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Nation's No. 3-rated quarterback Jaden Rashada, five DI receivers leads No. 13 Pittsburg

Pirates look to erase bitter season-ending 2021 defeat with high octane aerial show that promises loads of points, victories.

SBLive is previewing the Top 50 high school football teams in California ahead of the 2022 season. Here’s an inside look at the Pittsburg Pirates of the CIF North Coast Section, the No. 12 team in our countdown.

PITTSBURG TEAM PAGE | 2022 SCHEDULE

HEAD COACH

Vic Galli

  • 21 seasons as head coach at Pittsburg
  • Record: 186-73-1
  • NorCal title: 2017

2021 SEASON AT A GLANCE

  • Overall record: 9-3
  • League record: 5-0 (first Bay Valley Athletic League)
  • Points scored (allowed): 441 (249)
  • Won NCS D1 title over Clayton Valley Charter, 28-14
  • Lost in NorCal D1-A title game to Liberty-Bakersfield, 35-7

2022 SCHEDULE

(all games 7 p.m. unless noted)

  • Aug 26 vs. Bethel
  • Sept. 3 vs. Liberty-Henderson (Nev.) at Cathedral Catholic-San Diego (Honor Bowl), noon
  • Sept. 9 at California
  • Sept. 16 vs. Folsom
  • Sept. 30 vs. McClymonds
  • Oct. 7 vs. Liberty
  • Oct. 14 at Deer Valley
  • Oct. 21 vs. Freedom
  • Oct. 28 at Heritage
  • Nov. 4 at Antioch

RETURNING STARTERS

  • 6 on offense
  • 9 on defense

IMPACT PLAYERS GRADUATED/TRANSFERRED

  • RB Charles Brown (first-team All-BVAL) — transferred (to Antioch)
  • OL Aidan Bandes (first-team All-BVAL) — graduated
  • OL Lisala Takafua (first-team All-BVAL) — graduated
  • OL Justin Turner (first-team All-BVAL) — graduated
  • DL Nicolas Quintero (first-team All-BVAL) — graduated
  • LB Jakobe Harmon (first-team All-Metro) — graduated
  • LB Kai Green (first-team All-BVAL) — graduated

IMPACT PLAYERS TO WATCH

QB Jaden Rasada — Sr. — 6-5, 190

College commitment: Miami

National 2023 recruiting ranking: No. 7 (Sports Illustrated)

2021 stats: 2,220 passing yards, 27 touchdowns, 5 interceptions

QB coach Juan Corral: “What everyone falls in love with is the arm strength. The kid can make every throw. He makes throws that some guys in the league can’t make. He pays attention to detail on film. When you just talk to him, he knows what he’s talking about, what he’s looking for. He’s a kid that understands what he wants out of his process. He makes my job easy. … Head to toe, the mental, the physical, the drive that you want in a quarterback, whatever list you want, he’s going to check every single box. … He’s the complete package. Miami is lucky to get him.”

WR Rashid Williams — Sr. — 6-2, 190

College commitment: Washington

California recruiting ranking: No. 15 (247Sports)

2021 stats: 55 catches, 753 yards, 11 TDs

OC Jimmy Shipe: Jr. “He’s a vacuum of the football. He has such a large range. You put the ball out there and there’s no pass he can’t catch. I’ve never coached a receiver like that. A guy on his hip, a guy in front of him, behind him, he’s going to catch it. … He’s pretty amazing to see. … Phenomenal kid. He’s always got a smile on his face. He’s always happy. You can’t even yell at him and get mad. You yell at him and he’s still happy. He takes it seriously enough, but not too serious. Complete kid.”

WR-S Zachary Card — Sr. — 5-10, 175

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College commitment: Oregon State

California recruiting ranking: No. 74 (247Sports)

2021 stats: 36 catches, 768 yards, 9 touchdowns, 66 tackles, two interceptions

Track and field: Finished sixth in state in 100 meters (best time 10.47 seconds)

Shipe: “He’s a dynamo. So explosive. He had a great season last season. I think he was a little overshadowed. It’s almost deceptive how fast he is. Works in slot, works in space better than anyone on the team. Phenomenal on defense too.”

CB-WR Khai Taylor — Sr. — 6-2, 170

College commitment: Nevada

2021 stats: 17 catches, 295 yards, 3 TDs, 13 tackles, 3 interceptions

Family ties: His dad played in CFL and grandfather Altie, a running back, played eight seasons in the NFL, seven with Lions.

