August 31, 2010 > MVAL crown up for grabs in 2010
MVAL crown up for grabs in 2010
By Jeff Weisinger
Photo by William Mancebo
With school year coming quickly upon us, only one thing comes to mind to kick-off this back-to-school season: Welcome back high school football.
Although James Logan High took the MVAL crown in 2009, they were quickly sent home in the playoffs, going one and done against a Foothill team that saw quarterback Sean Mannion throw for nearly 600 yards against what was supposed to be a strong Colts defense that allowed an average of 18 points per game.
On the other hand, Washington High, who came a close second to Logan in the MVAL, found themselves a game short of the North Coast Section 5-A title game, losing at Pittsburg in the semifinals last year.
So what does this year have in store?
Starting with the defending league champs in Union City, the 2010 season looks to be more of a challenge for the Colts and head coach George Zuber.
The question surrounding the Colts in 2010 is how explosive can the offense be? 2009 saw Logan once again become the dominant offense that averaged just over 33 points per game.
Logan went undefeated in league play, finishing the season with a 6-0 record in the MVAL, and a 7-3 record overall. Logan took control of conference play after finishing 1-3 in non-conference play last year, losing three straight entering MVAL action. But there will be big changes for the Colts this season.
Quarterback Jon Willis, a catalyst in the Logan offense is gone, along with running back Victor Johnson, and wide receivers Joe Castro and T.J. Matsumoto.
With a young offense taking over in Union City, the Colts will have to rely on its veteran defense, especially returning linebackers Albert Bell and Justin Haney.
The Colts begin the season with four non-conference games, beginning on Sept. 4 at Arroyo High in San Lorenzo. Logan then goes back on the road six days later for their first Friday night game at San Leandro High on Sept. 10.
After back-to-back games on the road, Logan will open at home on Sept. 17 as they take on the Falcons of Foothill High looking to avenge their '09 playoff loss. Logan ends their non-conference play at home a week later when they take on Heritage High of Brentwood.
MVAL play for the Colts begins on Oct. 2 when the Colts travel to Tak Fudenna Memorial Stadium to take on American High, a team that Logan easily beat 52-0 in 2009, and then takes on Mission San Jose on Oct. 8, who the Colts beat 58-0 last season.
After a bye week, Logan returns to the field for four more conference games, including what could be a repeat of the MVAL title game against the Washington Huskies in the regular season finale on Nov. 12.
After finishing the season a game short of not just the NCS title game, but also just 19 points shy of the MVAL title, one can only wonder what the Huskies will do for an encore.
Despite losing the MVAL crown to Logan, and a shot at a perfect record in conference play, it was the Huskies that represented the MVAL in the NCS playoffs, defeating California High 19-7 in the first round and defeated College Park 31-9 in the quarterfinals. However, hopes of a trip to the NCS final were dashed after a tough 39-24 loss at Pittsburg on December 5.
Ken Wittmer's team should be tough offensively with six of it's starters from the '09 squad returning, including Deandre Carter, lineman Hanatelli Lousi and Casey Jennings.
However, the biggest challenge for the orange and black will be replacing quarterback David Ross, who was a key for the Huskie offense, especially in their playoff run last year, leading a Huskies offense that averaged just over 31 points per game.
Washington opens up their season on Sept. 3 against California High.
Since their strong 9-2 season back in 2007, the Cougars have seen just glimpses of the '07 magic. However, glimpses don't add wins, and Newark Memorial's record has shown, finishing the last two seasons with a 6-4 regular season record.
The Cougars will look to regain that magic this season, led by returning starters Nick Pohndorf, Osana Futi and Kendell Andrews highlighting the 14 returning starters from the '09 team. Newark Memorial has a lot to look forward to when they open their season at home against Alameda High on Sept. 3.
The dream seasons that were the 2005 and the 2006 Vikings is now a distant past.
Irvington hasn't come close to the success they saw five years ago, finishing the last three seasons with losing records, the best being a 4-6 record in 2008, and their worst coming last year, finishing 2-8.
However, things may be on the rise for the Vikes. With 11 returning starters, this is still a young, raw team, especially with juniors Jeremy Sanchez and Raeshawn Lee ready to takeover in 2010.
Irvington opens their season on Sept. 3 against Arroyo High, a team they earned one of their two wins against last year, defeating them 28-21.
With 18 returning starters for the Eagles in 2010, American may just be the sleeper in the MVAL.
Finishing with a .500 record in 2009, the Eagles were a team on the rise and a team that got hot late, winning back-to-back games to reach the playoffs, where they saw a quick exit by the hands of De La Salle, losing 44-0 in the first round of the NCS playoffs.
But with a majority of the '09 squad returning in 2010, including seniors Jordan Cooper, Shawn Wong and Max Basilio, American's experience will be what could take them over the top when they open their season against Valley Christian on Sept. 4.
Despite being decent for the past few seasons, Kennedy hasn't made too many changes for 2010.
Finishing 4-6 in 2009, the Titans averaged 21 points per game and came with four yards and 17 seconds away from upsetting eventual MVAL champion Logan on Logan's homecoming day back in late November.
The Titans open their 2010 campaign against San Francisco's Balboa High School on Sept. 4.
Mission San Jose
The Warriors have been on the bottom of the barrel for years now, winning a total of just seven games in the last six seasons.
The Warriors allowed a disastrous 41 points per game, while averaging just four in 2010, en route to a winless 0-10 season, their first since 2004.
Mission San Jose opens their season on Sept. 2 against Berean Christian.