CCS, NCS football playoffs: De La Salle, Pittsburg, St. Ignatius, El Cerrito among the opening-round winners
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Now for the roundup…
CCS Open/Division I
No. 7 Wilcox is 52, and No. 2 St. Francis is 28.
Wilcox pulled off perhaps the most stunning upset of the first round, with Elijah Walker scoring five touchdowns, four rushing and one on a kickoff return. The Chargers’ defense also forced three turnovers as Wilcox advanced to the Open Division final and a place in the Division I championship game. From Mountain View, Nathan Canilao has the complete story.
Valley Christian 17, No. 3 St. Ignatius 21
With 7.8 seconds left, Soren Hummel ran to his right on third down and threw a 5-yard touchdown pass back over the middle to Monroe Barnum, lifting St. Ignatius to a dramatic victory in the first round of the CCS Open/Division I playoffs. SI broke the hearts of the San Jose school again one month after beating Valley 15-14. Valley led 14-7 at the half and 17-14 when Aaron Vander Veen kicked a 27-yard field goal with 4:25 remaining. But that was enough time for Hummel to lead SI (7-4) on a drive that advanced the Wildcats to a semifinal against fourth-seeded Los Gatos next Friday at home. Valley took a 7-0 lead in the first quarter thanks to Uchenna Eke’s 29-yard run. Jarious Hogan’s 4-yard run tied the score 7-7 in the second quarter, and McLemore’s 1-yard run in the third quarter gave Valley a 14-7 lead. Valley finished the season 6-5 thanks to Jordan Vargas’ two interceptions and Lovante Metcalfe’s sack. Darren Sabedra’s
Los Gatos 28th, Archbishop Riordan 14th
Los Gatos advanced to the second round of the WCAL playoffs after suffering heartbreaking playoff losses the previous two seasons. Boxer Kopscak-Yeung rushed for 168 yards, and quarterback A.J Minyard threw for 232 yards, the majority of which went to top target Jaylen Thomas (120). Glenn Reeves was there and has the full story here.
CCS Division II
No. 8 Christopher is 32, and Archbishop Mitty is 28.
With about five minutes remaining, Lazaro Faraj-Washington scored a touchdown to give Mitty a 28-19 lead in this first-round D-II game at Foothill College. However, Christopher’s Amari Bluford returned the ensuing kickoff 95 yards for a touchdown, and the eighth-seeded Cougars won on a 7-yard run by William Rizqallah with 42 seconds remaining. Christopher advanced to the semifinals after the defense intercepted Mitty’s final pass in the end zone from 25 yards out as time expired, giving retiring coach Darren Yafai at least one more game. After last week’s heartbreaking loss to Live Oak, the coach informed his team that he will step down at the end of the season. Jaxen Robinson led Christopher with touchdown passes of 44 yards to Evan Vernon and 11 yards to Terrence Barnes. The quarterback completed 14 of 22 passes for 222 yards. Vernon caught five passes for 67 yards, had 14 tackles, and recovered a fumble. Rizqallah added two touchdown runs for the Cougars. Mitty’s touchdowns came from Jonah Kroenung, AJ Cenizal, and Joey Campagna. Christopher (10-1) will face fifth-seeded Menlo School, which defeated No. 4 seed Live Oak on Friday. Mitty finished the season with a record of 5-6. Darren Sabedra’s
Menlo School (No. 5) 30, Live Oak (No. 4) 28
Andres Gonzalez Lombera’s 21-yard field goal with three seconds remaining in the road game advanced Menlo to the second round. Live Oak scored first, with RB Anden Rogers scoring off a direct snap and Dominick Mckinney also scoring to give the Acorns a 14-0 lead. Menlo School quarterback Jack Freehill kept the ball on an option, sending the Knights into the locker room trailing 14-7 at halftime. Willis Johnson tied the game with a five-yard touchdown run with four minutes left in the third quarter, and Mikey McGrath, Menlo’s other quarterback, scored on a touchdown run to give the Knights a 21-14 lead. However, the Acorns scored the next two touchdowns, putting Menlo in a 28-21 hole with six minutes remaining. With two minutes remaining, McGrath led another TD drive, but Live Oak blocked the PAT. The Knights recovered the onside kick, putting Lombera in position to win. Next Saturday, Menlo (10-1) will host Christopher. Live Oak finished the season with a 9-1 record. – Dycus, Joseph
CCS Division III
No. 1 Menlo-Atherton has 49 points, while Hillsdale has 37.
