Say this about the Pittsburg Pirates: They clearly will play anyone, anywhere.
The storied East Bay high school football program announced on Thursday that it will travel to Southern California to face national powerhouse St. John Bosco-Bellflower on Sept. 20, six days after the SoCal school plays at Serra.
Pittsburg finished 13-1 last fall in its first season under former defensive coordinator turned head coach Charlie Ramirez.
The Pirates captured their third consecutive North Coast Section Division I championship before losing at Folsom 28-25 in a regional title game.
Pittsburg will bring back its quarterback (Marley Alcantara), top two running backs (Elijah Bow and Jamar Searcy) and two of its three leading receivers (Makari Kenion and Jadyn Hudson) from last season’s team.
But playing Bosco obviously will be a major step up in the strength-of-schedule category, even with the Southern California team having to replace numerous contributors from last fall, including quarterback Caleb Sanchez and its leading rushers and receivers.
The game will be Pittsburg’s first against one of the SoCal’s traditional powers since it lost at Centennial-Corona 63-21 in 2017 and 35-7 in 2018.
So, why schedule Bosco?
“We’re going to jump out the window a little bit,” Ramirez told the Bay Area News Group. “We’re going to have a veteran group, so it should be fun.”
Is this one of those play anyone, anywhere scenarios?
“Honestly it has to be that way every year for the last almost eight years because it’s just so hard to schedule anyways,” Ramirez said. “Given the fact that we do have a veteran group coming back and they reached out to us to see if we’re interested and we had the spot open, we talked about it as a staff and it was like, ‘Let’s do it.’
“It was the same thing like we did five years ago going down to play Centennial two years in a row. I’m of the opinion that games like that help you get ready for those state championship games. I think playing Centennial helped us with that first state championship (game) run that we had in 2017. It can only be a plus when you’re playing a national powerhouse.
“Our goal is to try and get to that Centennial level, get to that same level as those SoCal teams, just like the same thing that De La Salle is doing and Serra has been doing and Folsom’s been doing. We see ourselves that same way.”
The agreement between Bosco and Pittsburg is for one season, Ramirez said.
The Pirates are scheduled to open the season Aug. 30 at Monterey Trail-Elk Grove. They will then play host to Bishop Manogue of Reno on Sept. 6 and Archbishop Riordan on Sept. 13 before the trip to Bosco.
After a bye week, Pittsburg will close out its nonleague schedule at home against Los Gatos on Oct. 4.