The California High football team is in full 'B' beast-mode this season.
Blake Bierwith busted out 696 yards rushing and 11 touchdowns in the Grizzlies' first four games, heading into last week's showdown with Amador Valley.
Against the Dons, Bierwith, a senior running back, rushed for 206 yards on 31 carries and scored four touchdowns in a 29-7 California win, setting up a first place showdown with Foothill Oct. 11 in San Ramon. Both teams are 2-0 in the East Bay Athletic League.
Next fall, Bierwith would like to join former Amador Valley quarterback Kyle Moreno at Brown University, an Ivy League school in Providence, R.I., but Bierwith is keeping his options open.
A lot of people thought the California running game would take a step back this season after the graduation of standout Karris Johnson, now at Utah State.
But Bierwith stepped forward. Grizzlies coach Eric Billeci raves of Bierwith's 'A' efforts.
"He's a power runner, a real strong kid," Billeci said. "I know after Karris graduated last year everyone thought it was going to slow us down in the running game, but he's been doing just as well."
How does Bierwith's smarts translate to football?
"He knows how to read blocks real well and knows where the linemen are going to be," Billeci said. "He's just he's not someone we have to go over concepts with. He knows what to do."
SKY'S THE LIMIT FOR M.V. GRADS: UC Davis senior receiver Tom Hemmingsen and fellow Monte Vista graduate Brendon Garcia, a standout kicker at Idaho State, met up in the teams' Big Sky Conference openers on Sept. 28 in Davis. The Aggies took a 30-13 win for their first victory of the season after four defeats.
Hemmingsen, who sat out the 2012 season with a broken left foot that required surgery, had three receptions and a touchdown grab in the victory. Another Tri-Valley product, former Amador Valley standout Dalton Turay, also had three receptions and a touchdown for the Aggies.
For his part, Garcia had two 24-yard field goals in the loss. Also enjoying a strong season, Garcia was Big Sky Special Teams Player of the Week in consecutive weeks to begin the season. He drilled field goals of 30, 47 and 50 yards (tying a career best) in the Bengals' 29-3 win over Western State. How automatic is Garcia? He was 28 for 28 on extra points in 2012.
Hemmingsen, also a punt returner, is having a big comeback season. He leads Davis with 25 receptions for 277 yards. He had nine grabs for 86 yards in a 41-10 loss to visiting Portland State on Sept. 21. He had six receptions for 87 yards against Nevada on Sept. 7.
In high school, Hemmingsen was tough to contain. The former all-EBAL wideout had nine receptions for 230 yards and two touchdowns in a 2008 game against Pittsburg. Plus, he returned a punt 63 yards for a score.
Clearly, Hemmingsen, an economics major, missed being off the field in 2012.
"That was probably the hardest thing I had to go through," Hemmingsen told the Sacramento Bee. "I'd been playing football since age 10 and hadn't missed a game until last season. I had been pretty lucky. But last season was horrible."
Redshirt freshman Dane Turner, another Monte Vista graduate, is another Davis wideout.