Menlo-Atherton scored four third-quarter touchdowns to pull away from a 21-21 tie at halftime, and then held off a Hillsdale rally in the fourth quarter to win. Jordan Masuisui, a 280-pound running back for M-A (5-6), carried 21 times for 177 yards in the CCS Division III playoffs. Teddy Dacey completed seven of thirteen passes for 133 yards and two touchdowns, one to Aaron Becker and one to Alek Marshall. Eva Ama also scored on the ground for the Bears. Erick Waugh completed 19 of 37 passes for 206 yards and three touchdowns for Hillsdale (7-4). He also gained 74 yards on the ground. Drew Rollolazo hauled in six passes for 81 yards and two scores. Jorge Hernandez also scored on the ground. Elliott Regan and Dante Allendorf both scored on the ground. M-A will face No. 4 seed Palma in the semifinals on Friday. Glenn Reeves’
Number 7 Alisal 20, Number 2 Capuchino 17
Capuchino rallied from a 14-3 deficit in the second quarter thanks to two touchdowns by Lucas Zayac, but Alisal’s Francisco Estrada kicked two fourth-quarter field goals to seal the victory. Capuchino’s 17 points came entirely in the second quarter. Alisal led 7-0 until Sebastian Zuniga’s field goal cut the Mustangs’ lead to 7-3. After another Alisal touchdown, Zayac scored on a 54-yard run and then a 33-yard run with a minute left in the half. Alisal (9-2) advances to the CCS Division III semifinals on Saturday at Scotts Valley. Capuchino finishes the season 9-2, the most in school history. Glenn Reeves’
Scotts Valley is ranked sixth, while Aragon is ranked third.
In the CCS Division III first-round playoff game, visiting Scotts Valley jumped out to a 16-0 lead and never looked back. Aragon led 16-7 at halftime after Amaziah Tanielu scored late in the second quarter. A touchdown by Ivan Nisa early in the third quarter pulled the Dons within 16-14, and after a Scotts Valley score, another Tanielu rushing touchdown made it 23-21. Scotts Valley (10-1) responded with a field goal and a touchdown after Aragon was unable to move the ball. Aragon finished the season 8-3 as the third seed. In the D-III semifinals, No. 6 Scotts Valley will face Alisal. Glenn Reeves’
CCS Division IV
No. 1 Palo Alto is 55, and No. 8 Seaside is 21.
It appeared that this would be one of those years when the Vikings lost four straight games earlier this season, the last three without scoring a single point. The Palo Alto offense, on the other hand, has been on fire since then. It has scored 205 points in its last five games, including a rout of Seaside on Friday night. Paly is 4-1 during that span and 6-5 overall. Against Seaside, the Vikings used a strong ground game. Jeremiah Madrigal rushed for four touchdowns, and Jason Auzenne, the team’s leading receiver, added two more. But it was Jeremiah Fung’s 45-yard touchdown reception in the third quarter that put Palo Alto up 34-7 and effectively ended the game. The Vikings capped off their victory with a 79-yard touchdown run by Isaiah Phillips on three carries. Palo Alto will play Leigh (8-3) in the semifinals next Friday. By defeating North Salinas, the Longhorns advanced. – Michael Lefkow
No. 2 Mountain View has 49 points, while No. 7 Burlingame has 21.
