Christmas in July: Will ‘CIF Claus’ Bring Good News or Something We Just Do Not Want?!

Christmas in July:  Will ‘CIF Claus’ Bring Good News or Something We Just Do Not Want?!

What if Christmas doesn’t come from a store. What if Christmas…perhaps…means a little bit more! Like a football team on a field and the Dons with a Big Score!

The NBA is aspiring to host a bubble season in Orlando with COVID-19 and a 113 page rule book stuffed with health protocols. College campus are welcoming back their football players, as they slowly gear up for the Fall season. In Iowa things are different for young athletes. Iowa was the first state to resume high school athletic competition since COVID-19 shut down all high school play in mid-March. At least a hundred games are scheduled each day throughout Iowa with most teams playing doubleheaders.

A packed house at Acalanes

How Much Longer Must We Wait? Please, Santa Don’t Be Late!

What’s clear is that high schools are trying to keep hope alive about resuming high school sports this fall across the country.  Teams have started workouts, then stopped, then started again and  that’s precisely the kind of situation CIF (the California Interscholastic Federation)  has said it wants to avoid. A decision on when the high school sports season might return is expected by July 20. California State high school sports organizations and administrators have never had to work so  hard or make tougher decisions.   The murky wait-and-see that has gripped high school sports since the start of the mid-March COVID-19 pandemic could get some clarity in the upcoming weeks.

While Visions of Sugar Plums, Touchdowns, Tackles and Victories Danced in their Heads

CIF, (the California Interscholastic Federation)  the state’s governing body for high school sports, announced that July 20 is its cut-off date to determine if the season will be altered. “As our member schools begin planning for the reopening of school,” part of the release read, “the CIF, in collaboration with our 10 sections, will be determining by July 20 if fall sports will continue as currently scheduled.” get updates at:

There is also Facebook page dedicated to NorCal high school football parents called Allow High School Football in 2020.  Facebook parents engage in an intense debate over football. Will the country’s most-watched sport be played this fall? And if so, how? Parents vent their concerns, worries and share different scenarios of the football season roll out: Start in October or January? Play in the Spring? A shortened season? Basically, many parents are feeling it will be a coin flip whether football is played at all. Again, CIF will roll out their sports requirements/recommendations on July 20 and Acalanes will digest and pass guidelines around July 22 or 23.

No Matter What I Get for Christmas Football is All I Really Need!

What will it take for high school football to return to California in 2020? Right now, that’s the million dollar question and every possible scenario is on the table. But what about the players?! What about our Dons?! What are our Dons feeling as they ride the football roller coaster?!

Spreading Christmas Don Cheer!

Joey Carrillo #70 is a Senior on Varsity team and is one to watch on the Varsity team this year. He is a force on the Dons line. Joey’s younger brother Trevor is on the the Freshman football team, and like a good brother, Joey has been working out with him during the football hiatus. Carrillo never stopped working out, he is in great shape. Yet, the summer heat can be strenuous at practice, but that just adds in a good sweat. MaxPreps notes that Carrillo averages 5.3 sacks per game. As like many Dons, Carrillo is anxious to play football and knock some people around. Adding the last year’s JV team to the Varsity squad is a good thing. Joey confidentially stated, Our class [2021] is already really good and the class of 2022 that we gain is undefeated, this will make a great season.

Victor Nicolasakis is a Sophomore on our JV team. Restricted practices are not ideal, but Victor looks at the positive in it, I am enjoying how I get to leave the house for an hour and get a workout whether it is beneficial for the football season or not. I am always looking to perfect myself and work hard. Workouts are tough but they are getting easier as I work out more and get back into shape. Victor wants to be ready for this season, because he knows it is going to be a great JV season, we are very good, we work hard, we have discipline and know how to execute under a great coaching staff. Victor continues to talk about the Dons coaches, all the coaches at Acalanes at every level and great. They are great and teaching us, and pushing us while still being able to have a conversation and have fun with.  They don’t abuse the “coach” power and make it very easy to talk to them and have established and great relationship with their players early in the season.

