photos by Anthony Beron
by Anthony Beron
Relying on the running game and special teams, McClymonds High School won their fourth consecutive Silver Bowl title 44-16 despite a more zealous performance by Oakland High in a tighter than expected first half.
With no time to celebrate, the team started preparing this week for a possible state championship showdown against rival Central Catholic, which beat them earlier this season in a close game 38-24.
It was Oakland High’s first appearance in the section championship since 1994.
During the Silver Bowl, McClymonds had its challenges in the first half, as they fumbled once and threw an interception. Oakland High scored first on a field goal, which was the first of three by sophomore Jose Rivas.
McClymonds quarterback, senior Emoni Fountain, ran for 8 yards, giving the Warriors their first lead. After a successful two-point conversion in the first half, the Warriors led 8-3.
After another Rivas field goal, the lead narrowed to 8-6.
“We’ve gotten a lot better over the season,” said McClymonds coach Michael Peters. “We have to set the tempo and be more aggressive earlier in the game.”
That increase in tempo finally came during the second half; after a pep talk by the Mack coaching staff at halftime, immediate touchdowns followed. Louis White, a junior, returned the 2nd half’s initiating kickoff from Oakland High to score a 79-yard touchdown.
This stretched Mack’s lead, creating a gulf that Oakland High had a hard time narrowing .
“Their linemen were really uncoordinated and couldn’t keep up with the heat we were throwing. I pancaked my guy twice, and I barely got any playing time,” said Mel Fulava Jr., a Mack junior.
Lavance Warren of McClymonds showed an outstanding running performance, rushing for 142 yards and scoring two touchdowns, while Oakland High’s quarterback, Kesomi Mafi , rushed for 153 yards and threw a touchdown, according statistics in the San Jose Mercury and MaxPreps.
As they await word about CIF Division IV playoffs, Mack coaches are trying to keep their players ready for the post-season.
“We’re just keeping everything crisp on our team,” said Dwayne Patterson, Mack defensive coach. “We’re probably going to meet Central Catholic again. At this point we need to focus on their running game and just beating them; they’re a solid ‘hit ’em in the mouth’ kind of team.”