Page One

BHS celebrates homecoming with 12-7 win over El Cerrito

By Sean GatesDaily Planet Correspondent
Saturday November 04, 2000

Everyone loves presents. Especially high school football coaches. First, the Berkeley High Yellowjackets (4-5, 4-1 ACCAL) gave their fans and student body a homecoming present with a grueling 12-7 victory over the El Cerrito Gauchos (5-4, 4-1). Then, just minutes after the emotional victory, senior linebacker Brian Everett gave head coach Gary Weaver a present of his own with a jumping high five and a hug. Most importantly, Berkeley finds itself in a tie for first place in the ACCAL... for the present. 

“On Homecoming, we have our most fans... we had to do it for our fans but especially for ourselves,” noted junior running back Ramone Reed.  

Berkeley sealed the victory with consecutive sacks by Greg Mitchell and Everett that forced El Cerrito into a 4th-and-35 situation on their own 15-yard line with 30 seconds left in the game. Weaver didn’t let up with his aggressive defense and called a blitz by his outside linebackers. Reed honed in on El Cerrito quarterback Tushambi Evans, whose pass was intercepted by linebacker Joey Terry-Jones. 

Reed was not particularly surprised by the blitz call. “We knew it was (Evans’) first attempt of the game,” said Reed, and indeed it was, as El Cerrito decided to replace starting quarterback Rickey Gatewood with Evans, who normally lines up as either a wideout or defensive back. Gatewood completed just seven of 18 pass attempts for 88 yards. Evans would fare no better, getting sacked and tossing a pick on his two adventures behind center. 

Reed racked up 105 rushing yards on 17 carries and scored a touchdown. Reed’s limited impact on offense early on didn’t affect his defense, though. On the opening kickoff, Reed flattened El Cerrito running back Chijioke Onyenegecha, who scored 4 touchdowns against St. Mary’s earlier this season. Berkeley held Onyenegecha to just 33 yards rushing and one touchdown. 

In fact, Berkeley held El Cerrito’s offense in check throughout just one week after giving up seven scores on 10 offensive possessions by Pinole Valley. This time, eight offensive possessions by the Gauchos netted five punts, a turnover on downs and an interception. A 65-yard drive that finished with a TD dive by Onyenegecha with 1:18 left in the first half would be El Cerrito’s only score.  

Berkeley’s success in stopping the potent Gaucho offense also reflected their ability to limit the one factor that has haunted them all season long: penalties. Berkeley’s four penalties for 52 yards all came in the first half, whereas El Cerrito’s eight penalties for 85 yards negated any chances for a Gaucho comeback.  

The Yellowjackets could have put the game away twice in the second half. But two promising drives were ended by Reed fumbles. El Cerrito’s second recovery led to its frantic comeback attempt. 

In addition to Reed, quarterback Nitoto Muhammed stepped up with 41 rushing yards and scored from nine yards out in the third quarter to boost Berkeley to a 12-7 lead.  

Berkeley hopes to remain in first place when it travels to Alameda on Nov. 10 to take on the Hornets.