This is the eighth in a series of posts comparing two local rivals who both may be toward the top of the preseason state football rankings. These two teams actually aren’t playing each other in the regular season so the duel for us is which one has the best chance of being No. 2 in the CIF North Coast Section this year behind De La Salle.
Check out some of our other preseason duels:
Alemany (Mission Hills) vs. Chaminade (West Hills)
St. Mary’s (Stockton) vs. Lincoln (Stockton)
Oceanside vs. Mission Hills (San Marcos)
Valley Christian (San Jose) vs. Serra (San Mateo)
Oaks Christian (Westlake Village) vs. Westlake (Westlake Village)
Del Oro (Loomis) vs. Granite Bay
Servite (Anaheim) vs. Mater Dei (Santa Ana)
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What The Teams Accomplished Last Season: During a seven-game winning streak, Pittsburg went undefeated in the Bay Valley League and had CIF North Coast Section Division I playoffs wins over Irvington of Fremont and Freedom of Oakley before losing to a California of San Ramon team that the Pirates defeated earlier in the year. Their two other losses during their 10-3 season came against Analy of Sebastopol in the season opener and to Granite Bay by four points. Finishing third in the East Bay Athletic League behind California of San Ramon and San Ramon Valley, the Falcons went 8-3 with their season ending in the opening round of the playoffs to Freedom of Oakley and its star running back, Joe Mixon, now a freshman at Oklahoma.
Shapshot of Pittsburg: Coach Vic Galli’s Pirates return starting QB Armani Levias, who barely passed but helped the team get to almost 300 yards per game last season. Doing the majority of the rushing was graduated star Harris Ross (now at Oregon State). You would expect that it will be senior Jaylyn Morgan to be the workhorse this season after rushing for 573 yards and eight touchdowns last year. Plenty of talent returns on the defensive side of the ball as three of Pitt’s top four tacklers from last season return, led by senior LB Noah Palega who had 108 tackles. DB Shurod Thompson was second on the team with 71 and is still just a junior. He’s one of the top junior DBs in the nation. We saw the Granite Bay game when Thompson scored on a 88-yard fumble return. DE David Lui also returns for his senior year and has already committed to BYU.
Shapshot of Foothill (Pleasanton): There’s a lot to like about Foothill also being a contender for the No. 2 preseason ranking for the NCS. First, the Falcons have one of the top QBs in the Bay Area in SMU-commit Kyle Kearns. They also have one of the top players period in DB/WR Isaiah Langley, who has committed to USC. There are some strong graduation losses on defense, but with head coach Matt Sweeney (among the most successful in NCS history) still going strong there’s a good bet those will be overcome.
More Top Players For Pittsburg: Jr. WR Jordan Parker; LB Isaiah Lopez; OL/DL Harland Tautalatasi; DB/WR Deante Fortenberry; DB/RB Nick Moore.
More Top Players for Foothill: WR Cale Quistgard; Jr. LB Cash Connolly (2nd team all-league); Jr. RB/DB Isaiah Floyd (89.04 SPARQ Rating).
Recent History Between These Two: They had a chance to play last season in the second-round of the NCS playoffs but Foothill couldn’t win in its opener. Had they faced off, it would have been the first time since the season opener in 2011 in a game that Pittsburg won at home 14-0. The year before it was the Falcons who defeated the Pirates to open the season.
Hunch As To Where Each Team Should Be Ranked In The Preseason: We still have a couple of other NCS teams to research (such as California of San Ramon and San Ramon Valley), but are close to putting Pitt at No. 2 behind De La Salle (which hasn’t lost in the NCS playoffs since 1991). The secondary skill players seen in the spring were just that good. Foothill has the star power to perhaps be next in line, but may not have the depth.
Next Preseason Duel: Bakersfield vs. Clovis North (Fresno).
Thanks to Stockton office assistant Paul Muyskens for contributions toward this post.
Mark Tennis is the co-founder and publisher of CalHiSports.com. He can be reached at firstname.lastname@example.org. Don’t forget to follow Mark on the Cal-Hi Sports Twitter handle: @CalHiSports