Varsity Football: Fear the BLUE and LOVE the BLUE

Varsity Football: Fear the BLUE and LOVE the BLUE

The Acalanes Varsity Football team wrapped up their season on Saturday Night vs. California High School. If you like nail biter, high intensity, football games, then this was your game! You would not have been disappointed! Not only was this the final game of the season an intense one, it was also Senior Night! Acalanes celebrated our senior players, cheerleaders, broadcasters and equipment managers, and this ceremony was terrific. This game started out with excitement and boy did it end with excitement.

Thank you Drew-Good luck in Oregon

One of the Seniors who was recognized was Team Manager, Drew Lashinsky – I just wanted to take moment to point out how much Drew means to this team! He covers everything from field needs from footballs to organizing the video equipment (which is not easy feat) and everything in between. Drew is a key player on the Varsity team. Thanks for all you have done for the Football Program Drew!

Cortessis in action

After the pre-game ceremony – things got underway – Cal High won the toss and elected to kickoff to the home team. After a touchback on the kickoff, the Dons offense, lead by Senior Quarterback Brady Huchingson, took the field/ The Dons first possession looked really good – quick short passes and runs kept the chains moving… then on a fourth and short the Dons did not covert, and California got the ball near midfield. They were able to move the ball down field and scored the games first points with a short pass for a touchdown, and then converted the extra point. 7-0 Cal High.

Cal Grizzly gets caught in a ‘Don trap’

When the Dons offense got their second touch of the game they were able to penetrate further into Cal’s side of the field, but again the drive stalled and they were left with 4th and long, so Coach Burnsed decided to try for a 30 yard field goal, which normally at the high school level is a large ask of your kicker, but not for Acalanes Senior, Hunter Ridley! Ridley was able to split the uprights with plenty of leg to get the Don’s on the board, 3-7.

Dons Defense lead by Joey Carrillo (MaxPreps Defensive Player of the Game)

The Dons defense was again lead by Senior Joey Carrillo, who recorded 4 solo and 5 assisted tackles and a sack, and Senior Graham Oh, who had 5 solo and 6 assists. The entire defensive unit played with a high level of intensity all game, with 14 different players recording a tackle and 7 players recording a tackle for a loss of yards! The entire unit was swarming to the ball on every play through the last second on the clock. Senior Linebacker Niko Cortessis, who is the last of 7 different Cortessis family members to wear a Dons uniform, brought an extremely high level of energy to the contest and was a motivating example the all the other players all night! They came up with a turnover on Cal High’s next possession, when James Gunn stepped in front of a pass for an interception, and the Dons offense was able to re-take the field. The Dons offensive coordinator, aka Coach Blue mixed up his game plan all evening and did his best to keep Cal High’s defense guessing on every play. Brady Huchingson connected with multiple receivers, and ended up 21 of 42 pass attempts for 288 yards through the air! Senior Wide out Sam Hayman made a couple of clutch catches to keep drives alive.

Brady Huchingson looking for his options

The Dons found themselves with a 4th down on the 14 yard line,still down 7-3, so they brought the kicking unit out for another field goal attempt. Special Teams coach Mark Vincenzio noticed that the Cal High defense rushed everyone in an attempt to block the first field goal the Dons made, so with that insight, he had a trick up his sleeve and served up a flawless fake. Getting ready to kick, Quarterback Brady Huchingson pulled the ball up and hit Junior Wide Receiver Evan Malmquist in the end zone for a touchdown, the Grizzlies did not know what happen. But the Dons were making it happen with the score of 9-7 for the Dons.

Faster than a speeding bullet, it’s not Superman-it’s Evan Malmquist

The Dons Defense had some trouble stopping Cal High and they marched right down the field and scored the go ahead touchdown right before halftime giving the Grizzlies the lead Cal 14 -Acalanes 9.

Here come the Dons!

The Don’s offense racked up 452 all purpose yards during the game and held the advantage in the time of possession. The Defense, on the other hand limited Cal High to only 254 yards! The Dons defense stuffed Cal High on their first possession of the 2nd half, and when the Dons got the ball back they immediately matriculated the ball down the field, and capped off a nice drive with a spectacular catch by Evan Malmquist in the back of the end zone for his second touchdown of the game, moving the Dons ahead of the Grizzlies, 16-14. For a good as the Dons defense played, Cal High kept coming back… they were able to score another touchdown on their next possession, 21 Cal to 16 Acalanes.

Senior Nic Rossi a true Don

When Acalanes got the ball back they mixed things up, Senior Tailback Nic Rossi carried much of the load, pounding the ball down the field. Rossi had 20 rush attempts on the night for 63 yards. Brady then hit Junior Wide Receiver, Dante Mongomery in the end zone for the go ahead score , 22 to 21. -After the ensuing kickoff / touchback, Cal High had the ball on the 20 yard line with less than 2 minutes to go. The Grizzlies were able to drive down to about the Acalanes 25 yard line and lined up for a field goal attempt with two seconds on the clock (repeat two seconds) . The kick was up,plenty of distance but slide wide left….Acalanes holds on for the WIN!

