Football Game of the Week: Mission and Lowell seek second place

Mission senior Algeron Malbrough has been a leader on both sides of the ball for the Bears this season. (Photo by Devin Chen)

By Jeremy Balan

Both Mission and Lowell have locked down Academic Athletic Association playoff berths, but no other game this week can shake up the postseason picture more.

The winner of the Friday afternoon matchup at Lowell High School will clinch second place outright in the AAA and host a first-round playoff game.

Beyond that, things get considerably complicated.

If Balboa (currently tied for fourth place with Lincoln) upsets undefeated Washington, Lincoln beats Burton and Lowell loses, there would be a three-way tie for third place and only two playoff spots. Balboa would claim third place due to win over Lowell, Lowell would drop to fourth and Lincoln would fall out of the postseason. With a loss, Mission can only drop to third, setting up a rematch with Lowell in the first round.

“It’s an important game, but it doesn’t matter who we [get] in the playoffs,” said Lowell head coach Danny Chan. “In the playoffs, you roll the dice. It’s all or nothing in that game. We might be playing Mission for eight quarters.”

Stopping the Lowell double-wing option offense will be a top priority for Mission’s standout defense, which features the biggest defensive line in the AAA.

“They’re very big [up front] and we’re going to have a tough time,” Chan said. “They also have a lot of athletes everywhere. We’ll figure something out, maybe with some smoke and mirrors.”

Regardless of the postseason circumstances that arise from this week’s games, Mission head coach Joe Albano said he wants to leave an impression against Lowell this week, especially if the Bears have to take them on again in the playoffs.

“We know that we might be playing these guys twice, so we want to prove we can beat them,” Albano said. “The kids are taking everything a little more seriously. This is what we’ve been working for. Hopefully we can finish strong.”

Other than its only AAA loss to Washington, Mission has been dominant in league play, led by the play of senior Algeron Malbrough. Malbrough has been a key cog in the Mission defense at linebacker and has developed into the Bears’ most reliable running back.

In his second year at the head of the varsity program, Albano is also making adjustments to how he’s handling the team down the stretch.

“We haven’t really changed too many things around. Last year, I was always adding things, but this year has been the complete opposite,” Albano said. “We’re just fine-tuning.”

The Bears clinched a playoff spot with a 25-point win over Lincoln last week, and heading into the postseason, last season’s first-round loss to Balboa is fresh in their minds.

“Washington, Lincoln and Lowell are all really good football teams,” Albano said. “Everyone learned some lessons last year.”

Other Games

Friday

Balboa @ Washington, 2 p.m.

For Balboa (4-5, 3-3) to gain entrance to the AAA playoffs, they will need to knock off undefeated Washington (7-2, 6-0), then receive help with Lincoln and Lowell losses.

Lincoln @ Burton, 2 p.m.

Lincoln (3-6, 3-3) only needs to knock off Burton (1-6, 1-5) to secure a playoff spot and will look to ride the running back tandem of Demetrius Williams and Jay’von Fields.

Marshall @ Galileo, 2 p.m.

The Lions (3-6, 1-5) and the Phoenix (2-7, 1-5) won’t be competing for a playoff spot, but will look to end their seasons on a high note.

Sacred Heart Cathedral vs. Mitty (San Jose) @ Kezar Stadium, 7 p.m.

Multiple sources have confirmed Sacred Heart (5-4, 2-4) is already in the Central Coast Section playoffs, but a win over the Monarchs (5-3-1, 3-2-1) could give the Irish a first-round home game.

Saturday

St. Ignatius vs. Bellarmine (San Jose) @ San Jose City College, 1 p.m.

The Wildcats (3-5-1, 1-4-1) also sealed a CCS berth by beating Riordan last week, but would put the entire region on notice if they could knock off the first-place Bells (8-1, 6-0).

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

The Crusaders (1-8, 0-6) will try to finish off their WCAL season with their first league win, but could be without starting quarterback Zach Masoli, who was injured in Riordan’s loss to St. Ignatius last week.

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18 Comments

  1. Anonymous says:

    All of the WCAL bay area teams would destroy the AAA teams

    • Don L. says:

      Anonymous,

      That may be true in most sports but how about fencing? Oh wait, the WCAL schools in SF don’t have fencing in their athletic programs. WOW, the AAA has something the WCAL doesn’t!

      But I guess bashing the AAA is fair game since the WCAL City football squads have had poor WCAL seasons and they want to to feel superior to someone. Well, at least one AAA team will have a championship at the end of the season. Unless the WCAL schools win the CCS, they won’t be able to say the same.

