Oakland Section football playoffs expand

There will be an expanded playoff system for the Oakland Section football playoffs this season, with all six Oakland Athletic League teams competing.

The first round will be this Friday at 5 p.m., when Castlemont (5-5, 2-3 OAL) hosts Oakland (2-8, 1-4) and Oakland Tech (3-7, 3-2) hosts Skyline (1-9, 0-5). The winners will travel to face either No. 1 seed McClymonds (10-, 5-0) or No. 2 seed Fremont (5-5, 4-1) in the semifinals next week.

The Silver Bowl is set for Friday, Nov. 27 at 3 p.m. at Laney College.


Second-round matchups in the North Coast Section boys and girls water polo playoffs

Here are Saturday’s second-round matchups for East Bay schools in the North Coast Section boys and girls water polo playoffs, with how each team got there:


  • No. 1 Sir Francis Drake-San Anselmo vs. No. 9 Monte Vista (6:15 p.m. at Drake): The Mustangs edged eighth-seeded Amador Valley 11-10 while Pirates continued their undefeated season with a 23-1 win over Deer Valley.
  • No. 2 San Ramon Valley vs. No. 7 De La Salle (2 p.m. at San Ramon Valley): The Wolves won 25-6 over Clayton Valley Charter behind five gaols from Mikey Williams and the Spartans beat Foothill 17-8 with the help of hat tricks from Jake Simpson, Seth Barbieri, Robert Driscoll and Jimmy Simonelli.
  • No. 3 Miramonte vs. No. 6 Campolindo (5 p.m. at Miramonte): The Matadors defeated Washington 19-7 while the Cougars downed Alameda 17-4.
  • No. 4 Las Lomas vs. No. 5 Acalanes (3:45 p.m. at Acalanes): The Knights downed California 20-5 and the Dons defeated Mission San Jose 18-6 behind four goals apiece from Tommy Fellner and Brendan Supple.


  • No. 1 San Ramon Valley vs. No. 9 College Park (3:15 p.m. at San Ramon Valley): The Wolves beat Deer Valley 21-1 with the help of three goals and seven assists by Lexi Leibowitz while the Falcons edged eighth-seeded James Logan 9-8 behind Beverly Kurk’s 12 saves.
  • No. 2 Monte Vista vs. No. 7 Washington (3:45 p.m. at Campolindo): The Mustangs took care of Heritage 12-1 behind Jolie Trujillo’s three goals and the Huskies beat Alameda 8-6.
  • No. 3 Las Lomas vs. No. 11 Foothill (5 p.m. at Acalanes): The Knights downed Clayton Valley Charter 14-5 and the Falcons upset sixth-seeded Liberty 15-5.
  • No. 4 California vs. No. 5 Amador Valley (5 p.m. at Campolindo): The Grizzlies beat American 10-3 while the Dons defeated Irvington 17-5.


  • No. 1 Redwood-Larkspur vs. No. 9 Bishop O’Dowd (5 p.m. at Contra Costa College): The Dragons downed eighth-seeded Alhambra 16-15 while the Giants had a bye.
  • No. 3 Livermore vs. No. 6 Marin Academy (3:45 p.m. at Miramonte): The Cowboys had a bye while the Wildcats beat Piedmont 15-8.
  • No. 4 Justin-Siena-Napa vs. No. 5 Northgate (2:30 p.m. at Contra Costa College): Both teams had byes.


  • No. 1 Miramonte vs. No. 8 Carondelet (6:15 p.m. at Carondelet): The Matadors beat Marin Academy 14-1 and the Cougars defeated Encinal 14-5 led by Allison Carr’s seven goals.
  • No. 2 Campolindo vs. No. 7 Northgate (6:15 p.m. at Campolindo): Behind Katie Klein’s four goals and three assists, the Cougars beat Bishop O’Dowd 20-2 while the Broncos used six goals by Marisa DeMeo and five goals by Zoe Ramia to defeat Concord 13-4.
  • No. 3 Acalanes vs. No. 6 Sir Francis Drake-San Anselmo (2:30 p.m. at Acalanes): The Dons downed Ukiah 12-6 and the Pirates beat Justin-Siena 19-12.

