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30Q-2-KICKOFF (No. 23): Along the Shoreline

I wrote about the West Alameda County Conference Foothill League yesterday, so today let’s look at the Shoreline League.

Like many leagues in this restructured 2012 football season, this race should be wide open. These are all teams that haven’t generally been competing for league titles recently, so it’ll be a new experience. In the end, I see it being a three-team race between Alameda, Arroyo and Tennyson.

All three of those teams seem to have the potential to emerge. Alameda has had a few down years, but it wasn’t long ago that the Hornets were competitive in the ACCAL. They’ve got some experienced pieces with talent, including QB Jesse Lewis, WR/RB/DB¬†Sulaiman Hameed and TE/DE Weston Tolbert, son of KNBR host and former Warrior Tom Tolbert. They tend to have strong numbers and that depth could be big for them in this league, where they won’t be facing a ton of teams with established strong programs.

Arroyo looked like a team on the rise in 2010, in James Barnes first year as coach. The Dons upset San Leandro and tied for second in the HAAL. They regressed a big last year, but the history of this program is good. With some tough nonleague games such as Concord and O’Dowd, they could be ready to rumble in the Shoreline league and make a run at a title.

Tennyson is coming off an 8-3 season in which it tied a school record for wins and made a second straight NCS playoff berth. The Lancers also finished in a three-way tie for second place in the HAAL, their highest league finish in decades. In an easier league, can they make the jump to league champs? We’ll see. They haven’t won a football league title since 1970 and no team at the school has won a league title since 1990.¬†Yep, that’s 22 years without a single sports team capturing a league title. A lot of key pieces are gone from last year’s team, including Raysean Martin, Alson Paxton Jr. and Pablo Magallanes. But the schedule is manageable and should lead to a return to the playoffs.

As for the rest of the league. You’ve got to think that Paul Perenon will get Mt. Eden competitive, especially without having to face the big dogs like O’Dowd and San Leandro. Piedmont was pretty strong not long ago and I’d expect they’ll be in most games. San Lorenzo’s coming off an 0-10 season, but there should at least be a little excitement because it looks like their new field is complete, at least from the look I got at it from 237.

Jimmy Durkin

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