AQI Readings Went Undefeated In Spoiling Several Bay Area Openers, But Cal High Shined Behind Defense, QB Teddy Booras •
While wildfire smoke forced most North Coast Section schools to postpone or cancel their 2021 fall season openers, California-San Ramon got its chance to make a good first impression with an important road test against James Logan-Union City.
What an impression the Grizzlies made.
A tremendous defensive performance limited the host Colts to just one touchdown, and a balanced offensive attack yielded big results as California rolled to a 49-7 win in front of an energetic crowd in Union City.
Teddy Booras accounted for three touchdowns, two through the air and one on the ground, and Trevor Rund added a pair of rushing scores to help lead the way.
Booras spread the offensive wealth, starting with a fourth-down play that turned into a 33-yard touchdown strike to Jake Calcagno.
For Booras and Calcagno, it was picking up essentially where they left off in the spring. The duo were one of the most prolific QB-WR connections during the shortened season. Booras averaged a little more than 206 yards per game in the spring. He connected with Calcagno, the son of coach Danny Calcagno, 56 times for 607 yards and three touchdowns over the Grizzlies’ six games.
Later on Friday night, he showed his ability to improvise, extending a play and finding Dom Tuyor — another returning target from this past spring — for a 28-yard score.
“We’ve been working for three weeks and to come out here and put up 49 points and our defense only give up seven, it just shows we put in work,” said Booras. “It’s an amazing feeling to be out here with all the fans. Friday night lights, what else is there to say?”
Where Cal made its biggest inroads was on defense. The Grizzlies held a physical Colts offense to just 257 total yards and one score while also forcing three turnovers.
Senior Nate Quimby and junior Elijah Cernak each grabbed an interception, and senior Jason Duggs forced a fumble to highlight a dominant performance.
“The kids executed the game plan,” Danny Calcagno said. “Our game plan was to try to go fast because they are big and we’re a little bit on the smaller side. And they executed. Defensively, they just played lights out.
“We hiccupped a little bit on offense. I didn’t feel comfortable; I didn’t feel in rhythm, but our defense stepped up. Coach (Ned) Milin did a great job preparing them all week. I couldn’t be more proud of them.”
SPARTANS PASS FIRST TEST
NorCal’s top-ranked De La Salle battled the AQI watch from the smoke as well. Its season-opener at No. 6-ranked St. Mary’s-Stockton was initially called off at approximately 4:45 p.m. on Friday afternoon and tentatively rescheduled for 11 a.m Saturday morning.
However, by 7:30 a.m. Saturday it was determined that the air in Stockton was not going to cooperate. So the teams agreed to move the game to Concord where the AQI was just seven points below the acceptable 150 threshold at the time of kickoff. More concerning at the time was the 100-degree heat.
St. Mary’s held first-half leads of 3-0 and 10-7 before the Spartans grabbed a 17-10 lead midway through the second quarter. The Rams pulled within 17-16 and were driving to take the lead at the end of the half when Amarion Houston grabbed an interception inside the Spartans’ 10-yard line to secure the one-point halftime advantage.
The second half would be all De La Salle. The offense reeled off 35 unanswered points as the Spartans rolled to a 52-16 win. Running backs Zeke Barber and Charles Greer both rushed for two TDs as the team racked up 496 yards of offense.
Three teams from SportStars’ NorCal Top 20 Rankings were forced to push games to Monday in hopes of outlasting the smoke.
No. 2 Folsom and No. 13 Jesuit-Carmichael attempted to move the site of their matchup twice on Friday night. First moving it from Folsom to Jesuit for a 4:30 p.m. kickoff, then changing course and trying for a late p.m. kickoff in Folsom. Eventually neither worked and they pushed the game back to Monday at Folsom.
RELATED: Read Ike Dodson’s Team Preview On Jesuit In Advance Of The Marauders Opener Against Folsom
No. 10 Clayton Valley was riding blind on a late afternoon bus trip to Turlock, hoping the AQI would be playable by the time it arrived. It wasn’t. The Ugly Eagles and Bulldogs then tried to set up a 10 a.m. contest Saturday, but were forced to abandon that as well. They now hope to kickoff Monday at 5:30 p.m.
TOP 20 RESULTS
Here’s how the Top 20 teams — who were able to play — fared.
• No. 1 De La Salle def. No. 6 St. Mary’s-Stockton 52-16
• No. 7 McClymonds-Oakland def. Tamalpais-Mill Valley 63-6
• No. 8 Valley Christian-San Jose def. Wilcox-Santa Clara 54-33
• Bellarmine-San Jose def. No. 11 Menlo-Atherton-Atherton 56-41
• No. 15 Los Gatos def. No. 20 Monterey Trail-Elk Grove 42-20
• No. 18 Vacaville def. No. 17 Oak Ridge-El Dorado Hills 17-10