90th Turkey Day GameTeams:
Lincoln (7-4) vs. Galileo (11-1)Where:
11 a.m. Thursday (Thanksgiving)At stake:
San Francisco Section championship SAN FRANCISCO —
With his team down 21-0 in the first quarter of Galileo (San Francisco)
season-opener, quarterback Kyle Nelson
, in shotgun formation, looked for a play from coach Mark Huynh, who was chewing out his defense.
"Go ahead and call it yourself," Huynh said.
Six plays and 80 yards later, the Lions were in the end zone. Huynh told Nelson to hold on to the car keys of the offense — keep calling the plays — and though Galileo lost that opener 48-36 to Tamalpais-Mill Valley, the ride has been smooth, if not scenic ever since.
The Lions (11-1) have ripped off 11 straight wins and averaged 50 points and 430 yards per game while winning the outright Academic Athletic Association title.
They go for their 16th San Francisco Section title 11 a.m. Thursday at Kezar Stadium against defending and nine-time winner Lincoln (San Francisco)
(7-4) in the 90th Turkey Day Game.
"It's been a dream season thus far – better than we could have imagined," Nelson said. "But we have more to prove. It's their championship. They have the trophy. We need to take it from them."
With the 5-foot-10, 150-pound senior left-hander in command and calling the plays, Galileo is certainly in position.
Nelson has easily put together the most prolific season by a San Francisco quarterback in history, having completed 174 of 254 passes (68.5 percent) for 2,977 yards, 44 touchdowns and just four interceptions.
According to the latest CalHiSports.com record book, no San Francisco quarterback had thrown for more than 2,740 yards or 37 touchdowns, cut off points for lists that surpass the top 50 season performances.
That includes San Francisco standouts like Dan Fouts, Mike Holmgren or McLeod Bethel-Thompson.
The 44 TD passes are first in the Bay Area and No. 5 in the state. The yardage is fifth in the area, but he's thrown about 100 less passes than the other leaders.
"Honestly, my goals coming into the year were 2,000 yards, 20 touchdowns and to be have a good touchdown-to-interception ratio," he said. "I think after that first game, I figured I could do something special. It's been fun."
The third year starter, who has accepted a baseball scholarship to UCSB, threw for four touchdowns and ran for another against Tamalpais. He added six TDs in a 56-34 win over Balboa, has thrown four TDs six times and three four times. He's also rushed for 309 yards (counting sacks) and nine scores.
Nelson spreads the ball around superbly to
(62 catches, 1,077 yards, 11 TDs), Todd Holland
(28, 495, 10), Isaac Armstrong
(31, 558, 9) and Rodney Morgan
(17, 322, 9).
"He's got really good feet and can avoid pressure," Huynh said. "And he's been just so accurate. After the first game we could see something special. But it seems like he's just gotten better and better."
The keys have been, having good protection, excellent weapons and the opportunity to call the no-huddle, spread attack. "Everything is pretty simple," he said. "We either hand the ball to Ronzel Fox
or Lala Haro
or I just find our receivers in space."
Nelson said given the keys has helped with his confidence, leadership and feel for the game. "I had to win my team over. I'm 17 like the rest of the guys and I'm sure they were like ‘how does this guy get to tell me what to do?' But once we started clicking, everyone was on board."
"He's done a great job controlling and managing everything," he said. "But I still get the final word if we need to change things."
That hasn't happened often this season. Notes:
Fox, with 1,337 rushing yards and 21 TDs, has been cleared to play after missing three games with a dislocated elbow. … Galileo won the regular-season meeting with Lincoln 34-33 when the Lions stopped a 2-point conversion with 25.7 seconds to play. … Nelson threw for 244 yards and three scores in that game. … Lincoln, which ran for 398 against Galileo, is led by the running duo of Davion Telfor
(1,508 yards, 19 TDs) and Tyree Marzetta
(1,358, 17) and lineman Justin Lee
. … Telfor had 233 yards and three scores against Galileo. ... Nelson's brother Dylan Nelson (now playing baseball at Cal) quarterbacked Galileo to its last title in 2009. … Marzetta scored the game-winning 2-point conversion in a 22-21 win over Mission in the 89th Turkey Day Game.