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Football: First-round playoff matchups in NCS Division 1

Here are this weekend’s slate of opening-round games in the North Coast Section Division 1 football playoffs, all set for 7 p.m. Friday, and what brought them here:

No. 12 Dougherty Valley at No. 5 Pittsburg

  • Pittsburg (8-2): Pirates coach Victor Galli has his team in its regular stellar form, led by running back Montaz Thompson (1,412 yards, 14 TDs rushing). The defense is stingy as usual behind linebacker Charles Ramirez (111 tackles, two picks, two forced fumbles), cornerback Jordan Parker (three picks) and lineman Iffy Joyner (seven sacks). Pittsburg held off two league opponents by seven total points but couldn’t halt unbeaten Antioch in its season finale and its second loss in a wild game after falling 49-42 to Monte Vista in September.
  • Dougherty Valley (6-4): The Wildcats have their first winning record since 2007 in coach Nick Tisa’s fourth year at the helm. “We have good senior leadership,” Tisa said in September, noting those kids transformation from when he took over the program. “All they know is me, so they don’t know the old Dougherty. I definitely am getting calls from alumni, they’re excited.” He said that right after DV’s 5-0 start, though it won only once the rest of the way — a 34-7 victory over Acalanes. It’s pass-happy offense is powered by jack-of-all-trades Sam Tarasow (588 yards, six TDs rushing; 583 yards, 5 TDs receiving) and  Hawaii-bound receiver Trey Hoskins (470 yards, seven TDs receiving).
  • Winner plays: No. 4 Monte Vista (7-3)

No. 11 Dublin at No. 6 Freedom

  • Freedom (6-4): The Falcons are on a three-game win streak since being downed by the BVAL’s top two teams, Pittsburg and Antioch, largely because of quarterback Joey Sweeney. The senior has 10 touchdowns and just one pick in the last three games, along with 779 of his 2,309 yards this season. Also integral is running back Ronnie Rivers (1,218 yards, 18 TDs rushing). Junior linebacker Kyle Harmon (109 tackles) leads a defense that has totaled 14 interceptions this season.
  • Dublin (7-3): The Gaels started out 4-0, including wins over two eventual playoff teams, before nearly toppling defending Division 3 state champion Campolindo in a 14-10 loss. After shutting out Acalanes 17-0, they were edged 14-13 by Alhambra — two more playoff teams. Then Dublin won twice before falling 29-14 in its regular-season finale. Leading the way all season has been senior running back John Son.
  • Winner plays: No. 3 Foothill (10-0)

No. 7 Amador Valley at No. 10 San Leandro

  • Amador Valley (7-3): The Dons defeated playoff-bound California and San Ramon Valley back-to-back by a total of seven points, setting them up to enter their season finale against rival Foothill as potential spoilers for the outright EBAL title (though they lost big to the Falcons). Their leaders on offense this year are running back Ledre McCollough (1,016 yards, 8 TDs rushing) and wide receiver Grant Huggins (432 yards, 6 TDs receiving).
  • San Leandro (6-4): The Pirates are on a six-game win streak since starting 0-4, including a 44-43 overtime victory over playoff-bound Tennyson to take the West Alameda County Conference-Foothill Division title. Three of their running backs have at least 500 yards and five touchdowns, a mark of a complex offense. Defensively the Pirates are led by defensive end Jahari Kay (65 tackles, 7.5 sacks).
  • Winner plays: No. 2 Antioch (10-0)

No. 9 James Logan vs. No. 8 California

  • California (6-4): A two-point conversion run by Justin Locklear for a 50-49 overtime win over Monte Vista two weeks ago kept the Grizzlies from going into the playoffs on a four-game losing streak. Their offense is a balanced attack led by Locklear (750 yards, 11 TDs) and helped by the junior trio of Cameron Norfleet, Trevor Leathley and Brandon Perrilliat who were huge in California’s five-game win streak during the season. It’s defense was also important, including defensive end Nick Friedel (53 tackles, six sacks), linebacker Pavin Virdee (63 tackles) and cornerback William Gin (four picks).
  • James Logan (7-3): In coach George Zuber’s last season before stepping down to be with his family, the Colts have lost only two powerhouse teams: De La Salle, Clayton Valley Charter and Atascadero of the Southern Section, which was just a one-point loss in overtime. Otherwise they’ve been pretty dominant in a fully non-league schedule, including a 26-20 win over San Leandro and a 63-6 win over Washington.
  • Winner plays: No. 1 De La Salle
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Big Little Game memories: Past high-stakes games for both Antioch, Pittsburg

