High school football is back for Bay Area schools.
Eight months after the curtain closed on the 2022 season, more than 100 teams in the Bay Area News Group’s coverage area will return to football fields across the region this weekend.
It will start with a handful of games on Thursday and continue with many more on Friday and Saturday.
The area’s heavyweights — Serra, De La Salle, Pittsburg and others — will be in action.
The Bay Area News Group will have complete coverage all season. If you have not already, please sign up for a digital subscription. Your contributions keep us going.
Here are this week’s top matchups and schedule:
Orange Lutheran (1-0) at No. 2 De La Salle, 7:30 p.m.: De La Salle opens its season against a Southern California heavyweight that had no trouble breezing past traditional power Serra-Gardena 47-19 in an opening game last week. Orange Lutheran QB TJ Lateef, who has offers from Georgia, Miami, Arizona State and Arizona, threw for 192 yards and accounted for two TDs (one passing, one rushing) against Serra. Tyler Hennessy caught nine passes for 162 yards, and the Orange Lutheran defense was stingy against the run. In other words, DLS is in for a huge challenge against an opponent that plays in the same league as St. John Bosco and Mater Dei. The Concord school is coming off a season in which it lost three regular-season games (Serra, Folsom, St. Mary’s-Stockton) before going on a playoff run that ended with a loss to Lincoln-San Diego in the 1-AA state title game. QB Toa Faavae, now a junior, leads the DLS offense. His track-speed quickness will be needed against Orange Lutheran. Senior DB/WR Johnathan Guerrero had seven interceptions last season. When Orange Lutheran visited De La Salle in 2015, the Bay Area powerhouse won 41-3. — Darren Sabedra
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No. 5 San Ramon Valley at No. 8 St Ignatius, 7 p.m.: This intersectional season opener will feature high-level quarterbacking. Reigning Bay Area News Group player of the year Luke Baker will spearhead the SRV offense after passing for 46 touchdowns while leading the Wolves to a 2-A state title game a season ago. SRV returns weapons such as senior WR Zack Dodson (718 receiving yards) and RB John Pau Mendoza (11 TDs). Their San Francisco hosts will be led by first-year head coach Lenny Vandermade, a former USC assistant who takes over for longtime HC John Regalia. Vandermade’s team appeared in the CCS Division II championship game last season. He will ask QB Soren Hummel to build upon his successful sophomore season. Hummel will enjoy getting protection from 6-foot-6 tackle John Mills, who should have several encounters with four-star SRV linebacker Marco Jones on the edge. It is the first matchup between the teams in the MaxPreps era (2004). — Joseph Dycus
Helix-La Mesa (1-0) at No. 6 St. Francis, 7 p.m.: Traditional powers from opposite sides of the state face off in one of the week’s best matchups. St. Francis went 8-4 and reached the CCS Division I semifinals in 2022. Quarterback Aaron Knapp won both of his starts as a sophomore and is ready to go after beating cancer in the offseason. As is tradition, the Lancers will feature a stout offensive line and a workhorse back in junior Kingston Keanaaina, who rushed for five touchdowns in last season’s finale. The Lancers’ San Diego-area opponent has not had a losing season since 2005. Senior safety Mack Mrowka will lead a St. Francis defense that will need to handle RB Kevin Allen III, who rushed for two touchdowns and returned a kickoff for a TD while helping Helix defeat Edison-Huntington Beach 38-34 in a season-opening barnburner last week. — Joseph Dycus
No. 9 Wilcox at No. 10 Valley Christian, 7 p.m.: Wilcox won last season’s matchup between the teams and went on to finish 10-2. Valley Christian won only twice all season, a plunge that longtime coach Mike Machado hopes was just a one-year hiccup for his storied program. Questions should be answered on Friday. Valley has much more depth and seasoned talent than it did a year ago, highlighted by last season’s West Catholic Athletic League running back of the year Uchenna Eke and four-star lineman Champ Taulealea. Wilcox counters with standouts such as LB Jeramiah Lewis, the defensive player of the year in his league last season, and RB Elijah Walker. Valley is 4-2 against Wilcox since the teams started annually playing each other in 2016. — Darren Sabedra
