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30Q-2-KICKOFF (No. 16): Eastbound and up?

By Ben Enos
Thursday, August 9th, 2012 at 10:53 am in 30 Questions to Kickoff, East Bay Football.

We roll on here at football central. Today, a look at the Bay Valley Athletic League.

Is the BVAL wide open this year, or will Pittsburg rise to the top yet again?

The short answer to that question is the former. In my estimation, this is absolutely a year the mighty Pirates will be challenged up at the top of the standings.

But, don’t kid yourself into thinking Pittsburg is going to shrink into obscurity. It’s not. The Pirates return plenty of talent, and will always be in the title hunt. Two players to watch right off the top are linemen Motekiai Maile and Antonio Huey. I think they could be two of the better big men in the area. Who they’re blocking for is still a matter of debate. Quarterback Malik Watson is gone, as are running backs Fe’ao Vunipola and Mister Cotton. Into their shoes step new quarterback Lorenzo Renteria and running backs Crajon Menefee and Jamal Lockett. I liked what I saw from both of those backs last year, so the Pirates will be fine there. If Renteria can provide stability under center, I think Pitt will be just fine.

There are challengers, of course. Freedom could really be a team to watch, not only in the BVAL but in the Division I playoffs. Not too many teams have a returning trio of playmakers like Dante Mayes, Darrell Daniels and Joe Mixon. The Falcons also return a bunch of offensive linemen, which is going to make that offense even more fluid and dynamic. If the defense can plug the holes left by graduation, this should definitely be a championship-caliber team.

As usual, you can never count out Deer Valley and Heritage. The Wolverines return a bunch of talent, led by RB Shane Pooler and the Websters, Nzuzi and Nsimba. DV actually beat Pitt last year, but faded down the stretch to lose its last three games and miss the playoffs. If fatigue sets in late this season, the same thing will happen because the Wolverines finish with Pitt, Freedom and Heritage.

Speaking of the Patriots, I don’t quite know what to make of them just yet. Three of their six losses in 2011 were by six points or less, so it seems to me if they reverse that trend, they’ll be good to go. Anthony Carter returns at QB, which is always a good starting point. The bottom line is Jeff Haagenson has built consistency at Heritage, and I don’t see that going away.

Antioch and Liberty continue to try and get back into that upper echelon of BVAL teams, but I think the Panthers are much further along in that pursuit than the Lions. Antioch was one of only three BVAL teams to finish 2011 with a winning record, making the playoffs before a 19-13 loss to Pittsburg knocked them out. The Panthers return QB Hunter Karnthong, RB Elbert Hamilton and LB Markie Beltram to form a good nucleus that should be very interested in keeping that momentum going. After looking at their nonleague schedule, I would think they have a pretty good shot at being 5-0 heading into the BVAL season.

Liberty’s a whole different story, with some off the field issues throwing a wrench in the plans, I’m sure. The Lions are going to have to rally around each other to succeed this season, but they do return quarterback Cody Suckow, so they’ve got that going for them.

Altogether, this is going to be a wild league to follow all the way down to the end. Gonna be tough to predict a champion. Who ya got?

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  • http://bluedog2 George Manley

    IF….the Pirates can be consist they have a chance to be the league champ…but Freedom faces the same problem…Being consist..Freedom defences have given up a lot of points in the past and Freedom’s defence is the key to their sucess….I think it looks like this now…Freedom,Pittsburg,Deer Valley Heritage, antioch and Liberty..

