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Pleasanton Preps: Falcons, Dons dominate first round of football playoffs

Also: Foothill student-athletes sign on with colleges

It was a successful opening round of the North Coast Section Division I football playoffs for the local teams, as Amador Valley and Foothill both rolled to wins.

The No. 7-seeded Dons opened the weekend with a 26-13 win over No. 10 Deer Valley on Friday. The next night, Foothill the No. 5 seed ran over No. 12 James Logan 40-7.

Both wins came at home, and now, both second-round games will come on the road. Tonight, the Dons will travel to play the No. 2 seed Freedom in a 7 p.m. game.

Saturday night, the Falcons will make the trip over the hill to face No. 4 San Leandro at Burrell Field, also a 7 p.m. contest.

While in theory both teams will be the underdogs, it wouldn't surprise me in the least to see both teams win. It's a new age with the NCS playoffs this year with the section having four teams in the Open Division.

The NCS selection committee selected the top four teams in the section to comprise the Open Division with De La Salle, San Ramon Valley, Pittsburg and Clayton Valley making up the quartet this season.

What that did was leave the Division I tournament wide open. Instead of just giving the title each year to De La Salle, it's now a tournament that is nowhere near a forgone conclusion.

The top two seeds, both of whom had byes in the first round, are Liberty and Freedom. Both strong teams, but also capable of being beat by Amador and Foothill.

The Dons will get their chance this week against Freedom. Freedom is certainly formidable with their two losses only coming to Pittsburg and Liberty. But this is a winnable game for Amador.

Coach Danny Jones has got the Dons playing inspired football, as the team rallied from a 40-13 loss to Foothill in the regular season finale to get the opening round win.

It's a testament to Jones, his staff and his players to come back and bounce a team right out of the playoffs. If the Dons can get some solid play from their offensive line, a big win can be theirs.

For Foothill, it's a chance for redemption as the Falcons suffered a 35-26, opening-night loss to San Leandro. It was a game where Fresno State-bound quarterback Ben Wooldridge was forced out due to an injury in the first quarter.

It wasn't Wooldridge getting hurt that necessarily cost the Falcons the win, but rather the inability of the Foothill defense to stop the Pirates' offense. Foothill has been playing much better on the defensive side of the ball.

In addition, Foothill coach Matt Sweeney is a master at watching film and game-planning. Count on Sweeney to have made the adjustments, and it will be a different Foothill defense than San Leandro saw the first time.

And if the Foothill defense does have problems stopping San Leandro, the Foothill offense may be able to just outscore San Leandro. The Falcons, which have scored 40 points or more in four straight games, are a unit that can tax any team in the playoffs.

College signings

The first national letter of intent day for high school players has come and gone. As usual, Pleasanton has been well represented from what has been reported.

The Foothill baseball team had three players sign, with Dylan Pottgieser (University of the Pacific), Sam Novitske (University of Oregon) and Jeremy Lea (Pacific) putting their names on the dotted line.

Foothill water polo star Madison Weiglein signed with San Diego State University. Weiglein is a four-year varsity water polo player, two-time captain and MVP of the 2016 Foothill team. She is also a two-time Academic All-American.

Finally, Foothill swimmer Tessie Scavone signed with Azusa Pacific.

Did your daughter or son sign an official letter of intent? Let us know and we will be happy to publish the information. Send details to acesmag@aol.com.

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