Frosh Dons Finish Strong at 6-3

Frosh Dons Finish Strong at 6-3

From Tahoe to Alhambra

It seems like it all went so fast, yet it all started back in the Summer before the boys were even technically Acalanes Students. They have come so far in such a short period of time, thanks to great coaching and a commitment to Dons Family. The Frosh Dons ended up averaging over 100 yards per game on the ground with 12 TDs, and over 188 yards per game through the air with 24 TDs. Consistency on the line was a big factor in offensive production, with Tyler Murphy, Miller Smith, Lex Jung, Nathan Kim and Marcus Julian starting every game. Nine different players carried the ball over the course of the season, Tobias Schwing leading the way with 348 total yards and 6 TDs, on a Heisman-worthy pace of 11.6 yards a carry. RBs Ben Foox, Kaleo Feinberg and QB Kyle Bielawski also chipped in with rushing TDs over the course of the season. Eight different players caught passes over the year, including two from QB2 Luke Dulik and one from Jake Takeuchi on a WR pass. Ethan Torres was the home run king, averaging 28.13 yards per catch with a team long 74-yard TD. Theo Stoll, Andrew Habas, Jake Takeuchi and Tobias Schwing also added TD receptions in addition to Ethan. Defense developed a bit slower, but in the end 30 kids ended up with at least one solo tackle, led by Strong Safety Coco Gannon with 21. The Dons’ D also had five picks, two each by Mason Michlitsch and Andrew Habas and one by Nikko Woodson, and 27 sacks, led by Miller Smith, Tobias Schwing and Tyler Murphy with five each.

Offensive MVP: Kyle Bielawski #9

Cool Kyle Bielawski, led the offensive juggernaut this year, throwing for 1,466 yards and 24 TDs with a 61% completion percentage. Kyle also carried the ball 49 times (most on the team) for a 4.78 yard per carry average and rushed for 3 TDs. Throughout the season Kyle was a steadying influence, running the offense with efficiency and at high speed, standing tall in the pocket, hitting receivers in stride, buying time when it was needed and not being afraid to pull it and run when the opportunity arose.

Defensive MVP: Tyler Murphy #62

Tyler “Braveheart” Murphy was a disruptive force on defense, collapsing opponent’s offensive lines and making lives miserable for the visiting QBs. Tyler led or tied for the lead in fumbles recovered (2), fumbles caused (1), tackles for loss (9) and sacks (5). His tireless push moved the line of scrimmage and many times forced teams to double him, allowing the Dons’ other defenders to run free and make plays in the opponent’s backfield.

Special Teams: Theo Stoll #13

Theo “Theopedo” Stoll was a terror to opposing defenses all year. All up he scored 11 TDs, including 9 on Kick Off returns with a per game average of 35.75 and a long of 90 yards. He also led the team in punt returns averaging more than 19 yards a return with a long of 28. Every time Theo touched the ball, the crowd erupted as he juked and sped across the field leaving a myriad of defenders in his wake, rarely stopping before he hit paydirt.

Special Teams: Andrew Huchingson #2

Andrew “Clutch” Huchingson, showed amazing improvement over the course of the season. From his tentative first few kick offs and extra points, to the booming blasts of the second half of the season. Huch ended up 5 for 7 on extra points, with no opposing Kick Offs returned for TDs and two expertly executed onside kicks recovered by Acalanes.

Most Improved: Tyler Worthington #5

Tyler “Shark” Worthington may have taken a few games to find his sweet spot, but once he found it as Nose Tackle in the middle of the defense, he made up for lost time quickly. Even though he only started a little more than half the games at NT, he led the team in Fumbles Caused (2) and finished 3rd in Tackles for Loss with seven. In probably the toughest game, Tyler fought through illness to continually penetrate and disrupt the Campolindo offense, with numerous big plays to stymie the Cougars.

Coaches Award: Andrew Habas #18

Andrew “Hey Hey” Habas was electrifying from the beginning of the season all the way to the end. Whether it was returning kick offs, catching slants over the middle and taking it to the house, or snagging pick sixes while dropping into coverage, Andrew scored in pretty much every way imaginable this year. His ten total TDs was augmented by an extra point, and included the longest TD of the year, a 91 yard Kick-Off return for a TD. Unofficially he also led the team in TDs called back, including a long return in the last game of the season against Alhambra.