Anthony Ortale is a Junior on our Varsity football team, he plays Defensive End and Tackle. Ortale is one tough cookie and it is fun to watch Ortale wreck havoc on the opposition. He is loving the summer football training, I’m enjoying able to practice again especially after missing out Spring football. Ortale gives a shout out to his coaches. Dons coaches are enthusiastic, caring, positive, organized, encouraging, respectful, approachable, smart, and  knowledgeable, he adds,  I like how much they care about making sure we are practicing to the best of our ability. Ortale is looking forward to a winning season for the Dons because of three things: Work, Ethic and Talent. Anthony wants football to happen as well as school, I miss being away from school for so long, I miss going to school five days a week.

Dear Santa, We Want it All!



Our well regarded Girls and Boys tennis team Coach Drew has been busy on the courts helping students improve their tennis game. The clinics provide a small group setting to get lots of coaching attention for technical stroke work, point playing tactics and lots of muscle memory drill work to fine tune your game. Contact him to inquire about availability to join in on the socially distanced fun for the next series of camp clinics.

The 3 Week Camp
Dates: July 6th – July 24th, Monday to Friday
Time: Now 1pm-4pm 
Max Participants: 12

The 2 Week Camp
Dates: July 27th – August 7th, Monday to Friday
Time: 9am-12pm
Max Participants: 12

Tentative Girls Varsity & JV Team tryouts are August 11-13th. Email Drew to join a mailing list distribution of important information.

Dons Football is Back: Bigger, Better and 100% Won-DON-derful!

Dons Football is Back: Bigger, Better and 100% Won-DON-derful!


What a year it’s been. Surely not one that any of us had planned for or expected. As we slowly move towards reopening and getting back to some sort of new normal, it’s important to focus as much as possible on positive experiences for our young men.

The Acalanes coaches, Andy (Touchdown Club) and Jane (Sports Booster) have said, Acalanes has a long history of football excellence. This is not only reflected in the win/loss column, but more importantly in the way it has molded the incredible players who have come through the program over the years.

The truth is, there really is nothing like the camaraderie and brotherhood of football. Other sports try to replicate it, but there is nothing like suiting up on Friday night and going to battle with your brothers while your friends and family cheer you on. Football is an intense sport that requires dedication, toughness and most importantly teamwork. Every single player plays a critical role in the success of the team, from the first summer workout through the last game of the year.

So let’s be thankful for the opportunity that we may have taken for granted before, with the start of summer practice this week, and truly appreciate the joy it provides our boys during this time of uncertainty. As Coach Taylor from Friday Night Lights said many times, “Clear eyes, full hearts, can’t lose”.  Are you ready? Are you psyched? Then GO DONS!

Jeff Julian, Proud Acalanes Football Parent












A Varsity Dons Baseball Player was Once a Lafayette Little League Player

A Varsity Dons Baseball Player was Once a Lafayette Little League Player

Dons show up to share their Acalanes baseball stories to the future Dons

As we know the Varsity Baseball season had their spring sport season cut short by COVID-19, with  Seniors saddened to miss out on their last high school sports season. The 2020 Dons baseball season was guaranteed to be a golden season.     The Acalanes Dons were one of the deepest teams in the NCS during 2019 and that same depth carried over to 2020 with returning seven starters and four pitchers. This well balanced Dons team was ready to take on the world!   Senior and Varsity baseball player Tommy Thrasher shared with a group of little leaugers on Tuesday, that he was looking forward to this year’s baseball season until life was interrupted with COVID, “Having your last season of high school baseball stripped from you isn’t  easy.

Nick Kresnak, Tommy Thrasher, and Nick Bamont paid a surprise visit to the Lafayette Little League  12 year old All Star team sharing their baseball insight. The three started out  highlighting  their great times playing at  the Buckeye Fields in Lafayette Little League. They reminisced with smiles, their big moments in the field from  amazing hits to  big catches  to playing all stars to  visiting the snack shack for a chili dog or a box of Lemonheads.  

Bamont started out telling the group, “We did not know our last practice was to be the last time we would be together as a  team.  We thought it was going to be three weeks and then we would be back. That day was the last time we stood on the Acalanes field as a team”.  Yet, baseball is not over for them. These three seniors will be heading to different colleges to play baseball, yet before they take off it was time to give back to the community, where they grew up and learned  the fundamentals of baseball.   The 12  All Stars listened intensely to Kresnak, Bamont and Thrasher recounted  their  little league memories and enumerated their baseball knowledge.

