East Bay football rankings — 10/8

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

Team Record Last Week Up Next
1. De La Salle 4-1 1 vs. San Ramon Valley
2. Clayton Valley Charter 4-1 2 @Mt. Diablo
3. Foothill 6-0 3 vs. Livermore
4. Monte Vista 4-1 4 @Amador Valley
5. Pittsburg 4-1 5 @Freedom
6. California 4-1 6 vs. Granada
7. Antioch 5-0 7 @Heritage
8. Campolindo 5-1 8 vs. Alhambra
9. James Logan 5-1 11 @Atascadero
10. Freedom 3-2 10 vs. Pittsburg
11. Amador Valley 4-1 12 vs. Monte Vista
12. Miramonte 6-0 13 @Dougherty Valley
13. McClymonds 5-0 14 vs. Castlemont
14. American 5-1 NR @Washington
15. Swett 5-0 NR vs. Berean Christian

On the bubble: Dublin (4-1), Moreau Catholic (5-1), Piedmont (3-2). The East Bay rankings are compiled by the Bay Area News Group, selected from high schools in Alameda and Contra Costa counties.




East Bay girls volleyball rankings, with comments

  1. Campolindo (7-7): The Cougars fended off pesky Alhambra, which was ranked last week, in five games — reason enough to keep them here, especially since they’ve swept No. 2 Monte Vista. 
  2. Monte Vista (15-3): Holding off No. 12 California in five games, with the help of 32 kills from Catherine Kaylbaugh, and sweeping Livermore showed the Mustangs are cruising along.
  3. Bishop O’Dowd (12-7): The Dragons swept Castro Valley after going 3-4 at the Nike Tournament of Champions in Phoenix, where they lost to defending divisional champions from Arizona and Colorado.
  4. Head-Royce (19-0): Three more sweeps means the Jayhawks go into Thursday’s match against the team that bounced them from the NCS Division 5 playoffs last year (University) looking for a 20th straight victory.
  5. Foothill: (14-5): The Falcons made a case for movement up by sweeping No. 11 Carondelet and No. 15 Granada, though they stay put because there isn’t anywhere up to go.
  6. Miramonte (13-5): Beating bubble teams Dublin (in four games) and Dougherty Valley (in five) ensured the Mustangs remain at this spot.
  7. San Ramon Valley (12-4) The Wolves swept No. 15 Granada and outlasted No. 15 California in five games, keeping them in place — the last team to do so before some ranking shakeups.
  8. Amador Valley (11-5): The Dons defeated Carondelet in four games to bump up two spots.
  9. Albany (15-5): The Cougars jump four spots because of laegue sweeps over strong Saint Mary’s and St. Patrick-St. Vincent.
  10. James Logan (15-4): The Colts swept Moreau Catholic and Washington in league play to move up four places.
  11. Carondelet (11-5): Losses to No. 8 Amador Valley and No. 5 Foothill meant the Cougars couldn’t stay as high as eighth.
  12. California (12-6): The Grizzlies kept up with No. 2 Monte Vista and No. 7 San Ramon Valley, but even losses in five games are losses, so they fall a spot.
  13. Saint Joseph Notre Dame (13-4): The Pilots swept Salesian and Swett to move up two spots.
  14. Irvington (14-6): The Vikings swept two more Mission Valley Athletic League teams, Mission San Jose and Kennedy, to advance to 5-0 in their league and enter our rankings.
  15. Granada (10-7): The Matadors were swept by No. 5 Foothill and No. 7 San Ramon Valley to fall six spots but stay in it.

On the bubble: Alhambra (14-7), Liberty (15-8), Acalanes (6-4), Dougherty Valley (10-10), Dublin (9-4).


De La Salle football will have more EBAL opponents next season

The De La Salle High football team will have more games against East Bay Athletic League teams next season.
EBAL commissioner Don Nelson confirmed today that at the EBAL Board of Governors meeting last month, it was decided that De La Salle would have five mandatory EBAL opponents and four EBAL teams will have the option to opt-out. The mandatory opponents are Monte Vista, California, San Ramon Valley, Amador Valley and Foothill. This format will be evaluated after two years, Nelson said. Dougherty Valley and Dublin will be joining the East Bay Athletic League in the 2016-17 school year. The EBAL will be one league, not two divisions, for football, Nelson said.
This season, De La Salle only has two regular-season games against EBAL teams: San Ramon Valley on Oct. 9 and California on Nov. 6. Also on its 2015 schedule is three Southern Section teams (Servite-Anaheim. Orange Lutheran, Long Beach Poly), two Sacramento-area powers (Granite Bay and Del Oro-Loomis), one Central Coast Section team (Serra-San Mateo), one out-of-state team (Trinity-Euless, Texas) and three North Coast Section squads (San Ramon Valley, California, James Logan).