Once a Don, Always a Don- Congrats class of 2021

What a great way for this team to finish the season! Special thanks to all the coaches, players and parents, who made this short season happen. Congratulations to the entire team for a great season!

Stay tuned because next season starts in about 7 weeks and first game in 122 days!


JV Dons: Unbowed, Unbent, Unbeaten

JV Dons: Unbowed, Unbent, Unbeaten

It was short, but oh so sweet for the JV Dons, as they finished their Spring Football season with a perfect record of 6-0 after a convincing 15-0 win over a tough California team. The defense was lights out on the day as the Grizzlies were held to only 41 total yards, and the offense only needed two big plays to secure the win.

Miller Time for a Grizzly fumble

Acalanes started off with the ball, and after two running plays got the Dons to 3rd and short, a dropped pass forced a 4th down punt. Once on the field, the Dons D started exerting their will immediately. On 1st down, LBs Nathan Bennett and George Churchill combined with FS Max Thomas to stop the Grizzly RB for a short 2-yard gain. On 2nd, LB Ben Foox tracked down a swing pass for a 4-yard loss making it 3rd and a long 12. On 3rd, Nathan tipped a quick slant that was caught by the WR who was taken down immediately by LB Miller Smith and Max before he could gain a yard. Now it was 4th down and the Grizzlies needed to punt. Standing back at his own 20 was CB Ellis Burger, about to put on a show…

The punt carried long and deep, and Ellis tried to catch it high on his chest. The ball bounced off of his shoulder pads and rolled all the way back to the Acalanes 9-yard line. Scrambling back to pick up the ball, Ellis turned to see several Grizzlies bearing down on him. With a quick move to the right, he avoided the first two and sprinted across the field toward the right sideline. As he approached the edge of the field, a Grizzly player sped to cut him only to be pancaked with a crushing block by CB Mason Michlitsch. Turning the corner, Ellis cut past a fourth Grizzly that was screened off by Miller. Now that he had the corner, Ellis turned on the jets and out-ran two more Grizzlies up the sideline. There was only one more man to beat and Ellis gave him a quick stiff-arm and he was gone… 91 yards later they were celebrating in the end zone, and K Zach Murdin (cast and all), completed the play with a perfect extra point. Dons 7, Grizzlies 0.

WHATTABurger-91 Yard Punt Return TD

The rest of the half was relatively quiet, with a handful of first downs for the Dons and a couple of turnovers. California threatened to score late in the second quarter, but DE Marcus Julian and LB Nathan Bennett’s pressure forced a hurried throw on 4th down that was batted away by CB Ethan Torres.

The second half started with California going to the air more often after failing to run against the stout Dons defense, but the DBs, Ethan, Ellis, Max, Coco, Mason and Grant Eubanks, proved to be just as tough, and the Grizzlies went nowhere. Once Acalanes got the ball back, the Dons started to punish the Grizzlies with the ground game, Kyle Bielawski ran the QB draw for 9 yards. Foox ran again for another 2 and a 1st down. A dropped pass and a 1-yard loss brought up 3rd and 11, but a quick screen to WR Jake Takeuchi let him to showcase his YAC to give the Dons a short 4th and 1. The big boys of the heavy formation came in (Zach Robb, Nathan Kim, Justin Zegarowski, Victor Nicolacakis, Marcus Julian, George Churchill, Tyler Worthington, and Miller Smith), to create some space, and RB Ben Foox did the rest, with a great second effort to secure the first down. After another incomplete pass, the Dons went back to the run with the O-line opening up a big hole for Kyle on the QB Draw. After blasting through the Grizzly line, Kyle bounced outside and outran the Grizzly DBs all the way down the sideline for a 46-yard TD. Once again coaches called on the heavy formation but this time, they ran the RPO with Kyle finding Tyler Worthington in the end zone for the successful two-point conversion. The score was now Acalanes 15, and California 0.

KB1-46 Yards to the House!

All that was left for the Dons was to preserve the shut out, and that they did. The defense was outstanding all day and didn’t allow the Grizzlies any space to even breathe. Top tacklers included LB George Churchill with 3 solo, 5 assists, 1 TFL and .5 sack; LB Ben Foox with 3 solo, 2 assists, 2 TFLs and 1.5 sacks; and Coco Gannon with 3 solo and 2 TFL.

