S.F. Turkey Day: Mission Wins

Players from Mission of San Francisco pose with championship trophy after their team defeated Lincoln 36-12 in annual San Francisco Turkey Day contest. Photo: Willie Eashman.

Players from Mission of San Francisco pose with championship trophy after their team defeated Lincoln 36-12 in annual San Francisco Turkey Day contest. Photo: Willie Eashman.


QB Jerrel Stancil has a huge outing as Bears earn their second CIF San Francisco Section in four years with a triumph over Lincoln. Sophomore Niamey Harris also continued to make big plays for Mission.

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Construction of a new track at Kezar Stadium forced this year’s CIF San Francisco Section Turkey Day championship to be held at Lowell High, which turned out to be appropriate for Mission quarterback Jerrel Stancil, who helped his team race up and down the Lowell turf like sprinters.

The Bears’ senior signal-caller accounted for all six of his team’s touchdowns, as Mission rolled to a 36-12 victory over Lincoln in the 91st edition of the San Francisco-style Thanksgiving Day Classic.

Jerrel Stancil made plays with his feet and his arm in Mission's Turkey Day win over Lincoln. Photo: Willie Eashman.

Jerrel Stancil made plays with his feet and his arm in Mission’s Turkey Day win over Lincoln. Photo: Willie Eashman.

Stancil, a 6-foot-1 senior, connected for 318 yards and four touchdowns through the air and rushed for two more TDs in an outing that will be remembered by him and anyone else who was there to witness it.

Mission (9-3) captured its seventh San Francisco city championship and ninth straight win after starting 0-3 to open the season.

The Bears also became eligible for the CIF Division III North regional bowl game, but due to those early losses will not be selected. Next year, however, a new CIF bowl game system will enable every team that wins a section title to have the opportunity of playing at least two more games and perhaps winning a CIF state title in one of 13 divisions.

Mission won the Turkey Day title in 2011 but prior to that you had to go back to 1954 for a Bears’ title, and 1936 for one before that. Now, they have two titles in the five-year tenure of head coach Joe Albano.

“We try to create a safe place and a stable environment for the kids. Our coaches show up every day and we’re always there for the kids, and making sure they make grades. Plus, we have a core group of kids that really care,” remarked Albano about why he’s had recent success at Mission.

The Bears’ offense and Stancil in particular started fast after he completed his first eight passes for 160 yards and two touchdowns.

On the game’s first play from scrimmage, Stancil found Bran’Den Rodriguez and the senior wide receiver took a short screen pass, made three cuts to find daylight and scampered 62 yards for a 6-0 lead. Besides the touchdown reception, Rodriguez also led the defense with a sack and three other tackles for loss.

Mission coach Joe Albano accepts San Francisco Section trophy from commissioner Don Collins. Photo: Willie Eashman.

Mission coach Joe Albano accepts San Francisco Section trophy from commissioner Don Collins. Photo: Willie Eashman.

Mission held Lincoln three-and-out on the next series, and then after receiving a punt the Bears went 60 yards in 11 plays, culminating in a 26-yard touchdown pass from Stancil to standout sophomore Niamey Harris. He’s the one who had that 106-yard interception return earlier in the season that put his name in the Cal-Hi Sports state record book.

Lincoln closed to 12-6 in the second quarter and 18-12 with 9:13 left in the third, but Stancil found Harris on a 25-yard TD pass to make it 24-12 entering the final period, and then his two short fourth quarter TD runs sealed the deal and closed out the scoring.

“We definitely played with some confidence and felt we could move the ball. We just had to stay together,” said Stancil, who hopes to continue playing at Lewis and Clark next fall.

Lincoln (7-5) was led by Jacquez Williams-Chish. The junior running back rushed for 167 yards and one touchdown on 29 carries, but 126 yards came in the second half when the game was pretty much decided.

“We’ll be back again and I’ll be back,” said veteran Lincoln head coach Phil Ferrigno squashing rumors he might retire. The affable Ferrigno has led Lincoln to five of its nine Turkey Day championships, including 2012 and four straight from 2005-2008.

Last year’s champion, Galileo, lost to Lincoln 13-0 in last week’s semifinals.

Harold Abend is the associate editor of CalHiSports.com and the vice president of the California Prep Sportswriters Association. He can be reached at marketingharoldabend@gmail.com. Don’t forget to follow him on Twitter: @HaroldAbend


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