Shurod Thompson commits to Oregon State

Shurod Thompson, a highly-recruited Liberty High defensive back, announced via Twitter tonight that he has committed to Oregon State.

“It’s Official #BEAVERNATION.” Thompson wrote. “After Talking Over It With Family, I Can Finally Say I’m an Oregon State Commit!”

Thompson is rated as a four-star safety by rivals.com, which also ranks him as the No. 2 safety in California and No. 9 nationally for the 2016 class. The 6-foot-2, 205-pounder had offers from Oklahoma, USC, UCLA, and Cal, among other colleges, according to espn.com. He committed to Cal in April, but de-committed in June.

Thompson is the second highly-recruited Bay Valley Athletic League defensive back in a week to orally commit to a major Division I program. On Oct. 3, Pittsburg’s Jordan Parker committed to Oklahoma.


Prep football: Amador Valley edged Granada in EBAL showdown

Ledre McCullough rushed for three touchdowns in the second half and, as Amador Valley coach Rick Sira put it, the Dons “held on for dear life” in a 29-22 EBAL win over host Granada on Oct. 1.

“It was just a great high school football game,” Sira said.

Amador Valley ruined the Matadors’ homecoming game by collecting itself at halftime, when it trailed 16-7.

“Early in the game we turned the ball over and they took advantage of that,” said Sira, noting a 10-0 deficit. “We had not played to the best of our ability. Granada did a good job, not to take away from them. We needed to do the things we were capable of and play at the level we knew we could.”

The Dons (4-1, 1-0 EBAL) did so behind McCullough, who rushed for 229 yards on 29 carries. Along with a 20-yard touchdown that proved to be the game winner, he senior scored on runs of 44 and 3 yards.

The latter, which gave Amador Valley its first lead, was set up by a 31-yard toss from senior quarterback Ronnie Jones to senior wide receiver Grant Huggins.

“It was a really gigantic play on a broken play to keep us in that situation,” Sira said. “If we don’t score there, it gets dark quickly.”
McCullough finished off that drive and, after he scored again, the teams traded punts until Granada (3-3, 0-2 EBAL) got in gear. The Matadors made it to the 30-yard line with a 14-yard drive in the waning minutes, but couldn’t complete the comeback.

Throws into the end zone on third and fourth down were broken up, the latter by senior cornerback Vincent Ruso.

Sira praised the play of senior safety Matthew Mahurni, junior lineman Mason Bartolo and senior linebacker/tailback Patrick Loughnane — who scored on a 14-yard run in the first half.


Live updates tonight from East Bay prep football games

Antioch's Omari Harris (28) breaks away from Pinole Valley's John Moore (99) for a gain in the second quarter of their high school football game in Pinole, Calif., on Friday, Sept. 25, 2015. (Anda Chu/Bay Area News Group)

Antioch’s Omari Harris (28) breaks away from Pinole Valley’s John Moore (99) for a gain in the second quarter of their high school football game in Pinole, Calif., on Friday, Sept. 25, 2015. (Anda Chu/Bay Area News Group)

Follow the live prep football action from around 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


