SportStars Magazine

Mack Keeps Truckin’: McClymonds Looks To Remain King Of Oakland Football

Oakland Football

You lose 18 of 30 players to graduation or transfer and there’s reason for concern. But McClymonds- Oakland football coach Michael Peters just rolls with the punches.

That’s how it works in West Oakland.

The Warriors have suffered their unfair share of pain and tragedy, including the death last month of one of the program’s mainstays, longtime equipment manager and 1989 graduate Dean Hodges. He passed away after a long illness.

“We’ll put a patch on the back of our helmet, dedicate the season to (Dean Hodges) and move on. That’s what we do. Move on. Move forward.” – McClymonds coach Michael Peters

McClymonds have won eight straight Oakland Athletic League/Oakland Section championships. The last two seasons, the Warriors really stepped up their game with two straight state championships at the Division 5-A and 5-AA levels, respectively.

Last season was particularly dominating after outscoring opponents 618-105, including a cumulative 119-38 count in two CIF title games and the Silver Bowl.

“Last year was a doozy,” said Peters, who after 28 seasons doesn’t often look back, boast or get too impressed.

After all, he spends most weekends at NFL games following his son, All-Pro cornerback Marcus Peters, traded this offseason from Kansas City to the Los Angeles Rams.

“That will make the weekends a little easier,” he said.

At least on Sundays.

Fridays and Saturdays will be quite the bear during the nonleague season, as Mack scheduled tougher than it has before.

Warriors

The Warriors host perennial medium-school power Marin Catholic-Kentfield before taking on a gauntlet of Division I programs: defending North Coast Section Div. 1 champion Liberty-Brentwood, Palo Alto, San Leandro and Modesto power Downey.

“We’re testing our guys early,” Peters said. “We should be ready for league that’s for sure. Or all beat up.”

Mack lost most of its offense, except probably its No. 1 running threat, 5-foot-11, 226-pound load Jarmar Julien, who will get the preponderance of carries.

“He’s definitely a tough kid to bring down,” Peters said. “He doesn’t have any D1 offers yet, but I’m sure they’re coming.”

Starting quarterback K’aun Green has received multiple Div. I offers, but not on offense. The 6-4, 230-pound senior is a big-time defensive end who last year broke his right wrist on the fourth play of the season. Peters planned to use him at quarterback, but had to scrap that plan.

After losing all the team’s receivers to graduation, look for Mack to be more dedicated to the run. Two-way lineman Mark Hoching (6-2, 290) will be relied on opening the holes for Julien and company. Hoching has an offer from the Air Force.

Linebacker Javanz Dornners (6-2, 220) has a lot of college interest, as does 6-1, 215-pound strong safety/linebacker Monte Smith.

Defense

“Our defense should carry us most of the way,” Peters said. “We’re going to have to figure out ways to score.”

The one team that figures to give McClymonds a challenge is Oakland Tech, which last season went 8-3 under Virdell Larkins. Mack beat the Bulldogs twice, 45-7 and 42-14 in the Silver Bowl.

Tech returns first-team All-OAL quarterback Cedric Goudy (5-9, 180) and first-team defensive back Jabari Murray.

Second-team All-OAL returnees from Tech including running back Jacob Harris (6-0, 195), offensive lineman Clinton Hill (6-3, 243), strong safety Michael Denard (6-0, 163) and running back/linebacker Tredell Larkins (6-3, 235).

Goudy’s top target should be Drake Darling-Jacob (5-10, 200). Defensive tackle Derek Jones (6-3, 297) is another force for the Bulldogs.

Oakland Football

The biggest force in the league is Oakland senior two-way lineman Siale Liku (6-3, 315), rated the 117th top recruit in California, according to 247Sports.

Liku has 11 offers, with his likely final list coming down to Cal, Colorado, Illinois, Oregon State and UCLA.

“He’s the top recruit out of Oakland,” Peters said. “I think it’s a great thing that he’s stayed loyal to his school. When he signs, it will be a great day for all of Oakland. Kids will realize there’s a way to move up and get places.”

There are new coaches at Skyline, Fremont and Castlemont, which welcomes the return of James Barnes, who coached the Knights for six seasons starting in 2007. Barnes should see the return of second-team All-OAL receiver Stone Fatal and all-around talent Darius Drake.

— Stephen Scott

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