Week 11: NorCal CIF Bowl Rankings

Senior Aaron Maher helped Analy of Sebastopol to its first outright league title since 1958 and to a 10-0 regular season record. He’s a versatile receiver-defensive back and could be MVP of his league. Photo by Harold Abend.

Placer has to be realigned to D3 but does not get No. 1 ranking. Clayton Valley also moves up to No. 1 in D2. Go inside to read analysis of every division by long-time editor Mark Tennis. Check Wednesday for second Mr. Football Player of Year tracker.

Note: The top 10 teams that would be ranked by CalHiSportsFootball for the CIF Open Division in Northern California would be:

1. De La Salle (Concord); 2. Franklin (Elk Grove); 3. Folsom; 4. Bellarmine (San Jose); 5. Elk Grove; 6. Serra (San Mateo); 7. Buhach Colony (Atwater); 8. Luther Burbank (Sacramento); 9. St. Mary’s (Stockton); 10. California (San Ramon).

With assistance from Harold Abend and Paul Muyskens, here are the Week 11 rankings for each of Northern California’s CIF bowl game divisions (previous ranking in parentheses; after games of Saturday, Nov. 3):

1. (1) De La Salle (Concord) 10-0
2. (2) Franklin (Elk Grove) 10-0
3. (3) Folsom 10-0
4. (5) Bellarmine (San Jose) 8-1
5. (4) Elk Grove 9-1
6. (6) Serra (San Mateo) 8-1
7. (7) Buhach Colony (Atwater) 8-2
8. (8) Luther Burbank (Sacramento) 10-0
9. (9) St. Mary’s (Stockton) 8-2
10. (11) California (San Ramon) 8-2
11. (10) Oak Grove (San Jose) 9-0
12. (12) Granite Bay 7-3
13. (13) Oak Ridge (El Dorado Hills) 9-1
14. (14) Freedom (Oakley) 8-2
15. (15) James Logan (Union City) 9-1
Drops: None.
Bubble Teams: Amador Valley (Pleasanton) 6-4, Archbishop Mitty (San Jose) 7-2, Downey (Modesto) 9-1, Grant (Sacramento) 5-5, Lincoln (Stockton) 7-3, Palo Alto 7-2, Pittsburg 7-3, Pleasant Grove (Elk Grove) 6-4, San Ramon Valley (Danville) 5-5, Stagg (Stockton) 9-1, St. Ignatius (San Francisco) 6-3, Yuba City 9-1.
No. 1 Team Result: De La Salle (Concord) defeated California (San Ramon) 27-14.
Race for No. 1: There were just a few changes among the top 15 from last week, but the bubble list underwent much more. Defending CIF Central Coast Section Open Division champ Bellarmine got shifted in front of Elk Grove at No. 4 due to Elk Grove only winning by 17-10 over Davis. The Bells’ only loss being to De La Salle and having a win over San Mateo Serra also contributed to that move…..
•California of San Ramon also flip-flopped with Oak Grove at No. 10 and No. 11. The Grizzlies showed us something in losing by just 27-14 to De La Salle, which also may have impressed the CIF North Coast Section seeding committee since they were given the No. 2 seed behind Sparta in the Division I playoffs…..
•Among the bubble teams, watch out for a first-round Sac-Joaquin Division I matchup between 9-1 Stagg and 6-4 Pleasant Grove. Stagg’s only loss came in a high-scoring game against St. Mary’s of Stockton. Pleasant Grove reached the SJS D1 final last year and won it all in 2010…..

