Marlon Walker intended to take up space so a teammate could make a play, but instead it was the Berkeley High School linebacker's own hands that made the difference.
Walker slipped through the Castro Valley offensive line and blocked a 32-yard field goal attempt as time expired to help Berkeley secure a 15-13 win over the visiting Trojans on Friday and secure the team's second league title in as many years.
"We are not out there playing for stats," said Walker. "We are out there to make plays and to play for each other."
Walker hoped to occupy two defenders so teammate Akil Bordelon could make the play. But when the Trojans focused on Bordelon, Walker slipped through to help the Yellowjackets claim the inaugural West Alameda County Conference-Foothill Division title. Berkeley won the Alameda Contra Costa Athletic League title a year ago.
Berkeley (5-4, 5-0 WACC-Shoreline) trailed for all but 7 minutes and 12 seconds of the game, but took the lead with 1:22 left on Doug Stewart's 1-yard run that capped a 10-play, 60-yard drive and set the stage for Walker's heroics.
Castro Valley (5-5, 3-2) drove 65 yards on 10 plays, keyed by quarterback Luke Huerta's 19-yard pass to Robert Taylor and Patrick Cheek's 10-yard run to put the ball at Berkeley's 15-yard line with 4 seconds left.
Castro Valley was seeking its first league title in 15 seasons.
Encinal 32, Hayward 7: Corey Sails scored two second-half
Encinal's Isaiah Hunter opened the scoring with a 45-yard run on the game's third play from scrimmage, though the Farmers came back quickly to take their only lead, 7-6, when Samuel Mahe caught a 27-yard pass from Thompson Pulu. But the Jets (6-5, 2-3 WACC-Foothill) went up for keeps, 13-7, when quarterback Taivale Tautalatasi sneaked in from 7 yards after a beautiful fake with 55 seconds left in the first quarter.
No further scoring occurred until Sails ran for a 4-yard touchdown with 6:16 left in the third quarter. Sails added a 2-yard touchdown run in the fourth quarter, and D'Quan Williams added a 28-yard run for the final touchdown.
The trouble started shortly after the Williams touchdown, as Hayward (4-6, 2-3) was called for roughing the kicker on the PAT. Players from both side began to mill on the field and exchange words as Encinal lined up for the kickoff. Though coaches quickly restored order, the officials called the game.
-- Mike McGreehan, correspondent
Miramonte 48, Alhambra 27: In a game with playoff implications for both schools, the host Matadors had too much offense for Alhambra in a Diablo Foothill Athletic League victory.
With the win, Miramonte (6-4, 4-3 DFAL) further secured its position in the NCS Division III playoffs. Alhambra (3-7, 2-4) needed a victory to secure playoff eligibility.
The Bulldogs were led by running back Taylor Poyadue's 290 rushing yards and two touchdowns.
-- Jim Bucci, correspondent
Campolindo 28, Dublin 7: The Cougars remained perfect in the DFAL with a win over the host Gaels.
Quarterback Andrew Zolintakis got Campolindo on the board in the first quarter on a 42-yard pass to Tyler Petite. Zolintakis would throw two more touchdown passes in the first half, a 9-yarder to Justin Dunn and a 25-yarder to Matt Yoklavich. For the night, Zolintakis completed 12 of 25 passes for three touchdowns and 234 yards.
The Cougars added a rushing touchdown in the fourth quarter on a 10-yard run by Adam Remotto, who was recently brought up from the junior varsity team.
Dunn, Jack Phipps, and Ryan Hooper each had interceptions for the Cougars (9-1, 6-0 DFAL). The Gaels (5-5, 3-3) did avoid being shut out on a 9-yard touchdown run by Josh Yu on the final play of the game.
-- Jen Cosgriff, correspondent
Washington 48, Irvington 7: Washington's Ryan Malpede was 17 of 18 passing with 182 yards, threw three touchdown passes and ran for another in a Mission Valley Athletic League win at Tak Fudenna Stadium.
Washington (6-4, 5-1 MVAL) finished second in league and will apply for an at-large berth into the NCS Division II playoffs. If the Huskies do earn one of the 16 spots, which is likely, it will be the seventh year in a row they have made the playoffs.
Washington dominated from the start with 14 points in the first quarter and had a 35-0 lead at the half.
Irvington (4-6, 2-4) qualifies for the Division I playoffs because of a .500 record against Division I opponents. The Vikings went 1-1 against Division I teams, a 44-35 win over Mission San Jose and a 66-0 loss to James Logan.
-- Steve R. Waterhouse, correspondent
Moreau Catholic 29, American 26: Moreau Catholic helped make its case for the NCS Division IV playoffs with an MVAL victory over visiting American.
The Eagles (5-5, 2-4 MVAL) are eligible for the Division II playoffs and are expected to receive an at-large berth.
Moreau Catholic (5-5, 3-3 MVAL) overcame a 14-0 second quarter deficit, led by the tandem of sophomore Jason Hinton and Nicholas Kinast. Hinton ran wild in the second half, gaining 141 of his game-high 181 yards after halftime, including a 62-yard touchdown run that gave the Mariners a 15-14 lead in the third quarter.
Kinast ran for 154 yards and a score and threw for 98 more and two touchdowns.
Trailing 29-20 with 6:12 left, the Eagles pulled within three when Kyle Barker hit Deangelo Cox for a 15-yard score with 4:13 remaining, but were unable to get the ball back.
-- Tony Gonsalez, correspondent
EBAL Championships: When Amador Valley's Jena Pianin was racing down the final straightaway of the East Bay Athletic League girls cross country championship race, she realized that she had a shot at breaking 17 minutes on the 2.95 mile Shadow Cliffs Regional Park in Pleasanton.
"I saw the clock. I saw it said 16:47 and I said 'Oh my God, here we go,' " said Pianin, a senior. "I pumped my arms as hard as I could."
Pianin broke her own course record with a time of 16:57.66 and became the first girl to break 17 minutes on the course, according to Amador Valley coach Jason Oswalt.
Granada, led by freshman Megan McCandless' second-place finish (17:26.71), won the girls championship team title with a score of 56. Amador Valley was second (60) and Monte Vista was third (64).
De La Salle sophomore Matt Schumann won the boys race in an impressive time of 14:58.50. He led at the one-mile mark with San Ramon Valley's Zach Hanze, then moved ahead. Hanze finished second in 15:12.39.
Amador Valley won the boys championship team title with a clutch performance. Led by the sixth-place finish of Jacob Schlachte (15:29.91), the Dons finished with a score of 50, edging out San Ramon Valley (52) and De La Salle (55).
-- Phil Jensen