Close football games often hinge on special-teams play, and Oakland High's Maurice Green proved that in the visiting Wildcats' 25-20 victory over Mt. Eden on Friday.
Green blocked a punt with less than five minutes remaining in the game, setting up Oakland's go-ahead touchdown on a 9-yard pass from Kevin Iem to Devonte Blackston with 3:30 to go. Iem scored the eventual game-winning touchdown on a 10-yard run with 1:36 left.
"It was a game turner for us," said Oakland coach Jayce Goree about Green's blocked punt. "Our kids played hard."
Oakland (2-0) had trailed from the first offensive play, an 80-yard run by Mt. Eden's Devante McGowan. He finished with a game-high 170 yards rushing.
But the Wildcats didn't let Mt. Eden's lead get past seven points at any part of the game, The Monarchs (2-2) held a 14-13 lead at halftime and the end of the third quarter.
Blackston's touchdown grab put Oakland in front, and Iem's 10-yard scoring run gave the Wildcats a 25-14 lead.
Mt. Eden backup quarterback Giovanni Remmen raced to a 69-yard touchdown run with 58 seconds remaining, but Oakland controlled the onside kick and Iem knelt to run out the clock. Tyler Reynolds had a team-high 106 yards rushing for the Wildcats.
Mt. Eden starting quarterback Guadelupe Rico was attended by paramedics on the field after an apparent injury during a sack with 2:25 to play. He was taken by ambulance to Kaiser Hospital-Hayward, Monarchs coach Paul Perenon said.
"He was moving everything when he left (the field)," Perenon said. "He was moving his feet, he was moving his hands."
Serra-San Mateo 56, Encinal 7: The Padres physically outmatched visiting Encinal and cruised to a victory.
A year after the Jets took the Padres to overtime in a 34-26 loss, this one was over after a quarter.
Serra (2-0) scored on its first drive, then added two more touchdowns before its offense got the ball back. Eason Winston returned a punt 50 yards for a score, and Kavapele Maka took one back 52 yards.
The Padres held the Jets (1-2) to minus-19 yards in the first quarter while building a 28-0 lead.
"I thought the defense set the tone early and gave us some short fields," Serra coach Patrick Walsh said. "The special teams played well early."
Eric Redwood had two touchdowns in the first-half, including a 1-yard run on the Padres' first drive. He finished with 92 yards on 10 carries.
Kava Cassidy added a 1-yard scoring run, and Redwood had a 5-yard run that made it 35-0 at halftime.
Encinal (1-2) reached the end zone after Isaiah Hunter returned a kick 45 yards. Four plays later, Tyrell Carrigan went 6 yards for a score.
-- Jimmy Durkin
Fremont 42, St. Elizabeth 25: Bishope Apodaca ran for 269 yards and five touchdowns to lead the Tigers in this nonleague afternoon matchup of Oakland rivals at Curt Flood Field.
Fremont (2-1) got off to a 14-0 lead behind two Apodaca runs on its first two possessions. The Mustangs (0-3) tried to make a game of it when Frank Stephens caught a 47-yard touchdown pass from Aaron Nicholson early in the second quarter, before two more Apodaca runs -- of 3 yards and 1 yard -- opened a 28-6 lead for host Fremont later in the period.
St. Elizabeth didn't go down easily, however, as Nicholson's 16-yard run pulled the Mustangs within 10 points, 28-18, in the third quarter. But St. Elizabeth never got any closer, as Apodaca's 18-yard run and Sydney Logan's 14-yard touchdown catch from Azel Grasty opened a comfortable margin for the Tigers.
Nicholson passed for 262 yards for the Mustangs. Stephens caught seven of those passes for three touchdowns and 254 yards.
-- Mike McGreehan, correspondent
Castlemont at Healdsburg, canceled: The Knights were forced to cancel Friday's scheduled game with the Greyhounds and next week's nonleague game against Encinal because of a lack of eligible players.
Castlemont coach Lloyd Johnson said he has only 11 players on the varsity team that meet the Oakland Athletic League's new criteria for eligibility, which includes having a 2.0 grade-point average and being on track to graduate.
Johnson is hoping several of his players can regain their eligibility through a "Cyber High" program, in which students work on their own to attempt credit recovery. If that is successful, Johnson is optimistic Castlemont will be able to play its OAL opener at Oakland Tech on Oct. 12.