Their  words of wisdom contained messages of always improve yourself,  work hard,  learn from your mistakes and support one another as a team.  All three graduates  added and often repeated their success was because of   their baseball coaches over the years.    Coach Hoover, Acalanes Varsity Coach has been the biggest  influence on the trio.  They echoed  his praises of   patience, honesty, sincerity, positive leadership and  baseball expertise. Baseball success  requires constant  strategizing and observation, Hoover gets that!   Hoover taught his players to not worry about the score, just  focus on doing your job on the field right and in doing that, great results will come.  This is something Dons baseball players will take with them to college and beyond. 

The Dons triad  drove the message home to the future Dons, the moment a baseball player starts to think they can’t get any better, they’ve lost. If you think you’re the best and never work to improve on your craft, somebody is out there who will surpass you. The future high school baseball players of the class of 2026 walked away with the message of never stop improving, work hard, have fun, and keep believing in yourself. 

Congrats to the Varsity Seniors of 2020

Nicolas Bamont
Will Easley
Logan Hurd 
Nick Kresnak
Luke Miles
Cole Murgia 
Kade Shipp
Tommy Thrasher 

Life’s a fastball, belt high,
Coming right down the middle.
Don’t stand there and let it go bye
Swing hard and aim for the stands!

The Baseball Song by Corey Smith

Three Dons Athletes Show Leadership off the Field – Go 24 Miles in 24 Hours for Acalanes Athletics

Three Dons Athletes Show Leadership off the Field – Go 24 Miles in 24 Hours for Acalanes Athletics

On a long weekend designed for rest and relaxation, Acalanes student-athletes Benjy Braunstein, Evan Malmquist and Rhett Skvarna had other plans.  In their words:

As sophomores at Acalanes, we find ourselves needing to burn off energy while our sports are cancelled. We are challenging ourselves to run one mile every hour, for 24 hours straight.  We are fundraising for the Acalanes Boosters program to ensure that our sports can get off on the right foot as soon as programming resumes.

The boys began the challenge at 7pm on Sunday evening, running intermittently throughout the night, and finishing strong at 6pm yesterday, exhausted but gratified.   Supported by friends and family, the effort has raised $2,633 so far to support Acalanes Boosters, which helps fund all athletic teams at our school. 

The initiative, thoughtfulness and follow-through displayed by Benjy, Evan and Rhett makes our Acalanes Community (which CANNOT be cancelled) proud.  It also once again supports the notion that, in the face of adversity, DONS SHOW UP.  

Great job guys!   Go Dons!

If you wish to contribute, please follow the link below:

Congrats to Our Seniors: It’s Kick Off Time!

Congrats to Our Seniors: It’s Kick Off Time!

Are You Ready For Some Football Graduation?  

We know you are Football Seniors! You leave your mark as  2019 DAL LEAGUE CHAMPIONS on the Acalanes Field Forever!

It is time for you to tackle new goals, new dreams and new victories!

Dear Seniors, You are in the process of finishing a course you began years ago when your parents enrolled you in kindergarten to begin your educational journey.  Your journey has included growth in many areas.  The academic challenges met, the social skills developed, and the physical growth seen, are all a part of the bigger picture of the educational process.


You participated in Acalanes football  for a variety of reasons.  You may have loved the challenge.  It could be you liked the camaraderie of being on a champion team.  Perhaps you were highly skilled and received a lot of recognition for your efforts.  Maybe being on a team was just fun and thrilling, but whatever the case, you participated and were subject to learning all of the discipline and principles that being involved in football teaches. Football is more than just a game; it teaches lessons that the players carry with them long after they’ve hung up their cleats. Teamwork, discipline, perseverance, goal-setting, time management, selflessness, motivation, handling success and moving on from failure top the long list of lessons. Acalanes football also gives each athlete special memories, lifelong friends and coaches who truly care about each one of you.


As a graduating senior athlete, you have been challenged to set your goals high, stretch yourself, and to be industrious in all that you do.  You have also been taught that football  is a preparation for life and what you learn from being on a team is a microcosm of life.  The things your coaches taught you about life are about to begin making sense.  You will soon see what they meant, and you will be grateful.


Acalanes football has  played an important role in your educational process. Coaches, teachers, and parents have finished their task of training you.  Take what you have learned from all of them and make a smooth transition into “the rest of your life”.  We wish you the best! Your football family will be cheering for you!