What an amazing season and an amazing team. Ten months of practice and it all came together in a magically perfect 6-0 season. Everyone associated with this team and this season, from the coaches and the players to the parents and parent volunteers, should be incredibly proud of what our boys have accomplished in this, such a trying season. Special thanks to Jen Bielawski and Jane Smith for all their work with “Let them Play” rallies and communications which were critical in getting the season started. So much to remember, but the one point win at Campolindo, the 15 player win at Miramonte (including NBen’s 90 yard pick six), and the three defensive shut outs at home definitely stand out.

These football years are precious and while we have two more years of varsity to look forward to, there will never be a year quite like this undefeated 2021 Spring JV League Championship!

Every single player competed their hearts out and got better this year thanks to our incredible coaching staff Greg Young, Randy Henderson, Bill Fraser, and Rob Combi. While it was a true team effort all year, we honored some of the standouts with the following awards at our end of season celebration.

Rookie of the Year: Ellis Burger

Most Improved: Zach Robb

MVP Offense: Marcus Julian

MVP Defense: Miller Smith

Dons Award: Max Thomas

Coaches Award: Ben Foox

Most Inspirational: Tyler Worthington

Sorry to see this season end, but the good news is only six weeks until Summer Football and a real Fall Season!

Spring Football Ends with Proud Varsity Players, Undefeated JV team and Freshmen who are Proud to be a DON

Spring Football Ends with Proud Varsity Players, Undefeated JV team and Freshmen who are Proud to be a DON

This football season which came to an end Saturday was an experience unlike any other, short, intense and wonderful. And the Dons will be back at it in a few weeks followed by their first FALL SEASON Football game in four months

VARSITY: Div.3 Acalanes beat Div.1 Cal High 23-22. Record 5-1. Looking good for next year!

JV: Beat Cal High 14 to 0, Finishing the season undefeated, Record 6-0

Frosh: Lost to the Grizzlies, 14-22 ending the season with a record of 4-2

Game Recaps to come soon in Acalanes Boosters News

Thank you Acalanes Football Coaches for Spring Football 2021

Thank you Acalanes Football Coaches for Spring Football 2021
The players trust Coach Burnsed and he believes in them.

Acalanes football has always been about building a solid foundation for a young person’s life, based on principles and experiences that can only be taught through the game. It’s about cultivating genuine relationships between players, coaches and a community of fans and that is what Coach Floyd Burnsed and all the Acalanes football coaches do so very well, especially in this zoom school-crazy no sports-covid world-Spring Football season. 

Coach Floyd Bunsed-Varsity Team

But this school year started out as covid guided our lives, classrooms were quiet, hallways vacant, our football bleachers sat empty and the excitement of Friday Night Lights were put on hold as our community missed the Dons on our football field. Yet in March that all changed, (and changed quickly), football and sports were back. Coach Burnsed and his coaching staff went full throttle to get over 120 football players ready to play within weeks!

This year more than any other year before, Floyd has modeled the true dedication and heart it takes to be a head coach. He’s given tirelessly of his time and energy to get us our season and to help the boys be ready when the time came. He’s taught them that hard work, dedication and perseverance pays off. We are so very grateful for his leadership and commitment to the Dons. Thank you, Floyd!!!  Huchingson Family

The Oh family is very thankful for the leadership of Coach Burnsed, Coach Ortega, Coach Blue, Coach Ingham, and Coach Hansen. They create a phenomenal team spirit, and drive for success. Graham has grown as a leader under their guidance. And a special shout out to Coach Hansen who has also mentored Graham in Finance, which will be his college major.

What a joy it has been being a part of this program led by Floyd  Burnsed! Our son Joey has really blossomed under Floyd’s leadership. He created a true family atmosphere that made the players feel safe, important, and valued. Coach Ortega’s expertise has been invaluable and Coach Ingram’s passionate life lessons have been inspiring to our players. The entire coaching team has been stellar! Coach Burnsed raised the bar by bringing us our first league championship in 40 years! It’s been a tremendous experience for our whole family and are happy we can continue to be a part of the winning culture that is the Acalanes Dons! Carrillo Family

Floyd Burnsed walks with respect among our players.  Thank you Floyd for being a great role model of strength, kindness, integrity for our boys and for teaching them how to be men of good character.  I am grateful to you that Jeremy has been influenced by you in his life.   Pearson Family

Coach Greg Young-JV Team

In September, Coach Young  (JV Head Coach) was asked about covid and football:   I believe they’ll never take their high school sport or high school for granted. Our J.V. team is really working hard and driven to improve and succeed.  In small part it’s maturity, just due to this time in their lives.  In my heart, I think the maturity comes from the fact that they’ve lost so much, over the last six months, they’ll never take anything for granted. For most of them, they’ve lost one-fourth of their sports careers. Going forward, they’ll work hard not only for themselves, but for each other.   Fast forward to right now, as he leads an undefeated JV football team with beating Miramonte last week with only 14 players (due to covid quarantine of nine players, no players tested positive). This quote is reality of the JV team today, a reflection of the JV season with the leadership and drive of the Coach Young and the JV coaches.

