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THREE FOR 3 | No. 3 Seed Pittsburg Wins Third Straight NCS Title THREE FOR 3 | No. 3 Seed Pittsburg Wins Third Straight NCS Title
Using Its Seed As Motivation, Pittsburg Football Topped San Ramon Valley For A Third Straight North Coast Section Division I Crown As a first-year... THREE FOR 3 | No. 3 Seed Pittsburg Wins Third Straight NCS Title

Using Its Seed As Motivation, Pittsburg Football Topped San Ramon Valley For A Third Straight North Coast Section Division I Crown

As a first-year head coach about to lead the Pittsburg High football team into the playoffs, Charlie Ramirez was handed a gift a few weeks back. 

The North Coast Section made his undefeated Pirates the No. 3 seed in the Open/Division I bracket. Perhaps the Pirates didn’t need extra motivation, but Ramirez wasn’t going to waste the opportunity. 

“For us to be (two-time defending) Div. I champions and been to multiple state title games, and still be made a No. 3 seed behind a team that has been playing Div. II in the playoffs,” Ramirez said in the aftermath of the NCS Division I final on Friday night at Dublin High. “At the end of the day, we just felt we deserved more respect coming out of a 10-0 season than what we got. And that’s OK. Every coach is going to have his or her rallying call, and that was ours.”

It worked. 

Pittsburg met up with the San Ramon Valley team seeded directly above them and won its third straight Division I title with a 37-21 victory. The Pirates amassed more than 500 yards of offense and its defense shut out the Wolves’ own high-powered offense in the second half.

The Pirates (13-0) broke open a 14-14 tie early in the second half when they were facing a 3rd-and-14 from their own 1-yard line. Junior quarterback Marley Alcantara dropped back and launched a deep ball that initially looked as though it was going to be overthrown. 

“I thought, ‘Oh dang! I got to get there,’” senior receiver Bobby Shaw III said. 

The pass hung in the air just long enough for Shaw to run under it and grab it near the 50-yard line with arms extended. The senior then took it the rest of the way for a 99-yard touchdown and a lead Pittsburg would never relinquish. 

“We practiced that,” said Alcantara, who finished with 310 yards passing and his name now in the CalHiSports.com State Record Book for tying the record for longest touchdown pass. “We practiced being backed up and all that.”

Pittsburg football, quarterback, Marley Alcantara
Pittsburg quarterback Marley Alcantara completed 18 of 25 passes in the NCS final. (Ben Enos photo)

After that, the Pittsburg defense took over. The Pirates forced three second half turnovers and three of their five sacks came during the fourth quarter. 

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San Ramon Valley (10-3) got a big play from its own defense to keep things close when junior linebacker Marco Jones had a 39-yard pick six to cut Pittsburg’s lead to 24-21 with 6:13 to play. However, the Pirates had an answer in the form of running back and defensive back Jamar Searcy. 

Searcy scored his third touchdown of the night with a 34-yard run that pushed the lead back to nine. He then got an interception on the ensuing Wolves possession leading to Pittsburg’s final score, a 1-yard run by Elijah Bow. 

Pittsburg enters the CIF State Bowl playoffs for the third year in a row, and is prepared to wait again to see what a seeding committee thinks of its body of work. After the game, Ramirez was asked if he’d want a shot at NCS Open Division champion, De La Salle. The Spartans were the No. 1 seed in the section’s top bracket.

“We’re 13-0,” the coach said. “I think we deserve a home game. … Who we play at this point is irrelevant. Whoever it is, is going to be a great team and great program. I’d rather have the home game, but we’re ready to go wherever they want us to go.”

Searcy finished the night with 195 yards from scrimmage with 134 coming on the ground. Shaw had 120 yards receiving and Noah Quesada had five catches for 94 yards. 

Pittsburg Football, team photo, celebration
Pittsburg celebrates a third straight NCS Div. I title. (Chace Bryson photo)

San Ramon Valley quarterback Luke Baker wrapped up a stellar Wolves career mostly under siege, even hobbled late in the fourth quarter. He closed the night with 245 yards and two touchdowns. He passed for more than 3,400 yards for the season and finished with 41 total touchdowns (37 passing).

“He really did a tremendous job for us,” San Ramon Valley coach Aaron Becker said after the game. “What he meant to this program, I can’t put it into words. The leadership and the playmaking ability. He really vaulted us into the next tier of high school football.”

Pittsburg finds out its CIF regional pairing Sunday afternoon. 

“It doesn’t matter who we get,” Alcantara said. “It’s personal. We just took down the 2 seed that should’ve been our 2 seed. So it is what it is, and we have practice on Monday.”

Chace Bryson is the managing editor of SportStars Magazine. Reach him at Editor@SportStarsMag.com

Chace Bryson

Chace Bryson is the managing editor of SportStars Magazine. Reach him at Chace@SportStarsMag.com

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