The Berkeley High football team was hoping to avoid a slow start this season, as last year’s 0-4 pre-league results cost them a berth in the North Coast Section playoffs. But the Yellowjackets ran right into a disaster in their first game on Friday night, failing in nearly every phase of the game and losing, 37-0, to Foothill High.
The ’Jackets had few bright spots on Friday. They gave up long plays in both the passing game and running game, and were unable to sustain a drive long enough to score. The closest they came was in the second half with the game already decided, but quarterback Raymond Pinkston threw an interception to kill the team’s final drive.
“A few bad things happen, and they just steamroll on you,” Berkeley head coach Matt Bissell said after the game. “We’d do three good things, then one bad thing would stop a drive.”
Running back Germaine Baird looked like a good replacement for departed star Ramone Reed, if he could just hold onto the football. Baird ran for several big gains, showing speed and power, picking up 76 yards on just eight carries. But he showed a lack of concern for the football the very first time he touched it. After the Berkeley defense stopped the opening Foothill drive in just three plays, Baird coughed up the ball after a long gain, and Foothill’s Ryan Howe recovered it to give the ball back to his offense.
The Falcons took to the air after the turnover, as quarterback Brett Andrade found wideout Scott Cooper for gains of 13 and 15 yards to drive down the field. Inside the Berkeley 20, the defense stiffened, but a 4th-and-5 for the Falcons turned into a first down when Andrade threw a quick pass to Joey Munn for eight yards. Matt Hoefs ran for a nine-yard touchdown on the next play, and the rout was on.
Berkeley went three-and-out the next series, and Jason Goodwin’s punt was blocked, giving Foothill the ball at the seven-yard line. It took the Falcons just two plays to score, with Andrade hitting a diving Chris Reeves in the end zone for a 13-0 lead.
Andrade carved up the Berkeley secondary, partly due to the fact that the ’Jacket defensive line couldn’t get any pressure on the senior signal-caller. Andrade was 9-of-15 on pass attempts in the first half, throwing for 132 yards and two touchdowns. The Foothill coaches called off the dogs in the second half, allowing Andrade to throw just one pass before pulling him in the fourth quarter.
“We gave up some big plays tonight,” Bissell said. “One guy would have a breakdown in the secondary, and everyone gets confused.”
Foothill scored twice more in the first half, both on short drives. A Berkeley personal foul on a Foothill punt return put the ball at the 29-yard line, and Munn blasted a 27-yard field goal for a 16-0 lead. A botched handoff from Pinkston to Baird killed the next Berkeley drive, and Andrade found Howe wide open in the end zone for a 23-0 halftime lead.
The second half consisted mostly of Foothill killing the clock while the ’Jackets tried to work on their offense, but the Falcons still managed to put the ball in the end zone twice. Another blocked Berkeley punt gave them the ball 30 yards out, and Hoefs took it to the house on the first play, bursting through the line and dodging a dive by Berkeley safety Craig Hollis on his way to a score.
The next Falcon drive was even more painful for Berkeley, as several Foothill overcame several penalties and long yardage situations, including a 52-yard run by Brandon Croker on a 2nd-and-25, to score on an 11-yard run by Matt Farrington to cap the scoring at 37-0.