For the third week in a row, the California High football team scored 40 points. And for the second week in a row, the Grizzlies coughed up a double-digit lead and were able to hold on with a late defensive stand in a 42-34 nonleague win at Castro Valley Friday night.
"Typically, I like to be more sound on defense and slow the game down," Cal coach Eric Billeci said. "If we score 40, we don't want to give up 30."
This is the third year in a row Cal has started the season 3-0. Last year, the Grizzlies got off to a 5-0 start and in 2010 they got off to a 9-0 start.
In a win over Pittsburg last week, Cal led 27-10 and watched the Pirates tie the game up with 17 straight points.
On Friday at Castro Valley, Cal had a 28-13 lead and watched the Trojans score 15 straight points to tie the game up at 28-28.
"That says a lot about Castro Valley's character," Billeci said.
Cal sealed the game late in the fourth quarter when Zac Guardino intercepted a Luke Huerta pass on fourth down with the Grizzlies leading 40-34.
"I won't be thinking about that play, but about the 30 other plays where we didn't stop them," Billeci said.
Castro Valley (1-2) showed a lot of resilience after being down 14-0 just 12 minutes into the game. The first touchdown was a 78-yard kickoff return to open the game for Karris Johnson. And the second score was a masterful 11-play, 96-yard drive that culminated in a C.J. Cornwell 11-yard touchdown run.
After exchanging touchdown the next few possessions, Castro Valley closed to within 28-20 on a 19-yard touchdown run from running back Demareyeh Lane, who led all rushers with 172 yards on 26 carries.
And the Trojans tied the game at 28-all with 1:03 left in the third quarter on a Luke Huerta 1-yard touchdown pass to Ryan Christy.
Cal answered with a 23-yard touchdown pass from Cameron Owen to Blake Guardino for a 35-38 lead.
But Castro Valley wasn't done. The Trojans went 75 yards on 11 plays and got into the end zone when Robert Taylor (seven carries for 119 yards) rushed up the middle untouched from 23 yards out for the touchdown.
But a missed extra point left the Trojans down 35-34.
Cal countered with a 3-yard touchdown run by Blake Bierwith for a 42-34 lead with 3:08 left in the game.
"Am I happy? No," Castro Valley coach Nic McMaster said. "We play to win. We play for one reason. But I'm happy with the effort."
California 42, Castro Valley 34
California 14 7 7 14-- 42
CV 0 13 15 6-- 34
CAL -- Johnson 78 kickoff return (Grixti kick)
CAL -- Cornwell 11 run (Grixti kick)
CV -- Taylor 5 pass from Huerta (Galvan kick)
CAL -- Bierwith 1 run (Grixti kick)
CV -- Alfaro 5 run (kick failed)
CAL -- Johnson 11 run (Grixti kick)
CV -- Lane 19 run (Galvan kick)
CV -- Christy 1 pass from Huerta (Huerta run)
CAL -- B.Guardino 23 pass from Owen (Grixti kick)
CV -- Taylor 23 run (kick failed)
CAL -- Bierwith 3 run (Grixti kick)
Rushing: Cal -- Terry 12-84, Johnson 13-74, Bierwith 5-19, Owen 4-28, Cornwell 2-6, Lorenz 1-(-4). Totals 37-207. CV -- Lane 26-172, Alfaro 6-119, Taylor 12-94, Huerta 2-6. Totals 46-391. Passing: Cal -- Owen 6-11-0 114, Lorenz 0-1-0 0. Totals 6-12-0 114. CV -- Huerta 6-16-1 33. Receiving: Cal -- B.Guardino 3-68, Cornwell 3-46. CV -- Lane 2-5, Morrow 1-22, Taylor 1-5, Christy 1-1, Huerta 1-0. Fumbles/lost: California 0/0; Castro Valley 1/0. Records: California 3-0; Castro Valley 1-2.