Bay Area high school football roundup 2023: Best of Week 13 action

CCS, NCS playoffs: El Cerrito, Mountain View, Miramonte, Salesian among the semifinal winners

Welcome back to the high school football roundup from the Bay Area News Group.

You’ll find all the details from the weekend’s action in this news organization’s coverage area, which includes teams from Alameda, Contra Costa, San Mateo, and Santa Clara counties.

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Now for the roundup…

CCS Open Division championship

No. 1 Serra 63, No. 7 Wilcox 27

Serra built a 49-13 halftime lead at San Jose City College, and the Padres won their fourth consecutive title in the Central Coast Section’s top division, earning a likely spot in the CIF Open Division championship game on December 9 in Southern California. Next week, Wilcox will face Los Gatos for the CCS Division I title and a regional berth. Glenn Reeves has written about the game here.

NCS Open Division championship

No. 1 De La Salle 17, No. 2 San Ramon Valley 7

De La Salle rallied from a four-point deficit in the fourth quarter to defeat San Ramon Valley in the North Coast Section Open Division title game at Dublin High. Quarterback Toa Faavae scored on two keepers. DLS won its 31st consecutive section championship on a night when SRV’s middle linebacker Marco Jones dominated. Darren Sabedra has all the information.

CCS Division I semifinal

No. 4 Los Gatos 21, No. 3 St. Ignatius 17

Los Gatos converted two critical fourth-down plays against host St. Ignatius in the second half, including Jaylen Thomas’ 25-yard pass to Boxer Kopcsak-Yeung on a fake punt from the Los Gatos 32 with 5:11 to play, and returned to the South Bay with a ticket to the CCS Division I final against league rival Wilcox next week. Phill Jensen was in San Francisco and has written a recap.

NCS Division I semifinal

No. 3 Pittsburg 35, No. 5 California 14

Elijah Bow and Jamar Searcy combined for 349 rushing yards and four touchdowns as Pittsburg defeated California in an NCS Division I semifinal at home. The Pirates will compete for the D-I title next Friday at Dublin High against Open Division runner-up San Ramon Valley. Here’s the story from Pittsburg, courtesy of Joseph Dycus.

NCS Division II semifinal

No. 1 El Cerrito 55, No. 5 Heritage 17

Michael Vanhook, the Gauchos’ quarterback, threw four touchdown passes, three of which went to Washington State-bound Kamani Jackson. Heritage (5-7) held off El Cerrito (11-1) until the third period, when the Gauchos scored the game’s final 20 points. Jackson had a 72-yard pick-six in addition to his three touchdown catches. Gary Youngblood caught a 20-yard touchdown pass, and Ziare Eastman scored on a 10-yard run. El Cerrito will face Windsor (10-1-1) for the D-II championship next Friday night at Diablo Valley College in Pleasant Hill. One of Heritage’s touchdowns came on an option pass from running back Ilias Muhammad to quarterback Phillip Babbitt. Chia Nomeh added three more points with a 35-yard field goal. It was his season’s second field goal. – Michael Lefkow

CCS Division III semifinal

No. 4 Palma 28, No. 1 Menlo-Atherton 21

The top-seeded Bears led 14-0 in the second quarter, but Palma rallied for four unanswered touchdowns to win. The score was 14-14 at halftime, and Palma led 21-14 going into the fourth quarter. Menlo-Atherton finishes the season 5-7, while Palma enters next week’s title game against Alisal or Scott’s Valley, both of which were in action on Saturday. Although Palma is officially two games under.500, that figure reflects the fact that the team had to forfeit three wins earlier this season due to the use of an ineligible player. Palma’s on-field record is 8-4, so the come-from-behind victory over Menlo-Atherton is hardly an upset. The Bears’ three touchdowns were all scored by Jordan Masuisui. The first touchdown came after a 99-yard drive, putting M-A up 7-0. Masuisui also scored on a short run following an interception by Angelo Marin. With less than a minute remaining, the Bears got the ball back after Masuisui’s third touchdown cut Palma’s lead to 28-21. They were unable to move the ball, and Palma held on for the victory. – Michael Lefkow