-Dons Love from Your Acalanes Football Family

Once a Don, Always a Don!

Good Luck Dons of 2020!

Rolling out the ‘Blue’ Carpet to Welcome the 2020 Frosh Football Dons to AHS!

Rolling out the ‘Blue’ Carpet to Welcome the 2020 Frosh Football Dons to AHS!

Question: Do you know what the worst part of football is? Answer: When the season ends!

Freshman Brothers 2019

Welcome to Acalanes Football! I am Jane, your Football Booster Rep for Acalanes Sports Boosters and a proud Football parent! And if your son is kicking off with Acalanes Football as a freshman…HE IS GOING TO LOVE IT !

HEY-HEY-HABAS! Andrew Habas -2019 Coach’s Player Award winner

Freshman football and high school athletics, in general, are a huge benefit to anyone willing to give them a try. Football creates a special bond. This is because it’s a sport where you cannot hide. You might be doing great until a play knocks you down. As a football player, you don’t get up alone you have your team with you.  They know what it feels like to get knocked down, because it has happened to them.  This mutual understanding builds a bond like no other.  This bond leads to accountability to each other as a team.

Football is the ultimate team sport. To win, you need all the parts and pieces to work together. There is definitely no I in team. Every single position in football is important. Every single one, from the center, to the kicker, to the offensive line. If the ball is not snapped correctly, the quarterback will not get it. If the offensive line doesn’t hold its blocks, our quarterback will be sacked, which means he can’t hand the ball to the running back or pass it to the wide receiver for the touchdown. Eleven different people must be working toward a common goal, each doing their part to the best of their ability.

Together we fight! Together we win!

The one big benefit of playing freshman football is the friendships made in the summer before school even starts. Just a few weeks with your new teammates will cement friendships that will make that first day of walking on campus even better than it would be otherwise. All incoming freshmen are nervous and unsure of themselves, but football kids have an extra 40+ friends from the team walking onto the AHS campus with them.

The 2019 Diablo Athletic League Co-Champions

Question: Are You a Mom That is Worried About Your Son Playing Frosh Football? Answer: No need for that! You are in great hands with a stellar coaching staff!

We are not ‘cougars’…WE ARE PROUD DON MOMS!

My oldest son was a freshman last year. When he expressed a desire to play football, absolutely I was a tad freaked out. But that did not last long. As a tackle football mom virgin, there was a great deal I didn’t know about the religion that is high school football. Floyd Burnsed is amazing football leader along with JV Coach Greg Young and Frosh Coach Bill Hansen. Safety and the well being of each player is the #1 concern for all the coaching staff at Acalanes. They spend countless months, days, and hours on the field and off, helping our children to become the best they can be. The coaching staff gives the teams direction and motivation to help them reach their goals. They have a plan, they are organized and they find a way to encourage the team to believe and work together. Fact: AHS Sport with my most concussions last year was NOT football. The bottom line is the benefits far outweigh the risks in football. Safety #1!

With Frosh Coach Bill Hansen and the coaching staff, your freshman son is in good hands! The boys on the Frosh team will be more than teammates. They will be brothers!  Games are exciting and the boys will grow right in front of their proud parents cheering them on in the stands. I have so many GREAT freshman football memories that still bring tears to my eyes. Here are my top 5:

1.The First Touchdown of the season! Boy! This is exhilarating for the players and the parents! Actually, I have two #1 favorites. Toby’s first touchdown too. Toby came to play in Game 4 of the season for his first game as a Don… First kick of the game is kicked directly to Toby and he scored a touchdown on the kick return within 5 seconds. Spectacular!

2. When the Frosh team wears their pads for the first time. It’s a big! It’s cool! They are so proud to be a Don and wear that uniform with the pads! Every Dons football player is proud to wear blue!

3. That single moment you watch your son make his first tackle or sack the QB or an interception or score a DONS TD . The announcer says your kid’s name on the sound system for all to hear…then your son turns to the stands with his smiling eyes, they meet your eyes from up in the stands. Chills! Every Dons football parent is proud to wear blue!

4. Hard-working boys. Come August…they have learned that if you want something in life, you have to work hard to get it. Wins don’t come easy. You have to shed sweat and tears. (Oh yeah moms- get ready because hard work smells, your son and his uniform!)

