at Antioch (7-3)
CIF North Coast Section
Div. 1 Playoff Quarterfinal
Friday, 7 p.m., Eells Stadium
Radio: KVON-1440 AM, 6:30 p.m.
Last week: Eighth-seeded Vintage blanked visiting James Logan, 36-0, for its first playoff win in 32 years. Antioch did not play. After finishing 2-3 in Bay Valley League play, the Panthers received the No. 1 seed and a first-round bye.
Last meeting: The programs haven’t met since Antioch beat Vintage 42-19 at Memorial Stadium in 2006. However, Leach attended Antioch’s summer passing camps while coaching at Napa High through 2015.
Fourth hosting first? While Vintage rolled to the Vine Valley Athletic League title, Antioch finished only fourth out of six teams in its Bay Valley League with a 2-3 mark. However, those league losses were to teams MaxPreps’ currently has state-ranked ninth (Liberty), 18th (Pittsburg) and 85th (No. 3 seed Div. 1 seed Freedom). Antioch is ranked 83rd in the state, and Vintage 223rd.
“I don’t take any of their losses for granted, other than that they played really great programs,” Vintage head coach Dylan Leach said, adding that even the seeds don’t matter. “None of our staff or players are putting numbers to this. We don’t look at is 8 versus 1. We look at it as an obstacle in our path to get to our goal. It’s the type of tournament where you’ll see a fast team sooner or later. We just happen to be facing one this weekend.”
Antioch’s top athletes: Willem Karnthong, the Panthers’ 5-foot-11, 185-pound senior quarterback, has completed 78 of 152 passes for 1,225 yards, 10 touchdowns and five interceptions. He has also run for 413 yards and six TDs. The top rushers are juniors Jaysn Wade (726 yards, nine TDs) and Dwight Turner (509 yards, two TDs). The top receiver is 6-2 senior Gaudie Campbell, with 32 catches for 672 yards and eight TDs.
“Their quarterback is a great scrambler,” Leach said. “He got shut down by Liberty (six rushing yards) and Pittsburg (seven), but everybody has trouble against those teams. They run power sets with a fly system and throw the ball out of it. There’s some spread, very similar to James Logan, but at a higher level. It’s very similar to us.”
The speedsters operate behind a huge line. Antioch has 10 players listed at 260 pounds or more; Vintage has two in that category.
“They are big, strong and fast, and they will be extremely bigger than us and way faster than us,” Leach said. “We’re going to have to stick with what we do. Our game plan has gotten us where we are, so I don’t see any reason to change it. James Logan’s front three were all over 300 pounds, too. It is what it is. You just have to fight your best fight.”
Viliami on the verge: Vintage senior Viliami Schaumkel has rushed 97 times for 900 yards and 18 touchdowns, putting him 100 yards from a 1,000-yard season. He has just three catches on the season, one in the season opener at Wood and a touchdown grab in each of the last two games.
“You gotta take what the defense gives you,” Leach said of Schaumkel’s eight games without catches. “If I see an opportunity to give him the ball, or anyone, I will. It’s about putting kids in the right spots.”
On paper: The teams haven’t had any common opponents. However, one of Antioch’s closest wins, 28-20, was over a Deer Valley team that beat American Canyon by about the same margin as Vintage did.
Practice makes a party: What makes the playoffs so much fun, Leach said, is that his team gets to prepare for another opponent.
“We have a lot of fun in practice. That’s the best part of this, that the team gets to have fun at practice,” the coach said. “We’re learning what to practice and how to practice now. That’s our mantra. That’s what we talk about: ‘Let’s have another week of practice.’” — Andy Wilcox