The Examiner breaks down this weeks prep football action.
SAN FRANCISCO GAME OF THE WEEK
Balboa (3-6, 2-3 AAA) at Mission (4-3, 2-3), Friday, 4 p.m., Kezar Stadium
That’s the word Balboa coach Keith Minor used when describing the injuries that have befallen his team this season, as the Buccaneers have lost their two top running backs (Luther Gary and Gen Kurakata) and receivers (Shaun Jones and Syed Waseem Shah). It would be a huge blow for any team, but it’s especially tough for a Balboa roster that boasted only 25 players to begin the season. Still, the Buccaneers have managed to remain competitive, and Friday’s game against Mission will decide the San Francisco Section’s fourth and final playoff berth.
Balboa’s four fallen stars are all questionable for the game, and last week quarterback Eric Lara threw for two scores, ran for another and kicked all three extra points to will the team toa 21-14 win over Burton. Meanwhile, the Bears relied on quarterbacks Dwayne Davis and Harry Howard and the tough two-way play of defensive lineman-running back Anthony Bacani to beat Galileo 34-12.
“With Mission, it’s kind of like looking over at our twin brother,” Minor said. “Not enough guys on the roster, but a pretty fast team that really gets after it defensively and plays with a lot of pride.”
Galileo (0-6, 0-5 AAA) at Lincoln (6-3, 5-0), 2 p.m.
It went unnoticed at the time, but with a 12-yard fourth quarter run in last week’s 49-28 win over Lowell, Lincoln tailback David Henderson broke 5,000 career yards. The senior now has 5,007 yards and 51 touchdowns for the Mustangs, and will look to add to those totals against the winless Lions.
Washington (5-3, 3-2 AAA) at Burton (1-8, 1-4), 2 p.m.
The Eagles are safely in the San Francisco Section playoffs and proved they can play with the best two weeks ago in a narrow 28-26 loss to Lincoln. Burton played Balboa tough on Saturday before falling 21-14.
Riordan (5-3-1, 2-2-1 WCAL) at Valley Christian (6-2-1, 2-2-1), 7:30 p.m.
The City’s top passer (Darius Bell) and leading receiver (Daniel Cannon) lead the Crusaders down to San Jose, with the winner breaking out of a three-team logjam for third place in the WCAL. The Valley Christian defense has allowed the fewest total points (137) and yards per game (241.9) of any team in the conference.
Sacred Heart Cath. (5-4) at Casa Grande (Petaluma) (7-1-1), 7:30 p.m.
One week after a tough 21-17 loss to Sonoma Valley, the Irish finish their year against another Sonoma County League power in Casa Grande. The good news for Sacred Heart? The team is 3-0 on the road this season.
— Matt Elliser
PENINSULA GAME OF THE WEEK
El Camino (7-2, 7-0) at South San Francisco (2-7, 2-5), Saturday, 11 a.m.
The Colts are actually considered the home team in the classic Bell Game, though that makes little difference. The contest is always held at South City due to capacity issues, and El Camino coach Mark Turner admits that the only difference for his team is they get to wear their home uniforms.
El Camino tailback Charles Truong continued his phenomenal senior season last week by surpassing the 1,000-yard mark against Hillsdale.
However, the advantage that the Colts have had with its sizable front line will be gone this week against the Warriors from the better Bay Division.
“We can’t go by records,” said Turner, “but we’re obviously having our best season … I don’t think there’s a team in our league that matches up with [South City] size wise, but I think we’re good enough and quick enough to match up with them.”
FRIDAY’S PAL GAMES
Sequoia (5-4, 5-2) at Carlmont (1-8, 0-7), 2:45 p.m.
Things just keep looking brighter and brighter for Sequoia under second-year coach Sam Lopez. The Cherokees have won four straight, including a close one against Half Moon Bay to boost their overall record over .500 last week. Carlmont is still looking for its first win since Week 1, a 36-0 nonconference victory over Gunn.
Jefferson (0-9, 0-7) at Menlo (6-2, 4-3), 2:45 p.m.
Menlo’s chances for an at-large playoff bid dwindled last week despite a win over Carlmont, as nonleague opponent Sacred Heart Prep lost its first game in Bay Football League play; taking it out of contention for a league title which would have meant extra power points for Menlo. Jeff is still looking for its first win since November of last year.
Mills (3-6, 3-3) at Capuchino (2-7, 2-4), 7 p.m.
Always a heated rivalry, the Battle of the Strip went to a dominant Mills team last year. The two teams are much more evenly matched this season, featuring two of the top rushers in the Ocean
Division: Josh Uikilifi (Mills) and Eloy Moreno (Cap).
Terra Nova (4-4-1, 4-2-1) at Half Moon Bay (4-5, 4-3), 7 p.m.
The Tigers will be hungry after falling to Aragon last week, but Half Moon Bay had won two straight before losing a close 20-17 game to Sequoia a week ago. In that game, Cougars’ tailback Nik France accounted for more than 100 total yards, including a 30-yard touchdown pass.
Menlo-Atherton (8-1, 6-0) at Woodside (2-7, 1-5), 8 p.m.
Woodside, after losing three straight, admittedly has its hands full this week against undefeated M-A. And don’t expect the Bears to back down. They have an undefeated league record on the line and will be looking to avenge last year’s 42-20 loss to the Wildcats.
SATURDAY’S PAL GAMES
Aragon (7-2, 6-1) at Hillsdale (2-7, 2-5), 11 p.m.
Another profound rivalry-week mismatch as Aragon is generally good to win its traditional regular-season finale with the Knights from down the hill. Last week against Terra Nova, the Dons received another epic 200-plus-yard game from running back Seta Pohahau.
San Mateo (4-5, 4-3) at Burlingame (3-5-1, 3-3-1), 11 p.m.
This is another interesting matchup that features an Ocean Division team that may be considered the favorite, as San Mateo is coming off its fourth win in five games behind the dynamic play of quarterback Nate Davison. Burlingame is finally getting its running game going though, as Todd Mortensen stepped up to gain 91 yards in last week’s win over Woodside.
SATURDAY’S WCAL GAME
Bellarmine (9-0, 5-0) at Serra (6-3, 3-2), 1 p.m.
Serra will have its hands full with Bellarmine, though the game should be one of the best ground match-ups of the season. Serra leads the West Catholic Athletic League in rush yards with 1,569, while Bellarmine running back Usua Amanam leads the conference with 758 yards.
— Terry Bernal