Encinal Sneaks by Castro Valley for Championship

Photo Marjory Cabutotan

Encinal Sneaks by Castro Valley for Championship

Chadd Edwards

Encinal High School (7-1) defeated Castro Valley High (4-4) on Friday Oct. 22 at Willie Stargell Field. The thrilling 28-27 win was the Encinal’s (EHS) fifth in a row and gave them the Mission Valley Athletic League/West Alameda County Conference — Mission League championship. It was also EHS’ homecoming game.

With two minutes left in the game the Trojans marched down the field to get within field goal range. After converting a crucial fourth-and-1, a penalty pushed Castro Valley (CVHS) back to the 25-yard line. Having missed two extra points earlier in the game, the Trojans opted to throw the ball. But with 30 seconds left EHS’ defense held as safety Nah’shon Vick’s interception sealed the win.

“It felt great,” said Vick. “I’m glad we came through with the dub.”

It was payback for the Jets defensive backs, who had a tough outing against Piedmont High two weeks ago. EHS picked off the Trojans three times.

“We practiced hard this week and we were confident in ourselves and the unit as a whole,” Vick said.

The game began with CVHS taking the early 6-0 lead in the first quarter, but a missed extra point would prove costly. The second quarter belonged to the Jets as senior quarterback Garrett Deatherage threw two touchdowns to junior wide receiver Marques Singleton. EHS held a slim 14-12 halftime lead.

Playing on a muddy field, the Jets turned to their ground game, running the ball a season-high 45 times.

The seesaw battle continued in the second half. Both teams exchanged touchdowns as CVHS junior Jacob Rothwell leaped over Singleton to cut EHS’ lead to 21-19. A 20-yard touchdown run by Deatherage made it 28-19, but a Trojans score and two-point conversion narrowed the Jets’ lead to one.

EHS players realize how big of an achievement this season has been after going 0-5 during last year’s COVID-shortened season.

“It feels amazing,” said senior linebacker Alex De La O, “Especially to win with this team because we’ve all worked really hard and gone through so much to succeed and get here.”

The Jets take on Washington High School of Fremont (5-3) next on Oct. 29 on the road.