HAYWARD -- Devante McGowan, and the Mt. Eden High football team, waited a long time for Friday's season opener.
McGowan, a senior who missed the 2011 season because of a knee injury, rushed for a game-high 185 yards and a touchdown in the host Monarchs' 17-7 victory over Albany. It was the first time since 2003 that the Monarchs had won their season opener, and the first time since 2007 that the squad had a winning record.
"It's just a statement about this group of kids buying into what we are coaching," said Mt. Eden coach Paul Perenon, who gave a lot of credit to Ron Thompson, a coach with the team in 2010 and 2011. "It started last year."
"We're finally 1-0. It's good to be 1-0," said McGowan, who scored the game's first touchdown on a 72-yard run in the first quarter. Teammate Khalil Thomas also had a big rushing game with 170 yards and the game's final touchdown, a 52-yard run with 8 minutes, 51 seconds left in the game.
Albany (0-1) tied the score early in the second quarter when quarterback Bobby Natsagdorj found Jarin Panigbatan for a 13-yard touchdown, and Michael Stromberg connected on the point-after-touchdown kick. Mt. Eden took the lead for good with 34 seconds remaining in the first half on a 22-yard field goal by Miguel Estaban.
Defensively, Mt. Eden allowed only 99 yards in the second half. Albany was paced in rushing by Brandon Stephens with 87 yards in the game.
Acalanes 34, Hercules 7: The visiting Dons scored three touchdowns in the third quarter to help beat the Titans in a nonleague game.
Acalanes led 13-0 at halftime as Peter Mitchell and Aaron Edwards both scored touchdowns. Edwards' score came with 18.9 seconds left in the first half. Mitchell had nine carries for 91 yards in the first half, and DeShawn Johnson has eight carries for 35 yards.
The Dons' defense also played well in the first half. John Lauth had two interceptions, and Acalanes held the Titans to 6 yards rushing.
At first glance, Hercules appears to be one of the top teams in the new Tri-County Athletic League Stone Division. The Titans are the only team in the division that had a winning record in 2011.
Acalanes is coming off a 4-6 season and is looking to get back to the NCS playoffs for the first time since 2010. The Dons host Skyline next Friday and Irvington on Sept. 7.
Hercules is on the road for the next three weeks, playing Mission-San Francisco at Kezar Stadium on Aug. 31, at Emery on Sept. 8 and at Piner-Santa Rosa on Sept. 15.
-- Joe Wolfcale, correspondent
El Cerrito 62, San Lorenzo 7: Marshon Ardoin scored on runs of 50 and 75 yards in the first quarter and Jalen Harvey scored three times as the host Gauchos took a 46-0 lead at the half and never looked back.
Harvey scored on a 61-yard punt return and caught a 19-yard scoring pass from quarterback Keilan Benjamin. Harvey also scored on a 82-yard touchdown run in the third quarter.
-- Scott Strain, correspondent
Salesian 39, De Anza 6: The Pride scored 32 points in the first half and rolled past the host Dons in a nonleague game. Salesian added a touchdown in the third quarter.
Michael Page had 180 yards rushing and four touchdowns to lead the Pride.
Salesian is coming off one of the most impressive seasons in program history, as it went 13-0 and won the North Coast Section Division IV championship. The Pride averaged over 42 points per game in 2011 and allowed less than 10 points per contest.
De Anza's program took a step forward last season. The Dons' two regular season wins in 2011 were the most by the program in one year since 2007, when they went 3-7.
-- Don August, correspondent
Willits at Richmond: Willits had a 16-0 lead at halftime when this newspaper went to press.
Richmond entered Friday on a 12-game regular season losing streak. But coach Tashaka Merriweather was excited about the direction of the program before the season started, as participation numbers on the varsity had increased drastically from last year.
Willits, a school with an enrollment of just over 500, is coming off a 9-3 season in which it advanced to the second round of the NCS Division IV playoffs.