Barring a substantial upset, the consequences of the matchup between the Balboa and Galileo high school football teams is pretty simple — win and you’re in.
Washington can complicate the Academic Athletic Association playoff picture considerably with an upset of Mission, but both programs are viewing the game as a play-in game for the playoffs.
“We understand where we’re at right now,” Balboa coach Alvaro Carvajal said. “At the end of the day, you want to win every game, but we have to win this week for there to be a next week. That’s giving us a good sense of urgency around here.”
If Galileo wins and Lowell falls to AAA unbeaten Lincoln, the Lions (3-5-1, 2-3) will clinch the No. 3 seed. If Balboa wins, the Bucs (2-6, 2-3) will clinch the fourth and final postseason spot. Both teams will be eliminated with a loss.
“It’s exciting, because it’s the end of the season and all three games are relevant,” Galileo coach Mark Huynh said. “It’s like two weeks of playoffs and it’s good for the league.”
Both teams are coming off wins last week, each impressive in a very-different way.
Galileo stunned Lowell with a last-second scoring drive to win 29-22, while the Balboa offense racked up 482 yards of total offense in a 77-30 victory over Marshall.
Neither team has had a banner year (Galileo was 1-5-1 just two weeks ago and Balboa started the year 0-4), but have found relative success as of late.
While the quarterback play may be one of the reason for the teams’ turnarounds, the greatest offensive strength for both is at tailback.
Balboa senior Antoine Crecy has averaged nearly 9 yards per carry, has 974 rushing yards on the year and had four touchdowns against Marshall last week.
“He’s a big part of our team, not just running the ball, but in our pass protection and on defense,” Carvajal said of Crecy. “He’s a senior and a captain. He’s a guy we depend on for a number of reasons.”
Galileo junior running back Ronzel Fox hasn’t racked up as much rushing yardage (753 and 10 touchdowns), but has been more versatile in the Lions’ offense, also leading the team in receiving (14 receptions for 253 yards and two touchdowns).
“We have confidence in our offensive team, that we can move the ball when we have to,” Huynh said.