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Published August 14th, 2013
Football Season Kicks Off
By Michael Sakoda
Photo Lamorinda Weekly archive

The three Lamorinda high school football teams began practice on Monday and are gearing up for the 2013-14 season. All three teams are eyeing the postseason.
Last year, Miramonte recorded a 7-5 record, 4-2 in DFAL play, and beat Tennyson 35-7 in the first round of the NCS Playoffs before losing to eventual champion, Marin Catholic.
"The way we ended, wasn't the way we wanted to," said head coach Jack Schram. "But anytime you not only get to the playoffs, but get through the first round, and when the team that beats you goes on to represent Northern California in the State Bowl, it's understandable."
The Mats return a number of players to the team, including quarterback Drew Anderson, defensive back, running back and wide receiver Ray Clark, and linebackers Bennet Stehr and Jonathan McDonald. "I expect those guys to be leaders," said Schram. "They were all-league players and they've gotten better."
Still, the Mats have the task of replacing the production of graduated receivers, Marshall Deutz and Zati Williams. "I expect a lot from our receiver core," said Schram. "Dominic Paoletti and Will Fuller will have to make up for some of that production."
In terms of goals, Miramonte has high hopes. "We'd like to have a solid non-league schedule that leads to solid league play and hopefully a league championship," said Schram.
In Moraga, Campolindo ended a great season with a 10-2 record, including a 6-0 performance in DFAL play and a 38-19 rout of Terra Linda in the opening round of the NCS playoffs, before a tough 38-34 loss to Analy.
"That last game against Analy," said head coach Kevin Macy, "there was a game we could have found a way to win...but under the circumstances, we couldn't have asked anymore of our kids."
Despite the season-ending heartbreaker, Macy was pleased with his team's efforts after losing quarterback Brett Stephens halfway through the season.
"Andrew (Zolitakis) had to step in, and he did a great job," said Macy.
But the Cougars' coaching staff received notice last week that Zolitakis has suffered a stress fracture to his throwing arm and won't be ready for the season opener. "Jack Stephens will be starting until Andrew is healthy," said Macy. "He was a starting defensive end, so it's going to be a bit of a transition for him."
The quarterback will have support. "Our strength is going to be in our receiving core," commented Macy. "That will be Justin Dunn, Hunter Rosenbaum and Phillip Rei, with Tyler Petite at tight end. That group returning with Andrew at quarterback has us excited."
Campo's hope for the season-"We just have to get ourselves playoff eligible...see if we can make some noise in the postseason," said Macy.
Acalanes finished last season with a 7-4 record, 3-3 in DFAL play, and fell 16-13 to Oakland's Bishop O'Dowd in the opening round of the NCS.
"We took a step forward last year," said Dons' head coach Mike Ivankovich. "We lost four games by a combined 14 points, so it's disappointing knowing we could have gone further... a couple plays made a big difference."
For this year, Ivankovich said it's all about effort. "It's going to come down to the kids that are back stepping up and the new guys filling in holes that were left by graduation."
One key player returning for the Dons is running back Peter Mitchell.
"He's a 4-year varsity guy," Ivankovich explained, "so he'll have a big impact returning."
Also returning, but to a new role, is Robbie Stern. "Robbie's a 3-year varsity player...he'll play wide receiver and safety," said Ivankovich.
Stern had been center for the Dons the past two seasons, but Ivankovich said he's excelled at receiver and safety. "At this time, we feel like that's what's best for the team. Robbie looked incredible at slot receiver; he's a weapon." Ivankovich hopes this change will up his team's scoring from last year.
Casey Harrington will move up from JV and play quarterback.
"My expectation is that we're going to play every game like it's the biggest game of the year," Ivankovich said.

Home Openers:
Miramonte hosts Tamalpais, Aug. 24 at 6:45 p.m.
Campolindo hosts Heritage, Aug. 30 at 7 p.m.
Acalanes hosts Hercules, Aug. 30 at 7 p.m.

Rivalry Games:
Acalanes hosts Campolindo, Sept. 27 at 7 p.m.
Campolindo hosts Miramonte, Oct. 4 at 7 p.m.
Miramonte hosts Acalanes, Oct.11 at 7 p.m.

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