East Bay girls volleyball rankings, with comments

  1. Campolindo (6-7) — The Cougars took care of business against Acalanes and Dougherty Valley, both teams that have been ranked this season, and attended another stacked tournament, the Presentation Panther Challenge, where they went to three sets with three teams that have a combined 41-9 record.
  2. Monte Vista (13-3) — After falling behind early in the first set against Foothill on Thursday, the Mustangs raced to a 3-1 win over the then No. 3 Falcons before sweeping No. 9 Granada.
  3. Bishop O’Dowd (7-3) — A quiet week for the Dragons included only a sweep of Berkeley, but they’ve clearly faced tougher opponents than Head-Royce.
  4. Head-Royce (16-0) — The Jayhawks, who have only dropped two sets all season, kept their undefeated streak going with three sweeps in league play.
  5. Foothill (12-5) — The Falcons lost on the road to Monte Vista but came back to sweep California.
  6. Miramonte (11-5) — The Mustangs beat No,. 7 San Ramon Valley and No. 12 Alhambra, impressive enough to bump them up eight spots.
  7. San Ramon Valley (10-4) — Though the Wolves lost to No. 6 Miramonte, they defeated No. 8 Carondelet and No. 10 Amador Valley.
  8. Carondelet (11-5) — A win over Granada offsets a loss to No. 7 San Ramon Valley, pushing the Dons into the rankings from the bubble.
  9. Granada (10-6) — In a pair of five-set thrillers this week, the Matadors beat No. 11 California and lost to No. 8 Carondelet.
  10. Amador Valley (9-5) — After sweeping No. 11 California, the Dons were swept by No. 7 San Ramon valley and St. Francis, ranked No. 3 by the San Jose Mercury News.
  11. California (12-5) — Four straight losses, including to No. 10 Amador Valley and No. 5 Foothill, drops the Grizzlies four spots.
  12. Alhambra (14-4) — The Bulldogs had a tough week, not only suffering their first, second, third and fourth defeats but also losing their libero to a concussion.
  13. Albany (12-5) — The Cougars edged No. 15 Saint Joseph Notre Dame in five sets before a 2-2 trip to the St. Ignatius Golden Gate Challenge, where they beat defending NCS D4 champ Marin Catholic.
  14. James Logan (13-4) — Winning seven times this week extended the Colts streak to nine victories and vaulted them into the rankings despite not being on the bubble last week.
  15. Saint Joseph Notre Dame (12-4) — The Pilots fell to No. 13 Albany in five sets but beat St. Patrick-St. Vincent, a NCS D4 semifinalist last year.

Oakland Raiders’ Roy Helu Jr. to be inducted into San Ramon Valley High hall of fame

Roy Helu Jr. is among four inductees into the San Ramon Valley High’s Athletic Hall of Fame who will be honored Oct. 15  at Crow Canyon Country Club in Danville.

The current Oakland Raiders running back graduated from San Ramon Valley in 2007 after earning All-East Bay Athlete League accolades three times and his team’s offensive MVP award as a junior and senior.

He’ll be joined in this induction class by soccer and track athlete Karen Peterson Huether (1985), basketball standout Erin Kellar-Hill (1999) and soccer star Christopher Rodd (2003). The ceremony is set to start at 6 p.m.

Helu gained 1,085 yards on the ground and 300 more receiving in his senior campaign, when the Wolves went 10-2 and reached the semifinals of the North Coast Section 4A playoffs with the help of his 11 touchdowns.

As a junior he ran for 1,526 yards and 19 scores while tallying 500 yards receiving as San Ramon Valley finished 6-6 and lost in the NCS East Bay semfinals.

After high school Helu accounted for 3,404 yards at University of Nebraska, fourth in school history, and twice rushed for more than 1,000 yards in a season. He was named All-Big 12 Conference three times and holds the school record for rushing yards in a single game (307 vs. Missouri).

Helu was selected in the fourth round of the 2011 NFL draft by Washington, where he played for four seasons before signing with Oakland last offseason. In 2011 he accounted for 1,019 total yards including 640 on the ground and was named to the All-Rookie team by the Pro Football Writers Association.

Peterson Huether played four years of soccer, four of track and a season of tennis. As a senior captain she led the Wolves’ girls soccer team to a North Coast Section title. She then played four years at UC Berkeley, which went to the Final Four in her junior and senior seasons, and played semipro soccer until age 35.

Kellar-Hill was a four-year varsity starter and four-time All-EBAL selection. As a senior she scored 18.1 points a game and led the Wolves to a 22-6 record. Kellar-Hill set Point Loma University records for career points (2,330) and rebounds (972) and was named Golden State Athletic Conference Player of the Year as a freshman.

Rodd was a four-year varsity starter who earned All-EBAL honors and was an East Bay player of the year. His collegiate career was split between William & Mary in Virginia and University of San Francisco, where he graduated in 2007. He was signed by the Byrne Football Club of Norway and played until an injury in 2010. His rehab included a stint with the MLS’ New York Cosmos.

For further information and tickets, contact Brad Wilson at wilsonbrd@yahoo.com.


