Football Game of the Week: Mission and Washington vie for first place

Mission's defense swarms a Galileo ball carrier last Thursday at Kezar Stadium. The Bears' stop unit still hasn't surrendered a touchdown in AAA play. (Photo by Devin Chen)

By Jeremy Balan

Mission High School’s defense has yet to allow a touchdown in Academic Athletic Association play this season, and in their signature 66-6 win over Galileo last week, Washington had a front-row seat.

The entire Washington team, which will host the Bears in a battle of the remaining undefeated AAA teams on Friday, came out to watch Mission’s rout of Galileo last Thursday.

“I don’t get out to scout too many games, so we all went,” said Washington head coach Karl Finley. “They’re a good, tough team and they’ve been good for the past several years. This year they definitely have some big, athletic kids.”

Washington's big-play threat Jamie McHenry will be a focus for the Mission defense on Friday. (Photo by Devin Chen)

Last year, this game decided the regular-season AAA champ, with Mission edging Washington 16-13.

The Eagles wound up winning the ultimate prize, however, by beating Balboa on Turkey Day, a title that has eluded Mission since 1954.

“Most people were thinking we were going to have a rematch last year and it didn’t happen,” Finley said. “Our ultimate goal is not Friday, but we still need to handle our business.”

The Bears took the top seed into the playoffs, but fell to Balboa in the semifinals.

“The kids thought they were unbeatable last year and we got beat,” said Mission coach Joe Albano.

Both teams have a bit to prove, as Mission has yet to play a AAA team in the top half of the league, while Washington went down 14-0 to winless Burton last week before rallying for a 28-14 win.

“We were kinda out of sync,” Finley said. “I can’t take anything away from Burton, but after it got to 14-0 we got some kinks out. It was a great game for us, because we came back to win. For us, it was good to see we could overcome some adversity.”

For Mission, not having a letdown after such a dominating game is a top priority.

“It will be interesting to see this week how we react when we get hit around a little bit,” Albano said. “Our season is really just beginning right now. If we lose this game, we have to take on Lincoln with the same record and they’re not an easy football team. We can drop to third in a blink of an eye.”

There’s no doubt of the playoff implications, but the game will likely come down to the AAA’s most explosive offense, led by big-play Washington running backs Jamie McHenry and Lajarie Mabrey, versus its most dominant defense, featuring Mission linebacker Algeron Malbrough and defensive end Darius Grays.

“We can’t let up the big play. If they’re going to score on us, we want them to earn it,” Albano said. “We need to run the ball and stop the run. That’s just the basics. That’s the AAA. It’s not brain surgery.”

Other Games


Lowell @ Lincoln, 3 p.m.

Lincoln (3-4, 3-1) escaped an upset against Marshall last week, but Lowell (3-3, 2-2) wasn’t so fortunate, falling to previously winless Balboa.

Still, the winner of this game will take hold of third place in the league standings.

Sacred Heart Cathedral @ Valley Christian (San Jose), 7 p.m.

After Sacred Heart’s win over rival St. Ignatius last week, the Irish (5-2, 2-2) should be in the Central Coast Section playoffs, but a win on the road against the Warriors (3-4, 2-2) would solidify their postseason bid.

Riordan vs. Mitty (San Jose) @ Foothill College (Los Altos Hills), 7 p.m.

The Crusaders (1-6, 0-4) will travel south to take on the Monarchs (4-2-1, 2-1-1), which were handed their first WCAL loss by Bellarmine last week.


St. Francis (Mountain View) @ St. Ignatius, 1 p.m.

The Wildcats (2-4-1, 0-3-1) will look to bounce back from a disheartening loss to rival Sacred Heart Cathedral last week and will have to improve their run defense against the Lancers (3-4, 2-2) and standout running back Durell Crooks, who has run for over 100 yards in each of his last five games.

Galileo @ Balboa, 2 p.m.

Balboa (2-5, 1-3) appeared to be destined to miss the playoffs, but kept postseason hopes alive with an upset of Lowell last week.

With another Lowell loss and a Balboa win over the Lions (3-4, 1-3), the Bucs would be in a tie for the fourth and final playoff spot.

