September 10, 2008 > Mission Valley Athletic League Football Preview
Mission Valley Athletic League Football Preview
By Idorenyin Uto-Uko
The highly competitive Mission Valley Athletic League is back again for another year of hard-hitting high school football. Many of its players are good enough to play at highly ranked college football programs. The league consists of the following Tri-City high schools: American, Irvington, Kennedy, Logan, Mission San Jose, Newark Memorial, and Washington.
American: The Eagles of American were, like many of the teams in the MVAL last year, an average ball club. They finished with a 6-5 overall record and 3-3 in league competition. This was good enough for a fourth place finish. Head Coach Nick Amato does not have much to look forward to in 2008. The Eagles JV team finished with a dismal record of 1-8-1 in 2007. If those JV players plan to turn things around on the Varsity team then they must be able to play with confidence and pride.
Irvington: Irvington's school colors are royal blue and white, but, last year the Vikings football team was short of royalty. The Darrel Lutz coached Vikings were shut out three times in 2007. They were trounced by Granada of Livermore 61-0, Mt. Eden of Hayward 33-0, and by Washington 50-0. If the Vikings can find way to blend the juniors from their 6-3 Junior Varsity team of last year with QB Ken Kester, the team is heading toward strong improvement. Also, keep an eye on linebackers Christian Weeber and Dan Burgess to make a key difference this year as well. Coach Lutz also added five new coaches to his staff this season.
Kennedy: The Titans seek to rebound from a gloomy 3-7 record in 2007. They were shut out twice. One of the shutouts came from the always tough Cougars of Newark Memorial by a score of 40-0 and other from Bishop O'Dowd. The Pete Michaletos coached Titans were on the other end of a shutout themselves last year as they bruised and beat Mission San Jose of Fremont 40-0. Unfortunately, the Titans can't play Mission San Jose all the time.
Logan: The awards and accolades stacked up well for the Colts in 2007 as they finished the year 11-1. They have won the Mission Valley League four of the past five years. The only blemish on the Colts record in 2007 was a 27-9 loss to California High School of San Ramon. Gone from last year's electrifying team is "Mr. Everything" Rashad Evans. Evans, who was a two-sport All-NCS athlete in football and track and field for the Colts signed with the nationally ranked Fresno State Bulldogs. Coach George Zuber has high expectations for this year's team but, he thinks that 2008 will be a step down in overall talent and experience from last season. "It's going to be a tough road," said Zuber. The Colts return just five players from last year. Despite the limited varsity experience, Coach Zuber noted that the team has better leadership, and many of the players are familiar with the system. Hopefully, returning players Joe Mestre G/MLB, Brandon Arnold WR/CB, Kyle Lopez RB/LB, Toni Pole OT/DT and Troy Nixon RB/DB will provide the leadership for Logan.
Mission San Jose: The Warriors were anything but Warriors in 2007. They finished the 2007 year 1-9. Their only win came against woeful Wilson Prep of Oakland 10-6. They were shut out in seven of their nine losses. Coach Rob Van Deusen hopes the team can get back on track.
Newark Memorial: The Cougars look to overthrow the Logan Colts this season. The Cougars had a strong team in 2007 finishing 9-2. They lost to Logan in a tough battle of heavy hits and trick plays. Their other loss came from Washington 21-7. But, the Cougars had a very solid Junior Varsity team last year. Despite the lack of a returning quarterback, they are slated by many to win the MVAL. "With 22 returning lettermen, this season brings much optimism but the reality is that we need JV players to mature and adjust to the speed of varsity football" said coach Rich Swift. They also have twelve starters. The team will have a strong defense with all-leaguers Ryan Hudgens, Anthony Sao, Eric Banford, Grieg O'Connor and Grayson Hudgens. "Our schedule is very challenging with six of our first seven games versus teams that made the playoffs last year. How well we do in close games will determine our overall record" commented Coach Swift.
Washington: Washington was a very competitive team in 2007. Their 5-6-1 overall record does not truly project how good the team was last year. They had to forfeit two non-league games to Tennyson of Hayward and Arroyo of San Lorenzo. If it had not been for those forfeits, the Huskies could have been 7-4-1. The hope is for 2008 to be Coach Ken Wittmer's year. His ball club needs to do well in his first four pre-season games against Deer Valley (Antioch), Petaluma, College Park (Pleasant Hill), and San Ramon Valley (Danville).
We wish all teams good luck and success in 2008.