No. 14 El Cerrito at Amador Valley, 7 p.m.: It’s only the first game, but Friday night’s visit to Amador Valley could be the most important contest of the regular season for El Cerrito. The Dons are the only Division I team the Gauchos face. An impressive win by the D-II Gauchos could set them up for a high seed in the North Coast Section playoffs. On paper, this El Cerrito team is loaded. Senior QB Michael Vanhook lost weight in the off-season, moves much better and strengthened his throwing arm. He has three-star recruit Kamani Jackson to throw to and Ziare Eastman to hand off to. They are joined by newcomers Micah Avery and A’jhuan Parker. Avery was Clayton Valley’s leading rusher last season and Parker was the MVAL/WACC Shoreline offensive player of the year at Alameda. Both will be available to play Friday night, said Gauchos coach Jacob Rincon. Amador Valley will be without junior QB Tristan Tia. He transferred from Granada and will have to sit out the first five games, said Dons coach Danny Jones. Sophomore Aidan Foley will start at QB. The Dons will be pretty good by the end of this season, and possibly really good next year. But El Cerrito will be a huge challenge Friday night for the home team. — Mike Lefkow
No. 23 Archbishop Mitty (0-0) at No. 18 James Logan (0-0), 7 p.m.: The preseason favorite to win the MVAL/WACC Foothill Division will host last season’s CCS Division I runner-up in Archbishop Mitty. The Monarchs graduated their starting QB, WRs and several other top offensive stars from a surprise team that went from 1-9 in 2021 to 9-4. Logan coach Eddie Smith said he expects Mitty to be a challenge. The San Jose school brings back several contributors on defense. But that unit, led by linebackers Caden Allard and Antwann dos Santos Jurado, will be tested by a Logan team that flashed speed at the Pittsburg scrimmage on Friday. The Colts went 7-4 last season. Valley Christian transfer Jonathan Craft is a dual-threat QB who can make plays with his arm and feet. Logan’s Robert Mendez and Danzel Mercado are three-year starters who can get to the outside. This will be James Logan’s first matchup against a West Catholic Athletic League opponent in the MaxPreps era that started in 2004. — Joseph Dycus
No. 20 Menlo-Atherton vs. Bellarmine at San Jose City College, 7 p.m.: Former Bellarmine great David Diaz-Infante is back at his old school, this time as head coach. He takes over a team that went to the CIF 3-A state final last season, losing 28-27 to Laguna Hills. But Bellarmine was just 4-6 during the regular season, so Diaz-Infante knows there is work to be done. He’ll have a young team, but at QB he has senior Parker Threatt, a three-star recruit who stands 6-2 and can make life miserable for opponents with his athleticism. “He’s competitive, a leader, he’s tough to defend,” the coach said. Diaz-Infante added that Parker is being under-recruited. He might not be a QB in college, but regardless of where he plays, he’s one to keep an eye on. Protecting him will be senior OL Bennett Anderson, who has committed to Yale. Menlo-Atherton also is a bit of a mystery team. The Bears have two heavily recruited specimens in TE Alek Marshall (6-7, 235) and OLB Devin Hyde (6-5, 225), who has an offer from Washington. DE Khayri Jett and WR/DB Jayden Monroe are two more stars, meaning M-A won’t be without weapons. These teams played twice last season. M-A won by two TDs in the regular season, but Bellarmine got even, eliminating the Bears from the CCS playoffs. — Mike Lefkow
Folsom (1-0) at No. 1 Serra, noon: The game of the weekend in Northern California. Rematch of last season’s defensive battle in Folsom, which Serra won 17-12 on its way to 13 consecutive victories before losing in the Open Division state title game. Serra is filled with talent, led by QB Maealiuaki Smith, safety Joseph Bey, LB/RB Jabari Mann and LB/RB Danny Niu. They all played major roles for the San Mateo powerhouse in 2022. Folsom, as usual, has restocked its roster without a hiccup. In its season opener last week, sophomore QB Ryder Lyons completed 11 of 16 passes for 223 yards and a touchdown and rushed for 37 yards and two TDs in a 35-0 rout of Monterey Trail-Elk Grove. Lyons, the team’s new starting quarterback, spread the ball around, completing passes to five players. Sophomore Jameson Powell caught three passes for 88 yards and a TD. Folsom scored 28 points in the first quarter and finished the scoring in the second quarter. — Darren Sabedra
No. 3 Pittsburg at Sacred Heart Cathedral at Kezar Stadium, 1 p.m.: Pittsburg takes a trip across the Bay Bridge for Charlie Ramirez’s first game as head coach. He replaces Victor Galli, who retired after 21 years. The Pirates, who went 12-3 and reached the 1-A state title game last season, return a loaded junior class. Safety Jadyn Hudson and edge rusher Jewelous Walls are two of the best defenders in the Bay Area as third-year players. Marley Alcantara will be the starter after throwing for 14 touchdowns behind current Arizona State QB Jaden Rashada. Alcantara will face an SHC defense that must replace Jerry Mixon and RL Miller, who now play for D-I colleges. The Fightin’ Irish went 6-5 and played in the CCS Division I playoffs last season. QB Aiden McGrath and WRs Jackson Irons and Danilo Salgado will attempt to make Pittsburg’s athletic defense pay for whatever mistakes it makes. Pittsburg defeated SHC 32-21 in 2008. — Joseph Dycus
Thursday, Aug. 24
Gilroy at Live Oak, 7:15 p.m.
