No win is guaranteed in the East Bay Athletic League this year, it seems.

With three weeks left in the regular season and seemingly anyone having the chance to win on any given night, the league title is still very much up for grabs.

The league's balance was no more apparent than last week, when all three games were decided by five points or fewer and Monte Vista and Livermore, both winless in EBAL play, nearly pulled off stunning upsets.

"Coming into the season, I said you can literally pick anybody" to win the EBAL title, California coach Eric Billeci said. "It's going to be one of those years where there's going to be parity. Everyone's good this year."

Billeci's Grizzlies have had their share of wild results. Two weeks earlier, Cal easily handled previously unbeaten Foothill. But the Grizzlies barely beat Granada in their EBAL opener and needed a last-minute touchdown drive to avoid a loss to Monte Vista last week.

"It's stressful," Billeci said of playing in the EBAL. "This is why we train the way we do, because we're going to be in these types of battles."

Despite a couple close calls, Cal (6-1, 4-0 EBAL) heads into Friday's home game against San Ramon Valley with a chance to clinch a share of the EBAL title with a victory.

San Ramon Valley (4-3, 3-0) is also unbeaten in league play so far, and last year the Wolves and Grizzlies shared the league title.


Advertisement

Cal has won just two EBAL titles in school history -- in 2007 and 2012. Both were shared with SRV.

"To be undefeated in the EBAL is good," Billeci said. "I'm happy about that, but we still have SRV, Livermore and De La Salle. I don't think we've really done enough to feel satisfied. Hopefully we're on the right track now."

FROM WINLESS TO CAN'T LOSE: Nearly three weeks into the season, a Concord team with only two returning starters was still searching for its first victory.

The Minutemen caught a break when a 20-point loss to Liberty turned into a forfeit win. That first win -- even if it was by fortuitous circumstances -- helped get Concord on a roll, and the Minutemen haven't lost since.

Suddenly, the team with an 0-2 record is now 6-1. Last Friday, it beat a previously undefeated Northgate team 30-28.

"I don't think you can understate how much we've grown up," Concord coach Brian Hamilton said. "Any time you start as many underclassmen as we did, you have the potential for that. No matter what there was going to be some improvement, but I'd by lying if I said I expected this much improvement."

The turnaround for Concord began when the team started focusing on itself and stopped worrying about what others were doing.

During their bye in Week 3, the Minutemen began filming their practices. Film study on their upcoming opponent was limited to Mondays, and a breakdown of their own play took up two days worth of film time.

Hamilton also credits his staff of Jon Bell, Randy Coddington, Derek Clements, Michael Griggs, John Koven and Gil Bates with his team's turnaround.

It'd be easy to point to junior quarterback Mitch Daniels and his 1,811 passing yards and 25 touchdowns or receiver Mason Knight and his impressive statistics as major factors in Concord's win streak. But their production wouldn't be possible without the improvement of their teammates, Hamilton said.

"You're not going to see improvement at every position group without everybody contributing," Hamilton said. "We've gotten better at everything we do."

A starting lineup with three sophomores and just five seniors left plenty of room for growth. But that's part of what's made this season so much fun for the Minutemen.

"It's been great, the kids have operated under the radar," Hamilton said. "It's probably been one of my favorite years."

Follow Stephanie Hammon at twitter.com/stephhammon.