By Jeremy Balan
What a difference a year can make.
Exactly a year after a 42-6 loss to Tomales, Mission High School, with largely the same group of players, routed the Braves 36-0 on Saturday at Kezar Stadium.
“That’s the best Mission team I’ve ever seen, and might be the best [Academic Athletic Association] team I’ve seen in a while,” said Tomales head coach Leon Feliciano, a San Francisco native. “I’m from the City and I know the City and we’re just a small country school. We’re not going to see this kind of speed where we’re from.”
The Bears (1-0) dominated the 2010 North Coast Section Division V finalists from the start, and every score came with an exclamation point.
The first two Mission scores came on runs of 58 and 57 yards from Antoine Porter and Algeron Malbrough in the first quarter, then quarterback Davon Hargraves connected with Porter for a 72-yard score in the second quarter to give the Bears a 22-0 lead a the half.
Hargraves continued the big-play streak in the second half, hitting Demitrius Thibeaux for a 60-yard score in the third quarter. He found Porter again for a 20-yard score in the fourth, after breaking two tackles while scrambling 20 yards backward, before finding Porter all alone along the sideline.
Hargraves threw for 244 yards on 8-of-13 passing.
“He played his heart out,” Albano said of Hargraves. “He needs to keep his composure a little bit, but that’s just the type of kid he is. He get’s excited because this is what he likes to do. He plays football and that’s it.”
Porter, the starting point guard on the Mission basketball team last season, missed most of summer practice to play summer league basketball, but didn’t take long to make an impact for the Bears.
The junior had 150 all-purpose yards and three highlight-reel touchdowns on just eight offensive touches.
The Bears were simply faster than the Braves, and utilized that speed by spreading the field and getting players in space on the wings.
“We’ve got speed and I knew they were a big team in the middle, between tackles.” Albano said. “I knew we couldn’t go blow-to-blow with them, so I was just trying to get to the outside edges and take it from there.”
The offense stole the spotlight, but the defense, a trademark of last season’s AAA regular season championship Mission squad did not disappoint.
The Bears allowed just 12 total yards and forced two turnovers in the second half and held the Braves (0-1) to 119 total yards in the game.
“I kinda knew they were going to run the double wing, so we just did what we do against Lowell,” Albano said. “We loaded the box up.”
Mission already appeared to be the favorite to win the AAA heading into the season, and the Bears solidified that against Tomales.
“It’s nice, but it’s one game,” Albano said. “It’s a good feeling, but we’re back to work on Monday. That’s just how we have to take it.”
M: 5:42 — Antoine Porter 58-yard run (Davon Hargraves run on conversion)
M: 0:49 — Algeron Malbrough 57-yard run (conversion failed)
M: 8:50 — Porter 72-yard pass from Hargraves (Oscar Campos pass from Hargraves on conversion)
M: 3:23 — Demitrius Thibeaux 60-yard pass from Hargraves (conversion failed)
M: 10:04 — Porter 20-yard pass from Hargraves (Brandon Torrence run on conversion)