Our Dons Family

See you all next year!

Dons Win League Title with Win over Alhambra

Dons Win League Title with Win over Alhambra

In front of a packed Senior Night stadium at Acalanes, the Dons rolled to a 56-7 victory over Alhambra, finishing league play with a 3-1 record and most importantly a share (with Campolindo and Las Lomas) of the league title – the Dons first football title in 40 years!  It was a particularly special night for the team’s seniors, who began playing in the Dons program as freshmen when Coach Floyd Burnsed came to Acalanes.

Junior quarterback Brady Huchingson was outstanding all night, completing 7 of 10 passes for 280 yards and five touchdowns (that would be an NFL passing rating of 152.1).  Huchingson added a rushing touchdown to finish with six TDs.

Brady Huchingson was on target all night

Senior defensive back Nick Giorgianni was around the ball all night, recording two interceptions.  His first pick started the Dons scoring, returning the interception 34 yards for a touchdown.  Giorgianni had a third interception that was called back due to a penalty. 

Nick Giorgianni returning an interception

Senior WR/CB Nick Pearson had big plays on both sides of the ball.  Pearson caught a Huchingson pass at the 50 yard line and ran it home for a 75-yard touchdown.  Later, he had an interception at the 10 yard line to stop an Alhambra drive.

Nick Pearson wins the fight for the ball and takes it to the end zone

Four senior Dons receivers had touchdowns.  Along with Pearson’s TD, Jack Muren had two TDs (9 and 71 yards), Lucas Eppinger had a 87-yd touchdown (with most of those coming after the catch as he weaved his way through the Alhambra defense) and Ryan Reilly had a 24-yd TD reception, beating an Alhambra DB at the 10 yard line to get to the end zone.

The Dons defensive highlights included interceptions by Jack Miles and Carson Gragg, and a sack for a safety by linebacker Niko Cortessis.  Other standouts were seniors Michael Roux and Mike O’Donnell, and juniors Graham Oh and Joey Carillo who each had multiple tackles.  Dons captain John Kalil was a force on the line all night.

Niko Cortessis gets the safety

Additional game photos are available here: https://photos.app.goo.gl/jk6h8toAY5m9A2BT7

The Dons (8-2) await the NCS Playoff seedings which will be announced on Sunday November 10.  The first-round playoff game will be Friday, November 15.

Dons are Born to Run

Dons are Born to Run

Darkness on the Edge of Martinez

After quick starts in the last two games, the Dons looked like a team that only had one practice and several days of w/o power in the opening moments of their meeting with Alhambra. After initially holding the Bulldogs to a 4th down in-completion, the Dons made the first mistake of the night by earning a 15 yd personal foul. The play gave Alhambra a first down and a big momentum swing in the game. The Bulldogs converted quickly on the opportunity, completing a 7-yard TD pass over the middle, and adding the PAT to take a 7-0 lead. The Dons seemed to come back quickly, as Andrew Habas took a long Kick Off return all the way to the End Zone… but it was called back on for a block in the back penalty. A few plays later Jake Takeuchi received a long bomb from Kyle Bielawski that would have put the Dons into the Alhambra red zone, but yet again, a yellow hanky for illegal receiver downfield negated the play. Three plays, three penalties things weren’t looking great.