Coach Bill Hansen- Frosh Team

And if you thought coaching high school football was all about Xs and Os, blocking, tackling and scoring touchdowns, well that is just part of the program. Freshman football is where it all starts, making sure these kids begin to learn something about what it means to be young men, while playing football. Coach Bill Hansen wants the Freshmen players to remember something about the year besides the final scores, the big plays…and that is friendships in brotherhood. Coach Hansen does this every year with the Frosh players. He is truly a benefit to the Acalanes football program and all the new football Dons.


Our Acalanes Coaching Staff
Floyd BurnsedVarsity Head Coach/Offensive Coordinator/QBAcalanes Dons Varsity
David OrtegaDefensive Coordinator/LinebackersAcalanes Dons Varsity
Joel IsaacAssistant OC/Offensive LineAcalanes Dons Varsity
Mark VicencioWide Receivers/Special Teams CoordinatorAcalanes Dons Varsity
Roman HawthorneDefensive Back CoachAcalanes Dons Varsity
Tim SilveiraDefensive Back CoachAcalanes Dons Varsity
DJ OrtegaLinebackersAcalanes Dons Varsity
Bryce HawthorneRunning Back CoachAcalanes Dons Varsity
Doug InghamDefensive Line CoachAcalanes Dons Varsity
Greg YoungJV Head Coach/Line CoachAcalanes Dons JV
Randy HendersonOffensive Coordinator/QBAcalanes Dons JV
Bill FraserDefensive Coordinator/Receivers/Defensive BacksAcalanes Dons JV
Rob CombiAssistant CoachAcalanes Dons JV
Bill HansenFreshman Head Coach/Defensive CoordinatorAcalanes Dons Freshman
Buddy RowellOffensive Coordinator/QBAcalanes Dons Freshman
Andy OrearLine CoachAcalanes Dons Freshman
Jesse StewartWide Receivers/Defensive Backs/Assistant OCAcalanes Dons Freshman

Varsity Football: BLUE–tiful Night in Orinda, Dons 40-Mats 0

Varsity Football: BLUE–tiful Night in Orinda, Dons 40-Mats 0

The Varsity Don’s Football Team had a Home Game vs. Miramonte on Saturday, which ended up being an away game due to an electrical malfunction at Acalanes High School. Well, there was no malfunction on the part of the Football team. Home or away, it did not matter. They drove up to Miramonte and got the job done! Final score 40-0.

Brady Huchingson in action, passing 179 yards for the night

It was interesting seeing the home blue jerseys at an away game, and it is always interesting talking to Coach Burnsed about coaching against his alma mater. He coached at Miramonte in the 80s.. He was awarded “Coach of the Year” in 1983 as the Matador’s Head football coach. Burnsed was inducted into the Miramonte Athletic Hall of Fame in 2018. In fact many of his current players fathers were either on one of his old teams, or they played against him! Before the game started the Acalanes players were all leaning on a piece of equipment, that looked like it had been there for a while, when Coach Burnsed walked up he told the story of raising the money to buy that equipment while he was the coach at Miramonte – We are super fortunate to have Coach Burnsed at Acalanes!

The Dons DON-inated from start to finish. The Dons won the coin toss and elected to Kickoff to the Mats to get things started. Hunter Ridley put the ball in the end zone for a touchback and our defense took the field. The Dons defense, lead by Defensive Coach Dan Ortega showed how things dominating this unit can be and shut down Miramonte’s offense on their opening drive and the were forced to punt. The Dons offense took the field, lead by Senior Quarterback Brady Hutchinson, who was 8 of 13 on the day for 179 yards. After running a few plays to get settled, Brady dropped back to pass and hit Junior Wide Out, Dante Montgomery for a 49 yard touchdown pass!

The other weapons on the Acalanes offense were yet to be used. Senior Tailback Nic Rossi ran the ball extremely well, including a punishing run that brought the Dons back to the goal line, and on the very next play there was a fumble that rolled into the end zone. Always alert Sophomore Linemen, Tyler Murphy, jumped on the loose ball for his first touchdown! Always exciting when the big men get a chance to score! Just like that the score was 13-0 Dons. Brady scrambled late in the 2nd quarter for another touchdown, making the score was 19 – 0 at halftime.

