The Examiner breaks down this weeks prep football action.
SAN FRANCISCO GAME OF THE WEEK
Washington (2-1, 0-0) at Lowell (1-0, 0-0), Kezar Stadium, Friday, 7 p.m.
The Battle of the Birds comes early this year and Lowell should be ready to hit somebody wearing a different uniform as the Academic Athletic Association season kicks off. Cardinals coach Danny Chan scheduled just one nonleague game this year (a 34-12 win over Mills three weeks ago) with the goal of being fresh for the San Francisco Section playoffs.
“It might be kind of cocky of us, but at the same time, [a championship] is always what we shoot for,” Chan said. “And I know our guys are raring to go.”
Tailback Bismark Navarro (23 carries, 204 yards, four touchdowns) leads a Lowell offense that racked up all 392 of its yards against Mills on the ground. Meanwhile, the resurgent Eagles appear to be a legitimate postseason threat after stumbling to a 3-7 record in 2006. Wash has perhaps the best overall talent at the skill positions in the league, led by quarterback Derf Butler, running backs Maurice Barton and Grandville Taylor, receivers Anthony and Chris Marshall and tight end Solomon Walker.
Mission (2-0, 0-0) at Lincoln (1-3, 0-0), 3 p.m.
Harry Howard has emerged into a force for the Bears, moving over to quarterback and throwing for three touchdowns in last week’s 40-12 win over St. Elizabeth’s of Oakland. The two-time defending Turkey Bowl champion Mustangs should be happy to be home and start AAA play after a tough nonleague schedule that included trips to Montgomery of Santa Rosa and West of Tracy.
Burton (0-3, 0-0) at Galileo (0-1, 0-0), Kezar Stadium, 3:30 p.m.
The first part of a doubleheader at Kezar features two teams looking to gain confidence as AAA play begins. The Pumas won last year thanks in large part to a long touchdown run ona reverse by Tyre’ Ellison, who already has 282 yards receiving this season.
Balboa (0-3) at Oakland (0-3), 7 p.m.
Two teams looking for a win before the beginning of conference play meet in the East Bay. The Buccaneers have shown the ability to move the ball behind the trio of quarterback Eric Lara, running back Luther Gary and receiver Shaun Jones but have yet to put together a complete game.
SATURDAY'S SAN FRANCISCO GAMES
Riordan (2-1) at Sacred Heart Cath. (3-1), Kezar Stadium, 1 p.m.
The Irish have secured the Stanfel Cup in each of the last two years and look to get back on track after a tough loss to SI last week in this nonconference showdown. Daniel Cannon caught two touchdown passes last week for the Crusaders and has 11 receptions for 192 yards in three games.
Valley Christian (S.J.) (3-0, 0-0) at St. Ignatius (4-0, 0-0), 1 p.m.
In a West Catholic Athletic League opener, something has to give in this battle of unbeatens who have combined to outscore opponents 269-70 this season. Quarterback Abe Waziri and the Wildcats rolled up 433 yards of total offense in last week’s win 44-14 win over Sacred Heart Cathedral in the always emotional Bruce-Mahoney game.
— Matt Elliser
PENINSULA SPOTLIGHT GAME
Serra (3-1, 0-0) at St. Francis (2-1-1, 0-0), Friday, 7:30 p.m.
“The Streak” ended last year in dramatic fashion for Serra as DeLeon Eskridge jumped over the pile for a 1-yard touchdown with 3.9 seconds remaining to give the Padres a 21-17 victory over St. Francis. It was Serra’s first victory over its rival in 34 years and 35 meetings.
Eskridge and a number of the key participants from last year’s game are back for what promises to be another closeone. The Padres — led by Eskridge, tailback Tiuke Tuipulotu and quarterback Cody Jackson — averaged 38 points per game in their nonleague schedule, including a 52-31 win over Gilroy last week. Quarterback Sam Scudellari and the Lancers appear to be back after what for them was a down 5-4-1 season in 2006, having notched an impressive win over Oak Grove of San Jose already.
And rivalries aside, this West Catholic Athletic League opener is huge for two teams with title aspirations. Every conference win will be huge considering WCAL teams went a combined 22-3-1 in their nonleague games.
FRIDAY'S PAL BAY GAMES
Carlmont (1-2, 0-1) at South S.F. (0-3, 0-1), 7 p.m.
Turnovers have doomed the Warriors the past two weeks as a combined seven miscues have led directly to two losses. The Scots had a rough introduction to the Bay Division against Aragon last week and a win here would be huge for their confidence.
Menlo (2-1, 0-1) at Burlingame (1-2, 1-0), 7 p.m.
The Knights announced they belong in the Bay last week in taking traditional power Terra Nova down to the wire in a 21-14 loss. Defensive back Jason Carlos had two of his team’s four interceptions in the Panthers league-opening 19-6 win at South San Francisco.
Woodside (1-2, 0-0) at Terra Nova (1-2, 1-0), 8 p.m.
Jason Simpson eclipsed 200 yards rushing last week as the Wildcats picked up their first win. Next up is a road game against a Tigers team led by the tough 6-foot-5, 215-pound quarterback Julian Bernard.
FRIDAY’S PAL OCEAN GAMES
Mills (0-3, 0-0) at Hillsdale (0-3, 0-1), 3:15 p.m.
The use of an ineligible player forced the Knights to forfeit last week’s 35-20 win over Jefferson. Mills is still looking for its first win under new coachPacky Moss but should be happy to begin league play considering its nonconference foes have a combined 7-1 record.
Capuchino (0-3, 0-0) at Sequoia (1-2, 1-0), 7 p.m.
Quarterback Gustavo Moreno and the Cherokees are suddenly the division’s hottest team, having reeled off six straight league wins dating back to last season. Sequoia beat Cap 17-14 in 2006.
El Camino (1-2, 1-0) at Jefferson (1-2, 1-0), 7 p.m.
The Colts hadn’t won in nine games before forcing six turnovers in last week’s impressive 32-7 victory over Half Moon Bay. Jeff had last week’s loss turned into a win when Hillsdale forfeited its 35-20 victory due to the use of an ineligible player.
San Mateo (0-3, 0-1) at Half Moon Bay (0-3, 0-1), 7 p.m.
The Bearcats didn’t win a game last year but appear to be on the right track after last week’s close 14-12 loss to Sequoia. Quarterback Nate Davidson is a threat to both run and pass as San Mateo takes on the young Cougars.
SATURDAY'S PAL BAY GAMES
Aragon (2-1, 1-0) at Menlo-Atherton (2-1), 1 p.m.
The two heavyweights meet up in this early-season showdown, with the winner taking a big step toward the Bay title. A talented Bears defense led by Latani Moi Moi will have its hands full with Aragon runner and BYU recruit Seta Pohahau.
— Matt Elliser