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!

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

JV Sleepy Start Leads to Acalanes Win, Dons 30-Panthers 6

JV Sleepy Start Leads to Acalanes Win, Dons 30-Panthers 6

It took a while for the Dons to wake up last Friday in Benicia, and while several players were on real vacations during Easter Break, the Dons who were supposed to be playing football started off the game in vacation mode as well. Here’s the sequence of event for the first five plays.

1). Dons Kick-off goes out of bounds

2). Benicia runs a fake Jet Sweep, Middle Dive that goes 65 yards for a TD

3). Illegal procedure on the Dons

4). Don’s fumble recovered by Benicia, play is a “do-over” b/c of an inadvertent whistle

5). Benicia intercepts and returns to the Dons 13-yard line.

Already down to the Panthers 6-0, the Dons are now in danger of going down by two scores. It was time for the Dons to wake up and get going. On 1st down, LBs Miller Smith and Lex Jung stop the sweep right for no gain. On 2nd, DE Tyler Worthington and Miller, combine for another stop. On 3rd and 9, the Panthers are called for an illegal chop block on NT Marcus Julian and now face 3rd and 24. Pressure from DE Justin Zegarowski and LB Ben Foox on 3rd and 4th down make Benicia turn the ball back over to the Dons.

DE Justin Zegarowski pressures the Panther QB

Now the defense was awake, but the offense was still in dreamland. QB Kyle Bielawski was sacked for the first time in two games, and a 12-yard completion to WR Trevor Rogers wasn’t enough to get to the 1st down marker. Benicia had the ball at midfield with a chance to score again. After an initial 1st down got the Panthers inside the 40-yard line of the Dons, the defense stiffened. Foox made a tackle behind the line for a loss of two on 1st down. An attempted pass was incomplete on 2nd down. On 3rd down the Panther QB was hit as he threw by Marcus and NT Victor Nickolacakis, forcing a Benicia punt.

Now the Dons “O” was starting to wake up. On 1st, Kyle hit slot receiver Jake Takeuchi for 5. RB Toby Schwing busted up the middle for 6 and a 1st down. A procedure penalty made it 1st and 15, and Kyle barely missed WR Trevor Rogers on a long pass down the left sideline. On the very next play, Kyle fired it to Trevor on a quick out, he spun out of the grasp of a Panther DB, and with the help of a great downfield block by WR Mason Michlitsch, scampered 45 yards to the Benicia 25-yard line. After a roughing the passer penalty got the Dons to the 12, a Benicia defender made a spectacular diving interception at the 1-yard line and the Dons were denied. Time again for the defense to step up. LB George Churchill stopped the dive on first down for no gain, then Marcus and Tyler stoned the Panther RB for 1 yard on 2nd down. Seeing there was no room in the middle, Benicia tested the Dons wide, and DB Trevor Rogers stopped the play shy of the marker.

Toby ‘the tank engine; looks to run over another Panther DB

A short punt, and heads up recovery by WR Ethan Torres, had the Dons in business again at the Benicia 30-yard line. After some success with the power game in the last possession, the Dons went to it again, running to the left side of the O-line who opened up a hole for Toby to blast through and run over a DB for a 20-yard gain. On 1st and goal, they did it again, running left behind Marcus and Victor, with Toby knocking the last Panther two yards back on his behind on the way into the end zone. New Kicker Trevor Rogers came in to nail the XP and it was 7-6 Dons in the lead.

Now that Trevor was warmed up, he blasted the kick-off into the end zone for a touchback and you could feel the momentum swinging to Acalanes. On 1st down for the Panthers, LB Ben Foox flew into the backfield and nearly intercepted a pitch, knocking it down and recovering the ball on the 9-yard line. Again, the Dons attacked on the ground, running 32 Trap up the middle to the one, and finishing the drive with Kyle rolling left to the pylon and in for the score. Trevor’s XP made it 14-6 Dons.

