By Jimmy Durkin
Monday, November 22nd, 2010 at 1:56 pm in East Bay Football.
This year marks the 30th playing of the now-titled Lou Jones Silver Bowl. It began in 1980 as the Oakland Tribune/Eastbay Today Silver Bowl to similarly recognize the North Coast Section championships that were also sponsored by the Tribune. I dug up the story that ran in the Tribune on Nov. 15, 1980 announcing and previewing the game. I know some of our old OAL lifers will enjoy.
By Annette John
Tribune Staff Writer
The Oakland Athletic League championship football game Friday between Skyline and Oakland at Fruitvale Field has become the Silver Bowl.
The Oakland Tribune/Eastbay Today will present a silver bowl to the winner, it was announced today by Editor Bob Maynard. It will be a perpetual award presented annually to the city prep football champion.
The OAL is not a member of the North Coast Section and, therefore, its champion is not eligible for the 2A and 4A Eastbay Championships to be held Nov. 28 under the sponsorship of the Tribune/Eastbay Today.
“We have a commitment to the Oakland community as well as the entire Eastbay,” Maynard said, “and we want to recognize the city champion, too.”
The Silver Bowl will be presented to the captains of the winning team Friday. Later it will be engraved and kept at the school until next year’s champion is determined.
The 2:30 p.m. game between undefeated city rivals is expected to draw a capacity crowd.
Skyline goes into the showdown with a record of eight wins and one tie. Oakland has won nine without a loss.
Skyline is ranked No. 2 in the Eastbay Prep Writers’ Association poll and Oakland is rated No. 4.
Skyline opened its season with a 0-0 tie against Concord, then defeated, in order, Fairfield, 20-6; Redwood of Larkspur, 27-16; Pinole, 28-19; El Cerrito, 36-0; McClymonds, 45-6; Fremont, 16-0; Castlemont, 34-20; and Oakland Tech, 14-0.
Oakland defeated Richmond, 24-0; Ells, 18-12; Granada, 40-15; El Cerrito, 19-14; Salesian, 7-6; Fremont, 3-0; Oakland, 38-12; McClymonds 21-7; and Castlemont, 13-12.
Outside of OAL opponents, Skyline and Oakland have one common opponent, El Cerrito. The Titans won by 36 points, the Wildcats by 5. Skyline’s most impressive win came against Pinole, the defending 4A NCS champion from the Richmond-Berkeley Athletic League, and Oakland’s most impressive win came against Granada of the East Bay Athletic League.
“Regardless of records, our kids have always regarded the game against Oakland as a super-tough one,” said Skyline Coach Tony Fardella. “It’s a rivalry in the real sense of the word. Even if we were to have a bad season — if we can beat Oakland, then our season ends on a high.”
The schools have played four times since 1969 for the championship, each winning twice, but never have both been undefeated going into the final game.
This year’s teams may be the most evenly-matched in the series.
Skyline depends on a rugged defense which has given up only 67 points all season. Leading the Titans’ defense are junior linebacker Jay Lynch, who is the team’s leading tackler, along with Jim Accinelli, Shawn Jackson, Lance Smith and Neil Vaughn.
“The defense is the key,” said Fardella, “because if we don’t score, it will still be 0-0. This year we have some great personnel on defense. Teaching stunts and covers are one thing but if you don’t have the personnel to execute, it doesn’t mean anything.”
On offense, Skyline has a number of ways to score points.
Quarterback Tim Norton needs just 174 yards to surpass former Skyline QB Drew Fields’ passing record of 1,430 yards, and he could get them Friday. Running back Damon Miller is nearing the 700-yard plateau and he’ll be used to keep Oakland from blitzing and wrecking the Titans passing attack.
Oakland, on the other hand, is most concerned with its offense.
“I think our offense has to move well,” said Oakland Coach Wayne Young. “We’re going to give up a certain number of points — we aren’t going to hold them scoreless. But we can’t leave our defense out on the field too long.”
The Wildcats’ first and foremost weapon is junior phenom Dewayne Porter. The tailback has scampered for 931 yards on 122 carries even though he’s missed two games because of a twisted ankle. Last week against Castlemont Porter ran true to form, picking up 90 yards on 20 carries.
“He looked like his old self,” Young said. “We’ll turn him loose Friday.”
But the ‘Cats have shown that their offense can go without Porter. Fullback Alfred Simmons (5-11, 190), tailback Lorenzo Lynch and quarterback Marvin Jones have given the offense versatility.
The defense has allowed just 69 points all season and will definitely challenge the Titan machine. The ‘Cats rely on the play of linebackers Brian Spiller and Earl Brown and defensive lineman Derrick Robinson, Derrick Bartholomew and Avery Simmons.
Trying to separate the Silver Bowl contenders on paper is difficult, but Fremont Coach Elton Reeder, whose Tigers played both teams extremely tough, gives the edge to Skyline.
“Because of all their offensive weapons, I’d have to go with Skyline,” said Reeder.
Fremont was beaten 16-0 by the Titans and 3-0 by Oakland.
“Oakland wasn’t playing with Porter when we played them, but I don’t know how much of an effect he would have had on the outcome,” continued Reeder. “Both teams play tough defense. It should be a low-scoring game.”
The Silver Bowl has the makings of a precedent-setting event.