Liberty High forfeiting two football wins

The Liberty High football team is forfeiting its wins over Concord and West-Tracy due to the use of an academically ineligible player.
The Lions, who were off to their best start since 1998, are now 0-2 after self-reporting the problem.
“Our head coach was doing a grade check and realized that one of the kids may have been out of compliance,” Liberty athletic director Curtis Cunningham said. “We started investigating and realized that he was out of compliance. It’s really important to us that we uphold the values of integrity, honesty and good sportsmanship, so we self-reported as soon as we could… It was just a clerical error, it kind of just slipped through.”
After finishing 2-8 last season, Liberty was off to a strong start under new coach Jeff Walters, having outscored Concord and West by a combined 98-37. Instead, Concord and West will each be credited with a victory for those games.
Liberty’s next game is at home against Hayward on Friday at 7:30 p.m.
“Everyone’s disappointed, but I think Jeff is doing a good job of turning it into a rallying point,” Cunningham said.


East Bay football poll — 9/3

Here’s our latest poll. Castro Valley and Amador Valley enter this week.

Team Record Points Last week
1. De La Salle (5) 1-0 75 1
2. California 1-0 70 2
3. El Cerrito 1-0 64 t3
4. San Ramon Valley 1-0 61 5
5. Pittsburg 0-1 53 t3
6. Clayton Valley 0-1 50 t7
7. Deer Valley 0-0 46 t7
8. James Logan 0-1 43 6
9. Foothill 1-0 30 11
10. Berkeley 1-0 27 12
11. Castro Valley 1-0 21 NR
12. Campolindo 1-0 18 13
13. Monte Vista 0-1 16 10
14. Amador Valley 1-0 11 NR
15. Freedom 0-1 9 9

Also receiving votes:  McClymonds (1-0, 8 votes). The East Bay Football Poll is voted on by the prep sports staff of Bay Area News Group East Bay.


El Cerrito cornerback Adarius Pickett commits to UCLA

El Cerrito High cornerback Adarius Pickett committed to UCLA on Tuesday, just days after returning from his official visit to the school.
Pickett, a four-star recruit by Rivals.com, had earlier narrowed his long list of offers to a top 13. But the 6-foot, 185-pound senior says he’s done with the recruiting process after his first and only official visit over the past weekend.
“I was just talking to my parents about it and they said it’s my decision,” Pickett said. “Today just seemed like a great day to do it.”
Pickett listed the coaching staff as well as the school’s academics as major reasons for his commitment to UCLA.
“My cousin goes there and I get along with all the players,” he added.
Pickett is the third El Cerrito senior to commit to a Pac-12 school this year, joining teammates Jalen Harvey (Cal) and D.J. Calhoun (USC).
The Gauchos won their season opener against Sutter last Friday 34-14.


East Bay high school football preview section

Our 2013 East Bay high school football preview season hit the web Thursday and the papers Friday. There are quite a few elements, so here are the links to everything in one spot:

A story on how social media is changing the recruiting game.

A story on Freedom’s Joe Mixon, one of the nation’s hottest recruits.

A story on how some coaches view the role of social media in recruiting.

Our 25 Players to Watch (with photos)

Five games to watch

Our East Bay preseason poll

And, of course, our league by league breakdowns with predicted order of finish. (We’ll add links for North Central II and the OAL later this week)

Bay Valley Athletic League: Mixon, Ross take center stage in run-heavy league

Diablo Foothill Athletic League: Campolindo looks for three-peat in balanced league

Diablo Valley Athletic League: Clayton Valley Charter looks to repeat

East Bay Athletic League: California may have slight edge in Year of the Lineman

Mission Valley Athletic League: Returning starters should keep Newark Memorial on top

TCAL-Rock: El Cerrito eyes another league title, and much more

WACC-Foothill: Berkeley’s defense will be tough to beat

WACC-Shoreline: Ground game should power Tennyson’s offense

James Logan not backing down

De La Salle well-stocked for new coach Justin Alumbaugh




De La Salle High football well-stocked for new coach Justin Alumbaugh

It may have been just a coincidence, or — more likely — a calculated decision.

