30Q-2-KICKOFF (No. 28): Games to watch

As you’ve seen the league previews pop up in your newspapers, you’ve seen three games to watch from each league. Now, Ben and I are going to each pick three games we’ve got our eyes on this season.


I’m going to start with a game that is in its third year of this series and is back on the island when Encinal hosts Serra-San Mateo on Sept. 16 at 7 p.m. The Jets hung with the Padres for a little while last season before being worn down on a Saturday afternoon. But two years ago at The Swamp, Encinal gave Serra all it could handle. The series shifts back to Alameda this year and the Jets will be looking to finally notch a win against the West Catholic Athletic League stalwart. Can they do it? I don’t know, but playing at home will be a huge advantage. It’ll be the first game with the beautiful new scoreboard in place. It’s not a must-win for Encinal. We saw last year that despite losing to Serra, the Jets were in position where they probably would’ve gotten the call to Carson if they had won the NCS title game against Cardinal Newman. But you can’t understand what a win against the Padres would do for the Jets confidence and their profile as a powerhouse. Beating a WCAL team definitely turns heads, especially from a Div. III school with around 25 kids on the roster.

My next game pits two of the better programs over the past two decades when Monte Vista hosts Pittsburg on the same night, Sept. 16, which makes it  a tough decision for me on where to go. Pittsburg often seems to get that default No. 2 ranking to start the  year. Last year, it sort of blew up in the voters’ faces when they started 0-5. It was a team that took a long time to jell, was surprised by Foothill’s offensive switch and faced a tougher-than-it-expected McClymonds team. It sounds like this year’s team definitely is deserving of that preseason ranking, but that’ll be decided on the field as we move along. This game should help us know a little bit about the Pirates. Monte Vista is always a team to watch out for. The offense is usually high octane. The QB play in this one should be fun to watch with the Mustangs’ Oregon-bound Jeff Lockie and Pitt’s Malik Watson.

Finally, I’m looking at the Sept. 23 game with Logan traveling to Brentwood to face Heritage. It was a good nonleague contest in Union City last year and I’d expect the same again. Heritage might’ve tailed off slightly from the team it had last year, while the Colts are a bit more experienced and I think should be very good. With that long drive, it’ll be a good test for Logan against a quality program. A win in that game will be the type that could show how ready the Colts are for the D-1 playoffs. For the Patriots, it’ll be a good test against a very good team and should help prepare them for the start of BVAL play.

No doubt there are other really good games, especially some of the great league battles that will ensue. For now, I stuck with three nonleague games because those matchups can vary from year to year (although all of these are games that were played last year) and can be interesting to see teams match up from different leagues. A league game I’m really looking forward to also is the Silver Bowl rematch between McClymonds and Fremont on Oct. 14 in the OAL opener at Curt Flood Field. Both teams should be very good again this year, so that’ll be fun.


 As the guy that follows De La Salle, I’ve got several games to choose from. In fact, this week’s game against Bellarmine probably deserves to be on the list. But, I’ll put that aside for a moment because if you’re looking at the entire season, there’s no escaping what happens on the other side of the country Sept. 23. The Spartans head to Florida to take on St. Thomas Aquinas-Fort Lauderdale in a game that very well could be the national game of the year. I got a chance to watch Aquinas this weekend on ESPN, and yeah, the Raiders are for real. That was a fantastic Prattville team they beat. DLS will have all it can handle and more.

I’ll keep with our nonleague theme and pick one for this weekend. At Diablo Valley College this Saturday, Cal-bound Zach Kline and his San Ramon Valley squad take on last year’s CIF Division II champ Folsom. Now, Folsom had a good first half this past weekend against Grant, but Shaq Thompson took over to get the Pacers the win. This week, Folsom needs a win and it’s actually in coach Kris Richardson’s backyard (he’s a CP/DVC grad). And, it’s SRV’s first game in Kline’s senior season. Against a solid opponent, we’ll get to see how the Wolves stack up right off the bat. Plus, if you show up early, you get to see Ygnacio Valley-Acalanes first. Two games for one!

