Bay Battle Brings Out Oakland’s Best PDF  | Print |  E-mail
Thursday, 11 December 2014 11:03

121114sBy Greg Benson • San Leandro Times

Coming into the Battle of the Bay, the Raiders were 8-point underdogs to the 49ers. Having lost miserably to the St. Louis Rams, 52-0, just a week ago, Oakland had something to prove. And what better way of making a statement than in front of your home crowd against your cross-bay rivals?

Since losing to Seattle at home the week prior, San Francisco was battling their own demons within the franchise. Rumors circled that head coach Jim Harbaugh could be falling out of favor and the team was not playing up to their potential.

With a capacity crowd split between red-shirted 49er faithful and black-clad Raider diehards, the stage was set for the 13th Battle of the Bay (record being 6-6).

It would be the first play from scrimmage that set the tone for the game, as 49ers quarterback Colin Kaepernick scrambled out to his left and heaved a long pass over the head of receiver Michael Crabtree. Raiders safety Brandian Ross tracked the ball to the sideline and intercepted the pass.

Going into the locker room at the half tied 10-10, the Raiders still had more to prove. They’ve been in close games throughout the season, especially at halftime, only to have their opponents come out on the winning end by taking control in the second half.

On this day, the tide turned, and it was the Raiders who took control in the third and fourth quarters. Quarterback Derek Carr led the Raiders offense on two 80-yard scoring drives, taking precious time off the clock and extending Oakland’s lead to 24-13.

“Today our guys were really resilient towards the end of the football game,” said Raiders interim head coach Tony Sparano. “Putting together those two drives for scores… was critical.”

Throughout the game, the crowd noise was deafening down on the field. At first, it was a combination of 49er and Raider fans. However, after those two scoring drives, it was mostly the Silver and Black sounding off in support of their team.

“Yesterday showed the true character of Raider fans,” said Griz Jones of M.O.B. Charities in Oakland. “We didn’t get caught up in all the 49er fans. We were into the game. I was very impressed with how the diehard fans conducted themselves.”

With a history of beer baths and brawls, it was good to see that the fans could rise above the rivalry and coexist in a peaceful manner. Hopefully, this will bode well for future match ups between the two teams.

Now with another win under their belt, the Raiders travel to Arrowhead Stadium to face the Kansas City Chiefs. That was the only other win the Raiders had this season, beating the Chiefs in Oakland 24-20.

To sweep Kansas City would be oh so sweet for a 2-11 team that desperately needs some more momentum to carry them through to next year.

CAPTION: Oakland Raiders quarterback Derek Carr leads his team on one of two 80-yard drives in the second half to secure a 24-13 win over the San Francisco 49ers last Sunday at Coliseum.


Raiders End 16-Game Drought PDF  | Print |  E-mail
Friday, 21 November 2014 12:29

112014s4By Greg Benson San Leandro Times

You have to go all the way back to Oct. 27, 2013 to have seen the bright smiles and jubilant cheers of Oakland Raiders fans and players celebrating a victory at the Coliseum.

That day the Raiders defeated the Pittsburgh Steelers 21-18 — the last home win for this team that has struggled to find its footing under a new regime, a new era.

That is until this last Thursday night when the Raiders shocked the nation and overcame a 16-game winless drought by downing the Kansas City Chiefs.

The Raiders started fast with two first-half rushing touchdowns by second-year running back Latavius Murray — one from 11 yards out and the other, a 90-yard bolt up the gut — something the Chiefs have not afforded any other team thus far this season, a rushing touchdown of any kind.

The running game with starters Darren McFadden and Maurice Jones-Drew has struggled all season. But, now, with Murray’s effort against Kansas City, expect to see this big back get a lot more action.

“The way he ran the ball today, yeah, he earned more snaps. No doubt about it,” said interim head coach Tony Sparano.

Up 17-3 well into the third quarter, the Raiders slowly lost grip of the lead and found themselves down 20-17 with 9:03 left in the game.