The Dons would not let up now, a run for no gain was followed by pressure by DL John Rusk, and two incompletions. Now the Panthers had to punt again… but it wasn’t the end of the half yet, and the Dons weren’t through with the bad luck. The punt hit a Don’s leg inadvertently on a bounce, and Benicia had the ball back. Time to dial up the D again, an option right was stopped by Marcus, Tyler and Ben, and Marcus and Tyler combined again to sack the Panther QB on 2nd. A run to the right was stuffed by Miller and Justin and after the Benicia punt, the 1st half was over.

The second half started well for the Dons. A 9-yard pass to Trevor was followed by a 5-yard first down run by Toby, which opened the door for a 20-yard bomb from Kyle to WR Jake Takeuchi putting the Dons back in Panther territory. Unfortunately for Acalanes, the Panther DBs made another amazing diving interception, and the drive was stopped. It didn’t matter in the end b/c the Dons defense was the immovable object now. Over the course of the game Benicia only had 82 total yards, 65 of which came on that first play of the game. All in all, 14 different players had tackles, and 6 different players had tackles for loss. A true team defensive effort.

LB Ben Foox hits the Panther QB as he throws causing another incompletion

A Benicia three and out quickly gave the ball back to the Dons. Kyle tossed a quick pass to Jake for 4. Then Kyle executed a nifty option read, keeping the ball and rambling for 20 yards down to the Benicia 8. A 32 Trap up the gut got Toby to the 1, and Kyle finished it off, cutting back on an option left through the Panther D and into the end zone. Trevor remained perfect on XPs and now it was 21-6 Acalanes.

After a long kick off pinned the Panthers back at their own ten. A near sack by Justin caused an intentional grounding penalty, putting the ball at the 1-yard line. Two plays later, without any yardage gained, Benicia chose to take a safety rather than punt out of their own end zone. Now it was 23-6 Dons in the lead and Acalanes would get the ball right back. After another interception by the opportunistic Panther defense flipped the possession to them, a three and out returned it back to the Dons. Things were going quickly for the Dons offense now… Trevor ran right for 5, then Jake ran it back to the left side for 7 and a 1st down. After stretching the Benicia defense right and left, they were set up for… 32 trap up the middle executed perfectly by the Dons O-line and finished by Toby the Tank Engine blasting for 60 yards to pay dirt. Trevor remained perfect and the score was now Dons 30, Panthers 6, and all that was left was to run out the clock.

RB Ellis Burger busting through a hole made by Marcus, Justin, Victor, Nathan and Miller

It wasn’t the prettiest win, but thanks to a solid D and a punishing run game, the Dons overcame their slow start to win going away. It’s the second time in two games that the Dons not only rushed for more yards than they passed, but also held the time of possession advantage. Very unusual for an Acalanes offense, and a credit to the offensive line (Marcus, Victor, Justin, Nathan Kim, and Miller), as well as a QB (Kyle) and RBs Toby, Ben & Ellis) who can run past over and through people. Next week Miramonte!

Reported by Jeff Julian

JV WIN: A Band of Brothers, the Dons Defense Comes Together to Face Down the Cougars, 15-14

JV WIN: A Band of Brothers, the Dons Defense Comes Together to Face Down the Cougars, 15-14

“One step at a time, one punch at a time, one round at a time”, Rocky Balboa, Creed

It was a heavyweight fight last Friday night, when the Acalanes JV Dons met the Campolindo JV Cougars at Campolindo’s home field. For most of the players it was a chance for redemption after a rough outing last year on the same field where they faced off as freshmen. Due to the quirkiness of the schedule, they’ll end up playing at Campo three of the four times they will meet over the course of their H.S. Football careers, so they had to learn how to win in enemy territory. But this wasn’t just any opponent, these are our “friendly neighbors”, our “distant cousins”, who we teamed up with in Little League, had classes with at Stanley, shared huddles with in MOL, and CYO, so it wasn’t just another game, this was deeply personal.

