The Mission High School football team defeated Galileo 27-0 Friday evening to qualify for the San Francisco section championship game. The Bears will take on undefeated Lincoln in the city championship next Friday.
Under a downpour at Galileo’s Russian Hill headquarters, Mission dominated from the start, taking advantage of the Lions’ slow reflexes on defense. Julian Milton took the opening kickoff 74 yards to Galileo’s six-yard-line. Senior quarterback McKinley Oliver subsequently ran it in easily to score his first of three touchdowns of the afternoon.
In the slippery conditions, Oliver avoided long passes, and instead ran the ball himself on many of the drives (he also registered an interception while playing defense). When he didn’t call his own number, it was Jelani Al-Malik’s show. The senior running back would end up tallying 135 yards on just 12 rushes, a gaudy average of 11.25 yards per carry.
“We just kept moving the ball and running forward,” said Mission coach Tobias Whitley after the game. He was quick to highlight the lack of turnovers that allowed the Bears to dictate the game.
With their second shutout of the season, the Bears settled the score with the Lions, who defeated them in the championship game last season, and again in October in their regular season match-up. Decimated by injuries and illness, Galileo struggled to create plays, and could barely move into the Bears’ side of the field all game.
“We fought adversity all season long, we never took days off, and we’re finally gelling together now,” said Whitley, who had to come up with indoors practice sessions for the past two weeks, as the smoke from the Butte fires parked itself in San Francisco.
The Bears will return to practice Saturday with a tape-viewing session, and have no off-days scheduled until the championship game. Scheduled for next Friday at 5 p.m., the game against Lincoln will be played on Kezar Stadium’s natural turf, possibly to turn into mud under the soggy conditions anticipated for that game.
Prepare your ponchos, Missionites.