  • Prep Fan

    From this morning’s Times: 5 Liberty players have been suspended for the season due to a hazing incident at a recent team camp at Sac St. It was already going to be a tough year for the Lions, and this will not help matters.

    http://www.contracostatimes.com/news/ci_21267119/five-brentwood-football-players-suspended-after-hazing-incident

  • Pitt Alum

    When it comes to pitt, they can compete with anyone on there schedule. But what it comes down to is will pitt find a way to beat themselves

  • bval

    Are the Liberty kids done for the year? I had heard they might be allowed to rejoin the team mid year

    Pitt will always be good, they always have a strong athletic team, and always loaded at RB… biggest question for them is will they find a QB who can threaten teams somewhat in the air

    Freedom is ridiculously talented… if they lose to anyone besides DLS then they have seriously choked

    Deer valley is loaded with athletes and size, so they are always in the mix

    I don’t see heritage being at the top of the league this year

    it will interesting to see if Antioch can turn things around or turn into the same ole antioch

    liberty has been struggling, and losing these players might be a hard thing to come back from

  • http://aol YoMama

    Just read about the 5 Liberty football players suspended and potentially charged in hazing.
    The use of icy-hot in a non-appropiate manner?
    You mean taking a toilet paper roll and applying icy-hot to someone’s rear end?
    That kind of stuff has been going on in locker rooms for years. So has peeing on a teammate while taking a shower. Those parents have no idea what goes on in college or the pros. Is Liberty trying to show up Penn State? Hazing (if that what it is???) is not sexual harrasment.

  • http://aol BigJoe

    The rumor was that Stan Brown from Salesian ’67 used to piss in his hands behind the bleachers to make them tough- no fumbles- state running back of the year. Should we open up an investigation from 45 years ago on indecent exposure?

  • http://aol YoMama

    The 5 Liberty players being replaced with the icy-hot victims? Those Brentwood kids in trouble again ( Grad problems in June). The school district needs to find some sheep farmers out there and take those aggresive kids down to the lower forty for some workouts. Don’t forget to bring the icy-hot!

  • http://bluedog2 George Manley

    Pitt Alum….That is a good description..some times Pitt is their own worst enemy….We will get a good look at Pittsburg next Friday…several years ago the Pitt QB said the only thing that will beat Pitt is Pitt. there is lots of talent this year and amybe they will come together and show us the Pitt of old….

  • http://aol YoMama

    I might stand corrected. The internet says kids are applying it on testicles instead. That’s very ballsey!

  • http://bluedog2 George Manley

    No matter what these kids at Liberty did…There is no reason or excuse for it….There was a similar problem like this at Alhambra on the freshman team a while back,and it cost them the whole season..a complete lack of common sense…One can see what the future for Liberty football will be this year…

  • BigMike

    It is very bad a Liberty right now with kids being suspended. I heard that JV kids that should not be up on Var are now being pull up. Some one is going to get hurt.
    I did go out and see most of the teams practice(-Antioch). The two that impressed me the most are Pitt and DV. Both teams have a lot of team speed and size. Pitt has a lot of talented WR. DV has a new look at offense and looked explosive at all the skill positions. Can’t wait to see these two play eachother.

  • epcthree

    @ YoMama: The fact that these incidences have been going on for years is hardly justification to allow for it to happen now. I too recall this nonsense going on back in my HS FB days., but Very little of it in my college FB days. I have been coaching at the HS level for more than 20 years now and I am PROUD to say that this childish behavior has never been tolerated on any team I have been a part of. The interesting fact that most people seem to ignore is that it’s virtually never the star players that have these things done to them; it’s almost always the weaker kids who are unable to defend themselves. And yes, there will always be weaker kids on youth teams, even at the HS level. I’m not talking about pro’s taping a rookie to the goal posts for 20 minutes or making them cut their hair in a foolish manner. I’m talking about hazing that can injure like icy hot on testicles or taping on bare skin or the psychological hazing that also takes place; locking kids in lockers for hours or dog piles on kids to the point that they become scared It’s wrong and to perpetuate it or condone it is ignorance at its peak.

  • http://aol YoMama

    If the victims were physically forced then it’s wrong and could be considered assault. If it’s a traditional hazing pratice and those victims volunteered to be lubed up then the punishment is too severe. It’s still wrong but it’s funny that no one in that locker-room had any knowledge, including coaches ???How about coaches who get physical with players- don’t tell me after 20 yrs of coaching you haven’t seen that?

