It wasn't an impossible feat, but an improbable one.
Newark Memorial High entered this season with six players sporting varsity experience. The Cougars had no returning starters, but they claimed at least a share of the Mission Valley Athletic League title with a 32-14 win over visiting Washington on Friday, their first league title since 1985.
"This is crazy," Newark quarterback Riley Pivin said. "I can't even describe it. We talked about winning league during the summer and how bad we wanted it."
Pivin was instrumental. He threw for just 78 yards but had three passing touchdowns. His 7-yard scamper into the end zone capped the scoring with 2:01 left.
The game started with plenty of offense. Newark (7-2, 4-0 MVAL) scored six minutes into the game, and Washington (5-4, 4-1) countered with a Kyle Malpede 24-yard touchdown pass to Ahmed Ayrobi that gave the Huskies an 8-6 lead after a two-point conversion.
Malpede was 21 of 36 for 211 yards and two touchdowns. His top target was Terrance Jones, who caught eight passes for 90 yards.
Less than three minutes later Marty Leggett gave Newark a 12-8 lead with a 10-yard run.
That capped the first-quarter scoring. But Washington took a 14-12 lead on the first play of the second quarter -- a 24-yard touchdown pass from Malpede to Jones.
Newark responded with 8:59 left on a 34-yard touchdown pass from Pivin to Jon Kapu for an 18-14 lead, a lead the Cougars wouldn't relinquish.
James Logan 66, Irvington 0: Senior quarterback Jeffrey Prothro accounted for six touchdowns in the first half as James Logan (8-1) rolled to the shutout over visiting Irvington (4-5) in nonleague action.
Prothro threw for 199 yards and four touchdowns on 8 for 9 passing and added 76 rushing yards for two more scores. He connected with Kavion Augustine on scoring strikes of 3 and 24 in the first half.
Warren Miles Long had just six touches but scored on runs of 5 and 53 yards while hooking up with Prothro for a 66-yard touchdown with 12 seconds left in the half for the Colts, who improved to 8-1. Long finished with 105 yards on the ground on just five carries.
-- Tony Gonsalez, correspondent
Campolindo 35, Dougherty Valley 14: The Cougars breezed to victory on homecoming in Moraga by utilizing a balanced offensive attack that featured 237 passing yards and 190 yards on the ground. The victory gave Campolindo an outright Diablo Foothill Athletic League title.
Campolindo's Mason Windatt set up the Cougars first score by intercepting Dougherty Valley's Umar Farooq and then capitalized on his own interception with a 95-yard touchdown pass from Andrew Zolintakis on the ensuing play.
The Wildcats (0-9, 0-5 DFAL), who rushed for 303 yards, put a nice drive together to open the second quarter and tied the game at seven on a 28-yard run by Aflobi Adeoti.
The Cougars (8-1, 5-0) took control from there, scoring twice during the final five minutes of the half for a 21-7 halftime lead.
-- Jim Bucci, correspondent
Acalanes 42, Alhambra 29: The Dons mustered just four second-half first downs, but benefited from excellent field position and a bevy of Bulldogs miscues.
Acalanes (7-3, 3-3 DFAL) took a 21-10 lead into halftime, then started scoring drives from the Alhambra 22, 22 and 38 thanks to a fumble, a short punt, and a penalty on an onside kick attempt. The Bulldogs turned the ball over four times.
Alhambra (3-6, 2-3) got a late lift from elusive running back Taylor Poyadue, who scored twice on three carries thanks to a 56-yard burst, then consecutive runs of 33 and 13 yards on the ensuing possession. Poyadue led all rushers with 165 yards on 16 carries.
Acalanes quarterback Robbie Stern had scoring passes to Steve Main and Taylor Supple and ran for two. Stern completed 8 of 13 passes for 107 yards.
-- Bill Kolb, correspondent
Miramonte 45, Las Lomas 34: Marshall Duetz had a monster game as the Matadors' playoff hopes got a shot in the arm with their road win over the Knights.
Duetz had 136 total yards, with 96 yards on the ground and 24 yards receiving. He even completed a 16-yard pass and scored three touchdowns in the first half for Miramonte (5-4, 3-2 DFAL).
The third was a back-breaker for Las Lomas (3-6, 2-3) as Duetz returned an interception 67 yards for a touchdown with three seconds left in the half to make it 28-14.
-- Matt Smith, correspondent
Berkeley 17, Bishop O'Dowd 14: Akil Bordelon caught a short pass from Lamont Smith and ran 15 yards to put the Yellowjackets up with 52 seconds left in the game, and Berkeley's defense did just enough to stop a late Dragons rally to remain unbeaten in West Alameda County Conference-Foothill Division play.
Bordelon's run-and-catch score capped a Yellowjackets' 12-play, 80-drive that began with 5:04 left in the game. The junior wide receiver also kept the Berkeley (4-4, 4-0 WACC-Foothill) drive alive on a third-and-5 play, breaking two tackles in the backfield and registering a 9-yard gain with 1:39 remaining.
Bishop O'Dowd (6-3, 2-2) forced Berkeley's hand after scoring on a fourth-and-18 play in which quarterback Kevin King found De'zhon Grace for a 38-yard touchdown pass with 5:04 to play.
The Dragons had one last chance after Bryce Grandison's 15-yard run finished inside Berkeley's 25, but even with a dead ball flag on Berkeley after the play, the referees ruled that with no time remaining on the clock and Bishop O'Dowd out of timeouts, the game was over, Dragons coach Hardy Nickerson said.
-- Robert Jordan, correspondent
Castro Valley 41, Hayward 0: Castro Valley's halftime homecoming festivities featured superb performances by the school's cheer squad and band plus a memorable fireworks show. But Trojans fans already had plenty to cheer with a 27-0 lead and more excitement to come in this WACC-Foothill Division contest.
Patrick Cheek gave the Trojans (5-4, 3-1 WACC-Foothill) a 6-0 lead on a 25-yard run with 3:01 left in the first quarter, then added a 20-yard scoring run in the second quarter for a 13-0 spread. Nick Alfaro followed with a 71-yard touchdown run and Luke Huerta closed the first-half scoring on a 1-yard sneak 21.8 seconds before the break.
Castro Valley's homecoming spirit stayed alive after halftime when Demareyeh Lane ran a fumble recovery back 36 yards for a 34-0 lead at 9:41 of the third quarter. Felipe Martinez's 1-yard run completed the scoring with 3:56 left.
Castro Valley limited the Farmers (4-5, 2-2) to just 27 yards total offense.
-- Mike McGreehan, correspondent
Encinal 25, San Leandro 21: Corey Sails ran for 151 yards and a touchdown as Encinal came back to defeat San Leandro (0-9, 0-4) s for the Jets' first WACC-Foothill Division victory of the season.
Encinal (5-5, 1-3) bounced back from a 21-10 third-quarter deficit.
It was largely because of the senior running back that the Jets were in position to win. Down by 11 in the third quarter, Sails broke a 67 yard run that led to an 11-yard score by Jordan Parker. Sails then ran in the two-point conversion to make it a 21-18 game.
The score held until late in the fourth quarter, when Sails scored from 58 yards out to give his team the final margin.
-- Justin Lafferty, correspondent
Siskiyous 34, Diablo Valley 27: Quinn Kahler hit Cameron Rowland for a go-ahead 2-yard touchdown in the fourth quarter, but the Vikings could not hold the lead in their Mid-Empire League opener. The touchdown put DVC ahead 27-26.
Siskiyous took the lead for good with 8:07 remaining on a pass from Levi Cox to Sam Williams. DVC got the ball back with 56 seconds left and no timeouts, but couldn't score.