Let’s take a look at the Hayward Area Athletic League today.
Bishop O’Dowd won its first title since 1999 last year and appears the team to beat again this year. Hardy Nickerson Jr. leads the defense and should also pick up some carries. QB Dominic Miroglio is still only a junior and a very capable signal caller. T.J. Daniel is a very good TE/DL. We’ve discussed the Dragons enough I think. I’m picking them as the favorite.
Who is the next team though?
San Leandro has always been near the top, but will they stay there. They’ve lost first-team All-HAAL running back Harold Halcomb, but Andre McBride — a star on the track as well after he won the NCS Meet of Champions in the 100 meters and was an All-East Bay pick in that event — is back. He’ll be a WR/KR and DB that should be explosive. He’s definitely got speed.
Arroyo’s signature win in James Barnes’ second year was the victory over the Pirates. It allowed the Dons to tie for second place in the HAAL at 5-2 and is probably the reason the team made the playoffs. Jordan Fogal and Michael Young return for Barnes in year two and they will lead the offense. They should have a shot to do well in league again.
After that, it’s anyone’s guess. Castro Valley was a Division I playoff team last year, but it finished 4-7. The Trojans were 4-3 in the HAAL, so they handled their own in league.
Hayward has new coach Justin Redemer. The Farmers usually are high on athletes, so if Redemer can get them headed in the right direction, Hayward is always a team with potential. We should know early if they have a shot to be good as they open with Central Catholic and Encinal.
Tennyson made its first trip to the NCS playoffs in school history last year. The Lancers finished 4-7, but that elusive playoff berth was pretty big. The team has 16 seniors so they’ll look to build on the success. QB Pablo Magallanes and WR Alson Paston Jr. should be a solid combo.
San Lorenzo returns QB Brandin Murphy and RB Christian Batiste and that should help their offense find some success after a 3-6-1 season last year. Mt. Eden enters year 2 with Paul Perenon and Ron Thompson as co-coaches and will look to improve after a rough 0-10 season that included a forfeit against Bishop O’Dowd due to a lack of players.