That’s when Raiders quarterback Derek Carr took charge and orchestrated an impressive 17-play, 80-yard scoring drive. Culiminating in a 9-yard touchdown pass to wide receiver James Jones, the drive took 7:21 off the clock and gave the Raiders back the lead, 24-20.

“For a rookie quarterback, in that situation… to go 17 plays in a winning drive — that’s impressive,” said veteran defensive end Justin Tuck. “That let’s you know a little bit of the moxie of number 4.”

112014s3Carr is an infectious optimist — always believing, always encouraging his teammates.

“I’m just so happy for my teammates,” said Carr. “To see them smile. To see that we’re running the ball well, and have them come back in the huddle all fired up, feeling good about themselves, that’s the kind of stuff that fires me up.”

Now, with 1:35 left on the clock, the victory rested in the hands of Oakland’s defense.

The second ingredient for success, after starting fast, is finishing strong. That’s the part of the formula that had eluded the Raiders thus far this season. And, on this night, they again struggled to seal the deal.

The Raiders would give the Chiefs another chance after a fourth-down penalty, three on one play to be exact. The Chiefs accepted the illegal hands to the face penalty on defensive end Benson Mayowa to place the ball at the 49 with 1:01 to play and a fresh set of downs.

Raiders players gathered on the sidelines, full of anticipation, urging their defensive counterparts to finish strong.

On third and six, linebacker Sio Moore heeded the call and blitzed Kansas City quarterback Alex Smith, sacking him for a 7-yard loss.

Moore was so excited, he ran towards the south end zone in an eruption of satisfaction and proceeded to celebrate the sack with fellow linebacker Khalil Mack.

But, wait, the clock is still running! Smith, seeing the celebration some 20 yards downfield, hurried to the line to snap the ball.

If not for the quick thinking of Justin Tuck to call a timeout, the Raiders would have been penalized for offsides.

Luckily, the timeout was taken, and the Raiders gained their composure to defend a fourth-and-13 play that ended with an incomplete pass from Smith to wide receiver Frankie Hammond, Jr.

The Raiders took over on downs, and Carr took a knee to give the Raiders their first win of the season.

The sidelines erupted in celebration, and Moore bolted for the Black Hole in the south end zone of Coliseum.

“I was so glad to get swallowed in by the Black Hole! They deserve it,” said Moore in the locker room after the game. “I love playing in front of them. I love playing with the energy that they give me, because I’m a guy that came from nothing and I’ve made it here, and I wouldn’t want to be anywhere else.”

While the Raiders record of 1-10 won’t get them anywhere near the playoffs, this win, on this night, will get them back a sense of pride that they can carry to the end of the season — a season of lessons learned and the hope of better things to come.

CAPTION 1: Oakland Raiders linebacker Sio Moore celebrates the team’s first win of the season with the fans in the Black Hole at Coliseum.

CAPTION 2: Oakland Raiders offensive tackle Menelik Watson gives quarterback Derek Carr a big hug on the sidelines as the clock ticks down towards the team’s first victory of the season.


Injury-Plagued San Leandro Eliminated by Antioch, 50-26 PDF  | Print |  E-mail
Thursday, 20 November 2014 16:03

112014s1By Jim Knowles • San Leandro Times

The Pirates saw enough of Antioch running back Najee Harris on Friday night, but it was more of a passing glance as the 6 foot 2, 210 pound sophomore raced past defenders at Burrell Field.

Harris scored four touchdowns and picked up 370 yards, leading the Panthers to a 50-26 win over San Leandro in the first round of the North Coast Section Division I playoffs.

Harris introduced himself on the opening drive with a 70-yard touchdown run on the first play.

But San Leandro fought back to hold the lead at halftime. Pirates running back Nofu Noa broke away for a 35-yard touchdown run to put San Leandro on the board.

Later, San Leandro quarterback Derrick Purvis scored on a keeper from the 1-yard line to cut Antioch’s lead to 16-13.

