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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.

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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.

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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.

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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.

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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.

 

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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.

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California High football team looks to build off its strength

SAN RAMON — California High football players spent a lot of time pumping iron this summer, a fact that should power the Grizzlies when the games begin.

“I would say this is my strongest team since I’ve been here, in terms of lifting weights,” fifth-year California coach Eric Billeci said. “They’ve had a great offseason and a good summer, so we’re anticipating that will translate onto the field.”

The Grizzlies, who shared the East Bay Athletic League title with San Ramon Valley last season and advanced to the North Coast Section Division I semifinals, have every reason to expect similar success this season.

“I hope so. We put in a lot of work,” senior quarterback Cameron Owen said. “I think it would be hard for the guys to just let it slip through their fingers after all the hard work that we’ve put in this offseason.”

To read the rest of this story, visit http://www.contracostatimes.com/high-school-sports/ci_23901575/expectations-still-high-california-football-team

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San Ramon Valley football team looks to have another special year

DANVILLE — The San Ramon Valley High football team is big, athletic, and aiming high.

With a robust front line, top running back Marcus de la Pena and explosive wideout J.J. Koski, the Wolves appear well-stocked for a deep run in the North Coast Section Division I playoffs.

“I think our kids have a great shot of doing something special,” Wolves coach Mark Kessler says.

For the rest of this story, visit http://www.contracostatimes.com/high-school-sports/ci_23901564/san-ramon-valley-football-team-looks-do-something

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Livermore football team determined to take next step

LIVERMORE — The Livermore High football team is eager to change the status quo.

Senior leaders and two-way stalwarts Sam Ogee and Kevin Amaral are determined to be impact players in an impact program, a year after the Cowboys finished 2-9 overall and 0-6 in the East Bay Athletic League.

The harsh reality is Livermore hasn’t beaten anyone other than Granada in the EBAL in over a decade. But the slate is clean again.

“It doesn’t matter if we win preseason games because we can do that,” said Ogee, who has an offer from Cal Poly. “We have to break through the barrier of winning (in) EBAL and seeing ourselves as a contender, because I know people around the school see us: ‘Oh, we’re not going to win. It’s Cal, and we’re Livermore.’ We need to break through that barrier.”

For the rest of this story, visit http://www.contracostatimes.com/high-school-sports/ci_23901563/livermore-high-football-team-determined-take-next-step

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Granada football team has sights set on making playoffs

LIVERMORE — Granada High senior Casey Soltis looks ready. He sounds ready, but is he really ready to be The Guy With The Ball in the Wing-T package?

“I’m ready,” Soltis said during the Matadors’ first practice on Aug. 12.

The Matadors plan to get the ball in Soltis’ hands as much as possible.

“I’ll be quarterback sometimes. I’ll be running back sometimes. I’ll be wide receiver sometimes. Where ever they’ll need me, I’ll go,” Soltis said.

Of course, it’s not just about Soltis, who is headed to Oregon on a baseball scholarship. The Matadors have a strong returning group, led by senior quarterback Tyler Offill, and a burning desire to return to the North Coast Section Division I playoffs after falling short the past two years.

For the rest of this story, visit http://www.contracostatimes.com/high-school-sports/ci_23901560/granada-high-football-team-ready-its-close-up