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Birmingham proves no match for McClymonds in Division 3-A football title game

Birmingham coach Jim Rose on the sideline.
Coach Jim Rose led Birmingham to the City Section Open Division title and a regional bowl win.
(Alex Gallardo / For The Times)

Regardless of what unfolded in Oakland on Saturday night, Lake Balboa Birmingham’s 2021 season, one in which the school qualified for its first appearance in a state championship game, was going to be memorable. The goal of winning that first state title, though, remains unchecked.

Birmingham was easily handled by McClymonds 54-7. The east Bay Area powerhouse has now won four state titles in its last five tries.

“We didn’t play our best ball tonight,” Birmingham coach Jim Rose said after the CIF Division 3-A title game. “We were terrible in every aspect of the game.”

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It was a bittersweet end to a season for Birmingham (9-6).

The Patriots dropped their first five contests. They were outscored by 106 points, including a 44-0 blowout. Then, the wins came fast, their quantity only matched by their quality. Birmingham went unbeaten in league play, then handled business in the City Section Open Division playoffs.

Birmingham’s plans for a state title were foiled by a Michael Peters-led McClymonds program that dominated all season.

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McClymonds (12-1) got off to a fast start when Jay’Vion Cole scored on the opening kickoff. Within 15 seconds, McClymonds had the lead it would never relinquish.

Cole, Dwayne Mcdougle and Michael Dansby, all seniors who play both sides of the ball, had interceptions. Senior quarterback Dreyan Paul had four touchdowns, three in the air and one in the ground.

Birmingham’s first and only points came with 57 seconds left in the third quarter, the game’s outcome already well having been decided. By that point, McClymonds began what was essentially a quarter-long victory formation. The starters were pulled. The second-unit exclusively ran the ball, electing to kneel with around seven minutes left instead of running up the score.

Despite the ugly nature of the loss, there was no shortage of support for the players, many of whom made their final appearance in a Patriots uniform. After postgame pleasantries, Birmingham was greeted with a standing ovation from those who made the trip north. Hugs and tears were plentiful. There was no shortage of words “proud” and “love.”

“You be the same when you win, you be the same when you lose,” Rose said of his message to his team.

Division 7-A

San Francisco Balboa 43, Woodland Hills Taft 0: A turnaround season didn’t end well for Taft (7-8), which had trouble overcoming a slow start.

Balboa (9-4) returned the opening kickoff for a touchdown and then scored again after Taft fumbled the ball on a punt snap.

The Toreadors started the season trying to end a 26-game losing streak and ended up City Division III champions.


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