The Purvis touchdown was set up on a big gain by running back Anthony Pierce and a 40-yard pass from Purvis to wide receiver Troy Hearne.

Before the half, Reuben Baker ran back a punt to the Antioch 15-yard line, setting up a touchdown pass from Purvis to tight end Jahari Kay to give San Leandro a 19-16 lead.

112014s2But in the third quarter, Harris and the Panthers took the momentum with three unanswered touchdowns.

The Pirates played without four or five key players who were injured in the game. With a couple of starting linebackers and a tackle out, it was even tougher stopping Harris.

The whole year was injury plagued for the Pirates, who lost starting quarterback Stephen Johnson to a foot fracture early in the season.

“It’s been a tough year, a lot of key guys out with injuries,” said Pirates head coach Brad Bowers.

Bowers gave credit to Antioch running back Harris, though.

“He’s solid,” Bowers said.

Antioch also has a few linemen who are over 300 pounds.

“They have some huge guys up front that we don’t have,” Bowers said.

San Leandro had a year of adversity, but still pulled off a good season with a 6-4 record and made the playoffs.

Purvis scored two touchdowns rushing for San Leandro and completed 5 of 15 passes for 90 yards. Omari Land led San Leandro in rushing with 82 yards.

Antioch advances to the next round of the NCS playoffs, traveling to Foothill for a game at 7 p.m. on Friday.

CAPTION 1: San Leandro wide receiver Reuben Baker dives for a pass from quarterback Derrick Purvis that’s just out of his reach.

CAPTION 2: Antioch running back Najee Harris gallops for a first down at Burrell Field on Friday night.


Assumption Runners Excel at Diocesan Meet PDF  | Print |  E-mail
Thursday, 06 November 2014 15:56

110614sThe Assumption School boys’ 3-5th grade cross country team show off their victory medals after running in the Oakland Diocesan Championship Meet on Friday, Oct. 17, at Joaquin Miller Park where the team placed 6th out of 34 teams from the Oakland Diocese.  The Assumption 3-5th grade girls’ team placed second out of 35 teams.  Assumption 8th grader Jasmine Powell placed fifth overall out of 144 runners in the 6-8th girls’ race.

Pirates Alumni to Play Fundraiser Basketball Game PDF  | Print |  E-mail
Thursday, 06 November 2014 15:55

Former San Leandro High School basketball players are invited to compete in a fundraiser alumni basketball double-header on Wednesday, Nov. 26.

The girls game will begin at 6 p.m. and the boys game starts at 7 p.m. This fundraiser raises money for both teams. Admission is $6 for adults and $4 for students. Anyone interested in playing can contact SLHS Athletic Director Jeanette Wood at  This e-mail address is being protected from spambots. You need JavaScript enabled to view it or call 618-4600, ext. 2177.


San Leandro Girls Tennis Nips Castro Valley, 4-3 PDF  | Print |  E-mail
Thursday, 30 October 2014 15:21

103014s1By Jim Knowles • San Leandro Times

The San Leandro High tennis team beat Castro Valley, 4-3, last Thursday afternoon in a close battle that went down to the final match on the Pirates home courts.

Castro Valley took all three doubles matches, but the Pirates won the four singles matches.

It all came down to the No. 3 singles as Jeanette Yee of San Leandro beat Gabby Zakas of Castro Valley 7-6 (5), 6-2.

The last time the two teams played each other, Zakas won, and the Trojans won the match 4-3.

“I think this time I was a little more focused,” Yee said after the match.

103014s2Yee said she also didn’t undercut the ball as much this time, hitting more shots with topspin.

In the No. 1 singles match, Jenna Dizon of San Leandro beat Hailey Agulay of Castro Valley 6-3, 6-3.

Dizon is the freshman class president as well as the Pirates No. 1 singles player. She said when she was 10 years old she decided she wanted to become a pro tennis player.

“Tennis and school are basically my life,” Dizon quipped. In the classroom, Dizon said she likes science, but she’s thinking about trying drama, too.

