El Cerrito, Pinole Valley high schools win respective NCS titles

El Cerrito, Pinole Valley high schools win respective NCS titles
Photo credit: Jack O’Neal, ECHS Class of 2025

By Mike Kinney

The West Contra Costa Unified School District (WCCUSD) is showing its football might this season after the El Cerrito and Pinole Valley High teams won their respective North Coast Section football titles on Friday.

It’s the first time in WCCUSD history that two district schools won NCS titles the same year, according to Contra Costa County Supervisor John Gioia, who is an El Cerrito High graduate.

This is Pinole Valley High’s first title in 43 years, according to the San Jose Mercury News

“Congrats to the students, coaches and families,” Gioia said.

El Cerrito High School (13-0) outlasted Windsor 34-27 in the Division III North Coast Section CIF High School Football Championship on Friday. Star running back Tony McAdoo amassed 267 yards and three TD runs, one for 53 yards and another for 54 yards, according to the Mercury News.

Described as boasting “a defense filled with future Division 1 college players,” the Gauchos allowed just 62 points all season prior to Friday’s game, the Santa Rosa Press-Democrat reported. After racing out to a 34-6 lead in the third quarter, Windsor responded with 21 unanswered points. But El Cerrito High’s Kamani Jackson would later nab his team’s third interception to seal the victory for the Gauchos. Interestingly in the semifinals last year, it was Windsor who successfully held back a Gauchos comeback effort.

Among the talent fueling the Guachos this year is Warren Smith, who has committed to playing for the Washington State Cougars next year and was recently named a U.S. Bank Inspirational Athlete. McAdoo will cap off this season with a Dec. 12 trip to Dallas Cowboys’ AT&T Stadium, where he was selected to showcase his skills in the Blue-Grey All-American Bowl East vs. West football game.

The Gauchos next host Grant Union High School (Sacramento) in the Division 3–AA NorCal Regionals on Friday, Dec. 2, at 7:30 p.m.

Pinole Valley High School (8-4) topped Justin-Siena (Napa) 7-0 to win the Division VI North Coast Section Title. A 39-yard TD pass from quarterback Maddux Wu to Ellis Shamsid-Deen accounted for the game’s only points. Shamsid-Deen’s interception sealed the victory for the Spartans.

Pinole Valley High next travels to Mendota High (west of Fresno) to play in the Division 7–AA State Championship on Saturday, Dec. 3, at 6 p.m.

“We are very proud of the team’s success,” PVHS Athletic Director Tiffiny Valduhueza said. “Coach Troy McConico has done an amazing transformation of our team of how they all came together. I tip my hat to the seniors on this squad. I think of some of our players like James Gordon, Nathan Chau and Josiaho Hermosill, who are so committed! All of this great team has been committed from day one.”

Winners from the NorCal Regional games will advance to the CIF State Football Championships representing their respective divisions for the title of CIF State Champion. 

Richmond community advocate Rodney Alamo Brown, who writes for CBS Sports Digital Media, 24/7, called the victories by the WCCUSD “huge accomplishments” that put the spotlight on the local community. In the past decade, scouts have passed on Richmond and searched for talent elsewhere, but now they’re paying attention and that benefits all local athletes, he said.

“This is some of the good that impacts our community, lifts morale, and provides higher education for our children,” Brown said. “The kids learn so much than how to play football. They learn commitment, loyalty, teamwork, discipline, time management, fitness, mental and physical strength, plus much more. It’s more than just a game!”

Photo credit: Jack O’Neal, ECHS Class of 2025