The El Cerrito High football team blitzed visiting St. Patrick-St. Vincent 49-13 on Nov. 9 at De Anza High with an explosive opening half and now the Gauchos have their sights set on their North Coast Section Division III playoff opener.
El Cerrito, the No. 3 seed in the NCS Division III playoffs with an 8-2 overall record, hosts No. 14 Tamalpais (6-4) at De Anza on Nov. 15. The kickoff is scheduled for 7 p.m.
The Gauchos (6-0 Tri-County Athletic League-Rock Division) clinched a second consecutive TCAL-Rock Division title with the victory on Nov. 9. The senior trio of quarterback Keilan Benjamin, running back Adarius Pickett and receiver Jalen Harvey handled most of the offensive production against St. Patrick-St. Vincent (5-4, 3-3).
Benjamin completed eight of his 13 passes for 131 yards and three touchdowns. Pickett added 100 yards on 11 carries and scored three times. Harvey had three receptions, including two for scores, as the Gauchos manhandled the Bruins in the first half.
El Cerrito went into the intermission with a 42-13 lead after Keith Benjamin returned a kickoff 65 yards for a touchdown at the end of the second quarter. A nine-yard touchdown bolt by Pickett in the closing seconds of the third quarter was the only second-half touchdown.
Keith Benjamin also hauled in a 17-yard touchdown strike from his twin brother to open the scoring for El Cerrito.
St. Mary's 55, Pinole Valley 14: The host Panthers (6-4, 3-3 TCAL-Rock) received 319 passing yards from Ian Bonde and five touchdowns, including four to Liam Godfrey, in this rout on Nov. 9. Godfrey finished with 10 catches for 257 yards. St. Mary's is the No. 5 seed in the NCS Division IV playoffs and hosts No. 12 Fort Bragg (5-5) in a first-round game on Nov. 16. The kickoff is scheduled for 1 p.m.
Albany 52, John Swett 0: Running back Jack Johnson scored three touchdowns as the host Cougars ended their season with three straight wins. Albany (3-7, 3-2) jumped out to a 8-0 lead four plays into the game on Nov. 8 when Rio Root took a pass from fellow senior quarterback Nick Sternad and scored from 45 yards out. Johnson rushed for 118 yards on 14 carries, and Sternad completed 11 of his 14 passes for 130 yards. Root had four catches for 61 yards against the Indians (3-7, 1-4).
-- Allen Gordon, correspondent
Castro Valley 31, Berkeley 0: A stingy Castro Valley High defense limited Berkeley to 63 yards of total offense on Nov. 8 as host Castro Valley (4-6, 3-2 West Alameda County Conference-Foothill Division) made itself playoff eligible. The Yellowjackets ended their season with a 3-7 overall record and 1-4 WACC-Foothill mark.
-- Matt Rempel, correspondent