In the No. 2 singles match, Patti Castillo of San Leandro beat Alexa Bucciarelli of Castro Valley 6-3, 6-2 in a match that had the longest rallies of the day. Both players are good at getting the ball back.

Castillo, in her second year on the Pirates tennis team, keeps it simple. “I just try to get the ball over,” she said.

In the No. 4 singles match, Diana Rodriguez of San Leandro beat Aditi Gupte of Castro Valley 6-0, 6-4.

Rodriguez said she let her guard down a little in the second set. But she got back on track to win the match.

Castro Valley won all three doubled matches. In No. 1 doubles, Nicole Bucciarelli and Brianna Wong of Castro Valley beat Alice Chin and Lauren Nguyen of San Leandro 6-0, 6-0.

In No. 2 doubles, Angela Ho and Caroline Yu of Castro Valley beat Jaime Wong and Sharon Phan of San Leandro 6-2, 6-0.

In No. 3 doubles, Morgan Adams and Riley Powers of Castro Valley beat Lily Gee and Leandra Lumugai of San Leandro 6-0, 6-1.

CAPTION 1: Castro Valley High’s No. 1 singles player Hailey Agulay battled Jenna Dizon of San Leandro on Thursday afternoon in a match that ended in a 6-3, 6-3 win for Dizon. San Leandro won the team score, 4-3, in a close contest. But Castro Valley won all three doubles matches. See SPORTS, page 20.

CAPTION 2: San Leandro High No. 3 singles player Jeannette Yee won her match against Gabby Zakas of Castro Valley last Thursday.


San Leandro Streaks Past Jets, 35-6 PDF  | Print |  E-mail
Thursday, 23 October 2014 15:24

Pirates prepare for next opponent, Bishop O’Dowd, on Friday

102314sBy Jim Knowles • San Leandro Times

San Leandro High’s offense is improving each week as the Pirates rolled to a 35-6 win at Encinal in Alameda on Friday night.

The Pirates will need the offensive power this Friday at Burrell Field when Bishop O’Dowd comes to town, a rivalry that’s always a big game.

San Leandro led all the way at Encinal, taking an early lead when Pirates running back Ronald Thomas broke through to the end zone from 5 yards out, his first of two TDs. His second score came on a 32-yard run.

“The line is going good now, they’re opening the holes,” Thomas said after the game. “We’re getting better. We’re getting ready for O’Dowd now.”

Sonny Sowles also scored a pair of touchdowns for the Pirates on runs of 35 yards and 15 yards. And Pirates quarterback Derrick Purvis scored on a keeper from the 11-yard line.

San Leandro’s reliable kicker Ivan Flores booted the extra point after every touchdown.

The Jets scored once when wide receiver Brian Clinkscale broke loose from the 35-yard line for a touchdown. Otherwise, the Pirates defense held back the Jets much of the night.

“The offensive line is getting better. The young guys are coming along,” said San Leandro head coach Brad Bowers.

Bowers said getting the team fired up for O’Dowd is never a problem.

“We’re always up for O’Dowd. Emotion isn’t an issue,” Bowers said. “We need to get these guys executing plays and we’ll be all right.”

This week, San Leandro hosts Bishop O’Dowd on Friday at 7 p.m. at Burrell Field.

CAPTION: San Leandro quarterback Derrick Purvis takes off for the end zone on an 11-yard touchdown run.


Rebels Rally to Win ‘Helmet’ Game PDF  | Print |  E-mail
Thursday, 16 October 2014 15:37



San Lorenzo High fans erupted in the final minute as the Rebels rallied to beat crosstown rival Arroyo, 28-24, on Saturday on the Rebels home field.

By Jim Knowles • San Leandro Times

The San Lorenzo vs. Arroyo rivalry is just as intense as ever as a full house witnessed the Rebels pull out a 28-24 win on their home field on Saturday afternoon with an interception and return for a touchdown.