Offense line holds tight against the Mats

The Mats were winning in time of possession, holding the ball for 30 of the 48 minute contest. Unfortunately for the Mats, they were not able to get the ball across the goal line. The Dons first team offense started the first drive on the second quarter and Brady connected with Junior Slot Back, Evan Malmquist, for a 28 yard touchdown across the middle of the Mats defense. With the score 25-0, the Dons were able to get the backup players into the rotation for the rest of the game. Junior Quarterback, Luke Souza, ran the offense the rest of the match, connecting on both of his pass attempts including one to Junior Wide Receiver, Will Berrien, for a 12 yard touchdown! Souza has seen limited action this season at quarterback, but picked up right where he left off as a JV starter leading the team. The next time the Dons got the ball they kept it on the ground and Junior Tailback, Evan Malmquist got his second touchdown of the game with a slick run down the visiting sidelines for a 39 yard touchdown! 

Will Berrien (WR) carried the ball for 108 yards and one TD for the night

The defensive coaching staff should be commended for the schemes they threw at Miramonte’s offense all evening. They completely kept them off balance and guessing, limiting them 107 total yards of offense. The Dons defensive unit is exceptional – Lead by Senior Defensive End, Joey Carrillo, who had 8 solo tackles, 6 of them for a loss of yards, 3 assisted tackles, 1 sack and a blocked punt! Joey will be attending UC Davis in the fall and playing Football for the Aggies, I am sure he will have similar success at the collegiate level! Senior Defensive linemen, Jakob Ross, also had an exceptional night recording 7 tackles! Jakob faced off against his cousin, Sam Ross for the Mats, and I am sure it will be enjoyable for him at the holidays to discuss the game with his cousin in the years to come. All in all, it was a great night for the Don’s defensive unit! 21 different players recorded a tackle, 6 different players had tackles for a loss of yards!

Donovan Aris-Dumas making sure Matadors did not get near the end zone

The Dons play their final game this Saturday at home vs. California High School to close out the 2021 Spring Football season. Senior Night Starts at 6:30pm and Kickoff is scheduled for 7:00 pm. You can stream the game live and cheer from your couch because we always CHEER FOR THE DONS!

Frosh Football: Dons vs Dons

Frosh Football: Dons vs Dons

The Acalanes Dons Freshman Football team took their undefeated record down to the Dons of Amador Valley on Saturday, unfortunately, they left that record there. Coming up short in a 22-20 loss.

The Freshman Team came out fast on Saturday, which is what they have done all season! Quarterback Jake Boselli hit Wide Receiver Paul Kuhner for a 38 yard Touchdown on their first possession, the 2 point conversion was successful! With only 3 minutes taken off the clock the Acalanes Don’s were up 8-0. Amador Valley, who’s mascot is also a Don, then took the remainder of the 1st Quarter to run down the field for their own touchdown and 2 point conversion. 8-8.

The time of possession became critically important in the contest. Acalanes Freshman Dons struck fast (they are not a grind the clock type offense team) where the Dons of Amador Valley like to use that clock. Quarterback Jake Boselli was 4 of 8 passing for 81 yards and a touchdown, and alternate quarterback Sully Bailey went 1 for 2 passing for 41 yards and a touchdown. Bailey came in on the Dons second possession and hit Wide Receiver, Ace Reeder, in stride for a 41 yard touchdown! The ensuing 2 point conversion attempt failed. and that was the difference in the ball game.

Right before Halftime, Ace Reeder stepped in front of a pass Amador Valley pass attempt for an interception that he returned 87 yards for a pick 6! That 2 point conversion also failed, which again was the difference. .

Scoreboard at halftime was 20-8 for Acalanes. The Acalanes Dons were confident going into the 3rd quarter, problem was by the time they got the ball, there was only about 1:20 seconds left in the quarter. Amador Valley took the entire 3rd quarter to score a touchdown, they held the ball for 30 of the 40 minute contest. It is hard to score when you don’t have the ball. I was not a fan of the Amador Valley game plan either, one of their players made up 65% of their offense, and another player made up the remainder. Everyone else was their to support them, I guess.

At the end of the 3rd quarter the score was Acalanes 20  and Amador Valley 16. When our side finally got the ball back, we started a drive and then faced a 4th down play that we did not covert. Amador Valley took the ball back, and they ground down the clock with a go ahead touchdown, 22-20 for the Dons of Amador Valley. With 2 minutes remaining in the game, no problem with our high powered strike fast offense, we can get things done quickly. On the first play of the drive Quarterback Jake Boselli dropped back to pass, yet he had to scramble to avoid some pressure, and was about to throw a deep ball to a wide open Acalanes Receiver, when an Amador Valley player knocked the ball out of his hand and recovered the fumble. Amador Valley ball again, and then the Dons of AV took a knee to run out the clock…game over… heart breaker for our Dons.

From a defensive perspective the team played great. Outside Linebacker Jack Giorgianni had a monster game with 7 solo tackles, 3 assists, including 3 tackles for a loss of yards! Inside Linebacker Gavin Bender recorded 5 solo and 7 assisted tackles, while Defensive Back Mason Zirkel had a great outing with 4 solo and 5 assisted tackles. The Acalanes defense is a very disciplined squad and did not record a single penalty during this game.