Galileo, even with a win, could be on the outside looking in with a head-to-head loss to Lowell.

Marshall @ Burton, 2 p.m.

The Pumas (0-5, 0-4) gave Washington a scare last week and will look to spoil rival Marshall’s (2-5, 1-3) playoff hopes.

Stuart Hall vs. Anderson Valley (Boonville) @ Kezar, 7 p.m.

The Knights (5-2) will look to rally back from two consecutive losses against a stout Anderson Valley (6-1) squad in the first 8-man football game of Kezar Stadium’s storied history.

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  1. bear believer says:

    Come on mission yall got this i am a believer of this program wish yall the best of luck

  2. Alex Thompson says:

    Jamie McHenry has stirred up the power rankings for running backs in NorCal. He Is the best back in the AAA and one of the elite running backs Washington has produced in the last decade

    • lonewolf says:

      you can’t really say he’s a elite running back when he slides instead of going head up. not really a running back quality…

      • Anonymous says:

        or maybe he values his body and understands how smart it is to simply go down when you cant get any more yards. seriously, why go head up and get potentianelly injured when he knows he cant get any more yards.

  3. lol says:


  4. Eagles says:

    This is going to be one hell of a game. The bleachers should be packed on both sides

  5. Luis Simental says:

    Lets hope a fight won’t happen after the game………

  6. The Man says:

    The “fight after the game” we should be worried about is Marshall vs Burton.

  7. yey says:

    quintrell anderson is better then mchenry

  8. McHenry dynasty says:

    Jamie McHenry and Lajarie MaBrey are gonna do this together Quintrell anderson aint got nothin compared to a McHenry or MaBrey . WAsh house!!!!!!!

  9. Anonymous says:

    Jamie and Lajarie are the best RB TANDEM the AAA has had in a very long time, nd mchenry is injured that’s why he’s been sliding, the mchenry your seeing now is playing at about 80%

  10. Ari Gold says:

    Since Im a Richmond District guy I’ll say congrats Washington on a good win. But thats all you get from me AAA! A footnote to this game is Mission deserved this loss for running it up against Galileo last week. But they get a pat on the back for kicking the PAT on their only TD.

  11. Ari Gold Sucks says:

    Jesus Christ Ari just shut up already. No one wants to hear it. Seriously reread your comment you idiot. I’m tired of these non-athletes condescending and criticizing sports teams that they could never play for in a million years. Why don’t you go home and think about how well you can kick a PAT.

  12. Anonymous says:

    Deshon Marman nd Eric Beverly were a way better duo than Jamie nd Jarie

  13. Comparison says:

    They weren’t a way better duo….E.B was a good running back, nd deshon was an incredible athlete, meanwhile lajarie is the down hill runner that pounds the defense while Jamie is the speedy back that outruns the defense….their game complements each other perfectly

  14. ??? says:

    Isn’t there some place or page that actually list the AAA standings as a whole???? I mean whose has to beat who to go to the playoffs????

    • SF says:

      The AAA website I think its

      • SF says:

        As of October 24, 2011
        Team Wins Losses Ties Games Behind
        Mission Bears 4 0 0 —
        Washington Eagles 4 0 0 —
        Lincoln Mustangs 3 1 0 1.0
        Lowell Cardinals 2 2 0 2.0
        Marshall Phoenix 1 3 0 3.0
        Galileo Lions 1 3 0 3.0
        Balboa Buccaneers 1 3 0 3.0
        Burton Pumas 0 4 0 4.0

        • SF says:

          NOV. 4

          LOWELL MARSHALL SOTA 2:00pm

          NOV. 11 LINCOLN BURTON BURTON 2:00pm

        • SF says:

          So after this weekends games its
          Washington 5-0
          Mission 4-1
          Lowell 3-2
          Lincoln 3-2
          Balboa 2-3
          Marshall 1-4
          Galileo 1-4
          Burton 1-4
          I think. The remainder of the schedule is below

  15. ??? says:

    Oops typo…Please alert the grammar police.. I meant to say who has to defeat whom to get into the playoffs???

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