67th Island Bowl Set for this Friday

Katherine Mejia -- The Encinal Jets celebrated their fifth straight Island Bowl victory last year after defeating crosstown rival Alameda Hornets 41-7 at Willie Stargell Field. They still trail the overall series lead 33-31-2.

67th Island Bowl Set for this Friday

The 67th edition of the Island Bowl between the Alameda High School (AHS) and Encinal High School (EHS) football teams will take place Friday, Sept. 23 at Thompson Field.

The Encinal Jets are looking to earn their sixth straight victory over their Island city rivals the Alameda Hornets. In the last five Island Bowls, the Jets have beat the Hornets an average of 38-6.

However, it is the Jets that are reeling heading into the big game. The Jets have started the season 0-4, while scoring just 14 points total on the young season. The Jets entered the 2022 season having to replace their former head coach Keith Minor and star quarterback Garrett Deatherage. New head coach Derrick Lyons has also had to face stiffer competition after the Jets moved up a division to the Mission Valley Athletic League (MVAL)/ West Alameda County Conference (WACC) Foothill League (“Alameda Football Season Preview,” August 25; https://alamedasun.com/news/alameda-football-season-preview). This has led the Jets to being outscored 139-14 in their first four games of the season.

Meanwhile, the Hornets are 2-1-1 on the season. AHS began the season with a 28-6 victory over Richmond High School on August 26. After a 30-8 loss to Concord High School on September 2, they defeated Mills High of Millbrae 34-23 on September 9. Last Friday, their match against Vallejo High School ended in a 6-6 tie.

The Hornets’ 2-1-1 start is their best start since 2018, where they began the season 3-0. However, their first loss of the season came in the Island Bowl against Encinal, 22-18.

Team records should be disregarded when comparing the two teams heading into the Island Bowl. The last time the Hornets defeated the Jets in the Island Bowl was in 2015. The Jets entered the contest with a 3-1 record, while the Hornets were 1-3. Nevertheless, the Hornets defeated the Jets, 39-23, on the road. In the game AHS put together an offensive showcase that was too much for the Jets. Hornet quarterback Devin Nash threw three touchdown passes to Antonio Riley (2) and Josh Bolding (1).

Last year’s contest came after a one-year hiatus when fall sports in the 2020-2021 school year were postponed due to the COVID-19 pandemic (the teams took part in a scrimmage in the spring of 2021). In the game, the Jets made quick work of the Hornets en route to a 41-7 victory on Sept. 10, 2021. Deatherage threw for 236 yards and four touchdowns.

“It feels really good,” Deatherage said after the game. “Feels like the team did what we had to do, and everyone brought the energy from the linemen to the receivers.”

Deatherage began the scoring barrage with a 26-yard touchdown pass to Kenneth Lorenzo. Three more touchdown passes to tight end Alex De La O, Lorenzo and Marques Singleton gave the Jets a 28-0 halftime lead.

The Hornets still hold the Island Bowl series lead 33-31-2, despite losing 12 of the last 14 match ups. The 2022 Island Bowl will kick off at 7 p.m.