Monday Morning Lights: San Ramon Valley’s ‘Drew Brees and the boys’ ready for McClymonds rematch

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A year after McClymonds defeated San Ramon Valley in one of the thrillers of the 2022 season, it’s no secret that the Wolves are looking forward to the rematch. 

“They’ve had it circled on their calendar for a while,” SRV coach Aaron Becker told the Bay Area News Group on Sunday afternoon.

McClymonds won last season’s barnburner in Oakland 45-42, but not before SRV quarterback Luke Baker erased a 21-point fourth-quarter deficit and put his team in position to kick the tying field goal. 

Longtime Mack coach Michael Peters watched the 5-foot-11 Baker shred his defense for 500 yards and five touchdowns, a performance that reminded him of another short but brilliant quarterback his son Marcus used to play against in the NFL.  

“I call him Drew Brees,” Peters said after McClymonds shut out Bellarmine on Sept. 1 to open this season. “We’ve got to worry about Drew Brees and the boys.”

Becker considered it “an accurate comparison” for his senior quarterback, whom he said has gotten even better after being named Bay Area News Group player of the year in 2022. 

Baker has completed 70 percent of his passes for 932 yards and 10 touchdowns in three games for the undefeated Wolves. 

“Drew Brees and the boys” will in turn have to worry about a McClymonds defense that has given up zero points and under 100 yards from scrimmage in a 40-0 win over Bellarmine and a 45-0 rout of Bishop O’Dowd to start the season.

But after playing at “The Mackhouse” last year, San Ramon Valley will host the rematch.

The Wolves, who have defeated each of their first three road opponents by double-digits, are expecting to get a big boost from the Danville crowd. 

“It’s gonna be nice to not have to get on a bus and think about all the travel logistics,” Becker said. “We’ll get a big student section, and that’ll be exciting.”

— Joseph Dycus


Kevin Macy knows his Campolindo team better than anyone else. The young Cougars had played four tough quarters against Windsor on Friday night after playing four hard ones the previous week against Amador Valley and four tense ones plus two overtime sessions against Vanden-Fairfield the week before that.

When Windsor missed a short field goal with 16 seconds left in Friday’s game at Campolindo, leaving the score tied 14-14, the assumption was the deadlock would be settled in overtime.

But because it was a non-league game and overtime scenarios were not discussed before kickoff, the decision to continue was left to the coaches.

Windsor’s DJ Sexton wanted to keep going, but Macy opted to call it a night.

The game ended in a tie.

“The (field-goal) kick was missed and then there was confusion on the field about overtime,” Macy told the Bay Area News Group in a text on Friday. “The protocol of discussing overtime before the game did not happen. So the officials went to both coaches and asked if there was a consensus for overtime.

“At that point, I decided to take the tie. I had a team that had battled through 3 tough games and our program and players were worn out. I’ll stand by my decision, I think it was (in) the best interest of our players’ physical and mental health.

“We are not a typical Campolindo football team this year. We are very limited in many ways. We are not in position to do the things we have done in the past.”

The outcome left Campo 1-1-1. The Cougars beat Vanden 29-23 in double OT and lost to Amador Valley 6-0.

They have this week off before traveling to Monte Vista on Sept. 22.

– Darren Sabedra


As if he needed a reminder, De La Salle coach Justin Alumbaugh decided to cue up some video of St. Mary’s of Stockton on the morning of the St. Francis game.

“I was doing a little pre-scouting,” Alumbaugh said. “I turned it on and, yup, they’re really good. I figured that was going to be the case.”

St. Mary’s was good last year, too.

The Rams had lost all seven games against De La Salle dating to 2010 when the teams met last October in Stockton.

De La Salle scored two touchdowns in the first half to take charge. Then the wheels fell off for the Spartans as St. Mary’s outscored DLS by 31 points over the next 33 minutes on its way to a 45-35 victory.

St. Mary’s is 3-0 heading into Friday’s rematch at DLS, with wins over three traditionally strong programs: Clovis West, Central Catholic-Modesto and Manteca.

DLS won its first game of the season Friday, prevailing at St. Francis 35-17 in a matchup that was close most of the way

– Darren Sabedra


Sacred Heart Prep knew things might be different this year after their senior-heavy 2022 team won the PAL Bay Division and went 9-1 in the regular season.

This team is younger, but more importantly, not as deep.

“We’re just light,” Sacred Heart Prep coach Mark Grieb said. “We haven’t had as many players as in years past.”