5. The parents. Cheering and screaming for every Don the field! It is a special group and a great way to start the school year. When the season is over, it is seriously a downer to not be with your football family.

Any questions about Sports Boosters, please give me a call 760 777-3430 or email me, GO DONS!

Jane E. Smith – PROUD DON MOM & Parent Football Rep 2020-21

Learn more about Acalanes Football and the Touchdown Club on the link below

Welcome to the Family!

2020 Booster Bash Postponed

2020 Booster Bash Postponed

Hello Dons – first of all, we wish good health and safety to the entire community during these uncertain times.  The 2020 Booster Bash has been postponed to a date to be determined. The Boosters are dedicated to supporting Acalanes athletics throughout this crisis, and while nobody is sure when our kids will be back on campus, we are planning to hold an event for the Dons community in the Fall.  In the meantime, look for additional communication about an online fundraising opportunity before the end of the academic year. Stay strong Dons!

Faster than a speeding bullet, more powerful than a locomotive, able to leap into bases at a single bound…Frosh Dons WIN, 5-4

Faster than a speeding bullet, more powerful than a locomotive, able to leap into bases at a single bound…Frosh Dons WIN, 5-4

There is nothing as sweet as a comeback, when you are down and out, about to lose, and out of time…

The Freshman Baseball team traveled to Pleasanton to play Foothill High School on Wednesday evening with parents in the stands cheering on the Falcons and Dons.

Dons took their first ups and could not get on base. The Falcons did find their way to the bases, scoring 3 runs in the first inning.  Miller Smith tried to get the party started for the Dons in second inning with a deep hit to left field and Ellis Burger took a walk to first base, yet the Dons could not bring it home.   The Falcons  put another run up  on the scoreboard to to make it 4 to 0 in the third inning. 

In the fourth inning,  Kyle Bielawski made it to first base as the short stop juggled the ball, followed by Smith with a full count took a walk to first base. Colin Norstad moved the runners around to second and third with a hit to the pitcher.    With two outs, Tyler ‘Worth a Ton’ Worthington hits a bomber to center for a single and score two for the Dons.  

In fifth inning, Andrew Habas is at the plate and sends it to center for a single.  Jospeh Castelli  had a hard hit to the short stop for an out and moves Habas to second base. Bielawski next up hits in long into the left field for a double and scoring Habas. The Dons were now behind by one run, Falcons 4 and Dons 3. 

Heading into the seventh inning, the Falcons strutted out on the field to get three quick outs, collect a win, wash their hands and head home for dinner. Well, that did not happen. There is nothing as sweet as a comeback, when you are down and out, about to lose, and out of time…

You are much stronger than you think and what you imagine. – Superman

Nikko Woodson smacks the ball between third base and short stop…Mason Michlitsch hits to the pitcher to move Woodson to second. Habas  back in the batter’s box, hits it the short stop and slide dives  into first base  like Superman (Side note: I wish we had a video clip because it was over the top, amazing…back to the story)…SAFE…and Woodson on third.   Habas took the opportunity to steal second, with the next batter striking out. It is now two outs, Bielawski is back with bat in hand, hits the ball deep to the center…Woodson scores….Habas rounds third with the ball coming in hard for him at home…once again, Habas Superman dives to home plate, dust all around and the umpire calls it …SAFE!  The Dons take the lead 5 to 4.   The Falcons had their last bats with three up and three down. The Dons strutted off  the field, collected their win, washed their hands and headed to In-n-Out for dinner.

Three Dons pitched for the win for Acalanes. Mason Michlitsch led things off on the hill for Dons.  Kyle Bielawski entered the game in the second inning and pitched for four innings with one strikeout and only one run scored.  Miller Smith took over in sixth inning to close the game and gave only one hit to the Falcons.  The Dons didn’t commit a single error in the field.  So cool!

Hit Summary for the Day: Nikko Woodson (2), Mason Michlitsch (2) Andrew Habas (2) Kyle Bielawski (1) Miller Smith (1)  Tyler Worthington (1) 

RBI Summary for the Day:  Kyle Bielawski (3)  Tyler Worthington (2) 

Superman Dives of the Day: Andrew Habas (2)