Today, I venture into the Tri-Valley to take a look at the East Bay Athletic League.
I don’t think it comes as a shock that De La Salle is the favorite in the EBAL. If it is a shock, well, you’ve got some back reading to do.
Since I went over DLS a few days ago, I won’t touch on them in this post. Rather, I’ll focus on the rest of the EBAL, because I expect it to be the grind that it always is.
To me, the culture installed at Cal High is one that lends itself to prolonged success. I was thinking about what I wrote the other day and it dawned on me that while I was saying nice things about head coach Eric Billeci, I should’ve included a mention for assistant coach Dave Kravitz as well. Kravitz is an outstanding football coach, and I think that his joining the staff last year really helped the Grizzlies take that next step. Of course, they have questions to answer this year like who will step up and start on the offensive line and will Kevin Farley be the guy to step up at quarterback? But every team has questions and with guys like Armani Washington, Jerrell Dunn and Brian Krause coming back at the skill spots, I like Cal again this year.
At Monte Vista, the Mustangs are also looking for new offensive linemen. In fact, they have to replace the entire unit. How quickly they come together with quarterback Jeff Lockie will dictate how well MV comes out of the gate. Lockie’s presence is a big building block, and he’ll have guys to throw to, but they’ll need some runners to emerge and the defense to come together to get in the mix at the top. All in all though, I wouldn’t expect Monte Vista suddenly to drop off the map. You know the Mustangs are going to be good.
San Ramon Valley welcomes back Zach Kline under center, and Jordan Weiss is back at running back. The question here is who will emerge on the perimeter for Kline to throw to, and how will the defense adjust without the services of big-time playmakers Kyle Egan and Ben Teichman? Here’s a name to watch though, because I thoroughly enjoyed watching him play football last year — Michael Tagliaferri. He’s a Stud (gotta have the capital S if you’re on the USA National Team) on the lacrosse field, but he’s also a very, very good hybrid safety for the Wolves.
There are definitely questions around the rest of the league. Will Foothill continue with the double-wing offense it ran last year? Will Kyle Moreno continue his ascension as Amador Valley’s signal-caller and playmaker? What does Granada do without the Atkinsons? And can Greg Haubner’s boys take that next step at Livermore?
As usual, the league is going to be tough. You can count on that every year. I’m personally anxious to see if Livermore can take that next step because I continue to hear good things about the staff and the way things are headed. And, Damariay Drew is a playmaker, so they’ll have him to lean on.
Gonna be another fun year.