CONTRA COSTA COUNTY, CA (Oct. 17, 2023) — Just mentioning Friday the 13th conjures all kinds of thoughts, not too many pleasant.
Last week when Friday the 13th rolled around on the most pivotal of weeks for local high school football, things were strange indeed in the games involving the area’s top two teams so far this season.
Mt. Diablo had a chance to win its first full season league championship in decades but fell just short in Martinez as Alhambra hung on for a 49-47 victory over the Red Devils. The Bulldogs win virtually assures them of the Diablo Athletic League Valley Division Title with two weeks to go.
Both Diablo and Alhambra will be heavily favored in their final games.
In Danville, the game between undefeated San Ramon Valley and surging De La Salle, winners of four straight against tough opponents, was a defensive struggle entering the fourth quarter with the home team holding a 12-7 lead as they aimed to end the Spartans 32-year undefeated streak against North Coast Section teams.
And then, all kinds of Friday the 13th madness broke out in Martinez and Danville.
Red Devils come so close to key victory
The first half in Martinez was a shootout with the halftime whistle showing Alhambra up 35-28 over their Concord foes. Both teams had losing records a year ago but came into Friday’s showdown with only one loss each.
It was touted as a battle between Mt. Diablo runningback Herschel Turner and Alhambra quarterback Beau Blau using his arm and legs.
Well, neither of the senior stars disappointed. Blau scored five touchdowns rushing and threw for a sixth. Turner gained 299 yards with four first-half TDs on the ground to add to his North Coast Section leading rushing and scoring totals.
Mt. Diablo led 28-21 in the second quarter but did not score again until the Red Devils trailed 49-28 as the Bulldogs tallied 28 unanswered points.
The key may have come at halftime when the Alhambra coaching staff made some alignment adjustments that partially bottled-up Turner, who gained 57 yards in the second half of his 299 total in the game.
After falling three TDs behind, Red Devils quarterback Jakorey Robinson tried to rally his team with a 66-yard TD pass and then a fumble recovery and defensive score, bringing Mt. Diablo within 49-40.
A late Robinson touchdown throw tightened the score to 49-47 but the Concord school wasn’t able to recover the subsequent onside kick and Alhambra hung on as they continue to enjoy success in their first winning season since 2017.
Spartans almost blow game
Over the 32 years and 266 games against NCS foes since losing the 1991 Section championship game to Pittsburg, De La Salle has had very few close shaves, but the wild fourth quarter last Friday was almost the time the magic was on the other team’s sideline.
De La Salle turned around the 12-7 halftime deficit to pull ahead 27-12 with less than half of the fourth quarter remaining, seemingly headed for a difficult but not nail-biting victory. However, SRV quarterback Luke Baker and all-around standout Marco Jones did not want their unbeaten season to end before a packed stadium on their own field.
A touchdown, recovered onside kick, another TD and then a clutch two-point conversion by the Wolves tied the game. De La Salle then fumbled in the last minute to give San Ramon a chance to pull off an historic win.
With less than 10 seconds left and after a DLS timeout to freeze the San Ramon kicker and come up with a kick rush plan, the Wolves potential game-winning field goal attempt was no good.
In overtime the home team missed another field goal effort in their first possession and Derrick Blanche took De La Salle’s fourth straight running play in OT into the end zone for a final 33-27 win. Spartan coach Justin Alumbaugh says he’s never seen a quarter like that in his two and half decades on the sidelines.
Other Week 8 Scores
In other action on Friday the 13th, Las Lomas stayed undefeated and handed College Park its fifth straight loss 41-0 and Northgate remained winless losing to Campolindo 35-14.
Concord got back in the win column handing Ygnacio its eighth successive defeat this season 32-6. Clayton Valley Charter also got a needed victory while welcoming Davin Amos back from injury. The all-league wide receiver scored a pair of touchdowns in his first 2023 action and the Ugly Eagles handed Foothill-Pleasanton a 41-29 defeat.