Mountain View was unstoppable in its first-round rout of Burlingame, the same team that defeated the Spartans 21-14 in PAL Bay Division action on Oct. 6. Arturo Hernandez of Mountain View rushed for 174 yards and a touchdown on 23 attempts. Kevin Conway, the quarterback, completed five passes for 128 yards and two touchdowns, and favorite receiver Lex Silver caught three passes for 120 yards and two touchdowns. Ami Sekona scored on an interception return. Burlingame quarterback Luke Levitt threw two touchdown passes, and Angelo Medina rushed for 135 yards and one touchdown. Zach Shapiro also had two touchdown receptions for Burlingame, which finished the season 3-8. On Friday, Mountain View (5-6) will host No. 3 seed Branham. – Dycus, Joseph
No. 3 Branham (41 points), No. 6 Greenfield (14 points).
Branham, playing at home in San Jose, built a 27-7 halftime lead and cruised into next week’s semifinals. Jack Lewis completed two touchdown passes to Preston Conrad and two to Braydon Hodges, and defensive tackle Francis Mone dominated the line of scrimmage. Conrad scored on passes of 63 and 57 yards, increasing the lead to 34-7 in the third quarter. Hodges scored on a 32-yard reception and converted an 11-yard bubble screen into a touchdown play. Branham (9-2) advanced to a semifinal against second-seeded Mountain View on Friday after Elias Antillon added a 53-yard rushing touchdown and Logan Roza recovered a fumble. Greenfield finished with a 9-2 record. Darren Sabedra’s
Leigh 21, North Salinas 20, No. 5
Leigh had a great bus ride back to San Jose after the Longhorns survived a tense and memorable first-round game against North Salinas at Rabobank Stadium. The Longhorns led 21-14 after Shayan Shariat’s 18-yard touchdown run in the third quarter. Kai Ceralde’s touchdown early in the fourth quarter brought the home team within a point, but the two-point conversion attempt failed. Leigh, which defeated Westmont last week to advance to the playoffs, held on for the next eight minutes to set up a semifinal against top-seeded Palo Alto on Friday. Charlie Lyon threw a 39-yard touchdown pass to Michael Valenti in the first quarter to put Leigh up 7-0, and Lyon’s 45-yard pass to Ben Varnell extended the lead to 14-0. North Salinas, on the other hand, fought back in the second quarter. Ceralde’s two-point conversion run and Demajae Roberson’s 11-yard run made it 14-8. Ceralde’s 40-yard pass to Bradley Moyer just before halftime tied the game at 14-14. The second half was tense and exciting. Leigh’s record now stands at 8-3. North Salinas finished the season with a 7-4 record. Darren Sabedra’s
CCS Division V
No. 1 Woodside (56 points), No. 8 Del Mar (21 points).
Woodside used turnovers by Del Mar in the fourth quarter to turn a 28-21 game into a first-round rout. “We kind of fell apart,” said Del Mar coach Robert Chapman. The Dons were punished for their errors by Woodside’s 442-yard rushing attack. Evan Frampton gained 144 yards and one touchdown on the ground, Oliver Lyssand gained 98 yards and three touchdowns on the ground, and Evan Usher and Mason Furtado each gained two touchdowns on the ground. For much of the game, the Del Mar veer offense kept things close, with quarterback Andre Latimore rushing for 209 yards and two touchdowns behind key blocks by center Daniel James. Del Mar teammate Angel Nolasco forced a fumble on a sack, and Jake Schwoob returned an interception 85 yards for a touchdown. The season ended with the Dons going 7-4. On Friday, No. 4 Santa Teresa will visit Woodside. – Dycus, Joseph
No. 7 Leland has a score of 24, while No. 2 Overfelt has a score of 20.