Bulldogs Blinded by the Light

But the Dons weren’t to be denied on this Halloween Night. A Wide Receiver screen sprung Jake for a big gain up the middle on third and long, which set up a short TD run by Tobias Schwing to get the Dons on the board. The two-point conversion was no good, leaving the score at 7-6, Alhambra. In the next series Alhambra continued to show life on offense, completing several passes down the middle including a short TD to widen their lead. After a couple of penalties on the extra point (including one on the Dons for kicking a muffed PAT attempt), the final PAT was blocked, leaving the score at 13-6, Bulldogs. That’s when the lights came on for the Dons. A short slant to Andrew Habas netted a huge 55-yard gain, including an impressive pancake by Ethan Torres on the Alhambra safety (who says WRs can’t block? Dons can). With only 10-yards to go, QB Kool Kyle B executed a perfect option read pitch to Toby who walked it into the End Zone. This time the two-point conversion pass to Andrew was good, Dons 14-13. On the next defensive possession, the Dons D woke up. Big stops by Tyler Worthington and Eli Brent forced an Alhambra 3 and out, and the rout was on. Another long run by Toby on another option read followed by a Kyle to Andrew TD pass and it was quickly 20-13. A deftly executed onside kick by Andrew Huchingson was recovered by Coco Gannon and a few plays later Kyle lofted a perfect pass that Jake snagged in the right corner for another score, Dons 26-13. The D held once again, and a couple of plays later, Toby took a middle screen 55 yards to the house. Huch hit the XP and it was 33-13 at the end of the first half. The second half started like the first ended, with Toby taking a read option pitch left, then right, escorted by the O-line all the way to pay dirt. Immediately following that score, Leon Theiss converted the two-pointer on a TE delay. to the absolute delight of his teammates, and it was 48-20. Two more scores, one on a short pass to Andrew, and one for Alhambra, closed out the game with a Frosh Dons win, 48-27.

Dons Take Care of their Own

The Frosh Dons finish 7-3 and end on a high note. It was amazing to see the transformation from summer practice w/o pads, to Tahoe Camp, to the first away game in 100-degree+ Stockton, all the way to the final contest at Alhambra. Every single player made remarkable improvements all along the way and it’ll be even more exciting to see how much better they’ll be next year. Thanks to our great coaches who were encouraging and patient and really instilled a feeling of family, a band of brothers, within the team. Special thanks to our amazing team Mom, Jane Smith, who did everything but suit up herself and had to be worth at least two scores a game just by the sheer force of her will. Thanks to Line Kristensen, who braved the cold and heat down on the field to take amazing pictures to share with everyone. Thanks to Dave Gannon for keeping stats (definitely helped my memory). And lastly, thanks to all the parents (especially the Moms), for showing up en masse and cheering louder than any other team to the point of making all the games home games for the boys. As coach Buddy says, there is no sport like football, it creates an unbreakable bond, not only between the players, but between the parents too. See you all next year!

Jeff Julian, Proud Dons Dad and Frosh Football PR Director

Dons Hold Off Mats to Stay in Title Hunt

Dons Hold Off Mats to Stay in Title Hunt

The Dons held off Miramonte and their high-powered offense 17-14 on Friday night to remain in the hunt for a share of the league title.   

Miramonte got their Homecoming Night fans feeling good early, jumping out to a 7-0 lead following a 5-yard TD run by their outstanding senior quarterback Matt Meredith.

Brady Huchingson got the Dons on the board in the 2nd quarter with an 8-yard TD run, but Meredith gave the Mats the halftime lead with a 20-yard TD pass to receiver Tanner Zwahlen.

The Acalanes defense stepped up and shut out the Mats in the second half enabling the Dons to secure the win with two second half scores: a 33-yd field goal by Hunter Ridley in the third quarter and a 15-yard TD reception by Jack Muren in the fourth.

Jack Muren with a juggling reception.

Senior linebacker Mike O’Donnell was outstanding all night, recording eight solo tackles and assisting on five.  O’Donnell had two sacks and 3.5 tackles for loss and caused a Miramonte fumble. 

Mike O’Donnell with a tackle.

The entire Dons defense stepped up, tallying 5 sacks and 10 tackles for loss against the quick Miramonte offensive backfield, with 16 different players recording tackles.  Notable standouts were juniors Niko Cortessis, Graham Oh and Joey Carillo who each had multiple tackles and big plays, and senior Tommy Thrasher who had 10 total tackles.

Ryan Tresser taking down the Mats’ Reed Callister

Junior Dane Jenssen had a strong game at running back, with 77 yards on 14 carries.

Additional game photos are available here:  https://photos.app.goo.gl/3ujRDdcmDu6niJo16

The Dons (7-2) host Alhambra on Friday night at 7:00.  The Senior Night ceremony will take place right before the Varsity game at approximately 6:30.

Dons Back on Track, Frosh Win!

Dons Back on Track, Frosh Win!

