Here's a closer look at five of the top high school football games this week involving East Bay teams.
FREEDOM (1-0) at FOOTHILL (1-0), Friday, 7 p.m. -- It's Falcons vs. Falcons once again. These teams played early in the 2013 season, then squared off again in the first round of the North Coast Section playoffs. Foothill won the first game with Freedom getting revenge in the postseason. Foothill posted some big numbers in its opening win over San Leandro, getting 232 passing yards from QB Kyle Kearns and five interceptions from the defense. Freedom's defense played well in its opener against Tracy, but the offense will likely have to shift into a higher gear to keep up with Foothilll and its multiple weapons.
SAN RAMON VALLEY (1-0) at PITTSBURG (1-0), Friday, 7 p.m. -- The Pirates passed their first big test with a 19-7 win over California last week. Now they face another EBAL power in their home opener. San Ramon Valley didn't have much trouble getting past Las Lomas its first game, but the Pirates are a step up in competition. The Pirates' defense, as it showed against California, could be among the best in NorCal. The Wolves, under new coach Aaron Becker, have had no problems scoring points over the years. Though both teams are perennial North Coast Section playoff teams, they haven't faced one another since the 2009 season.
JAMES LOGAN (1-0) vs. SAN LEANDRO (0-1) at Burrell Field, Friday, 7 p.m. -- What was shaping up to be a battle between two exciting dual-threat quarterbacks will play out a little differently now. San Leandro is trying to find its way after losing its season opener to Foothill 30-12 and top player, UCLA-bound QB Stephen Johnson, to a fractured foot in practice. Logan also had some kinks to work out against Tennyson in its opener, falling behind 14-0 in the first half before quarterback Christian Leota led the comeback. Leota threw for 283 yards and three touchdowns. As with the multiple BVAL vs. EBAL matchups, look for this game to factor into North Coast Section seeding down the line.
SERRA-SAN MATEO (0-0) DE LA SALLE (1-0), Friday, 7:30 p.m. -- Three times in the past six years, Serra has come close to ending De La Salle's lengthy unbeaten streak against Northern California competition. Last year, on a hot afternoon in San Mateo, the Spartans needed a fourth quarter comeback to win 21-14. Serra coach Patrick Walsh is a De La Salle graduate and knows the Spartans well. Like last year, the Padres had all summer to prepare for De La Salle. On the flip side, the Spartans have already hit the ground running with a 63-0 thrashing of Jesuit-Carmichael at Cal's Memorial Stadium. The Spartans' defense and special teams were so sharp in the rout that the offense didn't have to do too much.
MIRAMONTE (0-1) at ST. MARY'S (1-0), Saturday, 1:30 p.m. -- This afternoon game pits defending North Coast Section champions. Miramonte, which won the Division II title, graduated almost all of its starters, most notably quarterback Drew Anderson, running back/cornerback Ray Clark, receivers Dom Paoletti and Will Fuller and the offensive line. Division IV champ St. Mary's also lost its starting skill players, but just about every other piece returns. The Panthers' defense is especially experienced with 10 starters, including Ben Schrider. So while St. Mary's looks to build off last season's success, Miramonte is still trying to find its footing in the early going. The Matadors lost their opener 33-22 to Pinole Valley while St. Mary's easily defeated Moreau Catholic 39-6.