The Freshman Dons are back in action for their final game of the season on Saturday, at home vs. California High School – Kickoff is scheduled for 1:00 pm

SENIOR NIGHT: Varsity Football Celebrates Our Seniors On Saturday at 6:30pm

SENIOR NIGHT: Varsity Football Celebrates Our Seniors On Saturday at 6:30pm

The world promptly changed from the way we do school, sports, work and living.  2020 and 2021 has taught us that we cannot always be in control and that we must be willing to adapt. One thing we can control is our attitude and how we choose to approach life. An optimistic attitude was critical and necessary for 2020 and 2021. An optimistic attitude pushes us forward, encourages us, and helps us overcome obstacles. A positive frame of mind increases our motivation to succeed. It motivates us to think creatively and therefore achieve more than we ever expected. We have witness this within our Acalanes football coaches. No games in 2020, but the Dons Football had 100% team effort, team spirit and team drive every step of the way and Hooray! for Spring Football!  For the past months, our football coaches kept our Dons motivated with creativity, gusto and always steadfast (insert standing obviation here) What role models for our sons! What leaders! Acalanes Parents are grateful for our Dons football program!

Our Senior Dons  has demonstrated resilience, tenacity, and determination navigating this extremely tough school year and brought those skills to the football field. It was not a typical or ideal senior year, but our Seniors Dons will be able to end the season on a high note, spending their final game on the Acalanes field with their coaches, friends and family.

Our Acalanes Football family is proud of all our Senior Dons. It has always been a pleasure to see you thrive on the football field from the young years of MOL football to participating in our Dons Summer Youth Football Academy to your first Freshman football game to being crowned the 2019 Diablo Athletic League Champions and coming together for Spring Football 2021.  

Senior night ceremonies celebrate the four years of being a part of the Acalanes football program, Saturday, April 17 at 6:30pm.  Join in from home on sportsscope in a pre-game ceremony to celebrate our Senior Dons.

Sportsscope Link: Sportscope Live

Saturday Football Schedule 1pm Frosh Game 4pm JV Game 630pm Senior Night 7pm Varsity Game

We all wish Our Don Seniors to keep progressing in your field of life with your kindness, hard work, passion and dedication.

JV Dons Football, What is your Profession?

JV Dons Football, What is your Profession?

Miramonte may have thought the Acalanes JV Dons only brought 14 players to their clash last Saturday afternoon at Miramonte, but what they didn’t know is that the Dons brought more soldiers to the field that day. Down eight starters because of a school district close contact ruling, the Dons banded together and beat the odds to prevail over a full squad of 30 Matadors, 14-6.

Not only were the Dons down to 14 players, but they had many playing in positions that they had never played before, including QB Mason Michlitsch, Center Tyler Worthington, CB Nathan Bennett, FS Grant Eubanks, P Ben Foox, and MLBs Max Thomas and Nathan Kim. The one saving grace for the Dons was the stability of the offensive and defensive lines, with Tyler the only new addition at Center. To the casual fan, it is hard to see or appreciate the work of the boys in the trenches, but like a finely tuned sports car, it’s the O-line engine that makes the offense go. The Dons’ engine of Marcus Julian, Victor Nicolacakis, Tyler Worthington, Nathan Kim, and Zach Robb, did what they’ve done over the past two weeks, move bodies and open holes, even though the Mats knew the Dons were going to run the ball. If the O-line was the engine, RB Ben Foox was the wheels, spinning and churning through the Miramonte defense for 34 yards, a TD, and a 2-point conversion.

RB Ben Foox ‘Wheels’ through the Mats Defense

But it took more than muscle to keep this car on the road, first time QB Mason Michlitsch was a steady hand steering the offense. Keeping the Dons moving forward despite a couple of fumbles causing some bumps in the road.

QB Mason Michlitsch keeps the Dons offense steady

On the other side of the ball, the Don’s defense was no less critical on Saturday, holding Miramonte to only 6 points, with 13 different Dons having at least one tackle, 4 with TFLs, two sacks (Zach Robb and Ben Foox) and two interceptions (Mason Michlitsch and Nathan Bennett). Leading tacklers included LB Max Thomas with 6 solo/4 assists, Mason Michlitsch with 3 solo/3 assists, and Tyler Worthington with 3 solo/2 assists.