Theostruck

From the first play it was obvious that the Dons were back on track (in white), with Theo Stoll taking a deep kick off 77 yards to the house, immediately quieting the noisy Dublin home crowd. From there the Frosh Dons were efficient, focused and together as a team, bouncing back strong after a tough game last week. The “family” vibe permeated throughout the game on the field and off, when the team introduced a new coordinated clapping chant before hitting the field for the second half. It’s been amazing to see how the coaching staff has built this group of freshmen into a cohesive family unit of brothers.

Murph’s Got Rhythm

The quick hitting powerful Dons offense was back with a vengeance against a solid hard-hitting Gaels defense. The Moving Company (Murph, Miller, Lex, Nathan and Marcus), gave Kyle time to pick apart the Dublin air defense, completing passes all over the field, including a 9-yard sliding TD to Jake Takeuchi, and a 77-yard bomb to Ethan Torres. On the ground the Dons were equally dominant, blasting holes in the Gaels D-line, averaging nearly 8 yards per carry, including a 43-yard TD blast by Toby, a 9-yard TD scamper by Kyle, and a rumbling 15 yard OT eligible run by the O-line’s own Tyler Murphy.

Defense Shook the Gaels all Night Long

On other side of the ball, the Dons largely help Dublin in check, allowing only two offensive TDs and showcasing some crushing tackles and suffocating pass coverage. Tobias Schwing had another big game at OLB with two sacks and 3 tackles behind the line of scrimmage, but overall it was an earthquake of Dons, with Coco Gannon, Andrew Habas, Tyler Murphy, Ethan Torres, Theo Stoll, Nathan Bennett, Lex Jung, Marcus Julian, Eli Brent, Ben Foox, Miller Smith, Nathan Kim, Andrew Hutchingson, Max Thomas and Andre Jackson, all adding solo tackles to stymie the Gaels. In the air the Dons were equally dominant, allowing zero completions downfield and a spectacular interception and long return by lockdown CB Mason Michlitsch

Shake the Bulldogs Legs

One more game to go next week before the conclusion of a great season, and Alhambra is up next. If the Bulldogs watch the film from this week, they’ll be plenty scared about a fired-up Don’s family coming onto their house on Halloween night!

By Jeff Julian Proud Don Dad and Frosh Team PR Director

Acalanes JV Football SHUTS OUT Campo 22 – 0!

It is hard to loose any Sporting Event when the other team is prevented from scoring. The JV Don’s Defense got it done again! If you were to just look at the statistics for this game one would be lead to believe that Campolindo had a chance of winning… they had 175 total yards of offense compared to Acalanes having 155 total yards… They ran 54 total offensive plays, compared to Acalanes running 36… They had the ball for 31 minutes to Acalanes having the ball 16 minutes – What the stats don’t tell is the heart the JV Don’s take onto the field – Their PRIDE in what they do… you could look into anyone of these kids eyes and tell… they were not going to loose this game!

The defensive standout on Friday night was #27 Ethan Rowland who was in on 7 tackles and had 2 HUGE interceptions! #22 Donovan Aris Dumas has 5 tackles. #62 Sam Hafner caused a fumble and was part of a sack, and #4 Evan Malmquist had 4 tackles, a half a sack and a fumble recovery! The Defensive Team should be very proud of their effort – they play as a unit, everyone knows their job and they hold each other accountable to do their part!

The Defense Forcing another punt

The offense was their usual efficient unit, only needing 12 minutes to score 3 touchdowns and a 42 YARD FIELD GOAL!! 42 Yards… this is JV High School Football… not the NFL… #44 Rhett Skvarna has an Iron Foot! Quarterback Luke Souza was 8-14 passing for 96 Yards and 2 touchdowns, along with a rushing touchdown that included his helmet getting ripped off in the process! #19 Nicholas Eppinger hauled in 2 passes for 51 yards, #33 Jack Wood and #8 Will Berrien each had a touchdown catch, and #4 Evan Malmquist had 66 yards on the ground –

#4 Evan Malmquist breaking tackles on the ground
#7 Luke Souza getting it done through the air

Coach Young is doing a terrific job with this team – really molding this boys into fine football players and even better young men! Looking forward to seeing the tattoo coach! For more pictures of this game navigate to the following link – https://photos.app.goo.gl/vQqk4YV2FnyLCdJp8

The JV Don’s are in action again this coming Friday at Miramonte – come out and cheer them on, only two games left

A Great Night to be a Don!

