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BANG-East Bay Countdown to Kickoff, Question #1: How good will defending WACC-Foothill champ San Leandro be this season?

Are you ready for some football? This is the first of 10 daily posts we will make in which we will answer questions involving the upcoming East Bay high school football season. We head to the West Alameda County Conference for the first question:How good will defending WACC-Foothill champ San Leandro be this season? 

Answer: Very good. Perhaps even better than last season.

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Ivan Rabb named to U17 national team

Bishop O’Dowd High’s Ivan Rabb has made his second USA men’s basketball squad in as many years.

Rabb was named to the U17 national team on Tuesday and will compete at the FIBA World Championships in Dubai from Aug. 8-16. He is one of nine players on the 12-man roster that also made last year’s U16 squad. That team captured the gold medal at the FIBA Americas U16 Championship.

 

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De La Salle to hold benefit premiere of “When the Game Stands Tall”

Jim Caviezel;Michael Chiklis;Matthew Daddario

De La Salle High will host a special premiere of “When the Game Stands Tall” to benefit the Terrance Kelly `04 Endowed Memorial Fund for Financial Aid. The special event will be held at the Century Blackhawk Plaza in Danville on Aug. 17 — five days before the major motion picture about legendary coach Bob Ladouceur and the football program’s national record 151-game winning streak will be released nationwide. The movie is based on the book by Neil Hayes.

A red carpet premiere in Los Angeles is scheduled for early August, but the Blackhawk event will serve as the local premiere. The film will be shown on all seven screens at the theater with staggered 1 p.m, 1:20 and 1:40 start times and will be followed by a “5th Quarter” reception onsite.

Ladouceur (played by Jim Caviezel in the film) and De La Salle assistant coach Terry Eidson (played by Michael Chiklis) as well as current members of the Spartans team are expected to attend the local benefit premiere, though no actors have been confirmed as of now.

Tickets aren’t cheap — it’s $50 for the movie and another $45 for the reception — but $35 of the movie ticket and $20 of the reception charge will go directly to the financial aid fund in Terrance Kelly’s name. Kelly was a two-way standout for De La Salle who was murdered just before he was set to leave for Oregon to begin his college football career. His tragic death is a major storyline in the film.

Tickets to the showings and separate tickets to the reception may be purchased online only at the De La Salle High School website www.dlshs.org. Questions can be directed to Chief Advancement Officer Heather Pastorini at 925-288-8106 or by e-mail at pastorinih@dlshs.org.

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DeMers, Hooper selected to Perfect Game All-American Classic

Rising seniors Joe DeMers (College Park High) and Justin Hooper (De La Salle) will show off their arms at the Perfect Game All-American Classic later this summer. The two standout pitchers were among 54 high school baseball players from across the nation invited to the all-star showcase, which will be played at the San Diego Padres’ PETCO Park on Aug. 10. The 5 p.m. game will be televised on MLB Network.

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Nate Moore named to first-team All-USA Today track and field squad

Castro Valley High graduate Nate Moore was selected to USA Today’s All-USA boys track and field first team for horizontal jumps, it was announced Wednesday.
Moore, an Oregon signee, set an all-conditions state boys triple jump record of 53 feet, 7 inches (wind-aided) at the USA Track and Field Junior Outdoor Track and Field Championships earlier this month. In June, he won both the triple jump (51-4 wind-aided) and the long jump (25-8 3/4) at the CIF state track and field championship finals with national-leading high school marks (all-condition and wind-legal respectively) according to DyeStat.com.
De La Salle graduate Marquis Morris, a USC signee, was selected to the second team in the 110-meter high hurdles . He was second at the CIF state championship finals in the event with a personal-record time of 13.68 seconds (which ranked fifth in the nation for wind-legal marks this past season).
James Logan graduate Karsten Wethington, who signed with Cal, was also a second-team selection in the triple jump. His mark of 50-7 in the triple jump, which was good for second at the CIF state championship finals, ranked second in the nation for wind-legal jumps this past season.