1. (4) Clayton Valley (Concord) 9-1
2. (2) Rancho Cotate (Rohnert Park) 10-0
3. (3) Oakdale 9-1
4. (6) Vista del Lago (Folsom) 8-1*
5. (7) Inderkum (Sacramento) 8-2
6. (8) Cosumnes Oaks (Elk Grove) 8-2
7. (10) Northgate (Walnut Creek) 8-2
8. (NR) Sierra (Manteca) 9-1
9. (NR) American Canyon 9-1
10. (NR) Enterprise (Redding) 7-3
Drops: Previous No. 1 Placer (Auburn) reclassified for D3 North; No. 5 Yuba City reclassified for D1 North; No. 9 Center (Antelope) reclassified for D3 North.
Bubble Teams: Casa Grande (Petaluma) 7-3, Chico 7-3, Concord 8-2, Foothill (Palo Cedro) 7-3, Newark Memorial (Newark) 8-2, Paradise 7-3.
No. 1 Team Result: Clayton Valley (Concord) defeated Mt. Diablo (Concord) 61-6.
Race for No. 1: Well, we’ve been saying for several weeks that Placer of Auburn was likely going to be playing in the SJS D4 playoffs as opposed to D3 and that is what has happened. Since those brackets are now out, the Hillmen have thus been switched to the D3 North bowl rankings and no longer are No. 1 in D2 North…..
•That new No. 1 ranking in this division was then given to Clayton Valley. The Eagles lost their only game in their opener 41-27 to Pittsburg (which is D1 North) and since then have turned it on in a series of impressive outings, including wins against Concord and Northgate. By choosing Clayton Valley in this instance, it also matches the NCS D2 seedings which have the Eagles first and Rancho Cotate second…..
•Two other previously ranked Sac-Joaquin teams in this division also had to be replaced due to that section’s playoff pairings. Previous No. 5 Yuba City ended up in D2 instead of D3 and had to go up for the bowl game rankings to D1 North. Previous No. 9 Center of Antelope, which just lost to Placer by one point 15-14 last Friday, also is now D3 North instead…..
•Barring the inclusion of a top team from the CCS when its pairings are announced this weekend, this NorCal regional bowl game continues to look like it will end up being between the NCS D2 champ and the SJS D3 champ. The bad news for whichever team wins in that bowl game is that it will be a huge underdog to whichever team wins in the South. It’s early, but already pretty obvious that the SoCal teams are a lot stronger…..
Note about CIF Central Coast Section teams: Once the playoff brackets are announced (which unlike most sections will be one week later in the season on Nov. 10), we expect several quality teams from CCS “A” leagues that are not going to be in the CCS Open Division to be placed in the section’s Division I or Division II brackets. Examples could be a third-place team from the West Catholic Athletic League or a second-place team from the De Anza League (Palo Alto, Los Gatos, Milpitas, etc.). At that point, those teams would then get placed into our D2 North bowl game rankings (they are all considered Division I now) and it’s possible one or more of those teams will be ranked near the top.

1. (1) Marin Catholic (Kentfield) 9-1
2. (2) El Cerrito 10-0
3. (NR) Placer (Auburn) 10-0
4. (3) Sutter 10-0
5. (4) Seaside 9-0
6. (5) Campolindo (Moraga) 9-1
7. (6) Cardinal Newman (Santa Rosa) 9-1
8. (7) Ripon 10-0
9. (8) Los Banos 9-1
10. (9) Analy (Sebastopol) 10-0
Drops: Previous No. 10 Escalon had to make room for Placer coming in at No. 3.
Bubble Teams: Arcata 9-1, Aptos 7-2, Argonaut (Jackson) 10-0, Carmel 8-1, Center (Antelope) 8-2, Dixon 9-1, Escalon 8-2, Justin-Siena (Napa) 8-2, Menlo School (Atherton) 8-1, Novato 7-3, Sacred Heart Prep (Atherton) 8-1, Salesian (Richmond) 8-2, Soquel 7-2, West Valley (Cottonwood) 9-1.
No. 1 Team Result: Marin Catholic (Kentfield) defeated Tamalpais (Mill Valley) 42-3.
Race for No. 1: If Placer had been reclassified into this division midway through the regular season, the Hillmen probably would have been placed No. 1. Since then, though, they’ve had three scary close games, including last Friday’s 15-14 triumph against Center of Antelope. Yes, they still own key wins over Central Catholic of Modesto and Yuba City, but the overall body of work in our book does not beat Marin Catholic or El Cerrito. That is why we’ve put the Hillmen at No. 3 instead of No. 1…..
•Both Marin Catholic and El Cerrito will be in the NCS D3 playoffs (along with Campolindo, Cardinal Newman and Analy) so all Placer has to do to get a regional bowl game is still the same as before and that’s win a section title. We feel bad for Sutter having to drop to No. 4 and for Seaside to drop to No. 5. Looking at strength of schedule scenarios after the section playoffs, though, it’s going to be very hard for the section commissioners to choose any other teams for the NorCal bowl game other than the NCS D3 champ vs. the SJS D4 winner…..
•The hope for the others is that Central Catholic wins the SJS D4 title because the Raiders would then go to the NorCal D4 bowl game instead of D3. That is not a far-fetched scenario, either, the way Central Catholic has been rolling in recent weeks…..
Note about CIF Central Coast Section teams: Once the playoff brackets are announced (which unlike most sections will be one week later in the season on Nov. 10), we expect several quality teams from CCS “A” leagues that are not going to be in the CCS Open Division to be placed in the section’s Division III or Division IV brackets. At that point, those teams would then get placed into our D3 North bowl game rankings and it’s possible one or more of those teams will be ranked near the top.

