The 2019 prep football season is upon us with a tremendous opening weekend of games. Here’s where — and who — San Francisco’s teams will be playing.
Lafayette-Acalanes (1-0) @ Sacred Heart Cathedral, Friday, 7 p.m. at Kezar Stadium
The Fightin’ Irish will get their season underway against a Dons team that already has a game under its belt, as the North Coast Section opened its season last week. Acalanes cruised to a 75-6 win over Fairfield-Armijo, with the second half played under a running clock, meaning that SHC only got to scout a half of the Dons’ regulars. Still, that should come in handy for an Irish offense that will look to take to the air under the arm of junior quarterback Cian Dowling, who will try to connect with stellar wide receiver Tyrice Ivy Jr.
Riordan @ Pacifica-Terra Nova, Friday, 7 p.m.
It’ll be two new head coaches colliding under the lights and fog in Pacifica, as Mark Modeste coaches his first game for Riordan against a Tigers team welcoming in a new coach in Jason Piccolotti. Both teams will be unveiling new offensive schemes, with Riordan’s spread offense and Terra Nova’s run-and-shoot being discarded in favor of more traditional run-heavy schemes. One of the reasons the Tigers will be able to run more is the introduction of Riordan transfer Jalen Camp, who was cleared by the Central Coast Section to take the field without having to sit out a transfer period. As for the Crusaders, Azaan Ledbetter is expected to start at QB and Leo Maranghi will be a key factor at linebacker against a Terra Nova team that lacks the size it had earlier in the decade, but still has strong skill players like wide receiver Chase McKnight.
Palo Alto @ St. Ignatius, Saturday, 1 p.m.
The Wildcats’ non-league schedule features three teams that handed them one-score losses last year, including a Vikings team that beat them 21-14 to open 2018. While Palo Alto QB Jackson Chryst is now at Oregon State, the Vikings still have a stud receiver in Jamir Shepard. Head coach Nelson Gifford likes to air it out, so the St. Ignatius secondary will be tested early and often. The Wildcats have yet to name a starting quarterback as Teddye Buchanan and Zach Taylor-Smith have engaged in a healthy battle throughout camp.
Lincoln @ San Bruno-Capuchino, Friday, 7 p.m.
There are tons of questions about how Lincoln will defend its state title, but the Mustangs should win on Friday. Lincoln opened last season by beating Capuchino 26-14 at home, and while many of Cap’s Peninsula Athletic League opponents aren’t used to grass fields, Lincoln will be more than prepared for the natural surface after playing and practicing on one in the Sunset District all summer. Expect both teams to be aggressive on fourth downs as Capuchino head coach Jay Oca hates to punt and Lincoln graduated kicker Isaac Kolberg, an unheralded but valued part of last year’s unbeaten team.
Galileo @ Oakland, Friday, 7 p.m.
Lamar Williams’ coaching debut at Galileo will be a transbay battle in which the Lions will have a chance to show that they can compete for a title even after graduating a loaded senior class and losing running back Yarvell Smith, who returned to his hometown of Cincinnati. The return of left tackle Joseph Ale, who missed his sophomore year with a meniscus injury, should be a huge lift.
Mission @ Oakland Tech, Friday, 7 p.m.
Wide receiver Julian Milton and running back Will Delaney are among key returners from last year’s squad that finished third in the Academic Athletic Association in the regular season and reached the City championship game before falling to Lincoln. The game will be a rematch of a sloppy 20-6 Mission loss last year at Kezar Stadium, providing a quick opportunity for the Bears to show that they have the refined skills to match their explosiveness. Milton is as explosive as they come; he’s a stellar kick returner despite having a much more muscular frame than the standard return men.
Lowell @ Albany (0-1), Friday, 6:30 p.m.
The Cardinals have a chance to match their win total from 2018 and start a bounceback year on the right foot with a trip to Albany. The Cougars suited up just 14 players, the mandated minimum, in last week’s 30-15 loss to San Rafael.
Burton @ San Jose-Harker, Friday, 7 p.m.
Alfonzo Smith gets his senior season underway against an Eagles team that plays an independent schedule. Harker hosts Washington next week and Lowell the following Friday, meaning early-season results will provide a good measuring stick for much of the AAA.