De La Salle hangs on to No. 1 ranking after fourth quarter comeback win over Serra of San Mateo. Bellarmine, meanwhile, takes over No. 2 with Pleasanton Foothill, St. Francis of Mountain View and Pittsburg all coming on strong.
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Welcome to the Cal-Hi Sports Bay Area Top 25 compiled in conjunction with the award-winning Cal-Hi Sports Bay Area TV show that is aired every Sunday night on KOFY, Channel 20, San Francisco and during the week on CSN Bay Area throughout Northern California. These rankings are after games played through Saturday, Sept. 7. We have more than 35 years of compiling high school football rankings in Northern California.
It’s going to come to an end someday, but for the first time in recent memory, the De La Salle streak of wins against Bay Area teams that started in 1992 was in serious jeopardy in the Spartans’ 21-14 victory on Saturday at Serra of San Mateo.
With both teams banged up, Serra prior to the game and De La Salle losing two key starters early on, the stage was set for the big upset.
After all, Serra head coach Patrick Walsh, a member of the Spartans’ team that helped start the streak, has come as close the last few years as anyone to getting one on his alma mater.
His boys held the visitors to a 0-0 tie at halftime, and took a 14-7 lead with 9:36 left to play, but couldn’t overcome the mystique that took the form of DLS quarterback Chris Williams and the legendary defense.
First, Williams found track star and defending state 110 hurdles camp Marquis Morris on a 43-yard completion that set up his 1-yard plunge that tied the game. Then, John Quinn intercepted a pass and returned it deep into Serra’s red zone that set up another Williams’ sneak that sealed the deal.
Serra was playing without six starters due to injury, including Notre Dame-bound lineman Matt Dickerson.
In the second quarter De La Salle lost starting running back Dasmond Tautalatasi and WR/DB Adam Mayer, whom Quinn replaced.
“Those guys outplayed us,” first year De La Salle head coach Justin Alumbaugh told the San Francisco Chronicle.
It won’t be any easier this week when Sparta marches into Stockton to face a St. Mary’s team that always plays DLS tough, and is coming off a 47-27 win over defending CIF Division IV Bowl Game champion Modesto Central Catholic.
Marin Catholic star all over the field
For the second-straight week, Nevada-bound Marin Catholic multi-talented Andrew Celis has epitomized the old Gaelic phrase “he’s here, he’s there, he’s everywhere.”
Last week, in a win over Orinda Miramonte, he had 157 yards receiving and one TD, returned a punt 50 yards for a score, kicked a 42-yard field goal, returned punts and kickoffs, and punted and kicked off.
On Saturday, in a 31-20 win at St. Ignatius (San Francisco), the 6-foot, 178-pound Celis caught a 17-yard TD pass from Oregon-bound quarterback Morgan Mahalak, threw a 24-yard halfback option pass for a touchdown, kicked a 46-yard field, returned punts and kickoffs, and did it all in just over two quarters before leaving due to cramps.
Note: We owe everyone an apology. It was said on-air that there would be 25 teams ranked and last week’s first of the regular season only included 20. The correct total is 25.
(Through games of September 7) (Previous ranking in parenthesis)
1. (1) De La Salle (Concord) 2-0
The 238-game winning streak against opponents north of Fresno is still intact, barely.
2. (3) Bellarmine (San Jose) 1-0
The Bells survived in a back-and-forth 28-25 win over host El Cerrito. Vanderbilt-bound Elite 11 quarterback finalist K.J. Carta-Samuels got it done with his legs, rushing for three TDs, including the game winner. The Bells now can go ahead of Paly after playing and winning a big game on the road.
3. (2) Palo Alto 0-0
One of the few teams still not in action opens against defending CCS Division I champion San Benito this Friday.
4. (6) Serra (San Mateo) 0-1
Coach Patrick Walsh’s charges gave Sparta all it could handle in 21-14 home loss. In a strange twist that sometimes happens when a team plays well against De La Salle, the Padres lose and move up.
5. (5) El Cerrito 1-1
With just a three-point loss to No. 2 Bellarmine, there’s no need to drop the Gauchos in this week’s rankings.
6. (7) Marin Catholic (Kentfield) 2-0
MC took on and somewhat easily handled the defending CCS Open Division champions.