My third game also takes place this week. It’s a battle of 2010 section champions. Concord heads north to play Cardinal Newman in Santa Rosa in what should be a big time test for both schools. We’re pretty sure of Cardinal  being good, but what will Concord bring to the table? I don’t necessarily think the Minutemen need to win to prove they’ll be good again this year, but they need to hold their own. A blowout would raise definite questions as we get into the meat of the season.

Again, Jimmy’s right in saying that there are going to be some superb league contests. I’m in the middle of trying to figure out how I can clone myself so I can go to both DLS-Cal and MV-SRV in the last week of the season. Talk about good games. Also, how bout a game like Berkeley-Pinole, which was decided on a 32-second drive last year? Or darn near any game between Pitt, Freedom, Heritage or Deer Valley in the BVAL? There’s going to be a TON of good action out there this year.

Jimmy Durkin

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

  • hsfootball

    bval seems to be on the upswing. there are a few ebal vs bval matchups this friday. foothill vs pitt, heritage vs granada, and amador vs freedom.

  • Nfl

    This week topshelf games concord/cnewman srv/folsom dela/bells marin catholic/vacaville. Other games that will tell us something berkeley/san leandro moreau/campo arroyo/logan & dont forget the battle of the jackasses wright vs kahn when slz plays at el cerrito.

  • EastBay Ray

    Another game to watch this weekend is Bishop O’Dowd versus Franklin Elk Grove in the Sacramento Kick-off Classic at Grant high School on Saturday afternoon. This is a Division lll school (O’dowd) against a Division l powerhouse (they started last year 8-0, and are a sleeper pick to win the Sac Joaquin section D1 title), so it will be interesting to see if O’Dowd can make a game of it. Franklin already has a victory under its belt, so a young O’Dowd team will need to shake their first-game jitters off quickly.

  • Oh boy

    Encinal-Serra. It would be great to see that island school hang an L on the WCAL. Jets by 6.

    MV-Pitt looks good on paper. Pitt has a better defense and both boast explosive offenses. Pirates 35-21 in a wild one.

    Logan/Heritage is a mystery. Can Heritage build on the playoff win vs Pitt? They lost so many players. I think Logan’s ground game takes advantage of the high turnover.

    DLS vs. Bellarmine/STA/The World. Spartans.

    SRV is ambitious. Folsom graduated 2010 player of the year Dano Graves but reloaded at QB. This is for NCS/SJS bragging rights. I might be in the house for this one.

    Concord/CN should be all Cardinals. 28-10 feels right. Last year was a shining moment for Concord and I don’t see back to back ‘ships.

  • KillerD

    Here we go:

    Pitt 34 vs. Foothill 21

    Encinal 21 vs. Serra 17

    Logan 34 vs. Heritage 21

    DLS 44 vs. Bells 21

    Folsom 28 vs. SRV 27

    CN 32 vs. Concord 17

  • Outsider

    All the EBAL schools hope that SRV comes away with a win. As Oh Boy says this game will be the common opponant game to the SJS.

  • hsfootball

    you guys do know the logan and heritage game is in week 4. will see if 34-21 will happen then. bold prediction, for a game 4 wks away… i think folsom comes away with a win vs srv, 28-14. i pick serra over encinal, but could go either way. pitt should win against foothill. if they dont, i dont wanna hear any excuses. freedom over amador, logan over arroyo, liberty over clayton.

  • mytwocents

    Serra vs Encinal should be good but its so so young in the season with no official games even played yet. It boggles my mind to even think further than just a couple days.Every kid out there is one hit away from an injury so my thoughts are please just everybody stay healthy, will chat later when theres 3/4 of the season completed.


  • Not so fast

    San Ramon will finish third in the EBAL.

  • Prep Fan

    Not So Fast, who do you have finishing second or fourth?