With 10 seconds remaining, Jacob Gibson threw a 16-yard touchdown pass to Luke Whitson, bringing Leland from behind and completing the first-round upset. Leland was within range of attempting a tying field goal to send the game into overtime, but instead took one more shot at the end zone. The Chargers scored on a 70-yard run in under two minutes. “We saved our season,” said Leland head coach Kelly King Jr. Gibson added a 1-yard run and a 6-yard TD pass to Brady Hernandez. Overfelt (6-5) got a touchdown and a two-point conversion from John Stowers. Shortly before halftime, fullback Saulala Niuafe scored on a short run, and Walter Smith caught a pass for a touchdown on a fade route. Leland (4-7) will take on South San Francisco at 7 p.m. on Friday. Glenn Reeves’
South San Francisco 14, Silver Creek 0
Elijah Fields scored two touchdowns in the first half, and that was all South City needed as the defense dominated. Fields scored on a long run and a 2-yard run, totaling more than 100 yards rushing by halftime. SSF coach Kolone Pua praised the defensive line play of John Langi, Mila Iopu, and Soblessed Mauia, as well as the play of Darren Miller and Justice Goodwin in the secondary. Silver Creek’s passing yardage was only 4 yards. Silver Creek (7-4)’s top offensive performer was Gabriel Lim, who rushed for 80 yards on 14 carries. Kyler Headley finished with 10 tackles and a sack. Coming out of the PAL Lake, South City had a big win. “Silver Creek’s defense was one of the best we’ve faced,” he said. “I told the guys, ‘We’re no longer playing C league teams.'” We’re playing football players.” South San Francisco will face Leland in the semifinals on Friday. Glenn Reeves’
Santa Teresa is ranked fourth, and Los Altos is ranked fifth.
Ezekiel Herena scored three touchdowns as Santa Teresa opened the playoffs at home in San Jose, just as it did last season. One year after winning section and regional titles, the Saints are two wins away from another CCS title after defeating Los Altos in a Division V game on Friday. Herena broke a 7-7 tie with a 4-yard run in the second quarter, then scored on runs of 42 and 76 yards in the third quarter to put the game out of reach. The Saints also scored on a 36-yard run by Jaikob Wright in the first quarter and a 38-yard touchdown pass from Brenton Gaches to Kayin Lawson late in the second quarter to increase their lead to 21-7. Drew Rafferty scored on a 3-yard run early in the second quarter to tie the game for Los Altos. The visitors didn’t score again until Rafferty caught a short TD pass from Noah Beedon and Fisher Sirey caught a two-point pass from Beedon to make the score 34-15. Santa Teresa (5-6) will face top-seeded Woodside on Friday. Los Altos finished with a 5-6 record. Darren Sabedra’s
NCS Open/Division I
No. 1 De La Salle has 48 points, while No. 8 James Logan has 20.
The Colts were defeated by De La Salle in the first round of the NCS playoffs for the third consecutive season on Friday night, but this game wasn’t as lopsided as the previous two. Logan settled down and got back in it after Toa Faavae ripped off a 67-yard touchdown run and threw a 56-yard touchdown pass to Robert Santiago before the first quarter reached the midway point. Jose Rodriguez kicked the first of his two field goals, and quarterback Jonathan Craft connected with his brother Jeremy Craft for a 13-yard touchdown pass. With only a minute left in the second quarter, you had a 14-10 lead. However, De La Salle (9-2) scored 27 of the next 30 points to advance to the Open Division championship game, where it will face San Ramon Valley again next Friday night at Dublin High. Earlier this season, SRV was defeated in overtime by DLS. On Friday, it needed overtime to defeat Campolindo in the first round of the playoffs. The Spartans’ two touchdown runs came from Faavae and Dominic Kelley. Derrick Blanche added a 65-yard field goal. Both Faavae and Brayden Knight threw touchdown passes. The winner of the rematch between DLS and SRV will advance to a CIF State matchup. The losing team competes for the D-I title, as well as a spot in one of the CIF State games. Logan finished with a score of 6-5. The Colts lost their first four games before winning six straight before facing De La Salle. Logan’s slow start was exacerbated by a difficult non-league schedule. However, coach Eddie Smith stated that he will continue with the difficult start, which he hopes will pay off in the first round of the playoffs. – Michael Lefkow
San Ramon Valley No. 2 38, Campolindo No. 7 31, OT
Matthew Garibaldi scored the game-winning touchdown in overtime on a 14-yard run as San Ramon Valley defeated Campolindo at home to advance to the NCS Open championship game against top-seeded De La Salle next Friday at Dublin High. SRV led 21-0 after one quarter but needed to rally late after Campo took the lead on Mack Fisher’s pick-six. The full game story is available from Darren Sabedra.