      • GCJ01 says:

        Don L: WELL SAID! Don’t forget that the AAA is composed of students that ACTUALLY reside in the City whereas WCAL City teams have to go outside of the City to get players. That’s sad. How can you TRULY be a City team when the kids that play for you don’t even reside or come from the City? But like you said, at least a AAA team will have a championship UNLIKE the WCAL City teams!!!!!

        • Anonymous says:

          I know that AAA football teams are not allowed to participate in any football related practices except during spring(20 days I think) and fall(starting the 1st week in Aug). They can only condition. It is my understanding that all other leagues can have full practices in the summer. If this is true it could have a big impact on their preseason games. It would be interesting to see the league AAA champ play any city WCAL team at the end of the season.

          • Anonymous says:

            It’s up the AAA-WCAL coaches to build up the dialogue cause if they don’t these games will never happen now scrimmages are one thing but they need to have non league games. And it’s not because AAA is afraid of WCAL and vice versa its that these coaches don’t have dialogue point blank.

            • ARHS Stats says:

              First, there is a dialogue, since a couple of the AAA teams scrimmaged the San Francisco WCAL teams this year.

              BUT TO SCHEDULE NON-LEAGUE GAMES, THESE THINGS MUST BE DONE:
              The AAA coaches have to go out and win most of their non-league games, first. No forfeits allowed by the AAA teams, the AAA plays all scheduled games.

              This season was a good start, the AAA did better than I expected in their non-league games.

              The San Francisco WCAL Football teams have 3 non-league games to prepare themselves for the WCAL League Schedule.

              These games must be won against teams that will have won 7 games by the end of the season. And it helps if the team is it’s league champion.

              This is so the San Francisco WCAL teams can get into the C.C.S. Playoffs.

              Only two AAA teams won 7 games this season

              • Kezar for Keeps says:

                That makes sense, but what about for Riordan in the past few years, when they had no chance of making CCS playoffs? Don’t you think they’d rather have wins over AAA schools than getting pounded in non-league play?

              • ARHS Stats says:

                Riordan plans every year to go to the playoffs.

                Until after the 2007 season, every third year or so Riordan would make the playoffs.

                No one at Riordan ever expects to only win one game.

                Riordan has won 4 games and tied 1 game in three seasons and this season so far, the Crusaders have one game left this season. The team was real close to winning 2 more games this season, but ended up losing both those games.

          • ARHS Stats says:

            WCAL teams can condition and have Spring Practices (about 20) [Camps and Passing Leagues are part these 20 days].

            They can not Practice until the Section start date in August.

            This year the date was August 12th when the WCAL could start practice

        • Ari Gold says:

          Winning the AAA city championship is like winning Mario Kart 50cc Cup. Wait, actually Mario Kart is definately funner than watching AAA anything.

          • Ted Putnam/Mission '82 says:

            “definately funner”… really? ‘Nuff said on that.

            Otherwise, ‘Anon.’ said it pretty well above, but to trivialize the effort City AAA kids put into their sports is, frankly, petty and mean spirited.

      • Anonymous says:

        To quote GCJ01….somebody has to win that game!

        • AriArihe'sourman says:

          Such a razor sharp wit!! You have pitiful little life no doubt Ari. You are the Pigmy of the SF Preps comment board

  2. IC Stars says:

    If SI beats Bellarmine in the Jesuit Bowl, I’ll polish the lights in their scoreboard myself.

  3. Kezar for Keeps says:

    Short on story lines this week, huh jbalan?

  4. AAA player says:

    Look, I’m sick of all these comments about the AAA getting smoked by WCAL players. We might not always be the greatest team, but we have stars. We have players that can succeed in the WCAL. We have teams that can put up a good fight with another WCAL team. I just wish that people can at least see how hard we work on the offseason.

    • Ari Gold says:

      No one is doubting your effort, chemistry and heart. To play sports you must have all three regardless of what league you play in. You just lack the talent, size, speed, and depth that the WCAL has.

      Competition wise for football, city schools are far more at a disadvantage than their suburban counterparts. Theres just not droves of pop warner leagues in the city so kids dont start playing football until really high school. Thats why suburban kids are just far more advanced because they have been playing since 7 years old. City kids are just getting by with athleticism. Technique and game knowledge have to be taught.

      Basketball wise you wont see as wide a differential although WCAL teams pretty much have the best talent. Kids play hoops anywhere and at any age. Dont worry AAA player, if youre still in hs, you can always transfer to SH, SI, or Riordan to be part of the elitists.

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