Girls volleyball: Alhambra aiming at NCS playoffs after extended absence

A year after registering its first Diablo Foothill Athletic League win since 2007, the Alhambra High girls volleyball team is taking aim at North Coast Section Division 3 playoffs.

The Bulldogs’ 14-match win streak to start the season sure seems like reason to believe it could happen for the first time in, well, a while.

“Nobody knows exactly when but everybody thinks it’s been at least 20 years” since Alhambra made the postseason, coach Willie Marchesano said. “The girls have put a lot of work. I’ve got to give them props.”

Eleven players returned from last year’s 12-18 squad, which graduated only senior libero Glenna Herbert, and Marchesano said all eleven elected to participate in open gym sessions this summer.

“In the past we’ve been pretty good hitting-wise, but people weren’t playing defense,” said Marchesano, a Northgate alum whose twin brother Andrew is an assistant at Alhambra. “They’re really buying into the fact that they need to be good at defense.”

The change was immediately obvious, with road sweeps of Mt. Diablo, Ygnacio Valley and Antioch to start the season. Five more wins later, including a 3-2 victory over Freedom, the Bulldogs won all five of their matches in the third tier of the East County Invitational, even beating Freedom 2-0.

“I’m very impressed by the work they put it and how much better they are in four years,” Marchesano said. “Before, teams couldn’t wait to play us, but now they’re like, this team is a real challenge.”

Alhambra ran into its second challenge of the season in its Sept. 24 league opener at Miramonte. Senior libero Emma Farr sustained a concussion during a match that the Matadors won 3-1. “She got blasted in the face,” Marchesano said of Farr, who will be out at least another week.

That didn’t bode well for the Concord Varsity Tournament last weekend, when the Bulldogs went 2-3. “We lost we couple matches we definitely would have won with her,” Marchesano said. But even then Alhambra pushed Benicia, which was 29-2 and a Sac-Joaquin Section semifinalist last year, to a third set before falling.

That’s because Farr is far from the only skilled Bulldog. Senior captains Haley Jones and Lexy Swenson, middle blocker and setter respectively, lead the way with senior middle blocker Lexi Hammer also integral. Marchesano also mentioned junior outside hitter Ainise Taimani, a returning starter who missed the first few weeks while recovering from a leg fracture, and freshman middle blocker Sterling Parker, who stands 6-foot-1-inches.

“The cool thing is, this is the deepest team we’ve ever had, so it makes practices much better,” said Marchesano, who is in his fourth year with the program and third at the helm. “When they play each other at practice, everybody is just about equal.”


Prep football: Berean Christian beat Salesian for first time since 2001

Berean Christian High football downed Salesian on Saturday for the first time since 2001 with a second-half surge powered by inserted quarterback Vince Guarisco and an interception returned for a score by Isaiah Hodgins in the 47-30 win.

Berean Christian coach James Hodgins said he prepares his team to treat all games with the same importance. “But the reality is,” he said, “it had some special meaning to us because we hadn’t beaten them in so long and because the rivalry has been so lopsided over the years.”

For example, Salesian has won the last four matchups by a combined score of 188-27. This time, Salesian took an early 8-0 advantage and led 8-7 at halftime, ceding only a 92-yard punt return for a score by Isaiah Hodgins — the coach’s son.

But the third quarter proved problematic for the Pride. Guarisco, who came into the game in the second quarter, found senior receiver Michael Fulton for a 28-yard score that put Berean Christian up 14-8. After Salesian tied the game at 14-all midway through the third quarter, Guarisco tossed a checkdown to Joshua Smith which the senior receiver ran 84 yards for a touchdown.

“He turned on the jets and took off,” James Hodgins said of the 6-foot-2-inch, 230-pound Smith. “I tell the colleges when they come around that he’s the biggest guy on the field, but he’s also the fastest.”

Then Isaiah Hodgins snagged his second interception of the game and returned it 46 yards for the pick-six for a three-score advantage. Salesian junior Alex Hutchison ran the kickoff back to edge Salesian within 34-22 before Berean Christian senior Joey Esco scored a 74-yard rushing touchdown. Salesian scored again but couldn’t convert an onside kick, ending its comeback attempt.

“Our guys just made plays,” James Hodgins said. “Those big plays gave us the momentum and gave us what we needed to put it past them.”