It isn't often that an East Bay Athletic League team goes into league play searching for its first win of the season, but after an 0-3 start against tough nonleague competition, the San Ramon Valley High football team found itself in just that situation.
Fortunately for the Wolves, Cameron Birse and Marcus de la Pena turned in big games to lead San Ramon Valley to a 34-19 victory over Livermore in the league opener for both squads.
Clinging to a 20-19 lead entering the second half, San Ramon Valley went on an 11-play, 61-yard drive that ended in de la Pena scoring from two yards out to expand the Wolves' lead to 27-19.
Then just three plays later, Brian Danis intercepted Cowboys quarterback Max Kreger and found the end zone for the game's final score.
The Wolves then turned it over to their defense which shut Livermore out in the second half.
"We came out really sluggish on defense to open the game," Wolves head coach Mark Kessler said, "But we made some adjustments at halftime and I told our guys that they need to step it up."
San Ramon Valley took a 14-6 lead on Birse's second touchdown of the night, an 8-yard slant to Matt Turner. But James Silva took the ensuing kickoff deep into Wolves' territory, and Louie Hernandez scored on a 10-yard run to pull Livermore within two at 14-12.
Then after stopping San Ramon Valley on its next drive, Hernandez found a gap and sprinted 40 yards for his second score to put the Cowboys up 19-14.
But Birse found Turner again just before halftime in the corner to put San Ramon Valley back in front at 20-19. Birse finished with 257 yards and three touchdowns, completing 16 of 24 passes on the night, while de la Pena finished with 120 yards on the ground.
Hernandez lead Livermore with 119 yards rushing and two scores, and also threw a touchdown pass to Kyle Walbridge on a halfback pass.
San Ramon Valley 34, Livermore 19
SRV 7 13 14 0-- 34
Livermore 6 13 0 0-- 19
SRV -- de la Pena 18 pass from Birse (Anderson kick)
L -- Walbridge 16 pass from Hernandez (kick failed)
SRV -- Turner 8 pass from Birse (Anderson kick)
L -- Hernandez 10 run (kick blocked)
L -- Hernandez 40 run (Galat kick)
SRV -- Turner 22 pass from Birse (run failed)
SRV -- de la Pena 2 run (Anderson kick)
SRV -- Danis 25 INT return (Anderson kick)
Rushing: SRV -- de la Pena 22-120, Reed 5-19, Vargas 2-11, Anderson 1-(-6), Totals 30-144. L -- Hernandez 22-119, Rardon 16-50, Kreger 15-19, McPherson 1-15, Totals 54-203. Passing: SRV -- Birse 16-24-0 257. L -- Kreger 2-6-1 36, Hernandez 2-2-0 25. Totals 4-8-1 61. Receiving: SRV -- de la Pena 5-85, Koski 2-71, Turner 3-43, Dunn 3-34, Bangay 2-15, Greene 1-9. L -- Walbridge 2-42, Hernandez 1-10, Kreger 1-9. Fumbles/lost: San Ramon Valley 1/0; Livermore 4/1. Records: San Ramon Valley 1-3, 1-0 EBAL; Livermore 2-2, 0-1.