About the best the College Park High football team could say about its brutal preseason was that the Falcons survived with minimal physical damage. They put all that behind them Friday night, grinding out 323 yards on the ground and holding Clayton Valley to a single touchdown.
Daivon Ballard ran for 185 yard and two touchdowns, and quarterback Jordan Louis ran for 99 yards and a score as the Falcons opened the Diablo Valley Athletic League season with a 20-10 victory over Clayton Valley at Diablo Valley College.
Clayton Valley (4-2, 0-1 DVAL) struck first on a 1-yard touchdown run by Joe Protheroe, which capped a 44-yard drive he set up when he intercepted Jordan's only pass attempt of the game. Protheroe accounted for 169 of Clayton Valley's 214 yards of total offense, rushing for 111 yards on 18 carries and catching four passes for 58 yards
College Park (2-4, 1-0) lost the ball twice more on fumbles, but that was about the only way the Falcons could be stopped. Trailing 7-0, they took the ensuing kickoff and drove 80 yards in 11 plays, with Ballard scoring from 3 yards out with 10:14 left in the half.
An 87-yard touchdown run by Matt DeSilva on the next possession was nullified by a holding penalty, but College Park went 95 yards in 11 plays, with Ballard covering the final 15 yards for a score. Louis' 17-yard touchdown run ended an 80-yard, eight-play drive to open the fourth quarter.
Northgate 31, Mt. Diablo 21: The Broncos (2-4, 1-0) overcame a 21-17 halftime deficit with two fourth-quarter touchdowns to win their DVAL opener in a seesaw battle against the visiting Red Devils.
Northgate's Fisi Tavake scored his third rushing touchdown with just under eight minutes left to give the Broncos a 24-21 lead. The Broncos defense held Mt. Diablo on the ensuing possession, and Northgate put the game away when Eric Haynes broke free for a 15-yard rushing score. Mt. Diablo (1-5, 0-1) played an inspired first half, but injuries and fatigue caught up with the Red Devils who were held scoreless in the second half.
Trailing 3-0 in the first quarter after a Northgate field goal, Nick Sloss returned a kickoff 67 yards for a touchdown. Tavake then scored two rushing touchdowns for the Broncos in a 69-second span to put Northgate up 17-7. The Red Devils responded when Jamell Tousant scored from 7 yards out with 50 seconds remaining in the first half and again after a Northgate fumble when quarterback Austin Hunt hit Sloss in the corner of the end zone for the halftime lead.
-- Nick Bender, correspondent