7. (8) Cardinal Newman (Santa Rosa) 2-0
The Cardinals beat visiting Novato 41-9 and now await El Cerrito in a game the Cal-Hi Sports Caravan will be covering on Saturday night in Santa Rosa.
8. (11) James Logan (Union City) 1-1
The Colts rebounded from the loss to Del Oro to post a 14-0 shutout of San Leandro.
9. (13) Foothill (Pleasanton) 2-0
If anyone doesn’t believe this team is for real, a 32-6 win on the road at Freedom (Oakley) should help make them believers.
10. (15) St. Francis (Mountain View) 1-0
The Greg Calcagno era opens with a very solid 28-0 win over San Jose Oak Grove.
11. (20) Pittsburg 1-1
Their quarterback was lost in the Analy loss, but in a 35-33 home victory over California, Harris Ross played the whole game and not just a half when he was held out in the opener, and he ran for 243 yards and four touchdowns.
12. (4) California (San Ramon) 1-1
A 35-33 loss on the road at Pittsburg resets the pecking order in the East Bay, and gives the Grizzlies a big drop.
13. (12) Clayton Valley (Concord) 0-1
No game this week. Next up is Oakland Castlemont at home.
14. (14) Rancho Cotate (Rohnert Park) 1-0
A 21-14 win over Alhambra (Martinez) isn’t exactly a power statement, but for now they hold steady with Pinole Valley on tap.
15. (16) Amador Valley (Pleasanton) 2-0
Another solid win for Coach Rick Sira and his boys in a 31-14 win over Concord.
16. (9) Valley Christian (San Jose) 0-1
It was a tough 20-17 loss for VC at highly-regarded Vacaville from the CIF Sac-Joaquin Section.
17. (10) St. Ignatius (San Francisco) 0-1
SI took a 10-0 first quarter lead but after that the offense never really did much against a very stout Marin Catholic defense.
18. (17) Casa Grande (Petaluma) 2-0
A 12-7 winner at Heritage, but Casa will need need to play better to win on the road this week in Napa.
19. (18) Campolindo (Moraga) 2-0
Another solid win in a 38-21 win at Atherton Menlo-Atherton.
20. (19) Analy (Sebastopol) 2-0
The Tigers had a hard time with Maria Carrillo (Santa Rosa) but pulled out a 34-30 road victory.
21. (NR) Archbishop Mitty (San Jose) 1-0
It was nothing flashy but a solid 28-14 victory over Los Gatos.
22. (NR) San Ramon Valley (Danville) 1-0
Idle this week but opened last week with a 68-30 win in Atwater at Buhach Colony. James Logan is up next on the road. A win could mean a big move up.
23. (NR) San Benito (Hollister) 1-0
The defending CCS Division I champions opened with a 31-14 triumph at San Jose Pioneer and get to play Paly next.
24. (NR) Deer Valley (Antioch) 1-0
Season-opening 49-7 rout of Fairfield Rodriguez.
25. (NR) Terra Nova (Pacifica) 1-0
A big 45-7 victory at Oakland Bishop O’Dowd puts the Tigers into the rankings mix.
Teams On the Bubble
Acalanes (Lafayette) 2-0, Berkeley 1-1, Carmel 1-0, Castro Valley 1-1, Christopher (Gilroy) 1-0, Concord 0-2, Encinal (Alameda) 1-0, Freedom (Oakley) 0-2, Justin-Siena (Napa) 2-0, Liberty (Brentwood) 2-0, McClymonds (Oakland) 2-0, Menlo (Atherton) 0-1, Milpitas 0-0, Miramonte (Orinda) 1-1, Monte Vista (Danville) 1-1, Northgate (Walnut Creek) 2-0, Oak Grove (San Jose) 0-1, Palma (Salinas) 0-1, Sacred Heart Cathedral (San Francisco) 1-0, Sacred Heart Prep (Atherton) 1-0, San Marin (Novato) 1-1, Wilcox (Santa Clara) 1-0
(Not including forfeits)
Harold Abend is the associate editor of CalHiSports.com and the vice president of the California Prep Sportswriters Association. He can be reached at email@example.com. Don’t forget to follow him on Twitter: @HaroldAbend