizzly team that didn’t throw the ball a whole lot. this year they don’t expect to throw the ball a ton with Alvarez back there but expect to see solid numbers from Sarmenta who i feel is much faster and athletic than Shapiro over at De la salle.

    Another player who I see being a stud, is Amador’s Reciever/back Ewanich, sorry for not knowing his first name. But that kid has some serious speed. He single handedly beat cal a year ago, and he should be a whole year better this year, unfortunately on a weak amador team.
    Also how about pitt’s Julius Mozee? or bart houston at de la salle?

  • ebalfootball

    Also the tailback from livermore, Drerw, is a stud. was a sophmore last year, and he’s due for a breakout season. Again unfortunately he plays for lovermore who hasn’t blocked anyone since 1987. but hopefully he get’s a chance

  • fanquest


  • Bryan Andrews

    I took the time to watch my old high school, Amador Valley, last friday for their scrimmage against Newark Memorial. Believe it or not they look almost as good as last year. The QB replacing Stancil is Patrick Gibbons and he is much more of a true passer and has a heckuva target in Carson Ewanich. He was also a part of the NCS Championship baseball team. They’ve also got some promise at RB with Ashtiani and Tyson replacing Turay. Both compliment eachother really well.
    On defense they have a stud returning starters at MLB in Seams, DE in Heidebrecht, and SS in Ashtiani. All three have been rumored to be closing in on college offers. Don’t count out the DONS yet!