The Hercules High football team didn't have much possession of the ball in the first half of Friday night's Tri-County Athletic League Stone Division title game, but it took advantage of the chances that it did have.
The visiting Titans ran just 18 plays compared to 35 for Kennedy-Richmond, but built a 10-0 first-half lead, on their way to a 34-14 win and the school's first-ever football league title.
"It feels great," Hercules coach Gerald Montgomery said. "I've been here since 2005 after six different coaches in six years, and it's finally turned around. The kids worked hard, bought into the program, and we earned some respect tonight."
With the game scoreless midway through the second quarter, and the Eagles seemingly in command, Hercules used a turnover to get the first score.
After recovering a fumble in Kennedy territory, Louis Michael hit Antuwuin Prowers inside the 5-yard line for 34 yards, then Michael pushed it in from a yard out three plays later.
The Titans (7-2, 5-0 TCAL) needed just four plays to score twice early in the second half. They opened the third quarter with a four-play drive, capped by a 1-yard plunge by Marquise Davenport. Then, after Kennedy (5-5, 4-1) got on the board thanks to a 34-yard touchdown catch by Raysean Walker, Armani Reynolds returned the ensuing kickoff 78 yards for a score and a 24-8 lead.
Davenport's second score put the game away for all intents and purposes, as he returned an
For Kennedy, Ernie Timoteo led a rushing attack that totaled nearly 300 yards as he had 186 yards on the ground.
Hercules, a Division III team, receives the TCAL-Stone Division's automatic berth to the North Coast Section and will get to host a game next week. The Titans ended the regular season on a seven-game win streak but could end up as the No. 8-10 seed in the deep division.
With the loss, Kennedy now has to apply for an at-large berth for next week's NCS playoffs.
Valley Christian 41, Salesian 33: The Vikings erased a 13-point halftime deficit with a remarkable performance from running back Howard Wikle to defeat the Pride in a TCAL Rock Division game at Chabot College.
The teams traded touchdowns early in the fourth quarter. Wikle scored on a 63-yard run with 11:32 left to give the Vikings a 34-27 lead. Salesian answered with a 17-yard run by De'Angelo Hernandez, but the point-after try failed as Valley Christian held a 34-33 lead with 9 minutes left.
The games was tied at 27 going into the fourth quarter, as Wikle scored two touchdowns in the third to help the Vikings, who were down 27-14 at halftime, tie the score.
Two plays after Valley Christian recovered an onside kick, Wikle ran it in from 18 yards to make the score 27-21 with 11:35 left in the third. Then Wikle scored on a 31-yard run, and had 230 yards on 27 carries with 55 seconds left in the quarter.
Salesian running back Michael Page's speed was the difference for the Pride in the first half, as he ran for two long touchdowns and caught two more to give his team a 27-14 advantage at halftime.
Page ran for 80 yards in the first half, most of which came on a 62-yard first-quarter run. He connected with quarterback Zach Boyett for touchdown catches of 71 and 38 yards. Boyett finished the half 5 for 8 with 164 yards.
Wikle scored the first touchdown of the game on a 77-yard run. Throughout the half, Wikle ran for 141 yards on 15 carries.
-- Justin Lafferty, correspondent
St. Mary's 28, Pinole Valley 17: The Panthers head into next week's NCS playoffs with some momentum as they beat the host Spartans in a TCAL-Rock Division game.
St. Mary's (5-5, 2-4 TCAL Rock) had a 7-0 lead at halftime but scored two touchdowns in the third quarter to take control.
Pinole Valley (3-7, 2-4) had to beat St. Mary's to get to .500 in the TCAL Rock Division and become eligible for next week's NCS Division II playoffs. The Spartans entered Friday's game on a two-game losing streak, including last week's stunning 22-21 loss to Valley Christian.
St. Mary's should safely be in the Division IV field, although it may have to go on the road for its first playoff game. The Panthers lost to Valley Christian in the first round of the Division IV playoffs last season.
-- Joe Wolfcale, correspondent