This Friday evening the Buccaneers of Balboa High School, from San Francisco and representing the San Francisco Academic League, will invade The Corral to take on the Oakdale High School Colts and Mustangs. In keeping with Head Coach Trent Merzon’s quest to play quality teams in the pre-season, the varsity Buccaneers of Head Coach Fred Velasquez are coming off of a 9-4 2021 season and a league championship, having gone 7-1 in SF Academic League play.
MaxPreps ranks Balboa 622nd in California, compared to the Mustangs’ ranking of 130th. The Buccaneers began their 2022 campaign on Saturday, Sept. 3 losing to the Skyline Titans of Oakland, at home, by the score of 31-7. Following the Mustangs’ loss to Aptos on Aug. 26, Merzon indicated, “We are a team that lacks the ability, right now, to pay attention to little things.”
The Mustangs will have had two weeks to work through the problem areas identified by Merzon and his assistant coaches following the Aptos loss. In fact, in an email interview last weekend, Merzon noted that the team “had a great week of practice,” and therefore should be ready for the challenge posed by Balboa.
Similar to Aptos, Balboa features a large front line on both sides of the ball, including two players in excess of 300 pounds, and considerable athleticism in its backs and ends. Both elements are factors the Mustangs had to contend with against Aptos and must do so again against Balboa. Offensively, the Mustangs feature a team approach with running and passing threat Mick Merzon at quarterback. Against Aptos, Merzon ran for 57 yards on 15 carries and was 5-for-11 in passing for 93 yards and a touchdown.
Complementing the senior quarterback are running backs Brian Delte (17 carries for 110 yards against Aptos), Zach Stott, Jace Rau, and Cameron Guthrie, and receivers Mason Ahm, Gabe McDonald, and Rau. Defensively, the Mustangs were led by Hunter Grubbs and Devin Rowe with six tackles apiece and Zach Stott with five. Against Balboa, the defense will have to do a better job guarding against the big play, four of which Aptos used for long gains or scores.
The Mustang Colts Junior Varsity team, which has outscored opponents 82-0 over two games, will face a Buccaneer team that fell to Skyline 46-0 on Saturday. Leading the way for the hard-hitting Colts of head coach Matt Miranda are Jackson Gilton (8 runs for 80 yards and 2 receptions for 35 yards against Aptos), Andre Galaviz (4 for 58), Selso Rodriguez (5 for 30), quarterback Tyler Stroup (4-6 for 93 yards passing), and Wes Burford (5 runs for 23 yards, 1 catch for 22 yards, and 4 kicking extra points.)
Start times have been pushed back a bit this week due to the continuing excessive heat watch. The Colts will kick off at 6 p.m. and the Mustangs at about 8 p.m. on Friday in the Corral. Thursday night’s freshman game also has a later start time, beginning at 7 p.m. on Sept. 8.