Charles Williams (3) of Marin Catholic ruins for a gain against McClymonds during the NorCal Division 3-A Regional Bowl at Marin Catholic in Kentfield, Calif. on Dec. 2, 2023. (Douglas Zimmerman/Special to the Marin Independent Journal)
Peter Macaulay (13) of Marin Catholic fights through the tackle attempt of Silas Campbell (27) of McClymonds for a touchdown in the fourth quarter during the NorCal Division 3-A Regional Bowl at Marin Catholic in Kentfield, Calif. on Dec. 2, 2023. (Douglas Zimmerman/Special to the Marin Independent Journal)
Mario Crocitto (44) of Marin Catholic sacks quarterback Isaac Espinosa (10) of McClymonds for a loss in the second half during the NorCal Division 3-A Regional Bowl at Marin Catholic in Kentfield, Calif. on Dec. 2, 2023. (Douglas Zimmerman/Special to the Marin Independent Journal)
SAN RAFAEL CA – NOVEMBER 25: Zach Taylor (4) of Marin Catholic (4) stops Jonah Bertoli (14) of Cardinal Newman on a punt return in the North Coast Section Division III championship game at San Rafael High in San Rafael, Calif. on Saturday, Nov. 25, 2023. Marin Catholic defeated Cardinal Newman 24-3 to claim the title. (Sherry LaVars/Marin Independent Journal)
Giovanni Brovelli (5) of San Rafael attempts to shoots while defended by Grady Bowers (5) of Terra Linda while Dylan Martin (10) looks on during a MCAL boys basketball game at Terra Linda High School in San Rafael, California on Jan. 5, 2023. (Douglas Zimmerman/Special to the Marin Independent Journal)
SAN RAFAEL CA – DECEMBER 1: Caroline O’Donnell (5) of Redwood battles Alex Bergholt (2) of Marin Academy battles for the ball during their game in San Rafael, Calif., on Thursday, Dec. 1, 2022. Marin Academy defeated Redwood 3-2. (Sherry LaVars/Marin Independent Journal)
Malcolm Zalayet (9) of Marin Academy controls a ball while defended by Kevin De Leon (15) of San Rafael in a non-league soccer game at San Rafael High School in San Rafael, California on Dec. 13, 2022. (Douglas Zimmerman/Special to the Marin Independent Journal)
Jake Vasquez (12) of Redwood drives past Christian Trusclair (34) of Bethel in a NCS D-II first round game at Redwood High School in Larkspur, Calif. on Feb. 15, 2023. (Douglas Zimmerman/Special to the Marin Independent Journal)
KENTFIELD CA – JANUARY 14: Brennan Woodley (13), left, of Redwood tries to slow down Semetri Carr (2) of Branson as Carr drives to the hoop during their basketball game at College of Marin in Kentfield, Calif., on Saturday, Jan. 14, 2023. (Sherry LaVars/Marin Independent Journal)
Sophia Everett (28) of San Rafael throws for an out during the MCAL softball semifinal between Marin Catholic and San Rafael at San Rafael High School in San Rafael, Calif. on May 10, 2023. (Douglas Zimmerman/Special to the Marin Independent Journal)
LARKSPUR CA – MARCH 21: Quincy Dean (5), left, of San Marin moves in as Lucy Jeffers (8) of Redwood brings the ball down the field during their MCAL girls lacrosse game at Redwood High in Larkspur, Calif., on Tuesday, March 21, 2023. Redwood defeated San Marin 11-8. Jeffers scored a pair of goals for Redwood. (Sherry LaVars/Marin Independent Journal)
For the second time in three years, the Marin Catholic football team is headed to a state title game. MC won a state crown in 2021 and will travel to Southern California to face Mayfair at 7 p.m. Saturday at El Camino College in Torrance.
The Wildcats reached their ultimate destination courtesy of a 35-28 win against McClymonds on Saturday, getting big performances on both sides of the ball from the usual suspects.
MC isn’t the only football team with Marin ties playing for a title this weekend. St. Vincent de Paul of Petaluma, which features 11 Marin-based players on the roster, is set to face Wasco at 4 p.m. Friday at Pasadena City College.