DT Connor Spellman takes down the Mats RB

The game started with the return of Zach Murdin to kicking duties, coming back to help the short-handed Dons with a cast on his broken hand. Starting on the 30, the Mats tried to run right and were stymied for no gain by LB Nathan Kim. They tried running again on 2nd only to be stopped after 2 yards by Conner Spellman & Tyler Worthington. On 3rd and 8, Miramonte tried to go to the air, but pressure by DE Marcus Julian caused a floated pass that was easily knocked down by CB Nathan Bennett to force the Mats to punt the ball to Acalanes. The new Dons offense started quickly with an inside run gaining 8 yards on first down, but an illegal procedure penalty pushed them back and they were unable to get a first down so the ball went back to Miramonte. A face mask penalty (the first of several called on the day), gave the Mats a quick first down, but two short gains stopped by Conner and Max, left Miramonte with a 3rd and 4. After failing to run for a first, the Mats looked to pass but NT Zach Robb blasted through the middle to sack the Miramonte QB for a 15-yard loss and another change of possession.

NT Zach Robb takes the Miramonte QB to the ‘rack’

After receiving the ball back, the Dons were still looking for their footing on offense. A mishandled hand-off and a dropped pass resulted in a three and out, and the Dons found themselves back on the defense. After finding little early success in the run game, the Mats turned to the pass, testing the Dons DBs down the field after a short run on first. On second down, DB Grant Eubanks and LB Max Thomas shut down the Mats WRs, and on third Grant broke up another attempt to force a fourth and long. Possibly shook by how hard the depleted Dons were fighting, the Matadors committed not one but two illegal procedure penalties, which pushed them further back towards their own end zone. After they finally got a clean play, a bad snap forced the punter to scramble right into the waiting arms of Ben Foox, giving the Dons the ball deep in the red zone. The Dons wasted no time in pressing the issue, Foox ran power 36 up the middle to the one, and on the very next play, bowled over a Mat linebacker into the end zone for the first score. The heavy formation was in for the two-point conversion but came up just a few inches short, and it was Dons 6, Mats 0.

Miramonte’s next possession started like the others. Conner stopped a run for a short gain, Tyler got a sack on second, and after a short pass came up a yard short on third, Miramonte was faced with a 4th and one. The Mats weren’t going to go away quietly though, and they took a chance and managed to squeak out a first on 4th down. With the half coming close to an end, the Dons started to tire, and the next Matador ball carrier broke free for a long gain to the Acalanes 30. A questionable facemask call added 15 additional yards and now the Matadors were knocking at the door. After two short runs, the Mats QB found a receiver open in the middle and he was able to sprint into the end zone to tie the score. The Dons defense rallied on the XP attempt with Ben, Zach, Max and Marcus stoning the Mat RB at the line to keep the score a tie, 6-6, and that’s how the first half ended.

Acalanes started the second half with the ball but was unable to gain a first down. After receiving the punt, Miramonte looked to the air once again. A 20-yard pass got the Mats started, but on the very next play Tyler sacked the QB for no gain. On 2nd and 10, Miramonte benefitted from a broken play as a fumbled exchange was picked up resulting in a mad scramble and long pass which was caught one handed 30 yards down field. The Matadors now had a first and ten on the Dons 19 and looked to be in business. An illegal procedure penalty pushed the Mats back five, which they got back with a short run to make it 2nd and 10 on the 19. With their backs against the wall, and Miramonte threatening the score, the Dons needed someone to make a play, and CB Nathan Bennett was up to the challenge. The Miramonte plan was to run two WRs on slant routes to try and clear out the Dons DBs for a swing route to the RB, but Nathan was too smart for that. He sniffed out the play, broke off of covering the WR, stepped in front of the RB and was off to the races. Eighty-one yards later, he completed the pick six to put the Dons back into the lead.

81-yard Pick Six Hug

With a six-point advantage, the XP was critical to make sure that one score wouldn’t beat the Dons. Once again, they relied on the heavy formation and this time wouldn’t be denied with Ben and the rest of the line shoving the Matadors back into their own end zone to complete the two-point conversion. Dons 14, Matadors 6.

There was still a lot of time left in the game, and Miramonte wasn’t going away. After a couple of runs gained two first downs and movement into Acalanes territory, the Dons defense stiffened again. Max and Nathan Kim stopped a run for short gain. Ben and Marcus pressured the QB on 2nd and Max met the WR at the ball, ensuring the incompletion. More pressure on 3rd down from Marcus, Zach and Conner, resulted in an intentional grounding penalty and the Dons got the ball back to start the 4th quarter. Now trailing in the 4th, the Matadors were starting to get desperate. They loaded up the box with eight and nine players and began to run blitz regularly. After a six-yard run by Ellis, another Dons fumble put the onus on the defense once again. A Mats holding penalty put them into a 1st and 20 hole, and on the very next play LB Landon Best-Santos broke up a bubble screen for no gain. A completed pass for 8, resulted in a 3 and 12 for Miramonte, and the QB was starting to get some rhythm. It was up to the D to start pressing the Mat QB and press they did. Marcus and Tyler pushed the pocket back into his lap and forced an incompletion on 3rd, and now it was 4th down. Dropping back to pass again, Zach forced a quick short throw and Mason made sure the WR was stopped short, giving the ball back to the Dons. Nothing would be easy for Acalanes though, and another fumbled exchange gave the ball right back to the Mats in Don’s territory.