Pittsburg is ranked third, and Amador Valley is ranked sixth.
In the second half, Makari Kenion caught two long touchdown passes to break open a defensive battle and help the Pirates improve to 11-0. Pittsburg led 14-0 at halftime, thanks to a first-quarter short run by Jamar Searcy and a 60-yard scoop-and-score fumble return by Japheth Tofaeono. After three periods, the Pirates had increased their lead to 27-0. In the fourth quarter, both teams scored two touchdowns. Kenion had touchdown receptions of 85 and 44 yards. Pittsburg quarterback Marley Alcantara also connected with Bobby Shaw for another touchdown. Pittsburg’s next game is a rematch with California. When they met in September at Pirates Stadium, Pittsburg came from behind to win 38-35. Amador Valley finished the season with a 7-3 record. The Dons are a young team that will see many of its best players return, including quarterback Tristan Tia. After transferring from Granada, the junior missed the first five games as he awaited eligibility. Amador Valley defeated opponents 208-7 in all four of his regular season starts. – Michael Lefkow
Clayton Valley Charter 24, No. 5 California 31
Jayden Macedo led the Grizzlies on an eight-play touchdown drive to score the game-winning touchdown with less than two minutes remaining. Cal High came back from a 17-3 deficit to win at home. Joseph Dycus was in San Ramon and has a complete report here.
NCS Division II
No. 1 El Cerrito (61 points), No. 8 Berkeley (14 points).
El Cerrito wore down Berkeley in the first round of the NCS Division III playoffs with a two-headed rushing attack. Micah Avery had 207 yards and three touchdowns on the ground, and Ziare Eastman had 172 yards and three more. The passing game wasn’t bad either. Michael Vanhook threw for 220 yards and two touchdowns while also scoring on the ground. Kamani Jackson, a Washington State commit, had a 90-yard receiving touchdown, and Jayvon Bolds caught two passes for 92 yards and a touchdown. Sione Fanaika had four sacks, and Savion Bandy and Elvis Mafuahingano each had an interception. The winner of Saturday’s game between No. 5 Heritage and No. 4 Redwood will play at El Cerrito (10-1). Berkeley finished the season 7-4. – Dycus, Joseph
Rancho Cotate is ranked sixth, and Granada is ranked third.
The Cougars were unwelcome guests, scoring the first 27 points of the second half on their way to a convincing win over No. 3-seed Granada. The Matadors finish the season with a 7-4 record, their best since going 9-3 in 2018. Rancho Cotate will face North Bay Oak rival Windsor in the D-II semifinals next Friday. The regular-season game was won by Windsor 35-7. At the half, Granada trailed only 13-10. Quinn Boyd threw a 12-yard touchdown pass to Christian Clouser in the second quarter to put the Mats up 10-7. Brandon Niemeyer’s 45-yard field goal gave Granada a 3-0 lead in the first period. Rancho Cotate, on the other hand, delivered the knockout blow with two touchdowns in the third and fourth quarters. Granada’s first points of the second half came when Boyd hit his brother Mikey Boyd from 2 yards out with 3:47 remaining. Quinn Boyd had 28 touchdown passes this season. – Michael Lefkow
2nd Las Lomas 17, 7th Ukiah
Las Lomas outscored the visitors 10-0 in the second half to win a tough defensive battle. Doug Soccol’s third-quarter field goal broke a 7-7 halftime tie, and Sava Pouridis scored his second touchdown of the game in the fourth period. The Knights took an early 7-0 lead, but Ukiah tied the game with a pick-6. Pouridis was the standout for Las Lomas, rushing for 96 yards and scoring two touchdowns. Las Lomas (10-1) advances to the semifinals, where it will face third-seeded Cardinal Newman on Friday. The Cardinals, who are also 10-1, defeated American Canyon 49-14 in the first round. Las Lomas coach Doug Longero stated that this will be the Knights’ first meeting with Cardinal Newman since at least 1997. – Michael Lefkow
NCS Division IV
Acalanes No. 2 (56), Mt. Diablo No. 7 (14).