When Bob Ladouceur announced in January that he was stepping down as De La Salle High’s head football coach after 34 seasons, he left successor Justin Alumbaugh with plenty of talent remaining.

After going 15-0 and winning a fourth consecutive state championship last fall, De La Salle won’t have too many giant holes to fill in Alumbaugh’s first year on the job. The Spartans are especially loaded on offense, with a massive but athletic offensive line leading the way.

In fact, the Spartans look so good on paper that MaxPreps.com tabbed them as the No. 1 team in the nation in its preseason rankings.

To read the rest of this story, click here.


Young Concord High football team focuses on growing up

In his 10 years as Concord High’s football coach, Brian Hamilton has never experienced this much roster turnover.

It’s challenging, sure, but also refreshing and energizing, he says. There are no preseason rankings to worry about, no star players feeling pressure to live up to expectations or carry the team.

“I love us,” Hamilton said. “I think it’s a group of guys that recognize how hard they have to work.”

The Minutemen graduated 20 starters from their 2012 roster of 27 players. The entire defense will be replaced with new faces and the only offensive starters back are quarterback Mitchell Daniels and offensive lineman Robert Liu. Both are juniors.

To read the rest of this story, click here.


College Park High football team optimistic this year will be better

The College Park High football team is out to prove that last year was a fluke.

The injury-plagued season ended with the Falcons posting a losing record and not qualifying for the North Coast Section playoffs, something that doesn’t happen too often for a program that’s been consistently strong under veteran coach Bill Kepler.

This year, enough talent and experience returns that the Falcons have a chance to improve on last season’s fourth-place finish in the Diablo Valley Athletic League.

“We’re a little more athletic this year and are understanding our jobs better,” Kepler said. “The kids are buying in better… We have kids back that understand the schemes better.”

To read the rest of this story, click here.


Expectations continue to grow for Northgate football team

Goals and expectations for the Northgate High football program continue to grow under sixth-year coach Justin Lowell.

It wasn’t too long ago that simply making the North Coast Section playoffs seemed like a lofty goal for a program mired in losing seasons.

But now, after reaching the postseason in two of the last three years, the Broncos are making a habit of winning. The goal isn’t simply to just earn a spot in the playoffs anymore, they want to make a deeper run.

“We’re at the point where the program is consistent and the mindset and expectations of the kids have changed,” Lowell said. “That’s the biggest thing — it’s expected (that they’ll win) and that’s their goal.”

To read the rest of this story, click here.


Many new faces for Las Lomas football team, including coach

When the Las Lomas High football team opens its season Friday, a familiar presence will be absent from the sideline.

Doug Longero, who turned the Knights into a perennial contender in the Diablo Foothill Athletic League and won four North Coast Section championships in 14 seasons, stepped down as the program’s head coach last December.

But his mark on the program lives on.

Mike Downing, the Knights’ new head coach, learned a good chunk of what he knows about football from Longero. Downing played for Longero, graduating from Las Lomas in 1999, and immediately hooked on as an assistant coach at his alma mater after finishing college.

To read the rest of this story, click here.



East Bay football poll — 2013 preseason

Here it is, our first East Bay football poll of the 2013 season. Enjoy!

Team 2012 record Points Last year
1. De La Salle (4) 15-0 60 1
2. California 10-3 55 4
t3. Pittsburg 8-4 49 7
t3. El Cerrito 13-1 49 5
5. San Ramon Valley 6-6 47 9
6. James Logan 12-2 36 2
t7. Clayton Valley 12-2 32 3
t7. Deer Valley 6-5 32 NR
9. Freedom 9-3 29 6
10. Monte Vista 6-5 28 13
11. Foothill 6-6 23 15
12. Berkeley 5-5 15 NR
13. Campolindo 10-2 12 10
14. McClymonds 9-4 7 12
t15. Granada 4-6 2 NR
t15. Newark Memorial 9-3 2 NR

Also receiving votes:  Miramonte (7-5, 1 vote), Castro Valley (5-6, 1). The East Bay Football Poll is voted on by the prep sports staff of Bay Area News Group East Bay.