Lincoln-San Jose at Leigh, 7:15 p.m.
North Monterey County at Christopher, 7 p.m.
San Jose at Overfelt, 7:15 p.m.
San Mateo at El Camino, 7 p.m.
Soquel at Los Gatos, 7 p.m.
Westmont at Del Mar, 7:15 p.m.
Liberty vs. Enochs-Modesto at Johansen-Modesto, 7 p.m.
Friday, Aug. 25
Acalanes at San Marin, 7 p.m.
American-Fremont at Pinole Valley, 7 p.m.
Arroyo at Antioch, 7 p.m.
Berean Christian at Willits, 7 p.m.
Berkeley at Miramonte, 7 p.m.
Bethel at Hayward, 7 p.m.
Concord at Newark Memorial, 7 p.m.
Deer Valley at Mt. Diablo, 7 p.m.
El Cerrito at Amador Valley, 7 p.m.
Hercules at Encinal, 7 p.m.
Heritage at Foothill, 7 p.m.
Kennedy-Richmond vs. Napa at Memorial Stadium, 7 p.m.
Monte Vista at Granada, 7 p.m.
Mt. Eden vs. Kennedy-Fremont at Washington-Fremont, 7 p.m.
Redwood vs. San Leandro at Burrell Field in San Leandro, 7 p.m.
San Lorenzo at Richmond, 5:30 p.m.
Sonoma Valley at Alhambra, 7 p.m.
Vintage at Las Lomas, 7 p.m.
Washington-Fremont at Dublin, 7 p.m.
Aragon at Homestead, 7 p.m.
Capuchino at Burlingame, 7 p.m.
Cupertino at Branham, 7 p.m.
Fremont-Sunnyvale at Palo Alto, 7 p.m.
Jefferson at Woodside, 7 p.m.
Leland at Half Moon Bay, 7 p.m.
Lick at Gunn, 7 p.m.
Menlo-Atherton vs. Bellarmine at San Jose City College, 7 p.m.
Monta Vista at Hill, 7 p.m.
Monte Vista Christian at Los Altos, 7 p.m.
Mountain View at The King’s Academy, 7 p.m.
Mt. Pleasant at Gunderson, 7:30 p.m.
Oak Grove at Hollister, 7:30 p.m.
Prospect at Saratoga, 7 p.m.
Sacred Heart Prep at Riordan, 3:30 p.m.
San Lorenzo Valley at South San Francisco, 7 p.m.
Santa Teresa at Pioneer, 7:15 p.m.
Silver Creek at Evergreen Valley, 7:15 p.m.
Sobrato vs. North Salinas at Salinas Sports Complex, 7:30 p.m.
Terra Nova at Santa Clara, 7 p.m.
Wilcox at Valley Christian, 7 p.m.
Willow Glen at Piedmont Hills, 7 p.m.
Yerba Buena at Lynbrook, 7 p.m.
Benicia at Fairfield, 7:30 p.m.
Campolindo at Vanden-Fairfield, 7 p.m.
Carlmont at Castro Valley, 7 p.m.
Clayton Valley at Salinas, 7 p.m.
College Park at Fremont-Oakland, 7:30 p.m.
Dougherty Valley at Milpitas, 7 p.m.
East Union-Manteca at Tennyson, 7 p.m.
Helix-La Mesa at St. Francis, 7 p.m.
Hillsdale at Livermore, 7 p.m.
Lincoln-San Francisco at Analy, 7 p.m.
Lutheran-Orange at De La Salle, 7:30 p.m.
Mitty at Logan, 7 p.m.
Northgate at Reno, Nev., 7 p.m.
Piedmont at Pierce-Arbuckle, 7 p.m.
San Ramon Valley at St. Ignatius, 7 p.m.
Skyline at Carrillo, 7 p.m.
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Vallejo at Center-Antelope, 7:15 p.m.
Sequoia at Kealakehe-Kailua-Kona, Hawaii
Saturday, Aug. 26
Alameda at Ygnacio Valley, 2 p.m.
Bishop O’Dowd at Tamalpais, 2 p.m.
De Anza at St. Vincent, 1:30 p.m.
Freedom at Marin Catholic, 1 p.m.
Novato vs. Irvington-Fremont at Washington-Fremont, 7 p.m.
Moreau Catholic at St. Mary’s-Berkeley, 1:30 p.m.
Williams at Salesian, 1 p.m.
American Canyon at Menlo, 2 p.m.
California vs. San Juan Hills-San Juan Capistrano at Moorpark, 2 p.m.
Folsom at Serra, noon
Pittsburg vs. Sacred Heart Cathedral at Kezar Stadium, 1 p.m.