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Kyle Whitmore hired as new Diablo Valley College track coach

Diablo Valley College announced today that it has hired Kyle Whitmore as its new track and field head coach.
Whitmore, 30, was the head track and field coach at Hercules High for the past six seasons. In the past two seasons, the Titans boys 1600-meter relay squad has finished in the top five in the CIF state championship finals, and the Hercules track and field squads qualified at least one athlete for the state championships in five of the six seasons Whitmore was the head coach. The Hercules girls won the Alameda Contra Costa Athletic League overall team title in 2009 and the boys won the overall ACCAL title in 2012. He was also the head cross country coach and the football team’s defensive coordinator for four seasons apiece.
“It was a very difficult decision to make .. because the relationships I’ve built with my current athletes,” Whitmore said. “I’ve always had an eye on the Contra Costa Community College District. I always watched to see if anything would come open.”
“One of my biggest motivations in taking this position is pushing these kids to the next level. That’s what I’m all about,” he said. “I want to create something really solid and sustainable.”

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Amador Valley softball named mythical national champion

After finishing the season a perfect 27-0, Amador Valley High’s softball team has earned a mythical national championship by MaxPreps.com.

Led by a stellar senior class, the Dons won the North Coast Section Division I title for the second time in four years. Their national recognition grew after winning the prestigious Michelle Carew Classic against some of Southern California’s top teams in early April.

Amador Valley beat out unbeaten North Carolina state champion Alexander Central for the top national ranking.

Dons pitcher Johanna Grauer has also been piling up the awards. Besides being a finalist for MaxPrep.com’s national player of the year, she was recently named Ms. Softball state player of the year by Cal-Hi Sports. Grauer is just the second East Bay player to be named Ms. Softball, joining Freedom’s Amanda Williams (2006).

Our All-East Bay softball selections will be published in tomorrow’s paper. Will Amador Valley have a few more honors to add?

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Djehuti-Mes signs with Southern

Nkosi Djehuti-Mes, a senior outfielder at Bishop O’Dowd High this past season, signed a letter-of-intent today to play baseball at Southern University.
The 6-foot-2, 230-pound Djehuti-Mes said that Southern head coach Roger Cador was a deciding factor for him.
“He welcomed me … and he made it feel like I would be at home,” Djehuti-Mes said.
Djehuti-Mes took an official visit to the Baton Rouge campus this spring and noticed a big difference between there and Oakland, where he has lived his whole life.
“The weather was a whole lot different,” he said. “It was humid, over-cloudy, 90-degrees … sticky.”
But he also noticed a friendly atmosphere there.
“They would welcome you, even though they didn’t know you,” he said.
Djehuti-Mes said that he was also recruited by Oregon, Fresno State, Indiana and North Carolina A & T, among other universities.
This past season, Djehuti-Mes batted .212, but showed power with one home run, eight RBIs, four doubles and 13 runs scored.
“It was a rough season. I didn’t do how I wanted to do,” said Djehuti-Mes. But he enjoyed the team experience. “It was definitely a season to remember. Everybody got along,” he said. “It was the definition of a tight-knit group.”

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Kahlil McKenzie transferring from De La Salle

Kahlil McKenzie announced Monday night that he’s planning to transfer from De La Salle and enroll at Clayton Valley Charter for his senior year.

McKenzie couldn’t be reached for comment but posted to his Twitter account: “Transferring from De La Salle going to Clayton Valley Charter family decision not answering any questions about it but I’m a Ugly Eagle.”

De La Salle football coach Justin Alumbaugh confirmed that McKenzie, a 6-foot-4, 330 pound defensive tackle, is leaving the school.

“Kahlil has withdrawn from De La Salle,” Alumbaugh said. “And I do mean this — Kahlil is a really good kid and will have a great future. We wish him the best.”

The five-star recruit is the son of Oakland Raiders general manager Reggie McKenzie and has offers from colleges from across the country. He recently said he has narrowed down his college decision to Tennessee or Arizona and will announce his pick at The Opening, a prestigious Nike football camp, on July 10.

McKenzie played only one season for De La Salle, registering 74 tackles and a team-high 12 sacks after moving to the Bay Area from Wisconsin before his junior year.

Clayton Valley Charter coach Tim Murphy couldn’t be reached for comment.

The Eagles have been one of the top Division II schools in the North Coast Section since Murphy took over before the 2012 season.