San Lorenzo cornerback Martin Peña stepped in front of an Arroyo receiver to pick off a pass and took it all the way down the right sideline to a touchdown that gave the Rebels the win.

“Coach told me they were going to throw a quick out,” Peña said. “At first I just wanted to knock the ball down, but then I got it so I took off for the end zone.”

Peña’s fellow cornerback Bejour Wilson picked off another pass to nail down the win. As the final minute wound down the entire student body of San Lorenzo was down off the bleachers against the fence surrounding the field.

“This is the best feeling in my high school life right here, man!” Peña said.

The big win against the crosstown rivals, “The Helmet Game,” came on homecoming week. The stands were decorated with bunting and signs. Each class marched in front of the stands at halftime, dressed in their themes for homecoming.

101614s1The celebration came after an uphill climb for the Rebels, since Arroyo took a 16-0 lead in the first quarter.

Arroyo running back Eric Tafeamalii plowed into the end zone to give the Dons a 14-0 lead, and then quarterback Devin Delatorre made the 2-point conversion on a keeper.

The Rebels got on the board before halftime on a 20-yard touchdown catch by Peña on a pass from quarterback Kevin Mosi, who added the 2 point conversion on a pass to Wilson.

But then in the third quarter, Dons increased their lead to 22-8 in the third quarter on catches by receiver John Schherrer, another touchdown by Tafeamalii, and a catch for the 2-point conversion by Davon Dawson.

San Lorenzo came back with a 30-yard touchdown catch by Peña. And then, following a recovered fumble, a touchdown by running back Ramiah Marshall to cut the Dons lead to 24-22.

That set the stage for Peña interception and return for a TD, and a big homecoming celebration at San Lorenzo.

This week, San Lorenzo hosts Alameda on Friday at 4:30 p.m. Arroyo hosts Piedmont on Saturday at 3:30 p.m.

CAPTION: Arroyo receiver John Scherrer picks up a first down against San Lorenzo.

Sparano Rises from the Trenches PDF  | Print |  E-mail
Friday, 17 October 2014 17:33

101614s5By Greg Benson • San Leandro Times

Living in the trenches of the NFL is not a very glamorous life. It’s where all the blood, sweat and tears gather in a trough of tribulation.

On every down, these massive linemen go to battle, clashing in a contest of wills.

Standing just to the west of this clash of titans is the Oakland Raiders new interim head coach Tony Sparano. Since his college days starting at center for the New Haven Chargers, Sparano earned his chops as an O-line commander.

While he may not possess the physical attributes of today’s linemen, he embodies the mighty mindset and gritty determination it takes to play on the line.

With the departure of Dennis Allen as head coach, Sparano is taking charge of a Raiders team struggling to find a way to win.

After a competitive effort against the division-leading San Diego Chargers, Sparano expressed pride in his team eventhough the game ended with the Raiders suffering their fifth loss of the season 31-28.

“We didn’t walk into this place here today, in front of our fans, to play a good game, to play a competitive game,” said Sparano. “We came here to win a football game today.”

The Raiders came out quick with a 77-yard touchdown pass from quarterback Derek Carr to wide receiver Andre Holmes in the third play from scrimmage.

They were able to hold the lead of 28-24 into the fourth quarter until the Chargers scored the game-winning touchdown with just under two minutes to go.

The Raiders still had a chance to either tie the game with a field goal or win with a touchdown. Carr, with 1:20 left on the clock took a shot deep to Brice Butler, but was intercepted at the 5 yard line.

“In our league there’s no moral victories. But I did tell them I was proud of them. This group, for what they’ve been through here the last two weeks, came out today and played with a lot of energy, a lot of passion… We’re going to continue to work our tails off and get better.”

Next chance for the Raiders to taste victory is this Sunday versus the Arizona Cardinals.

CAPTION: Oakland Raiders interim head coach Tony Sparano continues to inspire and instruct his offensive line in the second half versus the San Diego Chargers at Coliseum.