  • epcthree

    YoMama – “Volunteered to be lubed up?” Well that qualifies for one of the more amazingly ill thought out comments I’ve seen in a while. Please, find me the youth who “volunteered to be lubed up.” We are not talking about making underclassmen carry Senior’s pads or pick of jocks after practice. I have no problem with that kind of “tradition” As for locker room knowledge of abusive behavior, of course things go on in locker rooms that coaches are not aware of. We don’t have someone in the room overseeing every minute. That said if you have instilled maturity in your players, THEY will ensure things like this don’t happen. I find it astounding that a De La Salle supporter; a team coached by Bob Ladouceur who I have known personally since he was in HS is sitting here attempting to justify this type of behavior. Do you seriously believe that HE would condone this? Finally to your last point and attempt to shift the point of the conversation; of course I’ve seen coaches who have been physical with their players. And it has happened twice on my watch. And those were the last seconds that both those men coached on my staff. When I bring someone onto my staff I make it clear; no way do you abuse an athlete on this squad – NO second chances. I have gone so far as to make it known to more than one HS principal that coaches at their schools have behaved in this manner. I know it cost at least one coach his position. Some think that’s great. Others, who have your mentality, think that it’s “soft”. Frankly, I couldn’t care less what anyone thinks, I have the best interest of the kids in mind. And for those who think this idiotic behavior instills “toughness”, there are far too many other legitimate ways to accomplish that goal. You don’t need to embarrass or humiliate to do so. And if you believe that Bob Ladouceur feels any differently, you are sadly mistaken.

  • BayAreaSection

    @ Big Mike, did DV change their offense from the “Fly?”
    Wut are they running now? I hope to see a Pitt vs. Vacaville Game soon. Rooting for the BVAL Teams for more success except when they face my team!

  • IM JUST SAY’IN

    Yeah DV changed to a pro style offense the new O.C. comes from the Chris Turner coaching tree. As does the O.C. at O’dowd. Great system for kids that are trying to play on the next level.

  • spectator2012

    i’ve watched the los medanos 7 on 7, and pitt and heritage did not look too good. antioch on the other hand looks like they are going to compete in the bval this year, their qb, recievers, seems to be on point. antioch defense seems to be decent also. dv may be the surprise of the league, they seem to have a lot of speed and athleticism, and don’t forget they have size. heritage does not seem to have anything going for them. looks like they will be in the bottom 2 of the bval. heritage db’s seems to have the same problems as last years. looks like offense would have to score a lot to keep up in the game. liberty is well liberty, nothing seems to have changed there. we’ll see how it turns out when the pads comes on.

  • spectator2012

    …and as for freedom, if they are who they tink they are… they should win league. they have their big 3 – mayes, daniels, and mixon. don’t really know who else they have w/out those guys. their o-line seems to be really good and were mostly all juniors last year. if thay can protect mayes, daniels can make plays. hopefully mixon doesn’t fumble also. freedom whould have a big year.

  • bval

    just hearsay but the latest rumors around east county are that the “hazing incidents” involving icy hot were holding players down and somehow trying to force the icy hot up their rear ends

  • Pitt Grunt

    @Spectator2012,

    I was at that LMC 7 on 7 tournament too and also saw Antioch beat De La Salle. Dose that mean Antioch should be favored to win NCS??? It’s 7 on 7. Some team go into these tournament to win, other to develop players. Different philosophies. The key to the BVAL is the Offensive and Defensive line. If you win the battle of the trenches you will win league. Every team in the BVAL has good skill players (yes, even Liberty), some better than others (hint: Freedom). This is why I think Antioch and Liberty will struggle and Pitt and DV are always in contention. No doubt the big 3 for Freedom make them the favorite. But I do wonder about their O-line and D.

    From a Pitt point of view, Coach Galli’s off season over haul of his coaching staff will be tested in the first five games, with Clayton Valley, Cal High, Berkeley, Monte Vista, and Granite Bay on the schedule. Based on the practices I have attended, this staff has been very active instilling a sense of discipline. Lots of yelling, lots of hustle, and a much more disciplined feel. The new D-Coordinator is a very intense guy.

