Austin Harper scored on runs of 57 and 58 yards and the El Cerrito High football team jumped to a 28-point lead in the first quarter to help earn a 57-6 win over host St. Mary's on Saturday and clinch a share of the Tri-County Athletic League-Rock Division title.
El Cerrito can claim the outright championship on Friday at St. Patrick-St. Vincent.
Harper's 57-yard touchdown run came on the game's first possession. Then, after a three-and-out by St. Mary's (4-5, 2-3 TCAL-Rock), Jalen Harvey took a sweep 80 yards for a 14-0 lead.
Derik Calhoun scored the first of his three touchdowns on the day on a 6-yard run and Keilan Benjamin connected with his twin brother Keith Benjamin on a 41-yard pass for a 28-0 lead before the Panthers could even manage a first down.
"Every week is a week to improve," said Gauchos coach Kenny Kahn, whose team improved to 9-0 overall and 5-0 in league play. "There's no question that I'm happy with where we're at but as a head coach I have to believe we can always get better."
Keilan Benjamin also scored on a 73-yard run.
St. Mary's got its only score in the final minute when backup quarterback Ian Bonde connected with David Brostrom on a 1-yard scoring pass. The Panthers were held to 132 yards in total offense — 43 of them on the final drive.
Salesian 49, Berean Christian 7: Senior quarterback Zach Boyett threw for two touchdowns and recovered a loose ball in the end
"It's pretty cool," Boyett said about the recovery. "I didn't know how to react."
The Pride forced Berean Christian (3-7, 2-4 TCAL-Rock) to become one-dimensional on offense. On several occasions, Eagles senior quarterback Garrett Anderson took snaps out of the shotgun and ran a bootleg before throwing. The Eagles ran the ball 15 times for minus-46 yards and Anderson completed 16 of 29 passes for 223 yards.
Anderson completed eight passes to Aaron Alexander for 108 yards, including a 29-yard touchdown in the second quarter that curt Salesian's lead to 21-7.
"We were beat by a better team today," Eagles coach Mark Barcelon said. "Salesian's a good team."
Pride coach Chad Nightingale said his team's ability to control the line of scrimmage was key. The Pride (8-1, 4-1) rushed for 219 yards on 22 carries.
"We killed their run," Nightingale said. "We want to control the line of scrimmage on offense and defense."