A steady downpour kept both team's offenses neutralized for most of the game but the El Cerrito High football team made the most of its chances in the first half en route to a sloppy 19-7 win over Bishop O'Dowd in the North Coast Section Division III quarterfinals on Saturday at De Anza High.
El Cerrito, the top seed, will now face Analy-Sebastopol, a 38-34 winner of Campolindo on Friday in the Division III semifinals at De Anza.
Against the Dragons, El Cerrito (12-0) was fueled by the nifty footwork and steady hands of junior quarterback Keilan Benjamin, who ran for 53 yards on 22 carries and one touchdown and completed five of eight passes for 49 yards.
El Cerrito got on the board first when Adarius Pickett rumbled in from 30 yards with 8:56 left in the first quarter. BOD answered right back with a 13-yard bolt by Antonio Burnette to take a 7-6 lead with 5:41 left in the quarter.
Fullback Derik Calhoun bulled over from four yards out after an slippery exchange from Benjamin late in the first and Benjamin scampered in on a 9-yard TD run with 8:02 left before intermission.
Bishop O'Dowd quarterback Dominic Miroglio completed 10 of 32 passes for 83 yards and was intercepted once by El Cerrito cornerback Marcellus Pippins.
The Dragons (7-5) had 123 yards rushing on the night.
BOD lost three fumbles and El Cerrito only lost two fumbles. The Dragons failed to capitalize on either of the Gauchos turnovers and that proved to be critical.
Marin Catholic-Kentfield 59, Miramonte 6: Senior Cal-bound quarterback Jared Goff threw for 286 yards and four touchdowns as the host Wildcats (11-1) stormed past the Matadors in the Division III quarterfinals.
The game, much like the afternoon, started pleasantly enough for the Matadors (7-5). On the first play from scrimmage under sunny skies, Miramonte quarterback Drew Anderson connected with wide receiver Zati Williams for an 82-yard touchdown.
By the time the rain started midway through the third quarter, Goff was already watching the action from the sidelines with the Wildcats leading 38-6.
-- Tim Menicutch, Marin Independent Journal
Concord 14, Casa Grande-Petaluma 6: Uaisele Manoa returned an interception 41 yards for a touchdown to break a 6-6 tie and lead the visiting Minutemen (10-2) over the Gauchos on a rainy night in Petaluma.
The game was delayed nearly 30 minutes in the first half when the lights at the stadium went out.
Casa Grande quarterback JaJuan Lawson was facing a third-and-8 at the Gauchos 38 when he threw the ball right to Manoa, who zipped to the left sideline for the go-ahead touchdown.
It was an old-fashioned game of mud ball, as the teams slogged it out on a natural grass field. Several players changed jerseys through the course of the game. Those who didn't finished the game with a dun-color that obscured their numbers.
-- Damin Esper, correspondent
Northgate 30, Newark Memorial 6: Joe Pelletier threw for 176 yards and a touchdown and ran for another score as he directed the host Broncos into the Division II semifinal.
Pelletier capped a 90-yard, 14-play drive with a 1-yard scoring run. The drive, which consumed more than seven minutes, featured two crucial third-down conversions, a 24-yard completion to Jake Smith and a 32-yard pass to Eric Haynes on a third-and-15.
Haynes also picked up a key first down with a 9-yard run on fourth-and-1 at the Newark Memorial 15. Pelletier scored three plays later, with 2:24 left in the first half for a 17-0 lead.
Jimmy Sharpe led the Broncos (9-2) with 89 yards rushing, and Fisi Tavake had 84 yards on 14 carries with a 32-yard touchdown. Pelletier threw a 3-yard scoring pass to Nick Mastrelli.
Northgate stifled the Cougars (9-3) on the slick, rain-soaked field, holding them to 131 yards of total offense. The Broncos also intercepted two passes, one each by Brandon Lee and Stephen Cuneo.
-- Steve Dulas, correspondent
St. Helena 29, Salesian 25: St. Helena senior lineman Francisco Otero's late fourth-quarter interception sealed the victory for the Saints in the second round of the NCS Division IV playoffs.
The No. 6 Saints (11-1) host No. 10 San Martin next Saturday in the semifinals. For host and No. 3 seed Salesian, the two-time defending Division IV champion, the loss halted its postseason win streak at seven games.
The Pride led for a majority of the game, but a third-quarter surge from the Saints turned the tide.
With his team trailing 19-15, St. Helena's Danny Brink ran 52 yards for a touchdown, giving the Saints their first lead of the game. Later, Matteo Abreu returned an interception 56 yards to put the Saints up 29-19.
-- Justin Lafferty, correspondent
St. Vincent-Petaluma 13, California School for the Deaf 12: The Eagles' season came to an end as Patrick Garcia caught a 6-yard touchdown pass from Mitch Sheppard with 1:05 left as visiting St. Vincent came away with a victory in the Division V semifinals.
Garcia's touchdown capped an eight-play, 30-yard drive that was set up by Zach Smith's blocked punt by with 3:39 remaining.
With the victory, the third-seeded Mustangs (10-2) advance to play No. 1 Ferndale next Saturday at Humboldt State. The No. 2 Eagles finished their season at 10-2 -- a school record for most wins in a season.
Eagles senior running back Brian Freeman ran for 267 yards on 35 carries.
-- Tony Gonzalez, correspondent