Monday Morning Lights: Campo coach stays on message as Cougars move up to top division

Piedmont’s turnaround this season is nothing short of stunning. Riordan linemen give back to community. Pittsburg introduces its Hall of Fame class.

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Campolindo coach Kevin Macy stayed on message despite his team’s dramatic comeback victory over rival Acalanes on Friday night.

Campo is still the Little School That Could, according to the longtime coach.

“We don’t have what everybody else has,” Macy said after his team rallied from a two-touchdown deficit in the fourth quarter to beat host Acalanes 25-24 and secure a playoff spot. “But we just have kids who will never give up.” That’s the best way I can describe it. There are football players and then there are football kids. We’re just on the side of football players.

“They have football players,” Macy added, referring to Acalanes’ lightning-quick playmakers Trevor Rogers and Paul Kuhner. “But it’s just a tightness in our program.” We’re kids from the neighborhood. We’re not like the schools that attract a lot of special talent. As a result, the children learn to fight for one another. They just have that friendship bond.”

Campo has won six North Coast Section championships since 2011, including one in Division II two years ago, three regional titles, and two state titles under Macy.

However, success has come at a cost for the Moraga school in the era of competitive equity, two words Macy would prefer to avoid.

For the first time, the Cougars are in the top division of the NCS, alongside all the heavyweights such as De La Salle.

On Friday, they face second-seeded San Ramon Valley.

If Campo pulls off the upset, it will almost certainly face top-seeded De La Salle in the Open Division championship the following week.

After the thrilling victory on Friday, Campo players chanted, “One more week.” Another week.”

Isaiah Ortiz, the team’s quarterback, referred to Macy as “a legend.”

During the celebration, everyone in the Campo community, including Macy, was soaking up the moment when the coach said, “This was our championship.”

He went on to say, “If we do get in … we’ll just go to show North Coast that they’ve got to scrap the competitive equity format.”

Always on point.

Nobody can deny Macy’s abilities as a coach or his commitment to his beliefs.


When the time comes to select top players and coaches after the season, Jordan Seiden and Sam Shelby will not be among the first names mentioned.

Piedmont High’s coach is Seiden. Shelby has the potential to be the team’s best player. They, along with teammates like quarterback Markos Lagios and RB/MLB Tommy Ashton, have resurrected Highlanders football.

Piedmont’s visit to Alhambra in the first round of the North Coast Section D-V playoffs on Friday night will be the culmination of a remarkable comeback from a nightmare 2022 season. Piedmont was outscored 174-70 in an 0-4 start, forfeited the next two games, and then called it quits with less than 20 players on the varsity roster.

With a 7-3 overall record, the Highlanders have reclaimed their title as MVAL/WACC Shoreline champions. They finished the league season 5-1, the same as Kennedy-Fremont, but Piedmont won the head-to-head matchup. In their playoff division, the Highlanders are the fifth seed. Alhambra, the No. 4 seed and DAL Valley champion, is 6-3.

“We were in the doldrums,” Seiden admitted the day after his team won the Shoreline championship, 29-26 over Newark-Memorial. “It’s crazy where we are now.”

To make matters worse, Piedmont has spent the entire season on the road while the school district renovates some athletic facilities, including those for football.

“We have great kids and there is a passion in the community,” Seiden said when asked how Piedmont rebuilt so quickly. We only had a small group of players, but their hearts were beating outside their chests. We were aware of our abilities. We just kept grinding. Throughout the winter and spring, guys showed up for workouts at 6:30 a.m. “The kids were sold.”

Some of those buy-ins deserve to be recognized in the postseason. Shelby is a wide receiver who has nearly 50 catches for over 900 yards. In the win over Newark Memorial, he had an 82-yard touchdown reception. Lagios is a dual-threat quarterback with over 2,000 yards rushing and passing. Ashton has over 700 yards rushing and is a two-way star.

Seiden has been coaching at various high schools for nearly 30 years. At UC-Davis, he was a running back and wide receiver. He works full-time at an Oakland charter school.

Regardless of the outcome against Alhambra, the Highlanders’ most difficult stretch of the season is over. They have won the league and are now competing for the section title.


Kalolo Taaga and Peter Langi, Archbishop Riordan’s star offensive linemen, take pride in protecting their quarterback and creating holes for Riordan runners.

However, the couple also enjoys volunteering in their community.

They spent Halloween escorting about 100 trick-or-treaters around Daly City’s Serramonte Mall.

“Although it’s a small contribution, it feels good to give back,” Langi said in an email from Overall 99, a management company that represents college-bound high school athletes.

Taaga went on to say, “It’s an honor to give back to my community and make Halloween fun for these kids.”


Pittsburg introduced its Hall of Fame football class on Saturday, which includes four players from the 1990s and early 2000s (Cy Simonton, Ryan Ponce, Augie Torres, and Albert Toeaina) and one from the 1950s (Frank Cardinalli Sr).

Coach Larry Rodriguez, who led the Pirates to three league and two North Coast Section championships from 1979 to 1990, is also among the class.

Two other teams were honored: the 1932 (league champions) and the 2003 (league champions and NCS Division I runner-up).

Nick Aliotti, Class of 1972, is the distinguished alumnus. Aliotti was Oregon’s defensive coordinator for many years.


After being placed in lower brackets, some “A” league schools with mediocre regular season records have paths to a section title.

Last year, Santa Teresa won Division IV after a 5-5 regular season, and Palo Alto won Division V after starting the playoffs 4-6.

Palo Alto could pull it off again.

The Vikings (5-5) are the top seed in Division IV and have scored 30 points or more in three of their last four games.

Mountain View finished the season 4-6 and lost five of its final six games, but the Spartans are the No. 2 seed in Division IV.

What causes this?

Teams in the CCS are seeded using a complex point system that takes into account the strength of schedules and leagues as well as‘s computer ratings.


Del Mar will begin the CCS Division V playoffs on Friday, when it travels to play top-seeded Woodside. However, the Dons’ postseason began weeks ago when they needed to keep pace with Prospect atop the BVAL West Valley Division standings.

Only “C” league champions, such as West Valley, advance to the section playoffs.

Even in the lowest bracket, the winner has the best chance of advancing, and the vast majority of players will never be recruited by major colleges.

However, the intensity is comparable to any level, as Del Mar demonstrated in its season finale against Prospect.

“It doesn’t matter if you’re big, small, a ‘A’ league team, or a ‘C’ league team,” Del Mar coach Robert Chapman said. “Everyone works extremely hard. We have teams in our league that have one win or get blown out every week, but they still show up.”

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