Campo won the opening kick-off but deferred, so Acalanes got the ball first. After driving all the way down to the Campo 35-yard line, the drive stalled after a fourth down pass was batted down at the line of scrimmage. Campo took over and immediately incurred a procedure penalty. This was a harbinger of things to come as Campo finished with 10 penalties for 55 yards (almost all for offsides), while Acalanes only had 2 for 15 yards. A spectacular one-handed Campo catch (despite blanket coverage by CB Ellis Burger) netted Campo a first down on the Don’s 40, and some momentum, but that’s when the Don’s defense said “No Más”. DT Marcus Julian broke through and stuffed a run attempt on 1st down, LB Ben Foox repeated the feat on 2nd, and then DE Justin Zegarowski & DT Zach “Rac” Robb sacked the Cougar QB for a loss on 3rd, to force the punt.

The momentum was back with the Don’s now and they quickly worked their way downfield. QB Kyle Bielawski ran for five, then tossed a pass to WR Ethan “Bake” Torres for another 10. A quick out to WR Jake “Shake” Takeuchi netted 5, followed up by a first down scamper by RB Toby Schwing. With the Campo defense staggering, Kyle unleashed a 25-yard haymaker down the right sideline to Shake Takeuchi and the Dons were rolling. The Cougars were down but not out however, and another spectacular play, this time a leaping finger-tip interception in the end zone, ended the Don’s drive.

The teams traded possessions for the rest of the first half with both offenses throwing blows and neither defense allowing anything to connect. Acalanes had moved the ball better than Campolindo up to that point, but the score at the end of the 1st was still 0-0.

Campo started out with the ball in the 2nd half and the Don’s defense picked up where it had left off. Stops by DE Ty Worthington, LB Miller Smith, Justin and Zach, had the Cougars in trouble with a 3rd and long from their own 15. That’s when lightning struck, a quick slant just over the out-stretched hands of the Dons defenders, connected with a Cougar WR in stride and he sprinted 85 yards for the first big blow. Campo 6, Acalanes 0. In a bit of foreshadowing, the XP was missed.

The Dons were now against the ropes for the first time after 20+ minutes of trading blows. This was a big turning point in the game.

“It ain’t about how hard you hit. It’s about how hard you can get hit and still keep going forward.” Rocky Balboa, Rocky Balboa

On 1st down Toby was stopped for no gain. On 2nd down Kyle took a QB draw up the middle for 12 yards and a first down. Toby took the rock next for a gain of 8, and Kyle followed up with a short burst for the 1st down. It’s at this point that the Campo D was introduced to a Cougar nightmare called “32 Trap”.

On the 32 Trap, OTs Marcus Julian and Zach Robb turn and seal the DEs outside, RG Nathan Kim fires out on the MLB, LG Victor Nicolacakis pulls right to kick out the right-side DT, and C Justin Zegarowski slants to pick up the DT on the left. Toby follows Victor through the hole and runs over any Cougar defenders left standing. The Dons continually pounded Campo with the play for the rest of the game. It didn’t matter that they knew it was coming, it didn’t matter that Cougar defenders were calling out “Trap”, they couldn’t stop it, and Toby and the Dons O-line hammered them again and again.

32 Its A TRAP! Guards Nathan Kim and Victor Nicolacakis cleared the way for RB Tobu Schwing

First down and Kyle runs for 2 yards. 32 Trap for 3 yards. 32 Trap again for another 3. Fourth and 2, and what do you do? 32 Trap right down their throat and this time Toby freight trains a safety and drags three more Cougars into the End Zone for a 12-yard TD. Huchingson’s XP makes it 7-6 Dons.

The Cougars were down now but not out, as this was a championship level fight. After SS Coco Gannon stoned a kick-off return at the 20, the Cougars exploded up the middle with a 30-yard blast into Don’s territory. Two more runs and a couple of pass completions against a Don’s D now back on its heels and Campo had the ball inside the 12. Two more runs around right end results in a Campo TD, and a RPO roll out right converted for two points to give Campo the lead at 14-7.

