Amador Valley High senior Michael White ran for 169 yards and two touchdowns, and the Dons forced seven turnovers in a 28-7 win over visiting Monte Vista Friday night to open the East Bay Athletic League season.
The Dons (4-0) upped the lead to 21 points on a 2-yard White run with 6:21 left in the fourth quarter. Fittingly, the score came off a turnover. After the Dons' Patrick Pipitone sacked Nikita Zamora, James Moore recovered at the Amador 48-yard line. On second down, White ran 39 yards to the 2, dragging tacklers along the way. He followed with the touchdown run.
White, who had 115 yards in the first half, had to work hard in the final two quarters against a blitzing Mustangs' defense.
"It was a great effort by our O-line to open up the holes late in the game so we could close it off," said White, who said he's fully recovered after missing eight weeks last season with a back injury.
The Mustangs (1-3) fumbled the ball away five times, and Zamora was picked off twice. After trailing 21-0 at halftime, Monte Vista surged in the third quarter. The Mustangs' Zach Cribb scored on a 2-yard run after they held Amador on downs.
Amador turned it over four times overall, but the Dons defense limited the Mustangs to 57 yards of rushing and 164 passing.
"Poor effort by us," Monte Vista coach Craig Bergman said. "They did everything to keep us in the game. They turned the ball over too, but we had zero execution on offense. No passion. I didn't think we did much well tonight. Defensively, we did a pretty good job."
The Mustangs turned the ball over four times during a sloppy first half, including on each of their first three possessions.
Amador Valley led 7-0 on a 1-yard Patrick Pipitone run and a Kevan Knaggs' extra point after the Dons' recovered a fumble. The Dons marched 64 yards on 11 plays. White carried seven times for 46 yards on the drive.
Late in the first quarter, the Dons' Harrison Mayo made a leaping interception of a swing pass, He returned it 11 yards to the Monte Vista 34-yard line. Two plays later, White ran 23 yards for the score.
After recovering a fumble in the second quarter, the Dons needed six plays to up the lead to 21-0. Zeke Burgermeister, a part of a quarterback rotation along with Ronnie Jones, completed a 12-yard scoring pass to Knaggs. He got a great block on the corner from offensive lineman Alex Jader before racing into the end zone.
The Dons also lost possession twice on fumbles in the first half, and Monte Vista fumbled it away three times.
California 16, Granada 14: Cal struggled to find much momentum until late in game of an EBAL-opening win over visiting Granada (3-2).
After a 99-yard kickoff return for a touchdown to open the game by C.J. Cornwell, the Grizzlies (3-1) wouldn't reach the end zone again until there was 8:25 left in the game.
Though Cornwell, who also caught three passes for 38 yards, left the game near the end of the third quarter with a right ankle injury he sustained after a 13-yard reception. He limped off the field.
Uncharacteristically, the Grizzlies committed 11 penalties — eight false starts.
"The officiating was a little tight and we made some foolish mistakes," Cal coach Eric Billeci said.
Cal eventually got some breathing room with 8:25 left in the game when running back Blake Bierwith rumbled his way for a 6-yard touchdown run that gave the Grizzlies a 16-7 lead. Bierwith had 137 yards rushing on 23 carries.
The feisty Matadors battled to tie the game at 7-all with a 45-yard interception return for a touchdown by Casey Soltis just before the end of the first half. Soltis was also victim of injury. He was helped off the field with just under seven minutes left in the game after making a tackle on defense.
Cal's bright spot on defense was Jacob Wooldridge, who had two interceptions.
-- Steve R. Waterhouse, correspondent
Foothill 51, Livermore 14: The host Falcons (5-0) scored 27 unanswered points in the second quarter and to help rout the Cowboys (2-3) in the first EBAL game for each team.
Foothill scoring five of its seven touchdowns on the ground. The Falcons' leading rusher was Jamirr Holland, who had seven carries for 116 yards and a score. Matt Luey and Isaiah Floyd each had a touchdown of their own.
Foothill quarterback Kyle Kearns threw for 124 yards, including a 29-yard touchdown pass to Isaiah Langley. Kearns and Langley also each rushed for a touchdown as well.
Livermore finally got on the board with a 10-yard touchdown pass to Andrei Kasten from Travis Adams when time expired in the first half. The Cowboys also had the first score of the second half coming on a 68-yard run by Jacob House. House finished with 110 yards on 15 carries, but that was it for Livermore, as the Foothill defense shut them out in the fourth quarter.
-- Jen Cosgriff, correspondent