Loss in CIF Open Division final doesn’t diminish De La Salle’s finish in Northern California. Biggest movers in these final rankings are Sacred Heart Prep and Terra Nova.
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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, December 21. We have more than 35 years of experience compiling high school football rankings in Northern California.
It wasn’t going to make any difference in the Bay Area rankings if De La Salle won its last game big or small — or whether the Spartans lost for the first time in 40 games — they were going to end up in the same spot they’ve been since we began doing rankings for the Bay Area over 10 years ago, and that’s in the catbird seat.
For fans of Sparta, it’s bittersweet since the only thing that really counts at De La Salle is winning state championships, and this year for the first time in the past five the boys fell short after a 20-14 loss to Bellflower St. John Bosco on Saturday night in the CIF Open Division Bowl Game state championship.
“We made too many mistakes,” first year De La Salle head coach Justin Alumbaugh said when asked what it boiled down to. “Those guys are a really good football team and against a team like that you can’t make mistakes.”
Even with all the mistakes, the Spartans still had a chance to win the game in the final minutes.
And despite the defeat, make no mistake about one thing. De La Salle is not disappearing from the state and national high school football scene.
While the CIF Northern California bowl games were taking place two weeks ago, St. Mary’s of Berkeley was way up north at Humboldt State winning an NCS Division IV title with a 49-21 victory over Fortuna, in a game postponed from one week earlier due to weather.
With the St. Mary’s victory, the Tri-County Rock League becomes the first league in CIF North Coast Section history to win three titles in the same season.
Joining St. Mary’s is the D3 winner El Cerrito and Division V winner Salesian of Richmond.
Here are this week’s final rankings for the 2013 season:
(Through games of December 21) (Previous ranking in parentheses)
1. (1) De La Salle (Concord) 14-1
Had the Spartans been able to recover that fumble deep in Bosco territory instead of getting the ball on a subsequent punt, the whole scenario quite possibly might have changed.
2. (2) Serra (San Mateo) 11-3
The Padres had their chances in the NorCal Division I bowl game championship against Del Oro (Loomis) but they couldn’t put anything together in the fourth quarter and fell two weeks ago 28-20 to dash hopes of a trip to Carson.
3. (3) Archbishop Mitty (San Jose) 11-2
The Monarchs fall in behind the only team to beat them this season.
4. (4) California (San Ramon) 11-3
Two of the three losses are to De La Salle and the other is to Pittsburg and the Grizzlies avenged that in the NCS playoffs.
5. (5) Pittsburg 10-3
The Pirates have one stinker loss to Sebastopol Analy, a close loss to Granite Bay and a split with the team they fall in behind.
6. (6) Deer Valley (Antioch) 11-2
The Wolverines’ season ended in a 57-27 loss to De La Salle and although they gave up a lot of points they scored more than Bosco did on Sparta in the state title tilt.
7. (8) James Logan (Union City) 9-3
The Colts get to move up and take the place of El Cerrito.
8. (10) San Ramon Valley (Danville) 7-5
Despite five losses, the Wolverines get a two spot bump with Marin Catholic having to fall along with El Cerrito.
9. (11) Valley Christian (San Jose) 8-4
Had this team been at full strength for any significant portion of the season it could have been a stronger contender.
10. (12) Bellarmine (San Jose) 8-4
The Bells stay in front of the El Cerrito team they beat and also ahead of the Sacred Heart Prep team that beat El Cerrito.
11. (24) Sacred Heart Prep (Atherton) 13-2
It’s a huge jump for the Gators but they put a whipping on El Cerrito a week after that team shellacked Marin Catholic.
12. (7) El Cerrito 11-3
The Gauchos lose five of the seven spots they gained three weeks ago after being upset by Sacred Heart Prep in the D3 NorCal finals.
13. (9) Marin Catholic (Kentfield) 12-1
The Wildcats fall in behind Gauchos. A strong senior class is graduating.
14. (15) Campolindo (Moraga) 11-1
Cougars’ lone loss came in a split with El Cerrito.
15. (23) Terra Nova (Pacifica) 10-1
The Tigers had a big win over Sacred Heart Prep, which was magnified by SHP going to the D3 state bowl game. SHP also beat El Cerrito, which is enough to move that team up to No. 11. As a result of having a win over the Gators, though, head coach Bill Gray and his boys get dragged up eight spots for the SHP victory.
16. (14) Miramonte (Orinda) 12-2
The Mats won their ninth NCS title but the D2 champs still can’t jump the two teams that dealt them their losses, MC and Campo. They have to lose two spots to make room for Sacred Heart Prep and Terra Nova.
17. (15) Wilcox (Santa Clara) 9-2
The Chargers continue to fall in behind Miramonte.
18. (16) Los Gatos 10-3
The CCS Division II champions lose two spots just like their NCS counterparts.
19. (17) Milpitas 11-2
The CCS Division I champions have a loss to Los Gatos but a win over Wilcox. so they remain in the same spot in the pecking order.
20. (18) St. Francis (Mountain View) 9-4
The highlight of the Lancers’ season was a win over Serra.
21. (19) Casa Grande (Petaluma) 13-1
And the beat goes on in the pecking order. Gauchos have to lose two spots despite greatest season in school history.
22. (20) Clayton Valley (Concord) 10-2*
This is where the Ugly Eagles land for the final rankings.
23. (21) Analy (Sebastopol) 11-2
The Tigers end up behind Clayton Valley in the Bay Area.
24. (22) Freedom (Oakley) 6-6
The biggest question right now isn’t where the Falcons land in these rankings but where Joe Mixon lands when he announces his college choice at the Under Armour Game in early January.
25. (25) Aptos 11-2
We thought strongly about giving the final spot to McClymonds after the Warriors almost beat the only Northern California team to win a bowl game, Modesto Central Catholic, but in deference to the CCS D3 champion Mariners they retain the final spot with kudos going to Mack as the next team in for the final rankings.
Dropped Out: None.
Teams On The Bubble
Acalanes (Lafayette) 8-4, Alvarez (Salinas) 11-1, Amador Valley (Pleasanton) 5-6, Burlingame 11-1, Cardinal Newman (Santa Rosa) 8-4, Carmel 11-1, Concord 7-3, Encinal (Alameda) 8-3, Foothill (Pleasanton) 8-3, Galileo (San Francisco) 12-1, Granada (Livermore) 6-6, Las Lomas (Walnut Creek) 7-5, Liberty (Brentwood) 5-4*, McClymonds (Oakland) 10-2, Menlo (Atherton) 6-4, Menlo-Atherton (Atherton) 8-4, Montgomery (Santa Rosa) 10-3, Northgate (Walnut Creek) 9-3, Pacific Grove 11-2, Palma (Salinas) 7-4, Palo Alto 6-6, Rancho Cotate (Rohnert Park) 6-5, St. Ignatius (San Francisco) 4-9, St. Mary’s (Berkeley) 9-4, Salesian (Richmond) 8-5, San Leandro 6-5, San Marin (Novato) 9-3, Windsor 6-6
(*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 firstname.lastname@example.org. Don’t forget to follow him on Twitter: @HaroldAbend