Shipe: “Honestly, he’s probably the most polished as a receiver. He’s committed as a DB and is phenomenal at that spot. But he was hurt last year. I think he’s going to show a lot more as a receiver this season. He’s a vacuum like Rashid.”

WR Keynan Higgins — Sr. — 6-5, 185

College offers: ASU, BYU, Fresno State, Pittsburgh

2021 stats: 8 catches, 226 yards, 3 touchdowns

Shipe: “He’s your classic deep threat. He’s got size and he’s a 100-meter track guy. He is almost as fast as Zach. He’s the least polished of the group, but he’s working hard at it and he’s got the most upside. You can’t teach 6-5 with that kind of speed.”

WR/DB Jadyn Hudson — So. — 6-2, 175

College offers: 15 of them, including Georgia, Michigan, LSU, Oregon, Cal

2021 stats: 58 tackles, 6 catches, 63 yards

Shipe: “Of the group, probably the best with the ball in his hands. He’s an electric player. He starts at safety. A returner. Phenomenal hands. Great size and speed. He’s honestly like a Jurrion Dickey.”

WR-CB Noah Quesada — Jr. — 5-11, 175

Shipe: “Fierce competitor. Phenomenal route runner. Excellent speed. We’ll have to try to get him on the field. It’s a loaded position. Even our 7-8-9 guys are good and not much of a drop off. It’s not a bad problem to have.”

LB Cameron Clanton — Sr. — 5-7, 190

2021 stats/honors: 51 tackles, 7 for loss, 2nd team All-BVAL

LB Giomani Enea — Sr. — 5-9, 170

2021 stats/honors: 64 tackles, HM All-BVAL

CB-WR Budha Boyd — Sr. 6-0, 170

2021 stats/honors: 22 tackles, four interceptions, 1st team All-BVAL

DE/LB Jewelous Walls — So. — 6-2, 225

2021 honors: All-BVAL HM as a freshman

LB/RB Lafaele Matakaiongo — Jr. — 5-10, 195

Galli: "Stud."

K Octavio Lopez — Sr. — 5-7, 140

Career stats: 42 of 43 on XPs, 4-for-4 on field goals

REGULAR SEASON GAME(S) OF THE YEAR

The tilt at the Honor Bowl in San Diego versus Nevada power Liberty will be a big test, but undoubtedly the biggest challenge for the Pirates will be a Sept. 16 home date with Folsom.

The Bulldogs took it to the Pirates pretty good in last year’s opener 38-17 before going on to defeat De La Salle in a NorCal regional final and then losing in the state championship to Cathedral Catholic.

Another home game Sept. 30 against four-time state champion McClymonds should also be of note, but the Warriors need to replace an experienced quarterback and some dynamic two-way players.

BEST-CASE SCENARIO

10-0

The Pirates will likely be a slight underdog to Folsom and the Liberty-Henderson a pickup, but it doesn’t appear the league will offer much of a challenge, just like it did last year with the Pirates outscored their five closest rivals, 233-67.

The obvious divide with these Pirates is they are absolutely loaded in the passing game with one of the nation’s top quarterbacks and five Division I receivers/athletes to throw to. But the offensive line is completely anew. The defense up front is also a bit unproven as is the running back position with the departure of top running back Charles Brown to Antioch. 

A pair of promising backs Elijah Bow (5-9, 190) and Quintel Lawson (5-7, 145) should pick up the slack. 

Jaden Rashada

Jaden Rashada (5) has weapons galore. 

MOST REALISTIC SCENARIO

8-2

It's going to take some time for the line to jell and with Folsom and Liberty-Nevada on schedule early, a couple losses wouldn't be the worst thing for these Pirates. Galli often has the team jelling late to make a deep playoff push. Then again, with so much polish and skill at the QB and WR spots, maybe Pittsburg won't have to take a couple of defeats. 

COACH/PLAYER TALK

“It’s going to come down to our young line. We have a good solid line, but we’re going to have to find the right combinations. We don’t have any big-time recruits on the line, but it’s going to be a very good line. The guys are there. How fast they get there depends on a lot of things. They’ll get there.”

– Vic Galli

“I’m just glad to be back to the fun part of football. You start to forget how that feels after going through certain parts of the recruiting game. Traveling. Just forgetting what it’s like to be around your team. … Man, it was a great first day of practice. … We don’t stop talking about how our season ended last year. I think that will lead to having a good start this year. Remembering what it was like to go through that as a team. At the moment it was terrible, but look at it now and see how much it helped us.”

– Jaden Rashada