Season Preview: After CIF 3-Peat, McClymonds Remains Class Of OAL Football; Oakland Tech, Oakland High Look To Keep Warriors Honest •
After the first state title, McClymonds football coach Michael Peters figured anything after would be gravy.
His plate has runneth over.
With a 32-6 win over Garfield-Los Angeles last season, the Warriors became just the third team in state history to win a third straight CIF State Bowl championship. This one came at the Division 4-A level.
The Warriors haven’t exactly cake walked to the titles, despite what the numbers — outscoring foes 1,715-404, while compiling a record of 39-3 — might suggest. Last year, Peters, the father of Rams safety Marcus Peters, beefed up his schedule and took a couple defeats. The team lost to state Division 1-A champion Liberty-Brentwood (42-14) and Palo Alto (29-20).
The Warriors (12-2) outscored everyone else 483-40.
“It’s been a pretty good run,” said Peters, a lifetime assistant before taking over in 2013 when no one else would take the head coaching position. “There’s a lot of pressure on these guys. They haven’t lost a league game in nine years. Everyone just expects them to perform.”
If they’re going to get a fourth straight state title, they’ll need to learn on the fly.
The Warriors return just four starters, receiver-defensive back Edward Woods, linebacker Semaj Sims, running back/safety Montrell Smith and two-way lineman James Willoughby (6-foot-4, 270).
Woods (6-0, 175) has 15 college offers, according to Peters, and Willoughby has a pair of offers.
Sophomore quarterback Dreyan Paul will take almost all the snaps, as he did last season once starter K’aun Green went down for the season with an injury. The 5-10, 160-pounder has a strong arm, but loves to run too.
“We don’t want him running around too much,” Peters said. “We can’t afford to get him hurt.
“He came in last year and showed what he can do. He’s not scared of the moment.”
With 70 players in the program (there are two teams), the Warriors are in better shape than they’ve been in previous years.
And even though the league winning streak doesn’t look in jeopardy —“I look at everyone as a threat,” Peters said. “Everyone will be coming after us.” — like last year, he wanted to beef up his schedule early. Mack opens at North Bay power Marin Catholic-Kentfield at 2 p.m. on Aug. 31. The Warriors also host perennial Northern California power Campolindo-Moraga and travel to San Leandro.
“We gotta get tough for the postseason,” Peters said. “It worked last year and I’m hoping it will again.”
— Mitch Stephens
HOW THEY’LL FINISH
1. McClymonds; 2. Oakland Tech; 3. Oakland. 4. Skyline; 5. Castlemont; 6. Fremont.
BEST OF THE OAL
MVP Candidate: WR-DB Edward Woods, McClymonds
Top Offensive Player: Montrell Smith, McClymonds
Top OL Talent: James Willoughby, McClymonds
DL Talent To Watch: Jonathan Phan, Oakland
Top LB: Semaj Sims, McClymonds
Biggest Ballhawk (DB): Woods, McClymonds
Top Breakout Performer: Dreyan Paul, McClymonds