The host Albany High girls volleyball team clinched its second straight Tri-County Athletic League-Rock Division championship on Oct. 22 with a 26-24, 31-29, 21-25, 25-22 victory over St. Joseph Notre Dame.
It did not come easy for Albany (14-2, 9-0 TCAL-Rock), which had to dig deep to win the first two sets. Both times the Pilots (22-6, 6-3) had set point, but couldn't deliver the knockout punch.
"Up through last week I thought we were moving really well, but tonight we took a step back," Albany coach Roger Worsley said. "We had a complete lack of focus and an expectation they'd roll over for us on our senior night, and they didn't."
Albany defeated El Cerrito 25-10, 25-20, 25-23 on Oct. 24 to finish the TCAL-Rock regular season with a perfect 10-0 TCAL-Rock mark. The Cougars then won three of its four matches at the Northgate Tournament to finish the regular season with an 18-3 overall record entering the league tournament this week. Results were not available at press time.
In the Oct. 22 match, each team struggled to hold leads. The Cougars led 23-19 in the first set and 20-13 in the second set, only to see the Pilots come back to take the lead each time. But Albany came alive when it counted, as Amber Erhahon had eight kills for the Cougars in each of the first two sets, and 26 kills for the match.
The Pilots held an 18-14 lead in the fourth set, only to see Albany score 11 of the last 15 points.
St. Mary's 28, St. Patrick-St. Vincent 7: Senior running back Lorenzo Logwood had 122 yards on 29 carries and scored two touchdowns as the host Panthers earned a TCAL-Rock victory on Oct. 26.
The Panthers face division leader El Cerrito (6-2, 4-0 TCAL-Rock) on Nov. 2 at De Anza. The kickoff is scheduled for 7 p.m.
Logwood's play on offense down the stretch on Oct. 26 was instrumental in the Panthers' win. With St. Mary's (5-3, 2-2 TCAL-Rock) leading 14-7 in the fourth quarter, he bulled his way for crucial first downs to keep the clock running and the chains moving. He later scored on a 31-yard run to give the Panthers a 21-7 lead. Logwood also filled in at middle linebacker when dehydration and nagging injuries forced some St. Mary's defensive starters to the bench for a spell in the second half.
The Panthers defense recovered six Bruins (5-3, 3-2) fumbles and grabbed one interception, as defensive back Arius Williams stepped in front of a pass from quarterback Anthony Williams and raced 45 yards for the game's final score.
-- Joe Wolfcale, correspondent
El Cerrito 41, Pinole Valley 7: With two of three starters returning from serving one-game suspensions, the visiting Gauchos remained the cream of the TCAL-Rock Division with a rout of the Spartans (3-5, 1-2) on Oct. 25.
Quarterback Keilan Benjamin, and wide receivers Keith Benjamin and Jalen Harvey missed El Cerrito's 41-0 shellacking of Berean Christian on Oct. 12 for conduct detrimental to the team, El Cerrito head coach Kenny Kahn said before the Oct. 25 game. Keith Benjamin will also miss this week's game, according to the coach. Kahn declined to say what the players did to earn the suspensions.
Against Pinole Valley, Keilan Benjamin connected on a 46-yard touchdown pass to Harvey for the game's first score.
Senior Adarius Pickett, the talented UCLA-bound defensive back, added two rushing touchdowns and scampered 43 yards after picking off Pinole Valley quarterback Troyante McConico as the Gauchos took a commanding 28-0 lead midway through the second quarter.
The Gauchos' next scoring play pretty much sealed the game. Backed up on their own 1-yard line, Keilan Benjamin threw a perfect strike to lanky Marquis Pippins, who made a pretty fingertip catch and raced 99 yards for the score.
James Houston picked off another McConico pass and rambled 65 yards for the final El Cerrito touchdown.
El Cerrito's defense limited the Spartans to 80 yards of total offense. Pinole Valley's biggest play from scrimmage was a 37-yard fake punt in the second quarter.
-- Joe Wolfcale, correspondent
Albany 34, Richmond 12: The visiting Cougars led 34-0 at the end of the third quarter on their way to their first win of the season on Oct. 25. The Cougars (1-7, 1-2 TCAL-Stone) will host De Anza on Nov. 1 at 6:30 p.m.
San Leandro 56, Berkeley 24: The host Pirates (4-4, 3-0 West Alameda County Conference-Foothill Division) used their offense to establish control in the first half, then their defense scored three touchdowns after halftime at Burrell Field on Oct. 25.
Berkeley (3-5, 1-2) will try to get back on the winning track when it hosts Bishop O'Dowd on Nov. 1 at 7 p.m.
Luck appeared to go Berkeley's way when Lamont Smith threw a pass that deflected off a pair of Pirates and into the hands of Craig Fletcher for a 51-yard Yellowjackets touchdown and a 10-8 lead at the 10 minutes, 40 second mark of the second quarter.
Four minutes later, however, San Leandro's Ruben Garcia Ceja recovered a teammate's fumble in the end zone, putting the hosts up for keeps at 15-10.
Stephen Johnson's 20-yard run and a 51-yard reception by Keone Foumai extended San Leandro's lead to 29-10 by the half.
Smith threw for 162 yards and ran for 76 more for the Yellowjackets (3-5, 1-2). Berkeley's Michael Lazarus led all rushers with 101 yards.
-- Mike McGreehan, correspondent