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Cal Football

Friday Night Lights For Cal Recruits

November 12, 2019

It’s playoff time in the realm of high school football, as the majority of the teams around the country — at least the ones who have Cal commits — will begin postseason play this upcoming Friday. However, a few select few players, ones who either had earlier-starting playoffs and were not given a first-round bye, played their first playoff games this past Friday.

Results From Last Week

Quarterback Zach Johnson‍  and Hart High School outscored Chaparral (CA) 28-13 in the second half in order to pick up a 34-23 win. Hart will face San Juan Hills in the quarterfinals of the CA Southern Section Division 1 Playoffs this Friday.

Moving down a few divisions in the Southern Section, tight end Jake Muller and Division 3 Capistrano Valley were blown out by La Habra by a score of 42-3 in the first round of their sectional playoffs, marking the end to their season. As we move even further down in the Southern Section, defensive tackle Ethan Saunders and Division 12 (not a typo) Orange Vista scored a 35-14 win over Yucca Valley in the first round of sectionals. They will play Oak Park in Friday’s quarterfinal matchup.

Offensive tackle Everett Johnson from Turlock High School came out victorious in the first round of the California Sac-Joaquin Section Division 1 Playoffs with a 42-21 win over Del Oro. He will move on to play #2 seed Oak Ridge in the upcoming quarterfinals matchup. Tight end Kaleo Ballungay and Division 4 Kennedy Catholic took a loss in the San-Joaquin sectionals, but Ballungay had a huge day, catching five passes for 121 yards and two touchdowns. Despite the great performance from Ballungay, Kimball lost by a score of 50-26 to Atwater.

Outside of California, injured linebacker Andy Alfieri’s Jesuit High School squad in Portland, Oregon blew out Oregon City in the first round of the OSAA Playoffs. Jesuit is the #2 seed in the 32-team playoff, and will face #18 seed Liberty in the second round. Fellow out-of-stater Justin Baker from Kennedy Catholic in Burien, Washington beat North Creek in his last game of the season 56-22 to finish the regular season at 10-0. Baker hauled in 3 catches for 80 yards and a touchdown and also returned two kicks for 40 total yards in the win. Kennedy Catholic will be the #1 seed in the 4A Washington State Playoffs and will play Wenatchee in the first round.

Player of the Week

Aidan Lee, an athlete from Desert Ridge High School in Mesa, AZ is not one of Cal’s highest rated recruits in the 2020 class, but he certainly played above his rating this past week. As the #8 seed in the 6A AIA State Championships, Lee and Desert Ridge faced #9 seed Cesar Chavez in a game that would turn out to be a shootout. It was a shootout that Desert Ridge would win 58-41, and Lee was a huge part in the win.

He caught 7 passes for 146 yards and 3 touchdowns to lead his team to victory. Lee and Desert Ridge will look to keep the momentum going into next week in a quarterfinals matchup against #1 seed Red Mountain.

This Week’s Matchups

Central East High School’s Jeremiah Hunter (WR) and Ricky Correia (DT), both Cal commits, finished the year 10-0 and were given the #1 seed and a first round bye in the California Central Section Division 1 Playoffs. They face Ridgeview in this week’s quarterfinals.

Athlete Trey Paster from Buhach Colony High School in Atwater, CA also received a first-round bye, as his team was given the #3 seed in the California Sac-Joaquin Section Division 3 Playoffs. They now play Roseville in the quarterfinals.

In the 4-team San Diego Open Division Playoffs, cornerback Tyson McWilliams and St. Augustine High School will play #1 seed Helix with the winner moving onto the championship game.

Cornerback Collin Gamble from Liberty Christian High School in Texas will be playing in the TAPPS (Texas Association of Private and Parochial Schools) Division 1 Playoffs. Gamble and Liberty Christian will face Antonian Prep in the first round.

Tight end Tommy Christakos and Chaparral High School (AZ) were given the #8 seed in the 8-team AIA State Open Division Playoffs, where they will face #1 seed Chandler.

The Main Event

The California Southern Section Division 1 Playoffs are full of Cal commits, as the 8-team tournament will feature a Cal commit in each of the four quarterfinal games. If you want to follow just one of the seemingly countless playoff brackets, this is definitely the one to watch, as we have a perfect set-up for a possible Cal faceoff in the semifinals or maybe even the finals. 

Running back Chris Street may be out for the playoffs with a broken fibula, but his team, JSerra Catholic, will face Isaiah Young’s Corona Centennial squad this Friday. With a win, either could end up meeting quarterback Jaden Casey in the semifinals. Casey, of course, will first need to also win his own quarterfinals game when his Calabasas team plays a very tough St. John Bosco team that ranks among the best in the country. 

On the other half of the bracket, athlete Ender Aguilar and Servite High School will be playing Mission Viejo in the quarterfinals. With a win, they would play the winner of the game between Mater Dei and Bishop Amat, the former of the two schools having running back Damien Moore. 

Looking Ahead

We have a pair of recruits that won’t be playing this upcoming Friday, but will be squaring off against each other in a huge matchup the following week. Defensive lineman Stanley McKenzie from St. Louis High School finished with a 10-0 record, which was enough to give him and his team the #1 seed in the 4-team Hawaii Division 1 Open State Finals. They will be facing off against linebacker Muelu Iosefa and the #4 seeded Mililani High School, with the winner playing in the Hawaii State Championship.

Just Didn’t Cut It

Unfortunately, there was one Cal commit who didn’t get the chance to play in the playoffs. Cornerback Dejuan Butler and his Antioch High School High School squad missed the playoffs as his team finished with a 2-8 record. 

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