PrepFocus: San Francisco high school football preview for Labor Day weekend

Game of the Week: Oakland Tech (1-1) @ Mission (0-1), Friday, 7:30 p.m. at Kezar Stadium

One of the toughest games that any AAA team will play this season is set for Friday night at Kezar, and it’ll be Tobias Whitley’s head coaching debut at Mission. The Bears had to forfeit last week’s game to Menlo due to low numbers, but will be set for their home opener under the lights on Friday. Oakland Tech is coming off a tight loss to Kennedy-Richmond, but opened with a win over Mt. Eden. The Bulldogs have allowed just 28 points over their first two games.

Campolindo (1-0) @ St. Ignatius (0-1), Saturday, 1 p.m.

The Wildcats and Cougars will meet for a fourth straight year, a matchup that Campolindo has won the past three times. The visitors will head to the Sunset District with a week’s rest after a season-opening victory against Marin Catholic, while SI heads in looking to regroup after a tight loss to Palo Alto. St. Ignatius will need to play stellar pass defense against Campolindo’s Grant Harper, who threw for 369 yards in the Cougars’ opening victory. A win would be huge for St. Ignatius, as it would put the Wildcats on the right path for a postseason berth. In past years, WCAL teams have typically needed four wins to reach the playoffs, and a victory in the home opener would certainly put John Regalia’s side on the right path.

Sacred Heart Cathedral (1-0) @ Palma (1-0), Friday, 7:30 p.m. @ Salinas Sports Complex

The Fightin’ Irish come in off a dramatic win against Fernley, but facing one of the Central Coast Section’s perennial contenders is a firm test. Palma seems to have bounced back after a couple of down years, opening the 2018 campaign with a 52-6 thumping of Soledad. Slowing down quarterback Grant Sergent and running back Anthony Villegas will be key if SHC is to pull off another impressive road win. Barry McLaughlin is 4-0 in non-conference games since taking the reins at Sacred Heart Cathedral, but Friday’s trek down to Monterey County will certainly be his team’s toughest non-league test over the past two years.

Elk Grove (0-1) @ Serra (0-1), Saturday, 1 p.m.

After falling to a monster opponent in a season-opening loss to Serra-Gardena, the Padres will have a chance to get back on track against an Elk Grove team that they beat handily on the road last year. However, the Thundering Herd are battle-tested, having lost their opener to Sacramento-area power Inderkum. Additionally, Serra’s defense may be shorthanded as Nusi Malani is still working his way back from injury and Davidson commit E.J. Lahlouh’s status is uncertain after suffering an ankle injury early in last week’s opener. Offensively, Serra struggled to run the ball last week, compiling just 65 yards on the ground.

San Ramon Valley (1-1) @ Riordan (0-1), Saturday, 7 p.m. @ Terra Nova

Riordan fell in a thrilling season opener to Salesian, falling 49-48 on a last-minute touchdown and two-point conversion. The Crusaders will return to action against another East Bay program with strong history, hosting the Wolves on Saturday night in Pacifica. SRV is coming off a loss to Monterey Trail-Elk Grove, but waxed Heritage-Brentwood to open the season. While defense was a concern for Riordan in that heartbreaking defeat, the offense excelled. Junior Adham Abdelghani threw for 293 yards and ran for 79 more in a breakout performance. To avoid a repeat of last week, the Crusaders will have to slow down San Ramon Valley’s many-headed rushing attack, led by Tristan Sinclair.

Harker (1-1) @ Washington (0-0), Friday, 3 p.m.

It’ll be a clash of Eagles on Friday in the Richmond District, as Washington gets the season underway against Harker, a private school from San Jose that plays an independent schedule. Washington stands out from the rest of Harker’s schedule as one of the largest foes in terms of enrollment. Lowell will certainly be keeping an eye on this game as the Cardinals travel to Harker next month.

Burton (1-0) @ Richmond (0-1), Friday, 6 p.m.

The Pumas are coming off a lopsided win while Richmond suffered a blowout loss last week, but the difference in quality of competition should be noted. Burton’s 48-0 win came against Madison Park Academy, a team playing just its third season of varsity football, while Richmond fell to St. Mary’s-Albany. Friday night’s clash should give both teams a chance for evaluation against more even competition.

Ethan Kassel

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