The NCS seedings are out and the answer is no, we don’t change rankings to match seedings because in those cases the differences will be settled on the field anyway. Teams on the rise this week include San Ramon Valley, Campolindo, Casa Grande and Miramonte.
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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, November 9. We have more than 35 years of compiling high school football rankings in Northern California.
The Cal-Hi Sports Caravan made two stops over the weekend, and for the first time ever we saw an Elite 11 invited quarterback on each of the four squads, and two Elite 11 finalists in the same game.
Needless to say, there was a whole lot of passing going on.
Elite 11 invitee JaJuan Lawson of Casa Grande had the lesser passing numbers and a lot more running numbers than fellow invitee Keaton Dunsford of Cardinal Newman, and his Gauchos prevailed 40-28, and earned the No. 1 seed in the NCS Division II playoffs.
Casa Grande deserves its top billing. Second-seed Clayton Valley played well and scored against De La Salle and also would have deserved to be the top seed, but while those two facts do mean something in rankings, they aren’t as much of a factor in seedings. Throw out that game and the Gauchos’ overall strength of schedule was better than the Eagles.
“We wanted the top seed but it didn’t make any difference if we were one or two. Our goal is to win an NCS championship,” said Casa head coach Trent Herzog.
On Saturday, we saw Elite 11 finalists Morgan Mahalak of Marin Catholic and Manny Wilkins of San Marin, and it was all MC in a 49-14 Wildcats’ victory.
“It was great to play against Manny but I had to focus on what I had to do,” Mahalak remarked.
The highlight reel play in the game was a 49-yard touchdown pass by Mahalak that Andrew Celis pulled in with one hand and then danced down the sideline to paydirt. The Oregon-bound Mahalak passed for 197 yards and three TDs and ran for 84 yards and two more scores, including a 24-yard naked bootleg around left end. The Nevada-bound Celis caught all three TD passes and had eight catches for 147 yards.
Arizona State commit Wilkins did let loose with 42 and 54 yard TD passes, but he was sacked seven times and held to minus 10 yards in 20 rushes.
“I tried my hardest, but they’re just a better team,” Wilkins texted on Sunday.
The “better team” received the top seed in the NCS D3 playoffs despite many folks thinking/hoping somehow Campolindo would get it based on some computer hocus pocus.
Meanwhile, San Marin was still awarded the top seed in the NCS D4 playoffs where the first three seeds received byes. The Mustangs await the Santa Rosa Piner at Vallejo St. Patrick St. Vincent winner.
The NCS Division V top seed, Middletown, is actually 10-0 on the field but forfeited a 21-14 season-opening victory at Richmond Salesian.
Not only is the Redwood Empire a hotbed for Elite 11 quarterbacks, but top seeds as well, with four of the five top seeds from north of the Golden Gate Bridge.
Here are this week’s new rankings:
(Through games of November 9) (Previous ranking in parenthesis)
1. (1) De La Salle (Concord) 10-0
The Spartans made quick work of a shorthanded California team, in a 55-0 victory, but still the visitors were the 6-0 champions of the EBAL, a league most every Bay Area football experts agree is the second-strongest in the area. DLS was the obvious No. 1 seed for D1 in the NCS and has a first-round bye.
2. (2) Archbishop Mitty (San Jose) 9-0
Another team that made a statement that they are for real this season is the no longer Cinderella-like Monarchs. Many had expected Bellarmine to give them a good game, but after it was tied at 7-7, quarterback Trenton Scharrenberg and running back Dakari Monroe went to work, and the result was a 21-7 halftime lead that ballooned to a 34-7 final.
3. (3) Serra (San Mateo) 7-2
The Padres warmed up for their showdown this coming Saturday afternoon at home with Mitty for a share of the WCAL crown with a 56-6 shellacking of host Archbishop Riordan of San Francisco.
4. (4) Marin Catholic (Kentfield) 10-0
The Wildcats are No. 2 in some Bay Area rankings but at least until things are decided in the WCAL next week, the Wildcats hold tight, and with a first round bye they may or may not move up despite being idle.
5. (5) Pittsburg 7-2
The Pirates played without Harris Ross but got 257 yards and three TDs rushing from Jaylyn Morgan in a 19-0 victory over neighboring Antioch. Pittsburg, as expected, received the No. 2 seed in the NCS D1 playoffs and opens at home with Fremont Irvington.
6. (6) California (San Ramon) 8-2
California played without quarterback Cameron Owen but it really wasn’t going to make any difference against De La Salle. We’re going to leave the pecking order intact and in keeping with the NCS seeding that has the Grizzlies in the No. 3 spot.
7. (8) Deer Valley (Antioch) 9-1
After a 31-20 win over Brentwood Heritage, the Wolverines snag the No. 4 spot in the NCS D1 playoffs.
8. (9) Clayton Valley (Concord) 8-1*
Miles Harrison rushed for 297 yards and five TDs as the Eagles wrapped up their second straight Diablo Valley Athletic League title with a 56-28 victory over Northgate.