It was up to the Campo D now to try and stop what they knew was coming… and come it did. RB Ben Foox gave Toby a break and ran 32 Trap for 7. Toby returned to run it again for a 1st down. After an incompletion, the Dons were hit with one of their few penalties and were faced with 2nd and 15. A 14 yard out to Ethan Torres gave the Dons a short 3rd and one, which set up, you guessed it, 32 Trap for 20 all the way down to the Campo 22-yard line. The Campo D now were desperate and buckled down for the next few plays. A QB draw for no gain, an incomplete pass left a 3rd and 10, after which the Cougars finally stopped 32 Trap for only 1 yard. A clutch pass and catch by Kyle to WR Trevor Rogers for 12 yards netted a key first down, and another 32 Trap got the Dons to the two. The Dons brought in the heavy formation and after getting stopped on 1st down, Kyle faked the handoff and out sprinted the Cougar defense to the right pylon for the TD, Campo 14, Dons 13. All that was left was the decision to go for the tie or the win. With momentum on their side, the Dons rolled the dice and with Kyle rolling right, found LB/TE George Churchill in the back of the end zone for the go ahead two-point conversion, Dons lead 15-14.

QB Kyle Bielawski finds TE George Churchill for the two point conversion

With a lot of time left on the clock, Campo wasn’t done. After an exchange of possessions, Campo hit two long passes to get down to the Acalanes 20-yard line with less than a minute left. However, Campo went to the well once too often and Coco made them pay with his second interception of the day in the end zone to seal the win. All that was left was for Kyle to kneel down and run out the clock. Final score Dons 15, Campo 14.

Overall an outstanding, hard-fought, tough win. Both Kyle and Toby had rushing TDs, Toby averaged 6.5 yards a carry on 11 carries. CB Ellis Burger, SS Coco Gannon and FS Max Thomas had 4 solo tackles each. LB Miller Smith had 3 solo, 4 assists and 1.5 TFLs, and of course Coco had two interceptions including the game sealing one in the end zone with less than a minute left.

Next week at Benicia, who led Campo 7-0 in the 1st before losing 27-14. Go Dons!

Thank you to Jeff Julian, Sports Writer and Proud Dons Dad

Battle in Moraga: JV fought to the End for a WIN and Frosh Play at Home Today

Battle in Moraga: JV fought to the End for a WIN and Frosh Play at Home Today

JV WIN over Campo: 15 to 14 

Varsity defeated 13 to 28

Sports briefing and game highlights will be released over the weekend through Sports Boosters

Frosh play today at home at 1 pm against Campo… Let’s Go Dons! 

OPEN LINK TO WATCH FROSH GAME HERE: https://sportscopelive.com/teams/?team=gZfNW1eWXAPdl9ETY%2BSDqQ%3D%3D

The Don fans still limited to household family members only. Parents and siblings will wear their Dons hat, sweatshirts, and t-shirts and will feel BLUE, as we scream, yell, get heated, and love every second of it. We love being part of the Dons community because of the camaraderie we share, and the pride it instills in our boys. It’s exhilarating, fun and awesome to watch our men of blue play their hearts out. For Don students, family members and fans can watch the games live and still cheer for our Dons. Simply log on to Sportscopelive.com on your phone, laptop, ipad, etc.

JV Football: “Did that blow your mind? Because that just happened!” – Ricky Bobby said it & the Dons Did it with a 42-0 WIN!

JV Football: “Did that blow your mind? Because that just happened!” – Ricky Bobby said it & the Dons Did it with a 42-0 WIN!

It was a Talladega Talla-DON-a Night on Saturday!

“If you’re not first, you’re last”, and the JV Dons certainly came in first on Saturday afternoon, leaving skid marks past the Knights of Las Lomas, 42-0. Technically that’s two weeks of doughnuts served up by the Dons D, since last week’s Monte Vista TD came on a fumble return. The Don’s “El Diablo” defense is a firewall, running hard and trading paint, leaving no room for the opposing offense to pass or even get out of the pit.

