Valley Christian bumps off the Bells and gets jumped up to No. 10 in this week’s rankings. Milpitas, Wilcox also move higher.
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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, October 26. We have more than 35 years of compiling high school football rankings in Northern California.
Running back Kirk Johnson returned from missing two games, and coincidentally the two-game losing streak of San Jose Valley Christian turned into an impressive 31-13 victory over previous No. 3 Bellarmine and Vanderbilt-bound Elite 11 finalist K.J. Carta-Samuels.
Johnson, a junior who gets high marks from recruiting analysts, rushed for 189 yards on 29 carries with one touchdown. Having him back helped fellow junior Tre McCloud. After getting bottled up by Serra two weeks ago, he went for 141 yards and three scores.
Palo Alto and its Elite 11 finalist, Stanford-bound Keller Chryst, went down 31-28 to Milpitas, after leading 21-18 after three quarters. It was Paly’s third three-point loss this season.
Bellarmine’s loss shuffles the deck at the top, and means only four of the top five teams are Catholic schools, with the public school newcomer a Pittsburg team starting to round into shape for the playoffs.
Beyond a doubt the catalyst for Pitt has been running back Harris Ross. Last Friday, in a 34-13 victory over Oakley Freedom, the powerfully-built 5-10, 185-pounder who changed his commitment two weeks ago from Hawaii to Oregon State, stole the limelight from the state’s top running back recruit, Freedom’s Joe “Showtime” Mixon.
Ross carried 28 times for 272 yards and three touchdowns. He now has 1,831 yards and 23 TDs this season, and broke the school’s season and career marks with a few games left to play. All this from a player that only played eight games last season and really only started the final three.
Here are this week’s new rankings:
(Through games of October 26; previous ranking in parentheses)
1. (1) De La Salle (Concord) 8-0
After a 63-14 win over Pleasanton Amador Valley, the Spartans own a 34-game winning streak, and are a solid No. 1 in the state no matter what some computer cranks out or national naysayers who always rank some SoCal team higher.
2. (2) Serra (San Mateo) 6-1
The upset bug darn near reared its ugly head as the Padres had to hold off a host St. Ignatius (San Francisco) team Serra head coach Patrick Walsh told Cal-Hi Sports two weeks ago “has traditionally been our biggest rival.” The 31-24 final gets the Padres to 4-0 and still tied with Mitty atop the wild-and-wacky West Catholic Athletic League.
3. (4) Archbishop Mitty (San Jose) 6-0
After a one-point win over St. Francis from last Friday and Valley Christian two weeks ago, Mitty is becoming an escape artist, much to the heart palpitation fatigue of their faithful.
4. (5) Marin Catholic (Kentfield) 9-0
The Wildcats gain back the spot they lost after being jumped by Mitty after a rocking-chair 56-0 win over Drake of San Anselmo. It’s the 34th straight victory against Marin County Athletic League opponents.
5. (6) Pittsburg 6-2
Harris Ross and company took care of business. Now, a faceoff at home with Deer Valley this Friday is huge for both teams.
6. (7) California (San Ramon) 7-1
Despite the Cal-Hi Sports Caravan that was headed to California being grounded, the Grizzlies still passed the test, in a 35-21 win over Danville San Ramon Valley.
7. (8) Deer Valley (Antioch) 8-0
It was a 28-7 win over a Brentwood Liberty team that is rebuilding under first-year head coach Jeff Walters. The Wolverines were led by quarterback Nsimba Webster on offense and linebacker Malik Hutchings on defense. Webster passed for a TD and ran for another, and Hutchings had 13 tackles and a pass interception.
8. (9) Clayton Valley (Concord) 6-1*
Mt. Diablo of Concord decided not to face the Eagles’ juggernaut and instead took a forfeit. Clayton Valley officially is 7-1.
9. (10) James Logan (Union City) 6-2
The Colts rebounded from the De La Salle loss by winning decisively, 41-14 ,over a decent Fremont Washington. Remember, this team’s only two losses are to Sparta and soon to be state-ranked Loomis Del Oro.
10. (16) Valley Christian (San Jose) 4-3
Yes, there are three losses, but one was a close road loss to a Vacaville team that held its own against Deer Valley. The other two losses, a one-point loss to Mitty and a loss to Serra two weeks ago, came with Kirk Johnson and his younger brother Collin Johnson out of the line-up. Although they were severely outplayed shorthanded against Serra, the big win over Bellarmine is really not a shock after the Caravan saw the size they have up front blocking and tackling, and it shows that at full strength, which is where we are right now, VC is clearly at least the WCAL No. 3 team.
