Grizzlies host Monte Vista tonight in EBAL showdown

Both varsity football teams enter game among top squads in North Coast Section

Cameron McKeon, Sports Editor

The Grizzlies varsity football team faces off against Monte Vista tonight in the most crucial game thus far for each team this season.

Cal and the Mustangs both come into tonight’s game with a 4-1 record overall, looking to edge one another in the early stages of league play. The home game for the Grizzlies kicks off at 7 p.m.

Both teams won their EBAL openers last week and are ranked among the top 11 teams in the North Coast Section. Cal has home field advantage and is ranked higher in NCS (8th), but Monte Vista is not far behind (11th).

Attention to detail leading up to a rivalry game takes on a whole new level.

“Film is a lot more focused, as well as practices, and everyone knows that they have to be at the top of their game come Friday,” said  senior linebacker Junah Calceta. “When practicing you can tell there’s just a different vibe you get when you know you’re playing [Monte Vista].”

Cal defeated Granada 24-21 last Friday at home. Tight end Cameron Fitzpatrick led the way on the offensive side of the ball, accumulating 95 yards along with a pair of TDs.

The win was Cal’s third straight, but Monte Vista is one of the stronger opponents on the Grizzlies’ schedule. The two teams share second place in the East Bay-Mountain League standings, and Friday night’s game will determine who gains sole possession of the spot behind powerhouse De La Salle. The Spartans, however, are not allowed to win the league championship.

After suffering a tough loss to Bishop O’Dowd of Oakland two weeks ago, Monte Vista returned to its winning ways last Friday in a dominating 45-13 win at Livermore.

In last year’s cross-district showdown, the Grizzlies came away with the 27-24 victory when these two squads faced each other at Monte Vista. But there are new faces on both teams this year with senior Matt McCreary under center for Cal and junior Jack Stewardson quarterbacking for Monte Vista.

Senior running back/cornerback Jordan Nevarez touched on the fact that there is more to this game for Cal than just a rivalry.

“It’s an important game because we could possibly punch in a playoff ticket if we win.” Nevarez said.

A win for either team puts them into solid playoff position midway through the season.

Senior skill player/defensive back Jahmal Cornwell, junior running back Adrian Atta, and Fitzpatrick are a few players to keep an eye on for the Grizzlies as they look to improve to 5-1 in what is sure to be an entertaining matchup.