George Churchill, Marcus Julian, Tyler Worthington, Miller Smith and Nathan Bennett anchor “El Diablo”

Overall, the defense held Las Lomas to only 54 total yards with 13 players making a tackle, 3 different players with tackles for a loss, 2 sacks for -17 yards and 2 interceptions. Leading tacklers were Ben Foox with 6 solo, 3 assists, 2 tackles for loss (TFL), and 1 sack, Miller Smith with 4 solo, 4 assists, and 2 TFLs, and Tyler Worthington with 4 solo, 2 TFLs and 1 sack. But it wasn’t only the defense that sped past Las Lomas on Saturday, the offense put the pedal to the metal as well, zooming to 42 points at lightning speed, on the ground and through the air, leaving the Knights in the dust well before the checkered flag finally ended the game. In total, QB Kyle Bielawski was 13 of 19 for 224 yards and 4 TDs. Ethan Torres had 3 catches for 3 TDs, and Toby Schwing had 2 rushing TDs.

Like any high-performance vehicle, it did take the Dons a few minutes to warm up. Soon after reaching the Las Lomas 5-yard line on their first possession, they were forced to give the ball back on 4th down. The Knights first set of downs didn’t last long however, as their third down pass attempt was knocked down incomplete by DT Tyler Worthington. Once the Dons got the ball back, a nifty screen to Trevor Rogers converted a 3rd down and brought the Dons into Las Lomas territory. Moments later QB Kyle Bielawski fired a pass down the right sideline to Ethan Torres who reached the apex at the exact same time as the Las Lomas defender. The resulting collision knocked the ball up in the air, but Ethan never lost track of the prize, hauling it in and spinning around in one motion and racing the remaining 20 yards to paydirt! The Huchingson XP made it 7-0 Dons.

The Knights got the ball back on offense and proceeded to fishtail on the first two downs as a result of errant snaps. Now in third and long, and desperate to get back in the race, the Knights tested the Dons defensive backs and Mason Michlitsch made them pay, picking off a long pass and returning it 35 yards into the red zone. Shortly thereafter Toby Schwing cut back through a hole opened by the Dons line and into the end zone to make the lead 13-0, as the extra point was blocked.

Jake ‘the Shake’ Takeuchi, part of the ‘Shake n’ Bake’ team

After trading a couple of possessions back and forth, highlighted by an incredible long leaping interception by Ellis Burger, the Dons were set to start on their own 30. Kyle set up quickly and threw a dart to Jake “Shake” Takeuchi, and that’s when the fun began. Jake cut left at the 40 shaking three Knights at once, cut back right to shake another, broke a tackle, cut left again to shake one more, and finally was caught after a 33-yard scamper down to the Las Lomas 22.A couple of plays later, Kyle found the hot hand Ethan “Bake” Torres for his second touchdown and, after the heavy unit punched in the two-point conversion, a 21-0 Acalanes lead. SHAKE ‘N BAKE TIME!

It was still the 1st half but the Dons weren’t at the finish line yet. Another 15-yard completion to Jake got the ball deep into Knight’s territory but then the drive stalled. Faced with 4th down and goal, Kyle went to the hot hand, Ethan “Bake” Torres for his third, yes third, TD of the day. “Shake and Bake” again and now it was 28-0 (after the XP).

Ethan ‘Bake’ Torres for the score, putting the TD in the oven

That ended the first half of play, but the Dons came out in the second still speeding along. After a Las Lomas fumble was recovered by George Churchill, Toby took a pitch for 8 yards to get the Dons in scoring position. Las Lomas tightened up to force a 4th down, but a clutch catch by Trevor Rogers kept the drive alive. On the next play, Mason “Magic Man” Michlitsch, took an inside screen on the left behind a wall of Dons, now you see him and now you don’t, for his first Acalanes TD extending the lead to 35-0 Dons.