SLHS Runners Hit the Road PDF  | Print |  E-mail
Thursday, 16 October 2014 15:35

101614s4If you live anywhere near San Leandro High, you probably have seen the huge mass of kids swarming the neighborhoods.  They are all part of this year’s San Leandro Cross Country team and there are 125 of them. This season is proving to be one of the best seasons the cross country team has seen in almost a decade.

“I have such a fantastic pool of talent and dedication this year,” said coach Victor Doan. “This is a bittersweet year for me because the freshmen I started my coaching debut with are now seniors and their four years of hard work and dedication makes the team what it is today.  They truly are some of the best young adults I have ever worked with.”

Next week, the team will be taking 72 of its top runners down to the Mt. SAC Invitational in Walnut, CA.

This is the largest cross country race in the nation attracting over 25,000 runners.

The cross country program does a lot of fundraising to be able to make the trip down to the Mt. SAC Invitational and welcomes donations of any amount.

Donations can be made out to San Leandro Cross Country and sent to 2200 Bancroft Ave. San Leandro, CA  94577.


Assumption CYO Girls at Bat PDF  | Print |  E-mail
Thursday, 09 October 2014 14:56

100914s1The Assumption School 5th-8th grade CYO girls’ softball team is all smiles after playing Holy Spirit on Tuesday, Sept. 16.

The game was one of 10 that make up the regular season.

The CYO girls’ softball league presents an opportunity for girls to hone their skills in a supportive, noncompetitive environment. Games are not officially scored.

The Assumption School Trojans are looking forward to the CYO Girls’ Softball Jamboree on Saturday, Oct. 11.

Five girls’ teams will play in a one-day tournament and then enjoy a picnic afterward.

CAPTION: Assumption school 5th-8th grade CYO girls’ softball team hone their skills and have fun.


One Big Play The Difference: 14-10 Liberty PDF  | Print |  E-mail
Thursday, 02 October 2014 18:43

100214s1By Jim Knowles • San Leandro Times

San Leandro High played a good defensive game against Liberty High of Brentwood, except for a couple misplays that made the difference at Burrell Field on Friday night.

It was all tied up at halftime, 7-7, and in the second half the Pirates took a 10-7 lead on a field goal by Ivan Flores.

But the one play the Pirates would have liked to have back was when Willie Williams took the ball 60 yards down the left sideline to put Liberty ahead with the final score of 14-10.

The Pirates appeared to have a big play on the drive that ended with a field goal, as running back Norman Haddix took off on a 40-yard dash to the end zone, but Haddix was knocked out of bounds on the 2-yard line. The Pirates had to settle for the field goal, but at the time it gave them the lead.

That San Leandro drive was set up when Troy Hearne recovered a Liberty fumble at midfield.

“The defense played their butts off tonight,” said Pirates head coach Brad Bowers. “Just a couple little mistakes made all the difference.”

The Pirates are also playing without a few key players who are sidelined with injuries, including quarterback Stephen Johnson who has a fractured bone in his foot from an injury at practice. It’s still not known if Johnson will be back for San Leandro’s next game at Berkeley on October 10.

100214s2Backup quarterback Anthony Onciano has done a good job filling in for Johnson, improving each week.

Onciano guided the Pirates down the field in the final minutes to the Lions 30 yard line but he was sacked to end the drive.

The San Leandro High band cooked on Friday night, laying down some classics, including “Smoke on the Water” that had the stands rockin’.

Liberty had their big play on William’s touchdown run, but the pressing question remains: Shouldn’t this school, at least once a game, pull off the old Statue of Liberty Play?

San Leandro has a bye week and the Pirates next game will be at Berkeley High on Friday, Oct. 10, at 7 p.m.

CAPTION 1: Pirates wide receiver Reuben Baker goes up for a pass that’s broken up by Liberty safety Kyle Trego.

CAPTION 2: San Leandro quarterback Anthony Onciano, No. 15, breaks away for a first down against Liberty on Friday night.




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