NCS Division III semifinal

No. 3 Cardinal Newman 54, No. 2 Las Lomas 28

After Las Lomas went ahead 21-19 on Sava Pouridis’ second touchdown of the game, the visiting Cardinals outscored them 45-7 in the final two and a half periods. Cardinal Newman was led by Zach Homan, who had four touchdowns and over 300 yards rushing. This was expected to be a difficult game for No. 2 seed Las Lomas (10-2). Coming into the season, the Knights were a young, inexperienced team, and little was expected of them. However, Las Lomas won its first eight regular-season games and only lost one, finishing in a three-way tie for first place in the Diablo Athletic League Foothill Division. On Friday night, the lead swung back and forth until Homan’s touchdown with 2:36 left in the first half gave Cardinal Newman (11-1) a 27-21 lead. By the end of the third quarter, Cardinal Newman had increased its lead to 47-21. The game’s first points were scored by Las Lomas on a touchdown pass from Dylan Thomas to Roman Mercado. – Michael Lefkow

CCS Division IV semifinals

No. 1 Palo Alto 45, No. 5 Leigh 14

Declan Packer threw a touchdown pass and ran for another, and running backs Jeremiah Madrigal and Isaiah Phillips each scored as Palo Alto defeated Leigh at home to advance to the Division IV title game. The game story is written by Nathan Canilao.

No. 2 Mountain View 38, No. 3 Branham 34

Arturo Hernandez had a huge game for the Spartans, carrying 23 times for 271 yards and scoring four touchdowns to lead them to the CCS Division IV championship game. Hernandez scored with runs of 62, 51, and 60 yards. “He was special,” Mountain View coach Tim Lugo said of his player. “He sets up his blocks, makes people miss.” Mountain View scored 28 points in the second quarter to take a 31-14 halftime lead, which they extended to 38-14 in the third before Branham rallied. For the Spartans, in addition to Hernandez’s heroics, Lex Silver caught a touchdown pass from Kevin Conway and Viliami Sekona returned an interception for a touchdown. Branham’s Gabriel Morgan scored three touchdowns and two two-point conversions. For the Bruins, Elias Antillion scored on a 54-yard run and Jack Lewis connected with Miles Scott on a 23-yard touchdown pass, and fumbles were recovered by Michael Murphy, Dylan Rodriguez, and Joel Ruiz-Pineda. Mountain View’s MLB Alex Bucchieri stood out defensively, and the team will face Palo Alto for the D-IV championship. “It will be like an old school SCVAL battle,” he said. “It will be good for the community.” Glenn Reeves’

NCS Division IV semifinal

No. 2 Acalanes 56, No. 3 Vallejo 20

For the Dons, who will compete for their first NCS football title under coach Floyd Burnsed, Jack Miller rushed for three touchdowns and Sulli Bailey threw two. Acalanes (8-4) will face San Marin (12-0) next Friday or Saturday at an undetermined location as of late Saturday morning. Miller, despite being the Dons’ leading rusher, had only scored one touchdown all season before his four-yard, seven-yard, and two-yard runs. Bailey completed touchdown passes of 18 and 47 yards to Trevor Rogers and Paul Kuhner, respectively. Rogers, who will attend Cal in 2024, surpassed 1,000 yards receiving for the season on Friday night. Acalanes scored the first three touchdowns of the game before Vallejo quarterback Jasier Smith connected with Sedrick Vaughn for a 56-yard touchdown to make the score 21-7. The following 35 points were scored by the Dons. Niko White, Jack Giorgianni, and Deonte Littlejohn all scored on the ground. Acalanes and San Marin will meet for the second time this season in the NCS championship game. San Marin defeated the Dons 27-20 in the season opener for both teams. Burnsed, who is in his eighth season at Acalanes, will be vying for his sixth NCS title. While coaching at Miramonte in the 1980s and 1990s, he won five championships. – Michael Lefkow

