Saturday’s Division II regional final: Clayton Valley (Concord) vs. Oakdale at Alex G. Spanos Stadium (Lincoln of Stockton).
Controversial choice? As long as the CCS takes its top eight teams and puts them into its own Open Division, that will make it hard for any other teams from that section to be able to have a strong enough win-loss record to be considered over teams like Clayton Valley and Oakdale.
Bowl History: This will be the first bowl games for either the Eagles or the Mustangs.
Early Prediction: Clayton Valley 27, Oakdale 19. Clayton Valley’s just been on too much of a roll against teams that might be a bit better than those that Oakdale has faced.
Here are the Week 15 CIF Division II North bowl game rankings (completed before this year’s bowl selections were made; after games of Saturday, Dec. 1; previous rank in parentheses):
DIVISION II NORTH
1. (1) Clayton Valley (Concord) 12-1*
2. (3) Oakdale 13-1*
3. (5) St. Francis (Mountain View) 8-5*
4. (2) Rancho Cotate (Rohnert Park) 12-1
5. (4) Vista del Lago (Folsom) 11-1**
6. (5) Inderkum (Sacramento) 10-3
7. (8) Northgate (Walnut Creek) 9-3
8. (9) Enterprise (Redding) 9-3*
9. (NR) American Canyon 11-2
10. (NR) Cosumnes Oaks (Elk Grove) 9-3
*Indicates season complete, section champ and eligible for CIF bowl.
**Default win not included and ineligible for CIF bowl.
Drops: Previous No. 7 Milpitas lost to San Benito (Hollister) 35-28 in CIF Central Coast Section Division I championship; No. 10 Los Gatos lost to St. Francis (Mountain View) 17-0 in CCS Division II championship.
Bubble Teams: Casa Grande (Petaluma) 7-4, Chico 8-4, Concord 10-3, Foothill (Palo Cedro) 8-4, Lincoln (San Francisco) 9-1**, Newark Memorial (Newark) 9-3, Paradise 8-4, San Benito (Hollister) 8-5*, Sierra (Manteca) 10-2, Wilcox (Santa Clara) 8-5. *Indicates team is eligible for CIF state bowl game. **Indicates two wins by default not included; team also eligible for CIF bowl game due to winning CIF San Francisco Section title.
Case for Clayton Valley: After losing their first game to Pittsburg (an NCS D1 team), the Eagles thundered their way to win their first NCS title with a 35-7 victory on Friday over previously unbeaten Rancho Cotate. Clayton Valley running back Joe Protheroe rushed for 116 yards and two touchdowns and had a 94-yard kickoff return for a score. Protheroe now has 2,895 yards and 34 TDs this season. Since the first game, Clayton Valley’s closest margin of victory was 20 points. The team also is led by first-year coach Tim Murphy, who was previously the coach at Clovis East in the CIF Central Section. At Clovis East in 2006, Murphy’s team was narrowly passed over in favor of Canyon Country Canyon to play in the very first Division I state bowl game. There should be no such drama this time around.
Case for Oakdale: The Mustangs’ only loss this season was to overall state No. 15 Oceanside by a 34-14 final score before they won their final 12 games and captured the CIFSJS Division III championship on Friday night behind a dominant defense with a 22-9 win over Vista del Lago of Folsom. Eddie Machado scored the game’s first points on an interception return and the defense later scored a safety to match the nine points scored by the Eagles. With Rancho Cotate of Rohnert Park losing to Clayton Valley, no undefeated teams remain in our Division II North rankings and the Mustangs’ loss is to the highest ranked team out of all of them. On the year, they also defeated 10-win Sierra of Manteca and Aptos (CCS D4 playoff finalist).
Why not St. Francis or Milpitas? Of the two top CCS teams that won section titles on Saturday, you’d have to rank St. Francis higher because of the way the Lancers finished. This wasn’t so much for their victory in the CCS D2 final over Los Gatos but more because of their 24-0 win in their final regular season game over Serra of San Mateo. With five losses for St. Francis and five for San Benito of Hollister, those teams would need to see teams with similar records win in the NCS D2 and SJS D3 brackets. That didn’t happen as both Clayton Valley and Oakdale have just one loss.
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