A Great Night to be a Don!

It’s always a great day to be a Don, and that was absolutely the case Friday night at the packed Acalanes field when the Varsity Dons played one of their best games of the year and beat Campolindo 17-7. 

Football is a team sport and every Don contributed to the win, but there were a few plays that really stood out:

THE CATCH AND RUN:  On 2nd and 10 from the 3-yard line, Brady Huchingson connected with a wide-open Jack Muren for a 97-yard TD reception.  Muren’s “yards after catch” were substantial, as he caught the ball at the 35-yard line and then used his Dons track speed to separate himself from the Campolindo defenders. 

Jack Muren taking it to the house.

THE KICK(S):  Hunter Ridley had an outstanding night, booming kickoffs into the end zone and a perfect performance on field goals and PATs, but the moment to remember was his clutch 56-yard punt (“The Punt”) in the 4th quarter that pinned Campolindo deep in their own territory.  There has been no time in recent Dons history where a punt mattered so much, and Ridley delivered.

Hunter Ridley watches a 34-yd field goal to put the Dons up 10-0

THE RECOVERY:  Another special teams play was key to the Dons’ win.  Late in the 4th quarter after Campolindo scored and had a bit of momentum, Niko Cortessis made a leaping, athletic recovery of a well-placed Campolindo onside kick.  Cortessis also had a big night on defense, with multiple sacks and tackles for loss.

THE PICKS:  Tommy Thrasher shut down two 4th quarter Campolindo drives by intercepting passes by the Cougars’ D1-commit quarterback (UC Davis) Grant Harper.  Thrasher also had a fumble recovery on the 2-yard line to stop another Campolindo drive.

Tommy Thrasher returning one of his two interceptions

THE DEFENSIVE STAND:  In the final minutes, with Campolindo moving the ball downfield, the Dons defense shut down the Cougars with big plays from defensive backs Luke Miles and Lucas Eppinger, and a game-ending defensive stop by lineman Joey Carrillo.

Mike O’Donnell had a big game on defense, with five solo tackles.  Nick Pearson also had five tackles.  The Dons’ offensive line was tremendous all night, powering a running game that came up with important yards at key moments.  Great play from Carson Burrill, Teo Barakos, Brayden Clarkson, JJ Sterner, Taylor Clark and two-way powerhouse, senior captain John Kalil.

The Dons offensive line delivered all night

Game photos are here:  https://photos.app.goo.gl/pBqPmHmnQcnPioWf7

The Dons visit Miramonte on Friday night to face the Mats.  Game time is 7:00.

Dons run into a Cat with Claws

Dons run into a Cat with Claws

Battling in the Trenches

It was a tough hard-fought battle along both lines of scrimmage throughout the night.The Campolindo blocking scheme was on point, and the Dons had trouble breaking through to make plays. Once they did break-through they were faced with a runaway truck wearing #24 for the Cougars, who scored five touchdowns on the day. By pounding the Dons D with a bruising running game, Campolindo was able to wear down Acalanes and keep the normally high scoring Dons offense off of the field. Even as the defense started to find its stride later in the game, the toll of all that time on the field resulted in a few late scores that made the margin even bigger than it might have been otherwise. Standouts on a tough night included OLBs Miller Smith and Tobias Schwing, and DTs Tyler Murphy and Tyler Worthington, with numerous tackles in the Cougar backfield.

Takeaways Doom the Dons

While the last several weeks have allowed the Dons to run up scores with their fast paced, quick hitting offense, the Cougars were well prepared to take away many of the Don’s favorite plays. Early on in the game, two drives ended with turnovers, just when the Dons were starting to get hot. It seemed like everything that could go wrong, did go wrong and that can’t happen against a really good team like Campolindo. Even with an aggressive and well-prepared Cougar team, the offense did move the ball when it had a chance. Toby, with a heavily taped up thumb, averaged nearly 3.5 yards a carry, and Kyle, given time to throw by a great O-line effort, just missed a few long completions that were dropped or a bit out of reach. When the offense was on the field, they were able to hit on a few explosive plays, including a 36 yard flea flicker from Jake Takeuchi to Ethan Torres, a 7 yard TD from Kyle to Theo Stoll, and an electrifying 90 yard KO return courtesy of the “Theopedo” right in front of the Campo bench.