Antioch's Jerone Simmons, #25, can't stop Pittsburg's Robert Jiles, #6, after making a 42-yard touchdown pass in the 1st quarter during the 90th annual Big Little Game on Saturday, November 15, 2008 in Antioch, Calif. Pittsburg defeated Antioch 42-0. (Jose Carlos Fajardo/Staff)

Antioch’s Jerone Simmons, #25, can’t stop Pittsburg’s Robert Jiles, #6, after making a 42-yard touchdown pass in the 1st quarter during the 90th annual Big Little Game on Saturday, November 15, 2008 in Antioch, Calif. Pittsburg defeated Antioch 42-0. (Jose Carlos Fajardo/Staff)

There’s much on the line with Saturday’s Big Little Game featuring Antioch and Pittsburg. Both teams are undefeated in league play, making this one at Pittsburg at 1:30 p.m. winner-take-all for the BVAL championship.
There are countless stories of dramatic games, upsets and fantastic finishes in the rivalry that dates back to 1924 – enough for several books. Usually the stakes are high for at least one of the two rivals. But how often both Antioch and Pittsburg had a chance at a league championship in the Big Little Game?
Here are some recollections of a few games when stakes were high for both teams (we know there are many more):
2002 – Pittsburg 31, Antioch 21. Antioch and Pittsburg met tied for the BVAL lead, and the Panthers led 21-7 at the half, recalls Ruben Luna Jr., Antioch’s starting center that day. Luna has fonder memories of the 2001 game, which Antioch won 21-19. Luna’s father, Ruben Sr., played for Antioch teams in 1977-78 that won the BLG and went on the NCS championship game both times. Those were the last Antioch football teams to reach an NCS final, creating the inspiration for the son to follow the father to Big Little Game glory.
1991 – Pittsburg went to beat Antioch 26-20 in overtime in a game where playoff berths were on the line for both teams. Longtime Bay Area sports reporter Steve Dulas, who covered this game for the Ledger Dispatch, says of this game “It may have been the best high school game I have ever seen. You don’t often see the emotional momentum carry through for all four quarters, and then into overtime.”
A diving catch by Percy McGee of a Chris Shipe pass gave the Pirates the win.
“They sold out of 10,000; they wouldn’t let anyone else in … it was amazing,” said Herc Pardi, who was in his first year as head coach at Pittsburg. Pardi recalled a standout defensive play by future Oakland Raider Regan Upshaw that set up the overtime touchdown.
Pittsburg went to beat De La Salle in the NCS 3A championship game, to this date the last time a Northern California team has beaten De La Salle.
1984 – Antioch 18, Pittsburg 6: Heading into this game, Antioch had one loss, and in winning this BLG handed Pittsburg its first defeat on a rainy field in Antioch. This created a three-way in the DVAL with Antioch, Pittsburg and Northgate. Pardi recalls that a coin-flip left Pittsburg as the odd team out, with Antioch and Northgate moving on to NCS. The result was tough for Pittsburg after going into the BLG as undefeated league leaders, and the end result of not going to NCS.
1970 – Antioch 40, Pittsburg 32. After a loss to Ygnacio Valley earlier in the season, Antioch came back and won this BLG. Tom Lamothe, coordinator of Antioch Sports Legends, recalls this shooting between future BYU quarterback Gary Sheide of Antioch and Pittsburg QB Steve Camitz.
1966 – Antioch 13, Pittsburg 13: Both teams headed into this Big Little Game undefeated. This one was staged the next-to-last week of the regular season, says Pittsburg football historian Bob Lewis, the city’s former mayor. It was Lewis’ senior year, and he recalls the game like it was yesterday.
Going into the game, Antioch had last won the BLG in 1947, before any of the current players in ’66 were born. The Diablo Valley Athletic League title was at stake. Antioch scored twice to take a 13-0 halftime lead, and Pittsburg’s star running back Carlos Harris suffered what was thought to be a sprained ankle.
On the second play of the second half, Harris, whose ankle was taped up at halftime, ran 62-yards for a touchdown to cut the deficit to 13-7. “Then Harris collapsed in the end zone. It turned out it was a broken ankle, not a sprained ankle. So he ran 62 yards on a broken ankle,” Lewis recalls. Pittsburg scored a second touchdown in the fourth quarter, but a holding call during the point-after on Pittsburg led to a missed kick and a 13-13 tie.
The following week, Antioch beat Pacifica and won the DVAL title, finishing the regular season 8-0-1. Pittsburg still finished undefeated at 7-0-2, but took its second tie that final week 0-0 against Pleasant Hill High, playing without Harris and then losing quarterback Butch Cattolico — who went to a fabled career as coach at Los Gatos High for 36 years– to a concussion.
– After a 6-6 tie in 1968, the pendulum swung Antioch’s way in the rivalry, with 11 straight wins from 1969 to 1979, during the heyday of legendary Panthers coach Marv Comstock. When Larry Rodriguez (later the first varsity coach at Freedom) took over the Pittsburg program, the Pirates seized back control for much of the 1980s.
– More recently, Antioch scored a 27-21 double overtime win in 2006, and Pittsburg has since won the last nine meetings, including one in the 2011 NCS playoffs.
–Last year’s 17-14 Pittsburg win was the closest margin of victory since Antioch’s 21-19 win in 2001.