High school football scores
Week 9 Schedule – Oct. 20-21
Northgate (0-7) at College Park (2-5)
Concord (3-5) at Berean Christian (1-5-1)
Ygnacio Valley (0-8) at Alhambra (6-1)
Benicia (1-6) at Mt. Diablo (5-2)
Monte Vista (4-3) at Clayton Valley Charter (3-4)
Foothill-Pleasanton (1-6) at De La Salle (5-2)
Week 8 Scores – Oct. 13
Las Lomas (7-0) 41, College Park (2-5) 0
Campolindo (5-1-1) 35, Northgate (0-7) 14
Concord (3-5) 32, Ygnacio Valley (0-8) 6
Alhambra (6-1) 49, Mt. Diablo (5-2) 47
Clayton Valley Charter (3-4) 41, Foothill-Pleasanton (1-6) 29
De La Salle (5-2) 33, San Ramon Valley (6-1) 27 Overtime
Clayton Valley Charter (Open Div./Div. 1) – 8/25 W 17-0 at Salinas, 9/1 L 27-37 Higley-Gilbert, AZ, 9/9 L 0-28 at Oak Ridge-El Dorado Hills, 9/15 W 21-14 at Turlock, 9/29 L 0-26 Jesuit-Carmichael, 10/6 L 7-35 San Ramon Valley, 10/13 W 41-29 Foothill-Pleasanton, 10/20 Monte Vista-Danville, 10/27 at California-San Ramon, 11/3 at De La Salle.
College Park (Div. 3) – 8/25 W 14-0 at Fremont-Oakland, 9/8 W 49-14 at Oakmont-Roseville, 9/15 L 12-38 at Antioch, 9/22 L 0-56 Acalanes-Lafayette, 9/29 L 12-21 Miramonte, 10/6 L 21-49 at Campolindo, 10/13 L 0-41 Las Lomas, 10/20 Northgate, 10/27 at Benicia, 11/3 Alhambra.
Concord (Div. 4) – 8/25 L 0-41 at Newark Memorial-Newark, 9/1 L 0-49 at Alameda, 9/8 W 26-21 San Lorenzo, 9/14 L 0-24 Archie Williams-San Anselmo, 9/22 W 36-34 Mt. Eden-Hayward, 9/29 L 0-43 Alhambra, 10/6 L 12-48 Las Lomas, 10/13 W 32-6 at Ygnacio Valley, 10/21 at Berean Christian, 10/27 Mt. Diablo.
De La Salle (Open Div./Div. 1) – 8/25 L 14-35 Orange Lutheran-Orange, 9/2 L 0-28 at Serra-San Mateo, 9/8 W 35-17 at Saint Francis-Mountain View, 9/15 W 24-10 St. Mary’s-Stockton, 9/22 W 14-7 at Folsom, 9/29 W 21-0 McClymonds-Oakland, 10/13 33-27 TO at San Ramon Valley, 10/20 Foothill-Pleasanton, 10/27 at Monte Vista–Danville, 11/3 Clayton Valley Charter.
Mt. Diablo (Div. 4) – 8/25 W 39-28 Deer Valley, 9/1 W 40-14 Mission-San Francisco, 9/8 L 27-31 at Oakland Tech, 9/15 W 53-20 San Lorenzo, 9/22 W 36-33 at Castlemont-Oakland, 10/6 W 49-22 Ygnacio Valley, 10/13 L 47-49 at Alhambra, 10/21 Berean Christian, 10/28 at College Park, 11/4 Concord.
Northgate (Div. 3) – 8/25 L 10-35 at Reno, 9/1 L 42-44 Tamalpais-Mill Valley, 9/8 L 0-40 Twelve Bridges-Lincoln, 9/22 L 27-28 at Miramonte, 9/29 L 31-38 at Las Lomas, 10/6 L 13-54 at Acalanes, 10/13 L 14-35 Campolindo, 10/20 at College Park, 10/27 Alhambra, 11/3 Benicia.
Ygnacio Valley (Div. 6) – 8/26 L 6-34 Alameda, 9/1 L 0-38 at Lower Lake, 9/9 L 26-48 Kennedy-Richmond, 9/15 L 8-27 Washington-San Francisco, 9/23 L 8-20 at Galileo-San Francisco, 9/29 L 6-56 at Pinole Valley, 10/6 L 22-49 at Mt. Diablo, 10/13 L 6-32 Concord, 10/20 at Alhambra, 10/27 Berean Christian.
Jay Bedecarré is a long-time resident and writer in Concord and Clayton. He began his newspaper writing career while still a senior at Mt. Diablo High School and he has been part of The Pioneer since its inception in 2003. Jay also operates Bay Area Festivals, presenting events around the San Francisco Bay Area including Bay Area KidFest annually in Downtown Concord.