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San Ramon Valley’s resilience
The No. 8 Wolves simply had no business winning this game.
They were down 24-17 with just over two minutes left in the game against then-No. 17 Cal. They struggled to move the ball, had multiple turnovers and no timeouts left. They were at their own 33-yard line.
Then, heroics ensued, and SRV showed its grit and togetherness after struggling for much of the ballgame. It drove the length of the field, capped off with a touchdown strike from three-star junior quarterback Jack Quigley to San Diego State tight end signee JP Murphy for a 16-yard touchdown to tie it at 24-24 with 1:13 remaining.
San Ramon Valley junior Za’Darion Nardi then forced a Cal fumble, which was recovered by Trevor Donathan and returned to the Cal 10. The next play was a terrific play call by head coach Aaron Becker and the SRV staff, as Quigley found a wide open Nardi down the left side for a 10-yard score and the 31-24 win.
With the win, SRV improved to 3-1 overall ahead of another challenging EBAL contest at No. 7 Clayton Valley Charter.
“We just have a never quit mentality,” said San Ramon Valley junior linebacker Jack Catterton. “Even if it looks bleak, we’re never going to back down. We’re always going to push for that dub. Even against De La Salle, we played until the end. It’s a great team.”
Top 2023 Bay Area prospects
Speaking of San Ramon Valley, one of its sophomores showed why his stock is rising in the 2023 class.
Receiver Caleb Padrid is simply an athlete, and his seven catches for 93 yards on Saturday highlighted his special gifts. It was the second time Padrid totaled more than 90 yards receiving, as he finished with 97 yards on six receptions in the season-opening win at Las Lomas in his first-ever varsity game.
Padrid – who has 226 yards – said it only took him one half of football to get acclimated to the varsity game.
“He just adds so much to the offense with his speed,” Quigley said. “Whether it’s just sending him over across the formation on a little bubble screen or just a hitch, he can turn a 5-yard play into a 80-yard play. He’s just that kind of player, and we’re lucky to have him.”
Another star sophomore in the Bay Area is Heritage sophomore Devon Rivers.
Rivers, the younger brother of Fresno State running back Ronnie Rivers, just produced another magnificent performance over the weekend, going for 224 yards and three touchdowns on 24 carries in a 35-28 victory over Freedom, which catapulted Heritage in the Bay Area Football Rankings.
Devon Rivers leads the North Coast Section in rushing this season with 645 yards, according to statistics available on MaxPreps, and is tied with Vintage junior Dylan Smith for the most touchdown runs (9).
O’Dowd continues finding answers under Perry
It certainly wasn’t pretty, but Bishop O’Dowd is finding ways to win under first-year head coach David Perry.
The Dragons faced an overwhelming defensive line and countless blitzes from San Leandro on Thursday, but they made just enough plays in the 15-6 road victory, which was their second straight win.
They waited until the end of the contest to find the missing piece to the puzzle and secure the victory, occurring on Jesse Madden’s 29-yard touchdown pass to Matt White, who made a couple defenders miss and made it a nine-point lead with 2:46 left.
Perry said it was a numbers game, San Leandro matched it up with three-on-three for much of the evening before the Dragons added a fourth on that play, going four against three and finding White in the flat for the game-sealing score.
“A dude like Matt White – clutch, straight gamer,” Perry said. “He never wavers. Never wavers. He’s in there the whole game. You saw it. When we’re down, ‘Let’s go. Come on, D.’ He just never wavers. He finds a way to get it done.”
And O’Dowd’s defense is delivering every chance it gets. It held San Leandro to 156 total yards – 143 on the grounding and 13 through the air on 1-of-11 passing – while forcing San Leandro into 11 plays of negative yardage.
Opponents are averaging 11.3 points per game on O’Dowd this season.
Its only loss: 21-13 to No. 8 San Ramon Valley.
“Everything we’ve put in practice,” said Bishop O’Dowd junior linebacker Julian Wilson. “We put that work in in practice. We just work as hard as we can. Our scout O – they put in all the work for us. They help us out, get us prepared for all the games. Everything is in practice.”
Garwood is a Division I back
Los Gatos senior running back Adam Garwood holds two Division I offers, and the film he’s garnering this year shows more could be on the way.
Garwood, who has offers from Cal Poly and the University of San Diego, rushed 12 times for 166 yards and three touchdowns in No. 9 Los Gatos’ 56-23 rout of Mountain View on Friday. It was the third time in three games he surpassed 100 rushing yards, putting him at 467 yards and 10 touchdowns for the year – both of which are tops in the Central Coast Section, according to statistics available on MaxPreps.
Last year, Garwood ran for 1,260 yards and 20 scores in Los Gatos’ run to a Central Coast Section title.
“Great blocking up front from the o-line. They make some big holes for me,” Garwood said. “It’s easy to run through when you’ve got some big holes up front.”
Heritage is one of the region’s biggest risers under Dave Fogelstrom.
In his first year, the Patriots are already up to three wins in four games, with the only defeat coming in 35-16 fashion to No. 3 Pittsburg in a game that they played tough for a majority of the 48 minutes.
Their three wins: Granada (46-6), Deer Valley (31-8) and Freedom (35-28).
Among Heritage’s notable performers are Rivers (mentioned above), Hanai Muhammad (2 INT), Tanner Smylie (116 rushing yards, 2 INT) and Jaden Price (2 TD, 1 INT).
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