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Live prep football updates from East Bay tonight

Castlemont quarterback Joe Feao (1) is pressured by Castlemont's Ramone Sanders (25) and Jayshaun Thomas (86) in the first half of their Oakland Athletic League game at McClymonds High School in Oakland, Calif., on Friday, Oct. 9, 2015. (Ray Chavez/Bay Area News Group)

Castlemont quarterback Joe Feao (1) is pressured by Castlemont’s Ramone Sanders (25) and Jayshaun Thomas (86) in the first half of their Oakland Athletic League game at McClymonds High School in Oakland, Calif., on Friday, Oct. 9, 2015. (Ray Chavez/Bay Area News Group)

Follow the live prep football action from the East Bay and beyond Friday with in-game updates and scores beginning at 6:45 p.m.

Click here if viewing on a mobile device

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East Bay football rankings, 10/29

Here’s our East Bay rankings after the 10th week of play.

Team Record Last Week Up Next
1. De La Salle 7-1 1 vs. James Logan
2. Clayton Valley Charter 7-1 2 vs. Ygancio Valley
3. Foothill 9-0 3 BYE
4. Monte Vista 6-2 4 vs. California
5. Pittsburg 7-1 5 @ Liberty
6. Antioch 4-1 6 vs. Deer Valley
7. Campolindo 7-1 7 vs. Miramonte
8. Miramonte 8-0 9 @ Campolindo
9. James Logan 6-2 11 @De La Salle
10. Amador Valley 6-2 11 vs. Livermore
11. California 5-3 8 @ Monte Vista
12. McClymonds 8-0 12 vs. Skyline
13. Freedom 4-4 13 @Heritage
14. Berean Christian 7-1 14 vs. De Anza
15. Tennyson 7-1 15 @ Berkeley

On the bubble: John Swett (7-1), Moreau Catholic (7-1), Piedmont (6-2). Results are through Saturday. The East Bay rankings are compiled by the Bay Area News Group, selected from high schools in Alameda and Contra Costa counties.

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VIDEO: Incident with Deer Valley football, Pittsburg High band

An incident happened prior to Friday’s game at Pittsburg HS, when some Deer Valley football players interrupted the Pittsburg High Band’s pregame performance, including the National Anthem.
Deer Valley ended up being penalized 15 yards for unsportsmanlike conduct after coming onto the middle of the field prior to the captains meeting. Pittsburg won the game 31-28.

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Live updates tonight from East Bay prep football games

Castlemont quarterback Joe Feao (1) is pressured by Castlemont's Ramone Sanders (25) and Jayshaun Thomas (86) in the first half of their Oakland Athletic League game at McClymonds High School in Oakland, Calif., on Friday, Oct. 9, 2015. (Ray Chavez/Bay Area News Group)

Castlemont quarterback Joe Feao (1) is pressured by Castlemont’s Ramone Sanders (25) and Jayshaun Thomas (86) in the first half of their Oakland Athletic League game at McClymonds High School in Oakland, Calif., on Friday, Oct. 9, 2015. (Ray Chavez/Bay Area News Group)

Follow the live prep football action from the East Bay and beyond Friday with in-game updates and scores beginning at 6:45 p.m.