1. (1) Central Catholic (Modesto) 8-2
2. (2) McClymonds (Oakland) 6-3
3. (3) Ferndale 9-1
4. (7) Valley Christian (Dublin) 8-2
5. (5) Pierce (Arbuckle) 10-0
6. (6) Capital Christian (Sacramento) 9-1
7. (9) California School for the Deaf (Fremont) 9-1
8. (10) Foresthill 9-1
9. (NR) Brookside Christian (Stockton) 8-2
10. (NR) St. Vincent de Paul (Petaluma) 8-2
Drops: Previous No. 4 Le Grand lost to Ripon Christian 35-21; No. 8 Portola lost to Chester 21-16.
Bubble Teams: Bradshaw Christian (Sacramento) 5-5, Chester 8-1*, Le Grand 8-2, Maxwell 7-3, Modesto Christian (Modesto) 6-4, Portola 8-1*, Ripon Christian 8-2, Tomales 6-4.
*Default win not included.
No. 1 Team Result: Central Catholic defeated Patterson 63-20.
Race for No. 1: The CIF Sac-Joaquin pairings for its Division IV bracket include more 10-0 and 9-1 teams than we can remember, so the odds of Central Catholic navigating through the field and winning it all seems high. Most of those other teams are D3 North, too. Still, the Raiders have the talent (especially since running back Rey Vega became eligible) to win that title and wrap up a bowl berth…..
If Central Catholic loses in those playoffs, they also become ineligible for the bowls. That would open it up for McClymonds (if it wins the Oakland Section title), Ferndale (needs to win NCS D5), Valley Christian (needs to win NCS D4) and Pierce of Arbuckle (needs to win Northern Section D3)…..
•If Valley Christian, which topped Salesian of Richmond 41-33 last week, were to get it done in NCS D4, you would think that the Vikings also might have the edge over any team that wins the NCS D5 title (even if that team is Ferndale)…..

Comments or corrections? Email markjtennis@gmail.com.

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  1. Terry Smith
    Posted November 6, 2012 at 5:39 pm | Permalink

    In D2, the problem with matching the NCS seeding in regards to Clayton Valley and Rancho Cotate is the seeding committee got it wrong. Rancho had the better record (10-0), better big win (Over CN), and better performance vs. a common opponent ( Montgomery) than Clayton Valley. Why then would Clayton Valley be placed above Rancho? I mean what criteria was used to place CV at #1? Rancho is a darn good team this year as I believe everyone will see in the playoffs. And a corollary question is why drop CN to #6 with a 1 score loss to Rancho? And what has Seaside done to deserve their ranking other than beat a severely depleted Palma team early in the season? Thank goodness the playoffs will likely reveal the error of your insights. I think you were right to question Placer’s body of work recently, as really the only thing they can hang their hat on is the early season victory over CC. But it seems everyone else has gotton better and they have not, so I don’t see them beating CC again if they meet up. Look for Rancho to win NCS D2.

    • Posted November 6, 2012 at 5:51 pm | Permalink

      You can make a case for both teams to be sure. One reason we switched to match the NCS seeding is that Harold A has seen both teams play and said he’d pick Clayton Valley in a close call. Others we know who have seen Clayton Valley also were raving. To be fair, I saw Rancho myself against Cardinal Newman. I do think they are better right now than Placer (which I saw last Friday) but not as good as Marin Catholic. Harold A also has seen El Cerrito and would pick that team higher than Rancho. That’s just the observations of a couple of guys seeing teams once, though. At least we are going to games and not relying completely on what others think.

  2. Terry Smith
    Posted November 6, 2012 at 6:36 pm | Permalink

    Well, I respect that. At least you’ve seen them play in person. As you know, though, that can be deceiving depending on the level of play of the opposing team. I watched the MC QB play. He is a defensive coordinator nightmare because he can thread the ball to well-covered receivers on a moments notice, and there’s nothing you can do about it. But I think MC will have to get a some good games from him and his receivers in playoffs for MC to win,and MC hasn’t had a tough game for a long time, which could hurt them. I hear good things about El Cerrito, but haven’t seen them. I know the CN/MC coaches and players have a lot of playoff experience. Will EC coaches be able to match that level? And we’ll finally get to see the real Analy. I read on other blogs Miramonte got their QB back and they’re on a tear, and Campo won it all last year, so it should be about the best NCS D3 lineup one could ask for. You think any winner of the NCS D3 gets the regional bid?

    • Posted November 6, 2012 at 9:19 pm | Permalink

      Yes, because as you noted the division includes so many top-ranked teams. The SJS D4 also is the likely opponent unless Central Catholic wins that title, then it opens up to others. We also still don’t know what CCS teams may end up in the mix.

  3. empireredwood
    Posted November 6, 2012 at 8:05 pm | Permalink

    All i know is D2 and D3 Redwood Empire will win Nor Cals! Rancho and Casa lead D2 and Cardinal Newman and Analy lead D3!

