Friday’s game decides EBAL champion

By Brandon Eiges, Sports Editor

Cal High's football team has been blazing hot, pulling off a record of 9-0. Photo by Kyra Uson.

One Game. Two undefeated teams. 100 Players. One EBAL Championship.

Being called the “Game of the Decade”, this Friday’s football game vs. league rival De La Salle is Cal High’s biggest game in the school’s 35 year history.

Both the Grizzlies and Spartans bring in 9-0 records in the final game of the season and as the game clock at Ernie Berger Memorial Stadium hits double zeros, one team is going home with a blemish on their record.

As well as an outright EBAL title, the team that wins will earn the number one seed in the NCS playoffs starting on Nov. 19 and 20. The loser will most likely receive the number two seed.

As most would imagine, this is by far the most important game of the year for Cal.

Most experts have sided with De La Salle due to the team’s experience in big games, its high national ranking, and the overall skill-set of the players. The Spartans, with Top-10 National Rankings in multiple polls, average 45 points per game and only allow about one touchdown per game.

But Cal has also slowly gained national recognition this the season. The Grizzlies, led by head coach Eric Billeci, are ranked tenth in the state and 68th in the nation according to Maxpreps.com. Week after week, Cal has blown out its opponents, averaging just over 43 points per game and allowing nine points a game.

De La Salle comes into the game with a much more impressive resume than the Grizzlies, having defeated nationally ranked Bishop Gorman High School of Nevada, coached by former Cal coach Tony Sanchez, and having previously defeated Cal in NCS.

In the 2007-08 football season, Cal earned an share of the EBAL title with San Ramon Valley and defeated Kennedy, Pittsburgh, and James Logan to reach the NCS Championship game against De La Salle.

It was a David vs. Goliath match-up, and unfortunately for the Grizzlies, the Spartans proved themselves to be the dominant team, winning 37-0.

With that win, the Spartans went onto the CIF State Championships, defeating Centennial High of Corona, Calif. 37-31, and finished as the No. 2 ranked team in the country.

The Grizzlies are led by senior quarterback Drew ‘The Real Deal’ Reil. Saying that Drew has been great this season is simply an understatement. ‘The Real Deal’ has torn through every opposing defense, throwing for 1584 yards and 25 TDs this season.

Cal’s offense is as stacked as any team in NCS. Seniors Kyle Alvarez, John Sarmenta, and Trevor Taft are the veteran playmakers. And while they often enough credit for all the work they do, the offensive linemen play a large role in the offense..

Seniors Joe Pearson, Rich Garwood, and Harry Maloof are just a few of the players opening holes for Cal’s explosive running attack.

De La Salle is being led by a gang of high caliber players on each side of the ball.

Oregon State-bound Dylan Wynn, and Boise State-bound Blake Renaud lead the spectacular De La Salle defense, while running-back Lucas Dunne and quarterback Bart Houston trample over opponents on offense.

The same Spartans squad from last year, minus a few seniors, won EBAL, NCS, and the State championship. They look to continue their streak of defeating NCS foes against Cal.

On Nov. 5, Cal traveled to Foothill High to take on the Falcons. As most predicted, Cal dominated the Falcons 49-7.

Drew did not let one pass hit the ground, though he did throw an interception at the end of the first half. ‘The Real Deal’  was 14-15 passing with 321 yards and five TD passes, two going to senior John Sarmenta and two going to junior Armani Washington.

For Cal to win, it’s pretty simple. Get the crowd into the game and hold the ball. Senior kicker Guillermo Rivas can hit field goals from far out, and in a game with both teams having dominating defenses, this is a huge advantage.

Though football game attendance has been low this year, it’s time to change that. If there was ever a game that every student should watch, it’s the Game of the Decade. Show up, be loud, and watch the Grizzlies win.