The time for talking is done as East Bay Athletic League football league play begins for Amador Valley and Foothill this week.
The two local teams have battled through the non-league campaign for half a season, but now both schools will set their sights on EBAL titles.
Both open at home with Dougherty Valley at Foothill, and San Ramon Valley at Amador. Thanks to the league having two divisions -- the Mountain and the Valley -- both schools can claim EBAL titles this year.
The Mountain Division is the higher-ranked league based on the last two years' competitive balance, with the Valley being the lower-ranked division. After next season, adjustments with the two leagues will be made.
Amador, California, Clayton Valley, Monte Vista and San Ramon Valley make up the Mountain. De La Salle technically is in the Mountain, but the Spartans are not eligible to win the league title.
Dougherty Valley, Dublin, Foothill, Granada and Livermore make up the Valley Division.
Can each of the Pleasanton schools win an EBAL title? Absolutely, but it will be tougher for the Dons in the incredibly tough and deep Mountain.
What are the keys for each team moving forward?
The Dons came into the year with one of the biggest, deepest and most physical teams in coach Danny Jones' tenure.
Through the first four games the Dons proved that on defense, just annihilating teams, allowing seven points in the four-game stretch.
Then came the crosstown rivalry game with Foothill, where the Dons blew a 14-0 lead and gave up three long, time-consuming scoring drives and came up on the short end of a 21-17 decision.
Keys for improvement?
One, the big bruisers like Brady Nassar and Kai Burgermeister must be impact players every game. The two bring great athleticism and physical prowess to the table. These guys need to be heard from every game.
Two, the offense needs to find consistency. EJ Thomsen is a talented running quarterback for Amador but relying on him running the ball could be a dangerous thing in the physical Mountain Division. A nice balanced attack would provide some much-needed protection for Thomsen, another must if the Dons are going to be successful.
Finally -- and this will be the same for Foothill -- get healthy, and stay healthy.
How about the keys for Foothill?
One, health. Seven Falcon starters were out for the San Ramon Valley game, and it just got ugly. Receiver/DB Connor Perez is out for the year with an ACL injury, but the rest need to come back. Kenny Olson sets the tone for the Foothill offense and defense and having him in street clothes against the Wolves was tough to see. When he is on the field, it opens chances for the other weapons Foothill has.
Two, Foothill's emerging offensive weapons need to continue to improve. Tony Schillaci ran like a man possessed against Amador and if that continues, it's another offensive asset.
Chris Lawson is a freshman on the varsity and seeing him come to life as the season has progressed has been amazing. This past week Lawson was offered a full ride from the University of Arizona -- as a freshman. Against San Ramon, Lawson flat out dusted a pair of SRV defensive backs deep but just missed on connecting from quarterback Nick Walsh.
Third, Walsh needs to be the steady leader he has been. Running or passing, Walsh has stayed calm on the field and the team feeds off that.
Foothill girls' volleyball
The Falcons kept their great season alive with wins over Livermore and Dougherty Valley to move to 22-1 on the season.
In the 25-14, 25-14, 25 22 win over Livermore, Foothill was led by Grayce Olson (8 kills, 6 service points), Jo Modica (6 kills, 9 digs, 4 aces), Sruti Jonnalagadda (6 kills) and Sammie Moser (4 aces, 3 digs).
In the win over Dougherty Valley, the Falcons won 25-19, 25-16, 25-17. Highlights were from Olson (19 kills, 7 digs), Katie Salonga (24 assists, 10 service points, 9 digs), Kaycie Burdick (7 kills, 2 aces) and Paige Bennett (6 kills).
Send in your results
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