9. (10) James Logan (Union City) 7-2
The NCS D1 No. 5 seed finished the regular season as an independent with a 71-0 win over Fremont Mission San Jose. They now face an upstart Brentwood Liberty making its first playoff appearance since 2005.
10. (11) Valley Christian (San Jose) 6-3
The Warriors posted a big win over previous No. 7 St. Francis of Mountain View, which means they may play in the CCS Open Division this season.
11. (13) San Ramon Valley (Danville) 6-4
The Wolves snagged the NCS D1 No. 6 seed after holding on in a 31-26 win at Granada. We like that all four losses were to higher-ranked teams – two of them being DLS and Folsom – so it’s a good week to move them up a couple of spots.
12. (14) Campolindo (Moraga) 10-0
The Cougars coasted again in a 50-24 victory over Dublin. Like top-seeded Marin Catholic, Campo has a first round bye in the NCS D3 playoffs. They also get a rankings bump due to the losses by St. Francis and Bellarmine.
13. (7) St. Francis (Mountain View) 6-3
It was a close game, but in the end the Lancers couldn’t contain the ground game of Valley Christian.
14. (12) Bellarmine (San Jose) 6-3
If the Bells had been closer than 34-7 to Mitty they might not have dropped at all in this week’s rankings. They finish up league at Riordan.
15. (17) Casa Grande (Petaluma) 10-0
While we’re not going to jump the Gauchos in front of Clayton Valley, they do get a bump in this week’s rankings after posting the biggest win in school history.
16. (16) Terra Nova (Pacifica) 9-0
Despite a 29-15 win over previously unbeaten Sacred Heart Prep, there’s nowhere to move up for the Tigers this week.
17. (15) El Cerrito 8-2
The No. 3 seed in the NCS D3 playoffs warmed up for an opening round match-up with Mill Valley Tamalpais by pinning a 49-13 loss on St. Patrick St. Vincent.
18. (18) Foothill (Pleasanton) 8-2
The Falcons throttled crosstown arch-rival Amador Valley 41-14 and received the No. 7 seed in the NCS D1 playoffs.
19. (19) Milpitas 8-1
There were no problems for the Trojans in a 55-7 win over visiting Mountain View. They look like they’ll be a team to reckon with in the CCS Open Division.
20. (20) Wilcox (Santa Clara) 8-1
The Chargers didn’t break a sweat in a 68-10 win at cross-town arch-rival Santa Clara. It will be interesting to see if they end up in the Open Division of the CCS playoffs or in D1. If it’s D1, the Chargers would then become an immediate contender for a D2 NorCal bowl game berth.
21. (23) Miramonte (Orinda) 8-2
The No. 3 seed in the NCS D2 playoffs has to travel to No. 14 Hayward Tennyson but it shouldn’t matter. Remember, this team’s only losses are to Marin Catholic and Campolindo. The Mats could be the sleeper in the playoffs.
22. (25) Analy (Sebastopol) 9-1
The No. 4 seed in the NCS D3 playoffs has a lone loss to NCS D2 No. 3 seed Campolindo and owns a win over NCS D1 No. 2 seed Pittsburg.
23. (21) Carmel 9-0
The 34 points Soledad scored on Carmel in a 48-34 Padres’ victory only justifies why we are not crazy about moving Carmel too far up. In fact, they have to drop this week below NCS teams with resumes that have strengthened as the season has progressed. Still, the NCS teams will be beating each other so Carmel can move back up if it wins out.
24. (24) Sacred Heart Prep (Atherton) 8-1
The Gators lost to the last team that beat them 16 games ago, but the score was reasonably close against an explosive Terra Nova team so there’s no drop here.
25. (NR) Menlo-Atherton (Atherton) 6-3
The Bears fall in behind the team that handed them a 15-12 loss. Their other losses are to Campolindo and Terra Nova and they own wins over St. Ignatius, Los Gatos and Menlo.
Dropped out: Previous No. 23 Montgomery (Santa Rosa).
Teams On The Bubble
Amador Valley (Pleasanton) 5-5, Aptos 7-2, Cardinal Newman (Santa Rosa) 7-3, Concord 6-3*, Encinal (Alameda) 8-2, Freedom (Oakley) 5-5, Granada (Livermore) 6-4, Liberty (Brentwood) 5-3**, Los Gatos 6-3, McClymonds (Oakland) 7-2, Menlo (Atherton) 6-2, Menlo-Atherton (Atherton) 6-3, Montgomery (Santa Rosa) 8-2, Northgate (Walnut Creek) 8-2, Palma (Salinas) 6-3, Palo Alto 4-5, Rancho Cotate (Rohnert Park) 6-4, St. Ignatius (San Francisco) 2-7, San Leandro 6-4, San Marin (Novato) 8-2, Windsor 5-5
(*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 firstname.lastname@example.org. Don’t forget to follow him on Twitter: @HaroldAbend