Another 3 and out for the Knights and the Dons were at it again. Up against a 4th down and long, they went abracadabra to the inside screen again and “Magic” Mason delivered a key first down to keep the drive alive. After a bootleg left by Kyle got the ball to the 5, Toby scooted around left end for his second TD and an insurmountable 42-0 Don’s lead.

Magic Man Mason Michlitsch on a mission

All the was left was to preserve the shut out, and the Dons were determined not to let it go. A muffed snap on a punt gave the Knights the ball deep in Don’s territory on their ten-yard line and their shutout streak was nearly off the road. On first and goal, the Knights ran a fullback dive into the right side of “El Diablo” and were stonewalled by DT Marcus Julian and OLB Nathan Bennett. On second down, DE Justin Zegarowski shut off Las Lomas’ QB running wide and made him cut back into Marcus’ clutches again for no gain. On third down Las Lomas tried wide left, only to have CB Mason Michlitsch slam it shut at the five. Finally, on 4th down, Tyler Worthington sling-shotted through a gap in the Knights front line for a huge sack to preserve the shut out.

Next week a big game against Campo. Driving with a live cougar in the car will be a challenge but we know the Dons are up to it. Beat the Cougars!

Written by: Jeff Julian (proud dad of #55)

VICTORY 28-7: Saturday Night JV Dons Smackdown

VICTORY 28-7: Saturday Night JV Dons Smackdown

Saturday was hard hitting smashmouth old school football versus a big and aggressive Monte Vista Mustang team from the ultra-competitive EBAL. Ultimately though, the Dons emerged victorious with a convincing 28-7 win.

Tyler Worthington is WORTH A TON

With plenty of big hits on both sides, the story of the game was the Don’s dominating defense effectively pitching a shut-out, with the Mustangs only score coming on a long fumble return in the fourth quarter. Defensive standouts include Ben Foox (3 sacks), Marcus Julian (1 sack), Tyler Worthington, Nathan Bennett, George Churchill, Miller Smith and Coco Gannon. In addition to stuffing the ground game, DBs Ellis Burger, Mason Michlitsch, Max Thomas and Andrew Habas, shut down the vertical pass, with the only “completion” actually a drop that was incorrectly called a catch and fumble.

QB Kyle Bielawski moving the ball down the line

The Dons started off a bit slow, not surprising since it was the first game of the season. After a 3 and out, Kyle Bielawski hit big on his first punt with a 35-yard boot to push the Mustangs back to their side of the field. Monte Vista was able to mount a drive into Don’s territory, but a Ben Foox sack on 4th and 2, gave the ball back to the Dons. With no scoring in the first quarter, the Dons mounted their first scoring drive in the second. Kyle completed a clutch first down on 3rd and four to Trevor Rogers, who made a shoe top catch, and then completed the drive with a scramble up the middle for the first TD of the season. The Don’s vaunted “heavy” line-up came in to clear out the right side for Toby Schwing to muscle into the end zone to notch the two-point conversion and make the lead 8-0. The aforementioned dominant D shut down the Mustangs finishing with a Marcus Julian sack on 3rd and long, and that completed the scoring for the half.

It is a beautiful day in the neighborhood with Mr. Rogers. WR Trevor Rogers scored two TDS for the Dons

In the second half the Dons came out strong. Another Foox sack got the ball back to the Dons offense and Bielawski wasted no time in finding wideout Andrew Habas for a long completion down the middle of the field. After another beautiful connection to Ethan Torres on a long out to the far side of the field brought Acalanes to the 1-yard line, the Dons called on the “heavy” hammer once again and Toby notched the second TD of the day. Andrew Huchingson hit the XP and the score was Dons 15, Monte Vista 0.

Andrew Huchingson making it happen for the Dons

Huchingson’s leg showed no signs of fatigue on the kick-off as he hit a booming shot that forced the Mustangs to take a knee for a touch back. Backed up on their own 20, a third Foox sack forced Monte Vista to give the ball back to the Dons. Now the Dons “O” started to wear down the opposing defense as QB keepers by Kyle, and counter runs by Toby up the middle started to rack up chunks of yardage and knock Mustang defenders back on their heels.