11. (3) Bellarmine (San Jose) 5-2
After the bell tolled mucho times two weeks ago in a win against St. Ignatius, it tolled a disaster for Bellarmine in the home loss to a crosstown Valley Christian team back at full strength.
12. (11) St. Francis (Mountain View) 5-2
The Lancers’ two losses are by a TD to Bellarmine and by one point to Mitty, after they had a 37-yard field goal blocked with 0:00 showing on the clock.
13. (12) Foothill (Pleasanton) 7-1
The Falcons drop a spot to make room for Valley Christian, after posting a 31-21 victory over Livermore Granada that was a little closer then veteran head coach Matt Sweeney would have liked.
14. (13) Campolindo (Moraga) 8-0
Like Foothill, the Cougars lose a spot despite a 41-15 victory over Alhambra Martinez. Quarterback Andrew Zolintakis passed for 284 yards and three touchdowns.
15. (14) El Cerrito 5-2
The Gauchos continue to fall in behind the team that handed them one of their two losses. This past week’s Tri-County Rock League victim was Pinole Valley in a 41-7 road victory.
16. (17) Terra Nova (Pacifica) 7-0
The Tigers went to Menlo of Atherton and came away with a solid 44-25 victory, withstanding a 498-yard passing performance of Jack Heneghan. The reason is John Wallace ran for 273 yards and five TDs, and Anthony Gordon passed for 305 yards and a score as the teams racked up 1,163 yards combined.
17. (18) Casa Grande (Petaluma) 8-0
The Gauchos are two games deeper into unchartered waters than they’ve ever been in school history, after a 45-14 thumping of visiting Ukiah.
18. (15) San Ramon Valley (Danville) 4-4
After careful examination of their record, and the fact they’re still 3-1 in the East Bay Athletic League, consideration was given to not dropping the Wolves. Still, aside from Valley Christian, the other two teams that moved ahead of them are unbeaten.
19. (21) Milpitas 6-1
After a 31-28 win over Palo Alto coupled with a lone 48-24 loss to Valley Christian when that team was at full strength, means the Trojans’ strength of schedule allows them to go ahead of Carmel as well as Amador Valley.
20. (22) Wilcox (Santa Clara) 6-1
The Chargers pitched a second consecutive shutout, this time 50-0 over Mountain View. Their strength of schedule which includes a one TD loss to Milpitas and a road win over a 7-1 Manteca team that’s one of the top D2 teams in Northern California, means they also will jump Carmel for now.
21. (19) Amador Valley (Pleasanton) 5-3
Getting steamrolled by Sparta is common for many good teams in the Bay Area so the Dons didn’t drop far this week. They’ll still have a good chance in two weeks against Foothill.
22. (20) Carmel 7-0
Carmel had another rocking-chair victory in a 62-20 win over Marina. The Carmelites shouldn’t worry about rankings adjustments (like Milpitas and Wilcox going higher this week) because they’ll go back up once some of the other teams lose in the playoffs.
23. (23) Miramonte (Orinda) 6-2
The Matadors were pretty well rested after their bye week and the result is they bolted right out of the gate to lead 21-0 in a 55-24 win over San Ramon Dougherty Valley.
24. (24) Montgomery (Santa Rosa) 7-1
The Vikings got another close win for first-year head coach Dean Haskins, after a 14-6 win over visiting crosstown Santa Rosa.
25. (25) Sacred Heart Prep (Atherton)
After a 45-10 win over visiting South San Francisco, the Gators are 14-0 since a loss last year to Terra Nova, a team they face at home in two weeks.
Dropped Out: None
Teams On The Bubble
Analy (Sebastopol) 8-1, Aptos 5-2, Cardinal Newman (Santa Rosa) 6-2, Concord 5-2*, Encinal (Alameda) 7-1, Freedom (Oakley) 3-5, Granada (Livermore) 4-4, Justin-Siena (Napa) 5-3, Las Lomas (Walnut Creek) 5-3, Liberty (Brentwood) 6-2**, Los Gatos 5-2, McClymonds (Oakland) 5-2, Menlo (Atherton) 5-2, Menlo-Atherton (Atherton) 5-2, Northgate (Walnut Creek) 7-1, Palma (Salinas) 3-3, Palo Alto 3-4, Rancho Cotate (Rohnert Park) 5-3, St. Ignatius (San Francisco) 1-6, San Leandro 4-4, San Marin (Novato) 7-1.
(*Not including forfeits) (**Forfeited two games but won both on the field)
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