The war of attrition was taking its toll, and the Mats started moving the ball on the ground. Two runs of 9 and 5 yards, netted a first down, and Miramonte was getting close to tying the score. The coaches saw what was happening and quickly shifted to the four-man defensive front that had worked so well against Campolindo. With Tyler, Zach, Marcus and Conner manning the line, the Dons stuffed the next run for no gain. Left without the run option, the Mats returned to the air and paid the price with Zach and Marcus forcing a rushed pass that Mason picked off in the end zone. The ball was now back in the Don’s hands with time running short and Miramonte in desperation mode. With nine in the box to stop them, the Dons buckled down and pressed forward. A ten-yard Ben Foox burst gained a first down, but three plays later the Dons were forced to punt with a less than a minute left. A great Foox punt, rolled back to the Matador 37, and it was from there they would have their last chance. After spiking the ball on first down to stop the clock, Miramonte attempted a quick behind the line pass, which most likely would have led to another pass, but Landon would have none of it, sacking the Mat running back in the backfield to run out the clock and end the game. Final score, Dons 14, Matadors 6.

Foox carries the Rock and the O line carries the Foox

Next week last game vs California. Go Dons!

Witten by Jeff Julian, proud JV Don Parent

Frosh Dons: Who Let the ‘Dons’ Out?!! Dons 36-Bulldogs 0

Frosh Dons: Who Let the ‘Dons’ Out?!! Dons 36-Bulldogs 0

The Acalanes Freshman team travelled to Martinez to take on The Alhambra Bulldogs for the 2nd time this season and for their second win as well. This team was supposed to play Vacaville earlier in the season, but due to a Covid situation they had to cancel, and fortunately for us, Alhambra was able to fill in. In the 2 games Acalanes outscored the Dawgs 74-8…ouch!

Ben Brekke skillfully stepped in front of an Alhambra receiver for an interception, and then streaked down the sideline for a 30 yard return

The Acalanes Freshman high powered offense got things started by taking the opening kickoff and marching right down the field with ease, capping off a 60 yard drive with a punishing 9 yard run by Jack Miller for a touchdown! This Dons team can mix up the passing and running game very effectively – Quarterback Jake Boselli was 8 for 15 passing for 160 yards and 1 touchdown on the day – On the Dons next possession Boselli connected with multiple receivers, including Kiran Foster and Calvin Kortarba – then Jack Miller and Sully Bailey did the rest of the work running the ball. Miller finished off the second possession with a 35 yard sprint for his second touchdown of the contest. The offensive lineman, JD Orear, Henry Hagel, Trevor Carrillo, Brady Morrow and Chase Caicedo have done a fantastic job of giving the offense the time it needs for plays to develop, they are a large part of the reason why this team is so successful! 

No stopping the Dons.

The Dons got the ball 5 times in the first half and scored on every possession – Sully Bailey came in at quarterback and immediately connected with Wide Receiver, Henry Souza, for a 33 yard touchdown pass! The next possession, Jake Boselli had to come back in as quarterback with Sully Bailey had to come out of the game for a play with an equipment problem. Before he could resolve the problem, Boselli connected, in stride on a fly pattern, with speedster Paul Kuhner, which is no easy task considering how fast Kuhner is! The completion was good for a 56 yard touchdown! Bailey scored the final touchdown of the game on the next Alhambra possession, by catching a punt that went off the side of the punters foot and right into Sully‘s stomach, he then darted right up the middle of the field, dodging multiple potential tacklers, for a Punt Return Touchdown!

A Bulldog gets a ‘Souza Squeeze’

The Freshman Dons have a terrific defense! 16 different players made tackles in this game! Linebacker Ace Reeder lead the way with 5 solo tackles and 4 assists – including 2 tackles for a loss of yards. Sully Bailey and Jack Giorgianni both played great games. They each recorded multiple tackles, and multiple tackles for a loss of yards! Bailey also picked off a Alhambra pass for an INT – The most exciting defensive play of the game was late in the 4th quarter with Alhambra driving down the field – Cornerback Ben Brekke skillfully stepped in front of an Alhambra receiver for an interception, and then streaked down the sideline for a 30 yard return before being pushed out of bounds! That play finished off the scoring threat, and the Dons were able to run out the clock from there.

 The Freshmen are back in action next Saturday against Amador Valley Dons in Pleasanton – Kickoff scheduled for 1pm