A Kyle ramble down to the 5, preceded an unguardable quick out to Trevor Rogers for the Don’s third TD of the day. The following PAT was blocked, and the score remained 21-0 with the Dons in the lead

After Huchingson once again pinned Monte Vista back to its own 20-yard line, the D in the Dons Defense closed the vise. LB George Churchill stepped up to deny the dive on 1st down, DE Tyler Worthington smashed into the backfield for a big tackle on 2nd, and then NT Marcus Julian finished off the Mustangs on 3rd down, wrapping up the RB short of the marker.

Now the Monte Vista defense was out of gas and the Dons were cooking.  Kyle rolled right and found Habas for a 20-yard gain. A middle screen to Jake Takeuchi (in his first action since returning from a back injury), had him weaving and spinning his way down to the ten. From there Kyle lofted a beautiful pass to Trevor for the Don’s fourth TD of the day.

Huchingson nailed the extra point to complete the drive, making the score 28-0 Acalanes. Huchingson then relieved Bielawski at QB and drove the Dons down the field as time wound down in the 4th. A dubious no TD call on an Habas pylon dive was the last active play before the Dons knelt down to run out the clock, final score Dons 28, Mustangs 7.

A big win versus a tough opponent from Danville has the Dons rolling. Next week we start league play versus another tough opponent, the Knights of Las Lomas. Rest up Dons, it’s going to be another barnburner of a game!

Let’s Get this JV Football Party Started!

Let’s Get this JV Football Party Started!

Are You Ready for Some JV Football?

A Saturday paaaaarty! Yes, sir, Acalanes is here… ready to get the good time started! We got Granada on the field and we’re crankin’ up the heat, all the rowdy Dons are back and can’t be beat!

It’s been a long ten months of masks, distancing and no pads, but thanks to the incredible patience of our fantastic coaches and the diligence of our boys, we actually had football last Saturday. Even though it was only a first scrimmage, with the different scrimmage rules and an opponent made up of freshmen and sophomores, it had a definite party feel after such a long, long wait.

We also had our first streaming game for parents and fans who couldn’t attend, hopefully that was a good experience for all. You may have noticed that most of the boys were wearing their practice jerseys, so it was a bit difficult to identify players much of the game. Next week they’ll be back in their home whites and we’ll all be able to use the roster that was sent out last week to know who’s who.

Overall, it was a good performance for a first scrimmage, the final tally was 3 TDs for the Dons and 2 for the Matadors of Granada. Strong-armed QB Kyle Bielawski had two long TD bombs, the first a 40-yard Ethan Torres’ leaping grab, the second on another 40-yard rainbow landing beautifully over the DB to Trevor Rogers on his way into the end zone. Ethan was also the recipient of another long throw that stopped just short of the goal line. On the very next play, the Dons went to their “heavy” formation with the big fellas, George Churchill, Tyler Worthington, Zach Robb & Marcus Julian collapsing the right side of the Matador line and Ben Foox dragging a helpless Matador DB into the end zone for the third TD.

Standouts included Kyle at QB and the receiving corps of Ethan, Trevor and Andrew Habas, along with Lex Jung who had a nice end around run and numerous crushing blocks downfield. Running backs Ben Foox and Toby Schwing also had good days running the ball and catching swing passes. The O-line also performed well allowing only one sack over the course of the 90-minute scrimmage. On defense, top performers from last year Tyler Worthington, Miller Smith and Coco Gannon, continued to look sharp and aggressive, and newcomers George Churchill, at inside LB, and Ellis Burger, at CB, filled in well stuffing runs and physically taking on blockers in their first game with pads.

Next week no more “scrimmage rules” back to the real games vs. Monte Vista at home. We are hoping for more fans on Saturday (stay tuned!)…let’s show up and make the visiting Mustangs know that they’re in the Don’s house, our house, and it’s our time to paaaaaaarty!

visit www.sportscopelive.com…Type in Acalanes Football…Click on the game you want to watch…There is a $5 fee per stream, so you will need a credit card handy.  1/2 of the funds stays with the football program so it’s a fundraiser as well! Thank you Touchdown Club!