Remember… Use it… Get Better

When you play sports, games like this are inevitable, unfortunately it had to happen against our cross-town neighbors and friends. While it’s best to put some of this in the rear-view mirror, it’s also important to remember how it feels and use it as motivation to get better, get stronger, get faster. Get into the weight room, eat more, run more, we’ll get a chance at that same team next year, and the Dons will be bigger, stronger and faster. Personal appeal here, if your son isn’t playing baseball in the Spring, think about joining the track team. Great coaches, and you get faster and stronger. They are in the weight room two to three times a week and running every day. Even for the bigger lineman, Chris Clark (also the football trainer) is a fantastic throws coach. Plus, it’s a really fun team to be on. Go Dons! Only 365 days (roughly)until we get a crack at those darn Cougars again!

Jeff Julian, Proud Dad of a Don and Frosh Team PR

Dons’ Streak Ends at Las Lomas

Dons’ Streak Ends at Las Lomas

The Dons opened league play at Las Lomas Friday night, facing a powerful Knights team that featured Oregon State-commit Isaiah Newell (considered by many the top running back in the Bay Area) and athletic two-way player Elijah Lash.  Unfortunately, the Dons were unable to continue their three-game winning streak, as Las Lomas prevailed 42-21.

Highlights for the Dons included two TD runs by Jake Delaney (one was an exciting 71-yard run down the sideline) and Jack Muren’s return to the lineup after being sidelined by injury – Muren finished with 12 receptions. 

Jack Muren returned to action

On the defensive side, Luke Miles had a pick-six interception, and nineteen different Dons had tackles.  The Dons run defense was led by Tommy Thrasher and Joey Carillo, while Mike O’Donnell recovered a fumble.

Luke Miles with a Pick Six

Additional game photos are available here:  https://photos.app.goo.gl/oGf2ae7tfeHrASCS7

The Dons host Campolindo on Friday night.  Game time is 7:00 at Acalanes.

D is for Defensive “Donination”

D is for Defensive “Donination”

Deliver Devastation

After three consecutive games where the Dons offense ran and passed away from its opponents, Thursday night provided another kind of shut down (non-PG&E related) for the Jaguars of Jesse Bethel. Early on it was a slugfest “Doninated” by the Frosh Dons defiant D. Besides putting up the first shut out of the year, the “Doninators” recovered four fumbles and wreaked havoc in the Jaguars backfield all afternoon. Along with the always strong play of Tyler Murphy, Miller Smith, Coco Gannon and Andrew Habas, DTs Tyler Worthington, & Nathan Kim, LBs Eli Brent and Nathan Bennett, and first time OLB starter Kaleo Feinberg, turned in stellar performances as well. Big props to Kaleo, who was not only playing the critical “Don”OLB role for the first time after just one week of practice, but also started at RB in place of an injured Toby Schwing.

Dive, Duck & Dodge

While the Dons D was stuffing the Jaguars offense, the Dons offense was dealing with a Jaguars D that was sending the house on nearly every play. With eight in the box and several different blitz packages, the Dons struggled early on getting their rhythm. While the coaches had prepared the team for the ultra-aggressive Bethel D, it’s hard to duplicate the experience until it happens on the field. After a scoreless first quarter, QB Kyle Bielawski started to get hot, moving around in the pocket, scrambling for first downs and finding his talented group of wideouts. Second quarterTD passes of 38 and 12 to Theo, were followed up by an 11yd strike to Andrew in Q3. The running game also got on track in the 2nd half with powerful TD runs of 5yds by Kaleo and a punishing 12yd run through the entire Jags defense courtesy of Kyle.

Dig in for Dons Donsday next week

Four wins in a row now, for the streaking Frosh Dons, all despite some key recent injuries. The true measure of a team is how they play when a starter goes down and so far, they’ve passed every test. Next up is our neighboring Campolindo Cougars with many of our friends and ex-teammates on the other side of the ball.

The Frosh Cougars are currently undefeated and will provide a stern test for our boys. Hopefully we’ll get some of our injured players back, but either way the Dons will be ready to bring the Blue Heat to the Cougars in Moraga when we go into their house and show them how we “Doninate”.