MaxPreps only lists 36 players on the Sacred Heart Prep roster this year, but Grieb still gave the group a challenging schedule. And after getting routed by Riordan 36-17 in Week 1, the Gators have responded with back-to-back wins over Sacred Heart Cathedral and Palo Alto.

“What I’m most impressed with this team is just how quickly they’ve been able to bounce back from what could have been a loss that hurt our confidence,” Grieb said.

The schedule doesn’t get much easier from here. SHP plays at 3-0 Hillsdale this week before the challenging PAL Bay slate begins.

But given the results the past two weeks, the Gators could contend for the division title again this year.

— Alex Simon


In Dave DeGeronimo’s first season in charge at Palo Alto last year, the Vikings started the season 1-6 before winning their way to a Central Coast Section championship.

This year, the Vikings started 2-0 until Saturday night’s 28-14 loss to Sacred Heart Prep — a game that DeGeronimo hopes shows his team how close they are to an SHP team that was a top-five team in CCS last year.

“I told them in the huddle, ‘We’re this close,’” DeGeronimo said, holding his thumb and index finger an inch apart. “It looked like it was going to come down to the wire and we just didn’t finish. We’ve got to finish strong.”

Palo Alto proactively scheduled the Gators from the PAL Bay Division, with two more opponents from the powerhouse division to come. The Vikings will head to Los Gatos on Friday in the game scheduled for them by the PAL before facing Menlo-Atherton the week after.

Last year, Los Gatos came to Palo Alto and won 42-20, though the game was 42-0 at one point. A year later, a more veteran Vikings squad can use the rematch as a good measuring stick as they get ready for PAL De Anza play.

“We know we’re in a rough stretch of our schedule, but it’s also preseason,” DeGeronimo said. “ When we get to league, we’re really focused on that league. We need to get that automatic (playoff) bid and we need to compete in league, and these games will battle-test us, for sure.”

— Alex Simon


Hayward has enjoyed a brilliant start to the season, improving to 3-0 after blasting MVAL-WACC Foothill favorite Tennyson 48-12. One of the Farmers’ main scoring threats has actually been junior defensive back Isaiah Galli. 

The 5-foot-10 safety has three interceptions in the last two weeks, and after returning one for a touchdown against Novato, he took a pick-six 101 yards against Tennyson. 

“He is a competitor,” Hayward coach Virgil Hart said about a kid whose first love was basketball. “Galli has only played football for two years … (but) has great instincts and great hands.”

— Joseph Dycus


Bishop O’Dowd plays in the MVAL-WACC Foothill Division, but its non-league schedule has a distinctly Oakland Athletic League flavor. 

The Dragons have already played Skyline and McClymonds the previous two weeks, and are slated to play last season’s Silver Bowl runner-up, Castlemont, on Friday night. Coach Hardy Nickerson hopes this kind of non-league scheduling becomes a tradition. 

“It creates some fun games and fun rivalries within the city,” Nickerson said. “It sheds light on the football here in Oakland, and I think that’s a great thing.”

— Joseph Dycus


In an era when many schools struggle to fill rosters, Fremont-Sunnyvale is in the midst of a boon. Last week, the school played its first freshman game since 1979, according to varsity coach Rob Swartz.

Swartz said the program, which includes freshman, JV and varsity teams, has about 110 players.

That’s quite the contrast, he noted in an email, from when the Firebirds showed up with 19 varsity players to face Wilcox in the final game of the season.

Fremont’s varsity improved to 2-1 on Saturday with a 50-8 victory over Monta Vista.

— Darren Sabedra



McClymonds (2-0) at San Ramon Valley (3-0), 7 p.m. Last season, SRV’s Luke Baker passed for 500-plus yards in a 45-42 loss at Mack.

Palo Alto (2-1) at Los Gatos (2-1), 7 p.m.: No longer in the same division but still rivals.

Monte Vista (3-0) at Amador Valley (2-1), 7 p.m.: MV scored 40 points last week. AV’s defense has given up 26 points in three games.

St. Mary’s-Stockton (3-0) at De La Salle (1-2), 7:30 p.m.: DLS lost by 10 at St. Mary’s last season. It won’t be any easier on Friday.

California (2-1) at Pittsburg (3-0), 7 p.m.: California has looked good the past two games. Pitt, as always, presents a big test.

Sacred Heart Prep (2-1) at Hillsdale (3-0), 7 p.m.: Hillsdale knocked off previously unbeaten Woodside last week. 

– Darren Sabedra

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