Basketball and soccer seasons are also in full swing with the holiday hoops tournament season upon us. A few teams won tournaments while others had brilliant individual performances that were impossible to ignore.
Mario Crocitto, Zach Taylor, Peter Macaulay, and Charles Williams, Marin Catholic football
MC kept its dream of a state title alive following a 35-28 victory against McClymonds on Saturday afternoon. One of the big keys coming into the game was whether or not MC could slow down McClymond’s vaunted ground game. Crocitto, the MCAL lineman of the year, and the rest of MC’s defensive front helped keep the Warriors relatively in check. Crocitto had three sacks and 11 tackles — six for losses — in the game. Taylor, the defensive signal caller for MC who also had double-digit tackles, helped set an early tone with some punishing hits to stymie McClymonds’ run game. Adding to McClymonds’ woes in the passing game was Williams, who intercepted two passes. His second pick set up the eventual game-winning score which was run in by Macaulay — who had three total touchdowns. Offensively, Williams was initially a bit of a decoy but MC fed Williams the ball more frequently as the game progressed to the tune of 26 touches for 196 total yards. Williams’ 61-yard touchdown run in the second quarter was a highlight-reel play that allowed MC to stay in control of the scoreboard throughout the contest.
Gabe Casanovas, St. Vincent de Paul football
The former San Marin youth player scored a pair of rushing touchdowns to help the Mustangs hold off Palo Alto 28-26 on Friday night to book their trip to the State 6-AA title game. Casanovas, the team’s quarterback, threw for just 69 yards in the wet weather but added 106 rushing yards and both touchdowns with his legs.
Caroline O’Donnell, Redwood girls soccer
Redwood played three times this past week and O’Donnell accounted for the game-winning goal in all of them. O’Donnell scored twice early in the week to lift the Giants to a pair of 1-0 victories against Ukiah and Burlingame. O’Donnell then added the opening goal in a 4-0 win over Saratoga to close out the week.
Malcolm Zalayet, Marin Academy boys soccer
The defending Bay Counties League West MVP picked up right where he left off last season, scoring three goals as Marin Academy raced past St. Ignatius 4-0 in its season opener on Thursday.
Jake Vasquez and Brennan Woodley, Redwood boys basketball
Vasquez put the Giants in position to win the championship at the Piedmont tournament and Woodley made the biggest shot of the weekend to lift Redwood to victory. Vasquez averaged 19 points per game to lead the way during wins against Northgate, St. Ignatius, and Piedmont. Despite those heroics, Redwood trailed 56-54 against Piedmont in the final seconds of the title game. Woodley buried a 3-pointer from the right wing to give Redwood the lead for good. Woodley also scored 11 points in the opener against Northgate.
Gio Brovelli, San Rafael boys basketball
Brovelli was practically unguardable at the Hornet Invitational this past week, scoring 94 points across three games. Brovelli saved his best for last, pouring in 41 points in a loss to St. Patrick-St. Vincent on Saturday. Brovelli scored 29 and 24 points in San Rafael’s other two games, draining 13 three-pointers to make the all-tournament team.
Quincy Dean, San Marin girls basketball
Dean earned MVP honors while helping San Marin cap a four-win week with a 3-0 record at the Piner tournament. Dean put together a 10-point, seven-rebound, seven-steal stat line in the semifinals against Piner. The steals were far from a one-off as Dean had five on Tuesday and six more in Saturday’s final. The Mustangs are leaning on defense and held their first three opponents to less than 20 points before Middletown managed 26 in the title game.
Sophia Everett, San Rafael girls basketball
The Bulldogs needed all 34 of Everett’s points against Redwood Christian for a 55-54 victory at the Marin Academy tournament on Saturday. Everett added 11 rebounds in the game and secured all-tournament honors. She also posted solid games in non-league wins over MCAL opponents Novato and Archie Williams earlier in the week. Everett scored 13 in a 38-36 win against the Hornets and put up a 16-point, eight-rebound stat line against the Peregrine Falcons.