Jets Face Hornets in 63rd Island Bowl
The stage has been set for tomorrow’s Island Bowl showdown between Encinal and Alameda high schools. The 63rd rendition of the historic Alameda football game will pit the 4-4 Alameda Hornets against the 8-0 Encinal Jets at Thompson Field.
Both teams come into the contest with momentum. The Jets are the undeniable favorite as they are undefeated, but the Hornets are riding a three-game win streak including a 41-40 overtime victory over San Lorenzo last Friday. The Hornets gave up a big lead to the Rebels to push the game into overtime, but Alameda rebounded for the victory.
Alameda will seek revenge for the 41-0 drubbing it took in last year’s Island Bowl. Encinal graduate running back Brandon Duckett was the catalyst for the Jets’ offense. Duckett finished the contest with 17 carries for 158 yards — a 9.29-yards-per-carry average — and three touchdowns, to go along with two receptions for 38 yards.
Alameda players will also like to stick it to a couple former Hornet players that transferred to Encinal this season. Seniors Taj Banks, Jr. and Kenden Robinson Jr. played for the Hornets last year in the Island Bowl and have now switched sides to the Jets this season. The two have made major contributions to the Jets this season, Banks as a running back and Robinson as a wide receiver.
The game will have stakes in the race for the West Alameda County Conference Shoreline League title. Both teams sit atop the league standings at 3-0 apiece. The winner will hold the tiebreaker over the other and a full two games in front of the next closest pursuer with just one more league game to play. So the Island Bowl will essentially be a league title game.
The underdog Hornets will have the home-field advantage with the game at Thompson Field. The last time the Island Bowl was played at Thompson Field the Hornets, again the underdog, upset the Jets 39-23. The Jets entered the game 3-1, while the Hornets were 1-3 at the time on Oct. 2, 2015. Interesting enough, both Banks and Robinson scored defensive touchdowns for the Hornets in that contest. Robinson on a fumble scoop-and-score and Banks on an interception pick-six.
Encinal is playing for its first unbeaten regular season since 2008, when it won the North Coast Section Div. III title. The Jets cruised past Arroyo last Friday for a 56-6 victory.