Football Season About to Kick Off
The start of the school year is less than a week away, which means the start of the fall sports season is just around the corner. Many Alameda students and parents will be heading to the football fields this fall to see Alameda and Encinal high schools compete for the 2016 league title.
This football season will be even more intriguing because both Encinal and Alameda will compete in the same league, the Shoreline League in the West Alameda County Conference (WACC), for the first time in several years.
Alameda is coming off a stellar 2015 season that saw them finish second in the Shoreline League. The team finished 6-5 overall and 4-1 in league play. The Hornets started the season slow at 1-3, including a 49-6 drubbing at the hands of Miramonte of Orinda. However, its fortunes turned after its 39-23 victory over rival Encinal in the Island Bowl. The victory propelled the team to a five-game win streak. They eventually lost to league champions Piedmont then again in the opening round of the North Coast Section (NCS) Division II tournament to Tennyson of Hayward 30-0 to close the season. Nonetheless, the team defied expectations to have a great season.
This year brings on a major change for the Hornets. Charles Wright takes over head coaching duties from Kemp Moyer. Moyer was the head coach of the Hornets for five seasons. Wright was previously an assistant coach at Albany.
The Hornets return several key starters from last year’s team including quarterback Devin Nash, a three-year starter, running back Adam Joo and linebacker Josh Bolding. All three players are seniors. Sophomore linebacker Darryl Brown has caught the attention of his coaches with his good play over the summer
Alameda will begin its 2016 season on the road against Dublin on Aug. 26.
Encinal went in the opposite direction of Alameda in 2015. They started the year 3-1, but after losing the Island Bowl they finished the regular season losing four of its next five contests. They also lost to St. Mary’s of Albany 61-28 in the opening round of the NCS Division IV tournament. The Jets ended the year at 4-7 overall and 1-4 in the WACC Foothill League.
This year’s team will be led by University of Hawaii-commit Akil Francisco. The wide receiver/defensive back committed to the university on June 24. Francisco, a senior, will lead the Jets along with junior quarterback Theori Oliver and senior running back Brandon Duckett. Duckett is returning from an ACL injury that wiped out his 2015 season. This will be Rick Rodriguez’s third year as head coach of the Jets.
Encinal will begin its 2016 season with a road contest against Irvington of Fremont on Aug. 27.
Encinal and Alameda will have to stave off Arroyo of San Lorenzo, Hayward, Mt. Eden of Hayward and San Lorenzo for the Shoreline League crown. The 62nd Island Bowl will take place on Oct. 28 at Willie Stargell Field.