Dons Kick Off Their Football Season Saturday at Home…FINALLY!

Dons Kick Off  Their Football Season Saturday at Home…FINALLY!

It is a GREAT Day to be a Don.

Looking back on Fall Football 2019: DAL Football Champions

The Dons have  stuck it out and now they are ready to bring it on.

Dons football players and coaches have made it clear that obstacles and challenges from the past months and whatever issues there will be in the future don’t matter. They are focused on finally getting a delayed football season under way this Saturday in a scrimmage game against the Granada Matadors (Varsity and JV) and California Grizzlies (Frosh).

“Football is like life. It requires perseverance, self-denial, hard work, sacrifice, dedication, and respect for authority.” –Vince Lombardi

At this point, it doesn’t matter that the season will be played in the spring, the Dons are ready to play in any season, any day and anywhere. Players and coaches will be covid tested every week,  wear masks on the sidelines and limited masked fans (family members) in the bleachers. The season will consist of six games and no playoffs. There’s genuine excitement from coaches, players and fans, maybe even more than a normal season. There is  definitely an extra giddy-up in the Dons step ever since it was announced there would be a season…one step closer to  DON-ination. 

Senior #70 Joey Carrillo taking the field for the last time as a Don, before he heads to UC Davis to play football for the Aggies

Every practice  and every game figures to be precious because no one knows how smoothly this season will proceed. The Dons know there’s no ring, no playoffs, but they will put it out on the field  for Acalanes: all students, teachers, friends and families. To watch the game LIVE, the Acalanes Touchdown Club has organized live steaming for a small fee of $5

Click on link to watch games live: Sportscope Live

Senior # 8 Brady Huchingson-as a quarterback, you try to manage the game. It’s not just throwing the ball. You have to manage the running game and getting out of bad situations and there are a lot of things to it….and Brady is ready to do the job!

Saturday, March 6 is a scrimmage game at home with Frosh team at 1pm, JV team at 3pm and Varsity team at 5pm. This event is closed to students with limited family members in attendance. Listed below is the schedule for our Dons. This schedule is subject to change.

Life without Acalanes Football we feel aimless, lost, and adrift– like a quarterback with no center, nachos without cheese or Beyonce without Jay-Z

Life without Acalanes Football  we feel aimless, lost, and adrift– like a quarterback with no center, nachos without cheese or Beyonce without Jay-Z

But the countdown has begun…

No Friday night lights?  No chants, no cheers, no superstitions?  No standing up for the kick-off and no high fives after every touchdown?  No team meals. No checking the weather on Monday to prepare for whatever climates we will sit in come on Friday. No Dons shirts,  no Acalanes Football hats.  No looking for parking in the parking lot. No snack shack with the smell of BBQ and popcorn in the air.  No blue #1  foam fingers. No Stanley kids hanging on the fences, watching the Big Dons play. We are left to find a way to entertain ourselves during the fall instead of having a built-in plan in place. We wait…we wait…we hope…we wait…. to hear the pre-game chant from Coach Burnsed telling his team, ‘It’s a great day to be a Don!’   

But the countdown has begun for the first scrimmage game in December with a big blue circle on December 30. We will continue to be strong, and resilient. We will eagerly await the sound of the whistle, the smell of the BBQ in the air, the knock of the shoulder pads, and the roar of the crowd. On this day, we will have our boys in their uniforms on. On this day, the Dons will return, and the Boys of Blue will be back on the field. We love Dons Football so much! In this week we will fluff up our blue pom-poms, pull out the folded up booster club bleacher chairs in the garage and heck, we might even dry clean our favorite Acalanes shirt to have it crisp, clean and ready to go! Look at your watches, take a look at your iphone…count it down to December 30. When Acalanes football returns, we will appreciate it more than ever….because everyday …IT’S A GREAT DAY TO BE A DON!