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30Q-2-KICKOFF (No. 15): Who will run the Town?

It’s the midway point in our 30 Questions to Kickoff feature and so why not dive into taking a look at the Oakland Athletic League. Before the comments fill up the thread with the inevitable “When will the OAL join the NCS?” questions, just stop. It’s not going to happen, at least any time soon. I suppose the possibility does exist depending on who takes over as commissioner with Michael Moore Sr. having stepped aside, but too many high ranking Oakland Unified School District people have no interest in that happening. And there reasons for it are some valid ones. But I’ve ranted on that too many times and don’t want to again today. So let’s just look at this year’s OAL football.

The discussion has to begin with the two-time defending Silver Bowl champions McClymonds. The Warriors are 22-2 over the past two years and should be poised for another solid season, although their nonleague schedule is daunting. The first four teams on the schedule went a combined 35-9 last year. That’s Bishop O’Dowd (9-3), Minico-Rupert, Idaho (9-1), West Valley-Cottonwood (8-3) and Oak Grove-San Jose (9-2). While Mack should be a pretty good team this year, you’d have to think that’s going to be a tough start to the season. And only the West Valley game is played at home. (The Minico game is a neutral site at Oak Ridge-El Dorado Hills, so at least Mack doesn’t have to take a flight like Minico does.

If Mack gets through that slate at 2-2, I’d be pretty impressed. It’ll also set them up to be very battle-tested for the OAL. They lose key players like QB/DE Eddie Heard and RB Harold Halcomb, but welcome a ton of talent back. On the OL, there’s Dajon Ford and Kevin Vaughn, two returning first-team All-City picks. First-team All-City SS Lavance Warren, who will also play RB, was just a freshman last year. Kelton Rennels, a second-team All-City center, was just a freshman. There were several other talented young players that should help Mack again be the favorite.

The rest of the league could be a toss up. Unlike Mack, most of the top players on the rest of the teams were seniors last year. Oakland Tech does have QB James Lewis, who was a second-team All-City pick as a sophomore last year. Castlemont RB Thomas Logwood was a second-team pick in his junior year last year. You’d have to think things are wide open for the other three playoff spots after Mack.

I like what Jamaal Kizziee has done at Skyline and while Jamal Mayo was a big part of the Titans success last year, I think he has the program headed in the right direction. Fremont has been steady under Isamu Falevai on the field, although forfeit losses have plagued the team and knocked them out of the playoffs last year. I’d expect the Tigers to bounce back. Delton Edwards usually finds a way to have Oakland Tech be competitive. Castlemont got in the playoffs last year when Fremont had to forfeit four games. Can the Knights use that sniff of the postseason to their advantage? Oakland has only won one game on the field in the past two years, so the Wildcats will hope to turn that around.

Overall, I think you have to look at this league as Mack’s to win, with the rest of the playoff spots completely up for grabs. If the season can go down to the wire with everybody in contention, that should make for some fun and interesting football.

Jimmy Durkin

I cover mostly San Jose State football for the San Jose Mercury News/Bay Area News Group, but also fill in from time to time with the 49ers, Warriors, A's and Giants.

  • OALfan2

    No doubt Mack is the favorite! I want to see who else can win this year in this league and actually build a name for their program. Mack has run through this league, i remember last year they had a close game with O High who also played Fremont tough as well, Tech always has great talent but its hard for them to beat Good teams the past couple years. Not sure about Castlemont Oakland and Fremont. O only time will tel!

  • Oh Boy

    Jimmy, love the introduction.

    Couldn’t agree more. Mack has been on an unbelievable run. I like what Skyline has been building the past couple years. They had size last year and if they return that and experience they have a good shot at toppling the Warriors. OTech QB is best athlete in the league but he needs help. I heard Fremont replaced Falevai as coach. Truth?

  • nfl

    i guess will find out when mack plays bishop o’dowd!

  • Paul Silas

    #MACK HOUSE

  • http://TheSchoolmarm B. Elwell

    6 high schools should not have section status!

  • BayAreaSection

    Wishing the teams from the OAL the best. Nice preseason schedule @ Mack. Hope to see the rest schedule Out Of Section Teams in the near future. “Should” the OAL join the NCS, they will have a better chance going to regional & state games. Time will tell.

  • Oh Boy

    @BayAreaSection

    Considering Oakland is one of the 10 CIF sections by itself ALL preseason games are “Out of Section Teams”. They actually play more “OOS teams” than any other local squad.

  • http://aol YoMama

    Combine OAL and SF sections- have 2 divisions breaking up the schools. They have a playoff at end of season.

  • MiraMan

    YoMama,

    I totally agree with you…why doesn’t the OAL and SF section combine and have one Trans-Bay Section. At least that would be 14 teams…a team that wins out of the 14 teams would arguably be as legit as any regular section champ since most section divisions have between 10 and 25 teams.

  • OALfan2

    Not sure if Isamu has been replaced, but he has been fired! I hear by the district, no replacement has been made so far. He did a nice job there on the field, but I guess there were other factors which were more important that the district was not happy with.

  • BayAreaSection

    @ Oh Boy,I recently been following the OAL since 2001 & things have not been the same in the OAL. Like many posters it would be nice to see the AAA & OAL merge to form the Trans-Bay Section and see them schedule more against the NCS/CCS/SJS Div. II & III Teams. I have been rooting for Bay Area Teams for the longest time. From San Jose-Oakland-San Francisco-Santa Rosa-Vacaville-Vallejo-Napa. But if the Teams from the NCS(up to Wndsor),CCS,OAL,SF along with the teams from Napa/Vallejo/Fairfield/Vacaville teams were to merge it would be the second largest section in the state. Still wishing the OAL & SF Sections the best! Have a great season!

  • Red & White

    How is Mack going to get away with Twenty transfers. Who’s running the Mack House???

  • Red & White

    Skyline is the only schools in the OAL who do not recruit players. Mack continues to get away with having illegal transfers. This problem at Mack has been going on for years.

    What good is the commissioner if he is going to turn a blind eye to what”s going on over there.

  • SportFAN

    First of ALL… Red & White! There is nothing illegal going on over @ Mack. How does Mack RECRUIT? They tell kids “oh yeh” come to West Oakland, where you risk your life everyday? And their academics is the Best, not? Or maybe its the palm trees, not? (I don’t feel this way, but that’s Mack’s wrap) Some selling point though, huh? If you move into a new area you are allowed to transfer. Plus, I happen to know personally that make doesn’t recruit… What are you to do if player comes to you and says “we just move in your district,” or “I’m coming to Mack.” Its to bad that the kids are working hard, the coaches are working hard and the administration are working hard. To make Mack successful. Everybody continues to hate that is just a shame!!! One of the ONLY positive things going on in Oakland is MACK football… The commissioner should stop it, huh? I can’t believe you people!!! #hater

  • OALfan2

    Red and White u are super wrong? All schools recruit in some way or another! But the bottom line is coach your give up that U are given, then have them ready to compete! It’s no ones fault if a certain school happens to get a large amount of talent.

  • SL piratefootball

    sportsfan
    lets be real they recruit but so has skyline in the past fremont hoop teams in the 90′s it happens plain and simple they tried to get the big tak from kennedy in richmond. mack isnt the only school that does it