Click here if viewing on a mobile device

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Improved Monte Vista High football hosts EBAL co-leader Foothill

Foothill's Isaiah Floyd (22) celebrates a touchdown with Ruben Mercado (1) in the second quarter of their high school football game against San Leandro in Pleasanton, Calif., on Friday, Aug. 28, 2015. (Anda Chu/Bay Area News Group File)

Foothill’s Isaiah Floyd (22) celebrates a touchdown with Ruben Mercado (1) in the second quarter of their high school football game against San Leandro in Pleasanton, Calif., on Friday, Aug. 28, 2015. (Anda Chu/Bay Area News Group File)

The last two football matchups between Monte Vista and Foothill have been one-sided in favor of the Falcons, but this year may be different. Backed by a high-powered, pass-happy offense, the Mustangs (5-1, 2-0 East Bay Athletic League) welcome Foothill (7-0, 3-0) on Oct. 16 in a 7 p.m. game that could wind up deciding the league title.

Quarterback Jake Haener bounced back from Monte Vista’s lone loss, a 21-17 defeat at the hands of Clayton Valley Charter, by connecting repeatedly with receiver Noah Sol in a 34-12 win over Amador Valley last week. Twelve of his 18 completions were to Sol, who finished with 164 yards and a touchdown. That combination, along with fellow senior receiver Traehone Banda, should threaten unbeaten Foothill.

The Falcons feature a more run-oriented offense behind running back Isaiah Floyd, whose statistics on MaxPreps are listed at 1,100 yards and 16 touchdowns. But their defense is just as important. In three EBAL games this season, Foothill has allowed 14 total points. Its closest margin of victory is a 28-14 non-league win over Freedom, a rematch of last season’s North Coast Section Division 1 semifinal won by Foothill.

Monte Vista and Foothill have two common opponents this season. Both teams planted 42 points on Castro Valley, though the Mustangs allowed fewer points (14) than the Falcons (19). Monte Vista downed Livermore 48-17 while Foothill prevailed 42-7 against the Cowboys.

Even with a win, either the Mustangs or Falcons would have another roadblock en route to an undisputed EBAL crown: California High (5-1, 3-0). Foothill visits the Grizzlies on Oct. 16 and Monte Vista hosts them Oct. 23.

This week California plays Amador Valley (4-2, 1-1) and San Ramon Valley (1-5, 0-2) hosts Livermore (3-4, 0-3).

 

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Pittsburg High football Victor Galli becomes all-time win leader in school’s long history

Pittsburg head coach Victor Galli speaks to Jordan Parker (2) while playing against Freedom in the first quarter of their game at Freedom High School in Oakley, Calif., on Friday, Oct. 9, 2015. (Jose Carlos Fajardo/Bay Area News Group)

Pittsburg head coach Victor Galli speaks to Jordan Parker (2) while playing against Freedom in the first quarter of their game at Freedom High School in Oakley, Calif., on Friday, Oct. 9, 2015. (Jose Carlos Fajardo/Bay Area News Group)

Alan Jobb wrapped his arms around Victor Galli, who had just become the winningest coach in Pittsburg High football history, and delivered a simple message: “I’m proud of you, man.”

Fourteen year ago, when Galli got the top Pirates job, his lone assistant was Jobb. Now, 114 victories later, Jobb is among 16 guys on Galli’s crew.

“He’s great at bringing people together,” Jobb said.

That sentiment was echoed by Herc Pardi, chairman of the Pittsburg High Hall of Fame committee.

“Vic’s strength is being able to put together an outstanding coaching staff,” said Pardi, whose 27 years with Pittsburg football included helming the program from 1991-1995. “They have some coaches that really have a passion for the game.”

Pardi is an ideal person to comment on Galli’s accomplishment, considering his dad, Herk Pardi, played for the man Galli passed on the all-time wins list at Pittsburg. Pat Bryant coached the Pirates from 1927-1943 and went 113-40-15, according to Bob Lewis, former Pittsburg mayor and unofficial historian of Pirates football.

In two fewer seasons that Bryant, Galli is 114-50-1 and has taken Pittsburg to four North Coast Section title games. The Pirates edged host Freedom 33-29 in a wild Bay Valley Athletic League opener Friday, a game with three lead changes in the last three minutes.

“That was a gutty performance,” Galli said. “I’ve been a part of a lot of big wins, and that ranks right up there with them. Awesome stuff.”

The coach said it was particularly powerful because Pittsburg prevailed over a Falcons team coached by Kevin Hartwig, also in his 14th year in the BVAL.

The way Galli sees it, he said, coaching for that long is an accomplishment in and of itself.

“When I first started the job, I had no gray hair,” Galli said. “I was a young, fresh-faced kid. It’s a hell of a milestone. I sure didn’t get here by myself. All the coaches and people that have been part of my crew. I’m humbled by it.”