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25 Days of Christmas: No. 3 Pittsburg

Pittsburg quarterback Eli Brickhandler competes at the Grit Grind Hustle Showcase on Oct. 31, 2020. Chris Jackson / Staff Photo
Pittsburg quarterback Eli Brickhandler competes at the Grit Grind Hustle Showcase on Oct. 31, 2020. Chris Jackson / Staff Photo

It’s the 23rd day of the 25 Days of Christmas preseason rankings for West Coast Preps, this time with the No. 3 team.

The rankings, which will tab the top 25 football teams in the Bay Area, announce one team each day through Christmas Day. The No. 1 team will be unveiled on Dec. 25 at WestCoastPreps.com.

Only schools located within cities on the Bay Area Census are eligible for the poll.

West Coast Preps unveiled the No. 25, No. 24, No. 23, No. 22, No. 21, No. 20, No. 19, No. 18, No. 17, No. 16, No. 15, No. 14, No. 13, No. 12, No. 11, No. 10, No. 9, No. 8, No. 7, No. 6, No. 5 and No. 4 football teams in the Bay Area earlier this month.

No. 3: Pittsburg

A massive offseason for the rich Pittsburg Pirates football team has only boosted the program even more.

The Pirates, fresh off an 11-2 season and a North Coast Section runner-up finish in 2019, lost a strong nucleus of players to graduation and early college enrollment due to the season being pushed back into the winter and spring of 2021.

Quarterback Jerry Johnson, one of the top passers in California, graduated after throwing for 2,971 yards and 34 touchdowns. Avant Muldrow, a 1,000-yard rusher, is gone. So are the top four receivers and top three tacklers. So is offensive lineman Ryan Lange, who will enroll early at Call.

But, despite those departures, Pittsburg is loaded on both sides of the ball – and even made some strong additions during this extended offseason.

Senior quarterback Eli Brickhandler (Whitney) and sophomore quarterback Jaden Rashada (Liberty and IMG Academy) join the fray to an offense that posted 36.1 points per game a year ago. Brickhandler boasts multiple college offers and produced gaudy numbers as a junior at Whitney – 2,259 passing yards and 743 rushing yards in Whitney’s incredible run from 0-10 the year prior to a Sac-Joaquin Section runner-up finish in 2019 – while Rashada is tabbed as one of the top 100 class of 2023 players nationally by 247Sports.

Meanwhile, next to those two is a sophomore class, along with Rashada, that is loaded. Rashid Williams was an All-BVAL selection at receiver his freshman year and holds multiple Division I offers, while fellow sophomore receivers Israel Polk and Keynan Higgins are also Division I recruits. 

Other Pirates to watch for include senior linebacker Maurice Jamison (a UNLV signee who registered 53 tackles last season), senior Lamont Fortenberry (team-high three interceptions) and senior receiver Matthew Quesada (team-high 853 receiving yards at Freedom).

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