Seeking its first North Coast Section playoff win since 2007, the ninth-seeded Berkeley High girls volleyball team (21-10) knocked off eighth-seeded Liberty 25-20, 25-18, 25-23 on Nov. 7 in the first round of the NCS Division I playoffs.

Coincidentally, the Lions (18-10) were the team that the Yellowjackets beat the last time they won an NCS playoff game. In 2007, however, Berkeley was the eighth seed and Liberty was No. 9, so this time around the Yellowjackets had to overcome the Bay View Athletic League champs on the road.

After losing the first two games, the Lions weren't going to go down without a fight and built a 21-18 lead.

But as they erased a deficit in game one, the Yellowjackets rallied for the win thanks in large part to four combined kills from Letysha Cephas and Dora Beilin down the stretch.

Berkeley was paced by 16 kills from Molly Ginsburg. On Nov. 10, the Yellowjackets ended their season with a 25-14, 25-22, 25-14 loss to No. 1 seed California in a quarterfinal match.

Albany d. Petaluma: The third-seeded Cougars (34-5) fell behind but rallied to defeat the Trojans (18-13) 23-25, 25-15, 25-19, 25-14 on Nov. 10 in a Division III quarterfinal match.

Kyra Holt slammed 21 kills, and teammate Amber Erhahon added 18. Christine Legasto-Miller passed for 32 assists for Albany, which played Bishop O'Dowd on Nov. 14 in a semifinal match. Results of that match were unavailable at press time.


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-- Staff

Football

El Cerrito 56, Kennedy-Fremont 8: The Kennedy-Fremont High football team arrived more than a hour late to the Nov. 10 NCS Division III first round playoff game against El Cerrito at De Anza High.

It still didn't take long for the top-seeded Gauchos to take control.

Senior running back Austin Harper had four carries for 109 yards and scored a 65-yard touchdown run on El Cerrito's first possession as the Gauchos overwhelmed Kennedy.

The kickoff was scheduled for 7 p.m. on Saturday, but Kennedy did not arrive at De Anza until shortly before 8 p.m. due to a transportation snafu. Once things began, El Cerrito (11-0) scored 21 points in each of the first two quarters and added two touchdowns in the third quarter as the Titans were completely blindsided.

El Cerrito now takes on No. 9 Bishop O'Dowd in the quarterfinals on Nov. 17 at De Anza. The Dragons beat Acalanes 16-13 in a first-round game on Nov. 9.

Gauchos senior cornerback Marcellus Pippins scored on two punt returns against Kennedy, the first a 82-yard bolt in the first quarter and the second a 70-yarder in the closing minutes of the first half.

Junior quarterback Keilan Benjamin completed 3 of 5 passes for 82 yards, including a 64-yard connection to junior wideout Adarius Pickett midway through the second quarter.

-- Joe Wolfcale

Freedom 63, Berkeley 7: Joe Mixon scored four touchdowns in the first half as the host Falcons overwhelmed the 11th-seeded Yellowjackets on Nov. 10 in the first round of the NCS Division I playoffs.

Quarterback Dante Mayes threw for two touchdowns and ran for two touchdowns in the first half as the sixth-seeded Falcons (9-2) won their eighth straight game.

The lone score for Berkeley (5-5), the West Alameda County Conference-Foothill Division champs, came on a 77-yard touchdown pass from Lamont Smith to Xavier Nelson with 2:50 left in the second quarter.

-- Gabe Feletar, correspondent

St. Mary's 36, Middletown 23: Behind four touchdown passes from Kevin Flemer, the Panthers rallied in the second half to beat the host Mustangs in a first-round Division IV game on Nov. 9.

It was St. Mary's first NCS victory since 1999, according to St. Mary's coach Keith Minor

The ninth-seeded Panthers (6-5) will now travel to face No. 1 seed Justin-Siena (8-2) on Nov. 16 at 7 p.m.

Flemer threw two touchdown passes to Liam Godfrey and one apiece to David Brostrom and Caleb Coleman. Lorenzo Logwood scored the final touchdown of the game on a run.

-- Staff

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