  • PlayMaker

    Arroyo 21 vs. Logan 17

  • football dude

    JFK vs Concord will be a barn burner Sept 16

  • football dude

    Thats JFK- Fremont VS Concord High will be a barn burner.

  • norcalfball

    yeah i agree hsfootball..let’s talk about games this week..a lot could happen over a course of a few weeks

    what are the best games for this weekend?

  • Pawn Star

    Saw Serra on Friday. Not that you can tell a lot from scrimages but they looked very sharp. The Padres running back, Erich Wilson, is very fast — committed to Colorado.

  • Nfl

    pawnstar how you see monte vista serra game going?

  • hsfootball

    i’ve heard a lot of talk about arroyo. let’s see how they stack up against logan. haven’t seen arroyo, but saw logan. logan looked good in the scrimmage last friday.

  • Pawn Star

    Serra looked pretty good against Sequoia, Meno Atherton, and Moreau. There defense graduated a lot of starters and they moved their starting safety to Quarterback so they have one starter from last year. If MV passes like they did last year it could be tough on the Padre defense. Serra opens with Wilcox on Saturday.

  • Nfl

    arroyo logan game interests me if logan is as good as im hearing they should beat arroyo by 3tds but the foothill heritage game will be a better barometer to gage logan. If arroyo keeps it close or beats logan they should be the favorites in haal. Dela will beat the bells but what about srv vs mitty serra vs monte vista by the way does anyone know when cal high will step up there nonleague play a sacjoa wcal or a team like palo alto.

  • Outsider

    @NFL As far as Cal High goes, alot of times the preseason games are multiple year deals. Washington has been a fixture in the Grizzlies preseason but College Park and Castro Valley started last year. So if there is a multi year deal then we will just have to wait until it plays out. I too would like to see the Grizzlies play a harder preseason with a team from those leagues you mentioned.

  • Prep Fan

    Cal High did play perennial Sac-Joaquin power Del Oro in the preseason 2 years ago in the Battle at the Capitol. And the year before that they travelled up to Seattle to face DLS nemesis Bellevue at Qwest Field. As Outsider mentioned, the current 2 year deals with CP and CV are up next year, and I’m sure there will be some changes. The preseason schedule sure didn’t seem to slow the Grizzlies down last season.

  • junior

    RB Wilson of Serra will run wild over MV- he is the real deal.

    Cal has GOT to step up their non-league schedule- no excuses. They should schedule one WCAL/CCS D1 team, 1 SJS team and a cupacke game if they dont want anymore of a challenge. This years schedule is a joke-they are better than that.

  • bval fan

    Heritage is really young…I mean really young! Not a whole lot of experience. A game against EBAL Granada will be the first test of the season. Heritage might surprise people….not saying they are ready for Pitt yet, but that game isn’t til the end of the year.

    BVAL is up for grabs with Pitt getting the nod.

    1. Pitt
    2. Heritage
    3. Freedom
    4. Deer Valley
    5. Liberty
    6. Antioch

  • hsfootball

    i went to watch granada vs heritage. i dont think heritage is ready for pitt. they hung on to pull out the win against granada. very close game. their offense looks ok, but defense needs works. specially the db’s. where was this shutdown corner that i read about in another blog that heritage has. they had a corner that kept getting passed on all night. the kid wouldn’t even come up to hit. i hope that’s not the shutdown corner they have. also the safety would miss all kinds of tackles, and when he does try to come up, gets runned over. we’ll see if heritage makes any adjustment on those spots. windsor is a solid team that likes to pass. i think heritage got exposed on their db’s. any input on other games???

  • dj falong

    @ playmaker, nice call on the logan arroyo game pls. pick next weeks game logan vs. san leandro who beat the yellow jacks to my suprise.

  • Underdog

    What the heck is happening at JFK-Fremont? They lost to Balboa, really? So much expectation from the great Mackey and his transfers and staff. What else should we expect going 0-6 in league? What a joke!