Sully Bailey threw three touchdown passes and Acalanes totaled 407 yards in an easy quarterfinal win. The Dons (7-4) led 35-0 before Mt. Diablo (7-4) broke through in the final minute of the first half with a touchdown. Bailey threw 51-yard touchdown passes to Trevor Rogers and 15- and 37-yard touchdown passes to Henry Souza. Acalanes also scored on Jake Boselli’s 38-yard pick-6. The winners’ rushing touchdowns came from Jack Giorgianni, Niko White, and Deonte Littlejohn. The Dons’ next game is on Friday at home against Vallejo. Both teams have already met this season, with Acalanes winning 50-0. Herschel Turner Jr. of Mt. Diablo rushed for 52 yards, bringing his season total to over 3,000 yards. He also caught three passes and threw a 45-yard touchdown pass on the game’s final play. – Michael Lefkow
NCS Division V
No. 1 Miramonte has 48 points, while No. 8 San Rafael has 0 points.
In a running-clock victory over San Rafael, Miramonte scored on all but two of its drives. Gabe Roman and Charlie Hwang scored on touchdown runs to start the game, and Mitch Reichenbach caught touchdown passes from Carson Blair and Preston Rguem to make it a blowout. Reichenbach got the ball as a quarterback after lineman John Kelly bowled into the end zone for a touchdown, and he ran in for his third touchdown of the day. Miramonte ended a three-game losing streak with a touchdown pass from Myles Bastani to Grant Jediicka. On Friday, the Matadors (7-3) will host Alhambra. – Dycus, Joseph
4th Alhambra 49th Piedmont 14th
Senior Beau Blau put on another show for the Bulldogs on Friday night, passing and running Alhambra to victory with three rushing touchdowns and two passing touchdowns. Next Friday, Alhambra (8-3) will play Miramonte in the semifinals. This season, Blau has scored over 40 touchdowns. In addition to passing, the 6-0, 170-pounder has rushed for over 1,000 yards. Against Piedmont, he scored on runs of 9, 19, and 5 yards. He connected with Luke Beaty from 65 yards out and threw a 25-yard touchdown pass to Sylas Mankin. Beaty had his 13th touchdown catch of the season. Piedmont’s year came to an end with the loss. After starting 0-6 (four losses, two forfeits), the Highlanders dropped their varsity program in 2022, but rebounded this season to go 7-4 and win the MVAL/WACC Shoreline title. In the playoffs, Alhambra proved too much for the Highlanders. After falling behind 14-7 in the second quarter, the Bulldogs scored the game’s final six touchdowns. Piedmont quarterback Markos Lagios opened the scoring with a 33-yard touchdown pass, but Shea Murphy tied it with two minutes left in the first period on a 5-yard run. It was his first touchdown of the year. With five minutes left in the first half, Lagios threw a 22-yard touchdown pass to Tommy Ashton to put Piedmont back up 14-7, but Alhambra responded with a 9-yard run by Blau and a 25-yard TD pass to Mankin. Alhambra dominated the second half, scoring 14 points in each of the third and fourth quarters. – Michael Lefkow
NCS Division VI
Arcata 18, No. 2 Moreau Catholic 21
In the NCS, league champions, regardless of seeding, host first-round games if the opponent did not win a league title. Moreau, which did not win its league, had to travel 616 miles to McKinleyville High School to face seventh-seeded Arcata. The Mariners made it through another home game. Barely. Jayden Bryant had 140 yards on 26 carries and Andrew Placido had six carries for 74 yards to lead the visitors into the semifinals against St. Mary’s-Berkeley or Salesian next Friday at home. Moreau’s record now stands at 6-5. Arcata won the game 8-3. Darren Sabedra’s