This time last year, Anthony Harrington and Jackson Visconti were eighth graders at Harvest Park, both typical middle school boys, mixing middle school pranks with enjoying their last year before entering high school.
As a campus supervisor at Harvest Park, I was around them throughout the year and got to know both well. Both were incredibly athletic, and successful athletic careers surely awaited at Amador Valley.
But where they would be one year later was hard to fathom.
The two indeed have made an impact at Amador, with the two starting for the Amador varsity against De La Salle -- as freshmen.
The Dons may have lost last Friday's game, but they played well, falling only 27-7 after leading in the first quarter and being tied 7-7 at the half.
It is rare when you see a sophomore starting for varsity -- but as a freshman is unheard of except in extreme circumstances.
"Those two didn't even flinch," Amador coach Danny Jones said of Harrington and Visconti. "They belong up here; they are very confident in their abilities."
Harrington -- a 5-foot-7, 135-pound starter at cornerback -- has been up with the varsity for some time, with Visconti (5-10, 160) coming up last week due to injuries in the Amador quarterback room.
In another twist, the pair spent two games last season as Amador ball boys.
"We did a couple games last year as ball boys," Harrington said of he and Visconti. "We were watching from the sideline and just the speed of the game was scary. It was something that we didn't want to be part of for sure."
Yet one year later there they were, starting against De La Salle, the iconic powerhouse -- not only one of the best programs in California, but in the entire country.
"There was no way we expected this," Visconti said. "We thought we would be playing freshman ball and then maybe hopefully make the varsity as sophomores."
It is one thing to suit up as a freshman and get the start against any team in the East Bay Athletic League, but then make it De La Salle and the anxiety can go off the charts.
"Obviously, De La Salle is a nerve-racking game at any age, but as a freshman ..." Visconti said.
Visconti finished 9-for-12 passing in the game and found some calm on the Dons' first play from scrimmage.
"We called a sprint out on the first play and the Notre Dame commit (Cooper Flanagan, 6-6, 255) they have didn't get out on me," Visconti said. "That helped me set my pace for the game."
Harrington was quick to praise his older teammates for helping with the adjustment.
"As soon as I was on the team, they have all been so welcoming," Harrington said. "The first practice was scary -- it was shocking what the pace was just in practice. But they made me feel like part of the family."
There is one more regular season game left against California this Friday, then a spot in the North Coast Section playoffs followed by a wrap on their unexpectedly exciting freshman campaign.
"I know I'll be feeling a lot better this week," Visconti said. "Coach told me he liked how I played and that made me feel good."
Foothill girls' volleyball
The Falcons got a pair of wins in the North Coast Section Division I playoffs last week.
The first was a 25-13, 25-18, 25-14 win over Mission San Jose. Later in the week the Falcons advanced to the semifinals with a 25-13, 23-25, 25-23, 25-17 over James Logan.
On offense the Falcons got great play as usual from Paige Bennett, Kaycie Burdick and Katie Salonga.
Amador girls' water polo
The Dons celebrated their Senior Night with a 13-4 win over Foothill.
Kate Harris had three goals, with Susan Swyers, Regan Braga and Evenly McLaughlin getting two apiece to lead the offensive attack.
Lyle Keegan, Paige Reynolds, Erin Brown and Ruby Harkness rounded out the scoring with one each. Brown also had 13 saves in the goal.
Foothill JV water polo
The Foothill junior varsity girls' team brought home the title of the 16th annual Delta Shootout on Oct. 22.
The tournament started with a 14-7 win over Carondelet. Natalie Williams had four goals, with Emmy Tsao adding three.
In the second game the Falcons edged Liberty 10-6. Sarah Overton scored three times, with Williams, Tsao and Mikayla Esguera scoring two goals each.
In the championship Foothill beat Las Lomas 14-7, with Clare Alexander leading the way with four goals. Medha Nadathur made over 30 saves throughout the tournament.
Editor's note: Dennis Miller is a contributing sports writer for the Pleasanton Weekly. To contact him about his Pleasanton Preps column, email [email protected]