    More will be learned after Friday’s scrimmages. Pitt hosts De LA Salle, Cal, and James Logan. I know Heritage participates in a Jamboree at Foothill. Anyone know were the other team will be on Friday?

  • Spectator2012

    @pitt grunt

    You are right, some teams take the 7 on 7 more seriously than others. all i am saying is that pitt did not look like the usual pitt. their db’s look lost, and the qb does not seem to have an arm. it looks like pitt will be pounding the ball. i know pitt will be a team to beat by the time season starts. galli will get the kids ready. as for freedom, i hear that their defense is a big question. we know they’ll put points up. the lb’s is what is hear the issue is at. freedom o-line should be solid. if antioch can play as they did in the 7 on 7, they should compete. i still believe dv will be the surprise of the league with their size and athleticism. heritage and liberty looked horrible from what i saw. maybe coach haagenson can turn things around. heritage seems to have lost its shine for this year. liberty has issues in and out the field. can’t wait for this coming friday’s scrimmages. i will be at pitt to watch the scrmmages. we will see what the bval has to offer.

  • http://ibabuzz.com PERKIN

    Passing League doesnt mean anything but it is kind of shocking to hear that DLS lost a game. Seen them a couple times at DVC tourneys over the years they have always smoked every team they’ve played Pitt, SRV, COncord, ect… They win every local tourney they attend. Porps to Antioch if anything.

  • Daddio

    Perkin. DLS did win that tourney at LMC

  • AA PITT

    any scrimmages before the season ?

  • Spectator2012

    i believe freedom has a scrimmage this friday at las lomas. teams are las lomas, freedom, college park, ???. i don’t know who the 4th team is. heritage is at foothill, with washington, and don’t know the 4th either. please correct if i am wrong.

  • EB JC Guy

    Antioch has looked tremendous this summer. Freedom has looked great at times, inconsistent at others, but many say they are the team to beat. Saw Liberty earlier in summer, they looked pretty decent at DVC; from what I heard, they basically sent JV players to LMC, so I bet they did look pretty overmatched. I hear Pitt’s running game will be very solid, could be the x-factor against Freedom, and we all know DV has always had the talent to run a great pro-style/spread offense.

  • renegades10

    There were two LMC 7on7 tourneys that DLS participated in. They lost to Antioch in the first one and won the 2nd tournament.

  • Freedom Fan

    Freedom won a local tournament. I don’t know where. and then later they got invited to a tournament to play at the Colts Stadium, yes the pro team. Just getting invited was a big deal.

    There O-line is stacked returning everyone. They have a center that doesn’t look strong. But is the strongest on the team. Kyle Lintz is built as a D1 lineman. Reminds me of Kyree Oliver. Built kind of the same.

    The only problem or question they have is on Defense. That has always been there problem year in and year out. Bobby Montgomery was an animal last year. Very small Defensive Tackle but was very strong. He is returning, Daniels and Mixon will probably play more on defense. Tyler Saude will probably Outside Linebacker.

    Their schedule is not that strong. Amador will be ok this year, they don’t suck but they aren’t that amazing. Foothill will be the biggest test for them. They have dominated passing league tournaments this summer.They have a player named Griffin who is being talked about alot in that program. Heard Castro Valleys program has tanked, they’ve gotten really bad the last couple of years. Franklin is almost identical to freedom in some ways, but i dont see them catching up to freedom.

    I think the “Consistency” of Heritage has died down for now.

  • http://aol YoMama

    Post 14, who said anything about coaches allowing that?
    First of all, we don’t really know what happened, only the suspended and team knows. If getting lubed up offends you, so what? Who cares if you know another coach? You called other high school principles to inform them of their coaches actions? Sheet, you need to lighten up man. Your holier than than other attitude is your choice, however don’t ever think you know my mentality- I didn’t do it or condone it in HS or college either, however it happened on more than several occassions at schools, it’s kind of like well I’m a member of sSgma Kei, so my frat couldn’t have beat, humilated or drowned the pledges, yet it happened. These things happen a lot in college, read the papers. Don’t think jocks don’t participate? Stick some of that icy hot on you and open up a little punk.