  4. scott
    Posted November 7, 2012 at 7:50 am | Permalink

    Playoff system needs to be implemented ASAP! This hopping up and down divisions is ridiculous. Sutter has had a solid, consistent program since 1995 and they deserve to at least be in the discussion if they win out. They have had more undefeated seasons than anyone in the North state during that time. A playoff system would allow teams to really see how they would stack up. Sad that we are still in the stone age. Sad for the kids.

  5. Terry Smith
    Posted November 7, 2012 at 9:45 am | Permalink

    I assume your writing of the ability of NCS teams to option-up to a higher division for playoffs (they can’t option down). CN and MC are D4 teams. If they played in that playoff division it would be a MC/CN final every year and they would become a competetive anomaly and forced up to a higher division anyway.

    I understand Sutter’s plight though. The North section could helps its cause by scheduling a preleague game or two with a potential NCS or SJS team that have good playoff reputations. Like Placer, Central Catholic, Del Oro, CN, Marin Catholic, St. Marys, or any number of Sac City schools.

  6. Terry Smith
    Posted November 7, 2012 at 9:51 am | Permalink

    I think Sutter has a good change for a regional bid this year. Placer just has to lose in the playoffs. Of course Sutter will need to win their section, too.

  7. scott
    Posted November 7, 2012 at 10:26 am | Permalink

    Thanks Terry. Sutter has done that, playing Central Catholic in 2008 and Bethel this season. They realize that they have to play out of the North to get a sniff. The 2 pt. loss to Central Catholic was the only loss for those seniors in four years. And they have gone to Oregon over the past several years. No magic formula though, as you said. Good luck to all teams.

  8. Wow
    Posted November 8, 2012 at 12:09 am | Permalink

    Can someone tell me how Clayton Valley is #1? They beat Concord and Northgate… Any other schools? NO! They’re whole league is awful this year: Mt. Diablo, College Park, Ygnacio Valley. Even Concord and Northgate are not very good. And what’s this talk of Clayton Valley moving into D1 EBAL next year in place of Livermore? I am willing to bet Livermore beats (EXTREMELY OVERRATED) Clayton Valley in the first round! All I can say is they don’t deserve the #1 seeding, let alone a top 3. The only quality team they beat was Concord, that’s it. Even beating Concord isn’t very good, considering the lack of a year they’ve had. These kind of teams schedule easy teams to polish their record. Look at the teams they played…. VIntage, Hayward, Montgomery, Liberty,…. Really? Look what happens when you play a quality team, that is horrible in D1, Pittsburg. You lose. OVER RATED!

  9. Andrew
    Posted November 8, 2012 at 10:18 am | Permalink

    Can someone explain why Placer, which has over 1300 kids, was reclassified D3 after being in D2 all year? In looking at the CIF guidelines, D3 is supposed to be schools with 1,000 or less kids.

    • Posted November 8, 2012 at 10:49 am | Permalink

      Thanks for the question, Andrew. First, there is no enrollment guideline for the CIF football bowl games other than a school must be below 500 to be considered Division IV. This is why Central Catholic is D4 for the bowl games but others in their playoff division (like Placer, Escalon, Ripon, etc.) would be D3. Second, Placer’s situation was murky all season and this is because of the way the Sac-Joaquin Section conducts its own playoffs. When the season begins, the section hands out a list of schools in divisions based on enrollments. But for the playoffs (and this is known by everyone in the media) those divisions may not match. This is because when they do their pairings they take the 64 teams that have qualified and at that time they break them into groups of 16 (D1, D2, D3, D4) and use enrollments as the dividing lines. Placer was D3 last year under this format and was D3 to start this season. When the pairings came out (which we said for several weeks was likely to happen), that dividing line was above Placer and not below so the team was placed in D4. I wish the Sac-Joaquin and CCS did playoffs differently because its incredibly confusing to anyone from outside their sections and also how it impacts the various bowl game divisions. Playoffs should be done knowing pretty much beforehand at least which division each team is shooting to play in (such as in NCS and everywhere else in the state). If there’s blame here, don’t place any of it on Placer at all. That team did not choose its division in any way at all. Blame the confusion on the Sac-Joaquin Section.

  10. Russell Woods
    Posted November 9, 2012 at 11:52 pm | Permalink

    Please tell me how McClymonds is considered for the D 4 State game when CalPreps shows their Enrollment at 552 and D 4 Division is 1-500?

    • Posted November 10, 2012 at 12:27 am | Permalink

      We went to the school and the coaches there said the enrollment was definitely below 500.

  11. Russell Woods
    Posted November 10, 2012 at 7:48 am | Permalink

    Ya, I read where Harold had said that. Just seems like such a large discrepancy especially considering its coming from word of mouth. All just seems pretty odd to me.

    I guess we can take Valley Christian off the short list. What a shocker!!

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