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.


Irvington football forfeits five wins

The Irvington High football team is forfeiting its five wins this season because of the use of an ineligible player, assistant principal Jay Jackson confirmed late this afternoon.
The forfeits will not affect the Mission Valley Athletic League title race. The Vikings will play Moreau Catholic on Friday, Jackson confirmed. The Mariners, at 4-1 in the MVAL, are tied for first place with American, which beat Irvington 54-38 on Oct. 24. Washington, which has a 4-2 league mark, also beat Irvington on the field.
Jackson said that the ineligible player participated in the team’s first seven games.
Irvington’s on-field victories over Lincoln-San Francisco, Hill-San Jose, Santa Cruz, Newark Memorial and Mission San Jose will be reversed. The Vikings will enter Friday’s game with an 0-9 overall record.
Jackson said that the player’s grade point average was incorrect on his transcript before he took a summer class, and after it, it was still too low to meet Fremont Unified School District standards. Jackson said the error was reported to the North Coast Section by Irvington after it was discovered.
“It was my responsibility to look grade-by-grade. I messed up. I didn’t do it on purpose,” Jackson said. “What really gets me is that (the team) didn’t make the mistake, I made the mistake and they will have to suffer the consequences. It hits me really hard. Last year the team was 0-10 … these guys worked unbelievably hard. They had this amazing season.”


Campolindo boys basketball coach scaling back duties

Campolindo High School boys basketball coach Matt Watson will be scaling back his duties with the team this season, Campolindo athletic director Tom Renno told me this afternoon.
“He is going to be the general manager of the program. His work schedule picked up this season, so he is having to scale back his day-to-day work with the program,” said Renno about the off-campus coach. “He will still be overseeing the program. We are hopeful he will be back next season.”
Kearey Smith, a varsity assistant last season, will take over the day-to-day coaching responsibilities, Renno said.
Renno said that the change was not sudden. “It’s been something that’s been in the works,” he said.
Watson did not immediately return a call regarding this news.
The successful Watson guided the Cougars to the CIF Division III state championship game last season, where the Cougars fell to Damien-La Verne 70-57. He also led the Cougars to the CIF Northern California Division III championship game in 2013
Watson became head coach of the Cougars in 2008. In the past seven seasons, his teams have a 159-54 overall record and a 68-16 mark in Diablo Foothill Athletic League play with four league championships.


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.

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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.


Tip-Off Classic schedule

Here’s the schedule for this year’s Prep2Prep Tip-Off Classic on Nov. 28 at Newark Memorial High. As usual, this boys basketball showcase is loaded with great matchups.

11 a.m. – Saint Mary’s-Berkeley vs. Manteca

12:30 p.m. – Bishop O’Dowd vs. Dublin

2:15 p.m. – Immanuel-Reedley vs. Weston Ranch-Stockton

3:45 p.m. – Sheldon-Sacramento vs. Army-Navy Academy-Carlsbad

5:30 p.m. – Modesto Christian vs. Folsom

7 p.m. – Newark Memorial vs. Woodcreek-Roseville

8:30 p.m. – Moreau Catholic vs. Sierra Canyon-Chatsworth


Najee Harris selected as national player of the week

Antioch High football star Najee Harris was named U.S. Army All-American Bowl High School Player of the Week today after an extraordinary performance against Liberty on Oct. 23.

The junior, who has committed to Alabama, rushed for 360 yards and scored 48 of his team’s points in a 55-37 victory. He scored rushing touchdowns of 59, 37, 49, 1, 70 and 7 yards, and also reached the end zone on six two-point conversions. Harris had four runs of 46 yards or longer in the game.