Published August 18th, 2010
Area Teams Look to Rebound on Gridiron in 2010
By Chuck Nan
Photos Doug Kohen

August 16th marks a date on the calendar that most prep, collegiate and professional football players loathe - the always rugged two-a-day sessions, and local Lamorinda teams are not exempt.
For the first time in several seasons, not one of the three area schools finished with a winning record on the gridiron last year. In fact, from 2004 to 2008, at least two of the schools had finished the season with a winning record in each of those campaigns.
Acalanes, Campolindo and Miramonte did advance to the NCS Playoffs with the Dons and Cougars bowing-out after one game. Miramonte surprised by reaching the semi-finals, inflicting two huge road upsets along the way.
At Acalanes, head coach Mike Ivankovich admits his team will be young, but is impressed by what he sees. The Dons did lose some major contributors, but still have some experience at key positions as they look to improve on a 5-6 mark.
"We'll have five juniors start on both offense and defense," he said. "Our defense has a big linebacking corps and we'll utilize Trent Baker's athleticism by moving him from corner to safety. Teams won't be able to work around him as much." Baker was First-Team All-DFAL at defensive back.
Also returning to help the youngsters are senior co-captains Matt Rogstad (C), Lucas Levine (WR/OLB), Chris Doherty (RB/CB) and quarterback Michael Leamy. Rogstad was First-Team All-DFAL in 2009. Leamy saw significant playing time last season and has matured as a starting quarterback.
The Dons will run a more balanced offensive attack this year; expect them to throw the ball more, even from the double tight-end, double wing formation. Coach Ivankovich describes it as a "multi-spread pro style."
Acalanes plays its first two contests at home. On September 3rd, they host Ygnacio Valley and then on September 10th, they host Hayward. On September 24th, the Dons make the long trek to Healdsburg to face the Greyhounds in a tough intersectional game.
A 6-7 final ledger is seldom seen in Orinda and the Mats face the challenge to improve. It all starts at the quarterback position. Ross Anderson, then a sophomore, had a big playoff game at Novato, running for 84 yards on 17 carries and completing 7-of-14 passes for 104 yards in an unlikely win against the Hornets.
Despite strong post-season play, Anderson will battle senior Brett Collins, last season's early starter, for the top job. Senior running back/linebacker John Coupin, who also saw significant playing time, returns as well. Two other important Mats who are back include kicker Anthony Piganelli, who earned Second-Team All-DFAL, and senior guard Blake Swimmer, an Honorable Mention performer.
The O-Line also has big Ross Dolbec as a foundation. Dolbec, who is massive at 6-5, 285, is drawing interest from several Pac-10 schools. He showed solid lower and upper body strength at the Nike Football Combine in Oakland last May.
The Mats open their schedule on September 3rd by hosting Analy of Sebastopol. They then face a tough Fortuna team the next week on a neutral field (Dublin).
Over in Moraga, Campolindo will look for improvement on a 5-6 record. The Cougar's main offensive weapon, Andrew Ahr, returns for his senior season. Ahr led the DFAL in receiving with 50 receptions for 949 yards (19.0) and 11 touchdowns. All of his numbers were tops in the circuit. The senior was selected as one of the top "Cream of the Crop" returnees and is a sure recruit to play at the next level. Ahr is tall and athletic and usually out-jumps defenders while using his strength to make impressive catches.
Sophomore Brett Stephenson, a solid all-around athlete, steps-in at quarterback for his brother, Tommy, who graduated.
The Cougars also have First-Team All-DFAL kicker Jarrett Milner, a sure weapon as well, and Honorable Mention defensive back Joey Bertrand on the squad. Campolindo's junior varsity and freshman teams are both coming off undefeated seasons. The JVs were a perfect 10-0, while the frosh were 7-0-2. Both should supply some contributors to this season's squad.
Campo opens with its first two games on the road, returning home September 17th to host El Cerrito and then Oakland comes calling on September 24th.

The Lamorinda Weekly is pleased to welcome Chuck Nan to the Sports staff.
Rivalry Games
Friday, October 1
Miramonte at Acalanes

Friday, October 8
Acalanes at Campolindo

Friday, October 22
Campolindo at Miramonte

Photos Doug Kohen

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