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Tri-Cities High School Football Preview; James Logan High Leaves MVAL

What teams will dominate this coming season?

To say the football team has dominated the Mission Valley Athletic League for the past 13 years would be an understatement. The Colts won 11 of the last 13 league crowns and the last three in a row.

Those days are over. Logan was awarded an independent status by the North Coast Section in the offseason and thus will play a 10-game, nonleague schedule.

But all is not lost for the MVAL. As Logan departs, one team enters – Moreau Catholic. The Mariners were in the MVAL up until the mid 1990s. They are a North Coast Section Division IV team. That gives the MVAL a contingent of Division I, II, III and IV teams.

The last non-Logan team to win a league title was in 2008. Before that, claimed the crown in 2005. That Irvington team was led by current Seattle Seahawks running back Robert Turbin.

As such, for the first time in a long time, the MVAL race is wide open. There is no clear-cut favorite. Expect Washington and to battle at the top. Newark Memorial lost a lot to graduation, but could factor into the mix.

and welcome new coaches to struggling programs and Irvington made strides last year under third-year coach Zach Silvernale, who is an Irvington graduate.

The following is a breakdown of Newark and Fremont MVAL teams in alphabetical order, as well as independent Logan:

: The Eagles welcome back second-year coach Bret Casey, who graduated from American in 1995. American is coming off a 5-6 season that included a second-place tie with Newark with a 4-2 MVAL mark.

American’s season came to an end last year in the NCS Division II playoffs with a thrilling 49-34 loss to College Park.

The Eagles lost a couple of key players in DaShane Hines (WR/DB) and RB Tyrell Lockett. But they return starting QB Ryan Barker, a junior. American opened play Saturday with a 12-0 nonleague win over Arroyo. Giving Barker some protection will be a returning offensive tackle D.J. Kay, an all-league first-teamer.

: Irvington made strides last year under Silvernale. The Vikings went 2-8 in his inaugural campaign and then went 4-5 overall last year (2-4 MVA). They were 4-2 before losing three straight to end the season.

Irvington returns all-league honorable mention running backs in Ariel Hercik and Dylan Werth. Werth was also an all-league second-team inside linebacker. The Vikings lost a key player in DB/RB Raeshawn Lee to graduation.

: The Titans enter this year with its second coach in as many years. Dave Damewood takes over for Damien Mackey. Damewood was an assistant coach under legendary coach Pete Michaletos, who guided the Titans for 46 years.

After losing their first seven games last year, the Titans won two of their final three. They beat Mission 39-6 and Irvington 34-20. They went 0-6 in league play. But their biggest victory may not have been a win, but a 14-12 thrilling loss to a Washington team that has dominated Kennedy over the years.

Kennedy’s top returners are wide receiver Atu Ohuafi, who was a second-team all-leaguer and second-team kicker Geovani Mendoza.

: The Warriors have been nothing short of dismal in recent history. They have lost 40 straight league games. The last time Mission won an MVAL game was Oct. 15, 2005, a 20-18 victory over Newark Memorial.

First-year coach Sam Baugh hopes to change that. He was encouraged by participation in the offseason workout regimen.

Mission went 2-8 overall and 0-6 in league last year. The Warriors looked solid to open the season with 62-6 win over Emery and a 19-12 win over De Anza to open the season, but went on to suffer eight straight losses.

Mission lost its top player, QB/P Chris Donoghue to graduation as well as FB David Kim.

: The Cougars are coming off a 5-5-1 season that included a second-place finish at 4-2 (along with American). They went to the NCS Division II playoffs and suffered a 42-7 loss to Concord in the first round.

Coach Rich Swift has been a staple on the Newark campus as he embarks on his 35th year at the helm.

The Cougars will have the tough task of replacing a couple of running backs in the late Osana Futi (who also played linebacker) and Hunter Rockwell. Futi was the Ron Johnson Defensive of the Year and Rockwell (now at Arizona State), who was an all-league first-teamer. They also lost QB Jesse Tate, a second-teamer and Alex Matoto, a first-team defensive lineman.

This year’s team could be a work in progress with just six returners.

Newark opened the season with a 40-19 win over Dougherty Valley Friday.

: Last year was a funky one for the Huskeis. They lost their first six games, including a 37-33 defeat to Irvington to open MVAL play.

But Washington broke through and won three of its next four games and qualified for the NCS Division II playoffs.

The Huskies suffered a 27-6 loss to Las Lomas in the first round that capped a 3-8 season and a 3-3 mark in league play.

Washington lost center Haniteli Lousi, a first-teamer, to graduation along with Jacob Montes (RB/DL).

But the returning core is solid led by QB Kyle Malpede, Andrew Llanos (second team wide receiver) and RB/DB Terrance Jones (a second team DB).

JAMES LOGAN: Awarded an independent status by NCS, Logan embarks on a new journey with no league.

One stipulation for the Colts is they have to apply for a playoff berth. They don’t get an automatic berth. But it’s highly unlikely the Colts won’t make the Division I playoffs.

Logan, which opened the season with a 40-24 win over Reed of Sparks, Nev., will also play San Leandro, San Ramon Valley, Heritage, Berkeley, Del Oro of Loomis and then will play the following MVAL teams as nonleague games: Washington, Newark, Irvington and Mission.

The Colts have one of the most potent offenses around paced by QB Jeffrey Prothro, RBs Warren Miles Long (the returning Jim Randall Offensive Player of the Year) and Damond Beasley. They also have a stellar WR in Karsten Wethington (brother of Keagen Wethington, a football/track star from Logan) and Amalani Fukofuka.

Long has given a verbal commitment to play at Northwestern next year.

Logan went 10-1 last year and won the MVAL. The season came to an end with a 28-14 loss to San Ramon Valley in the first round of the Division I playoffs.

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