NCS Division V semifinal

No. 1 Miramonte 34, No. 4 Alhambra 17

Miramonte advanced to the championship game in large part because of receiver Jack Quinnild, who had not played on offense in a month due to a sprained thumb. He scored three touchdowns and ran 70 yards to give Miramonte a 24-14 lead midway through the third quarter. Alhambra was ahead 14-7. Starting running back/linebacker Gabe Roman had to leave the game in the first quarter due to a “bad cut” on his hand, according to Miramonte coach Jack Schram, but Charlie Hwang and Gabe Savala filled in admirably. After Rhys Hire hit a 31-yard field goal, Miramonte (8-3) will face the winner of St. Bernard’s and Analy for the championship. The game was won by Alhambra 8-3. – Joseph Dycus

CCS Division V semifinal

No. 4 Santa Teresa 27, No. 1 Woodside 20

In the final minute, Santa Teresa quarterback Brenton Gaches scored on a short run to break a tie. Woodside had come back from a 20-7 deficit to tie the game at 20-20 on an Evan Usher run with about a minute remaining. However, Santa Teresa blocked the extra point, tying the game. The Saints then quickly drove for the winning touchdown, which was set up by Joseph Tapia’s 65-yard reverse run. Tapia also scored on a pick-six and a 45-yard reception on Gaches’ pass. “He’s our everything,” said Santa Teresa coach Steve Papin of Tapia. Santa Teresa led 14-7 at halftime and 20-7 after Tapia’s interception return. Otherwise, Woodside’s single-wing offense dominated time of possession in the second half. Santa Teresa had only two possessions in the second half. “They ground-and-pounded us,” Papin explained. “It was all smoke and mirrors; we didn’t know who had the ball.” Our defense got tired from being on the field so much.” Usher rushed for 97 yards on 26 attempts. Mason Furtado, the single-wing tailback, rushed for 57 yards and was 2 of 2 passing with a touchdown pass to fullback Jordy Pena, who also scored on the ground. “We went to a single wing to counter the speed they had on defense,” said Woodside coach Justin Andrews. Woodside finished 7-5 after moving up to the PAL El Camino after winning the PAL Lake in 2022. Santa Teresa (6-6) will compete for the CCS Division V championship against South San Francisco.

No. 3 South San Francisco 11, No. 7 Leland 9

With about 10 seconds left in the game, Elijah Fields scored on a 1-yard run on fourth down to give South City the victory. Leland led 9-0 at halftime thanks to a 27-yard Luke Whitson field goal and a 1-yard run by Jacob Gibson on a quarterback sneak. South San Francisco made it 9-3 with a field goal in the third quarter. In the fourth quarter, SSF drove to the Leland 1 but was unable to convert. Leland took over at that point, but three plays later faced a fourth-and-goal situation. After losing its punter and long snapper earlier in the game, Leland chose to take a safety and free kick from the 20. South City took control of the midfield and drove for the winning goal. Sophomore quarterback Anthony Howell connected with Darren Miller on four pass plays, Marcus Mercurio ran for four yards, and Fields ran for six yards to the two, where Howell spiked the ball, setting up the game-winning touchdown. Fields rushed for 109 yards on 23 attempts. Miller had 59 yards on the ground. South City’s cornerback Cisco Latu stood out on defense. Leland coach Kelly King Jr. singled out Chayse Swenson, Diego Vasquez, Brady Hernandez, Carson Defilippis, and Jordan Visperas for praise. PAL South San Francisco (11-1) advanced to the CCS championship game against Santa Teresa after having no varsity football team for two years. Leland’s final score is 4-8.

NCS Division VI semifinal

No. 3 Salesian 26, No. 2 Moreau Catholic 15

Marcus Burke threw two touchdown passes, one to Carlton Perrilliat and the other to Marco Turqueza, as Salesian defeated Moreau Catholic on the road to advance to the Division VI championship game, which will be played next week against either No. 1 seed St. Vincent de Paul or No. 4 Fortuna. The Pride also got goals from Carnatic Blakely and Luis DeJesus as they ended Moreau’s season in the playoffs for the second year in a row. Moreau defeated Salesian 23-21 in September. Joe Tarin intercepted a pass to help Salesian improve to 10-2. Moreau finished the season with a 6-6 record. The work of Darren Sabedra

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