Big winners include St. Mary’s of Berkeley, Serra of San Mateo and this week’s only newcomer, Windsor. The North Bay is still shaking, meanwhile, with Napa Justin-Siena’s win over Marin Catholic in a league game.
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Too often the focus in this feature is on De La Salle and the other big schools that dominate the top spots in the Bay Area rankings.
The bottom line, however, is that the small schools count just as much, and a section title in the smaller enrollment divisions is just as important to the players, coaches and the entire school community as a CIF North Coast Section Division I title is to Sparta.
This weekend on Saturday, the Cal-Hi Sports Bay Area caravan ventured to Berkeley to see a pair of CIF North Coast Section defending champions square off in Tri-County – Rock League action.
Host and defending NCS Division IV champion St. Mary’s bolted to 21-0 second quarter and 34-7 halftime leads before overcoming some defensive mistakes in the second half to post a 48-22 victory over defending NCS D3 champion El Cerrito that wasn’t really as close as the score indicates.
The win for the Panthers also erases the sting of setbacks by 57-6 and 43-7 in the last two years to the Gauchos.
“They’ve been handing it to us for two years and our guys really wanted it this time and came out focused,” said St. Mary’s head coach Keith Minor.
St. Mary’s junior running back Tamarick Pierce scored four touchdowns three different ways. His touchdown runs of 30 and 14 yards staked the Panthers to a 14-0 first quarter lead. He also scored just before halftime on a 19-yard pass from sophomore quarterback Ryan Jenkins (200 yards passing, three touchdowns) and he closed out the scoring on a 41-yard interception return.
Besides hitting Pierce for a second quarter TD, Jenkins found Erik Philip on a 68-yard slant screen TD pass and Ben Schrider for a 74-yard tight end TD screen. St. Mary’s other score came on an 18-yard interception return by Nelson White.
“It’s been pretty difficult to beat El Cerrito with all the talent they’ve had so it means a lot but not just because it’s El Cerrito but because it’s another step in our goal of an undefeated season,” All East Bay preseason defensive back and D1 prospect Ron Smith told Cal-Hi Sports.
Justin-Siena uses Thursday night lights switch to change fate
Before the Jewish Holy Day Yom Kippur caused many games, including last week’s Marin Catholic (Kentfield) at Justin-Siena (Napa) contest to be rescheduled to Thursday from Friday, Justin-Siena head coach Rich Cotruvo had won five CIF North Coast Section championships, but despite the lofty resume something was missing.
The one thing that had eluded Cotruvo and Justin-Siena the past 12 years was a victory over Marin Catholic.
That all changed last Thursday when a field goal and a vise-like defense produced a 3-0 Justin-Siena victory.
Not only did the win reverse a dozen years of Justin-Siena frustration, it ended a Marin Catholic 38-game winning streak against Marin County Athletic League opponents.
WCAL City teams come so close
The West Catholic Athletic League San Francisco member teams may be getting a little closer to their South Bay/Peninsula counterparts but on a weekend when all three teams from the City had a chance to make a statement against a foe from down south, all three played very well but each lost with two of three leading after three quarters.
Here are the fifth rankings of the 2014 season (after games of Saturday, Oct. 4):
1. (1) De La Salle (Concord) 6-0
It could have been played on Thursday, Friday or Monday morning. Bottom line is it wouldn’t have made a difference as Sparta registered 70 points for first time since 2011 and had more than 600 yards of offense in 70-14 demolition of Danville San Ramon Valley. Next up is a Logan team that came from behind against O’Dowd in a Saturday afternoon matchup at Levi’s Stadium.
2. (2) Foothill (Pleasanton) 5-0
The Falcons soared in their East Bay Athletic League opener with a 52-0 shellacking of host Livermore. Up next is a 2-3 Danville Monte Vista team that opened EBAL action with a 17-14 upset of previously unbeaten Pleasanton Amador Valley.
3. (3) Bellarmine (San Jose) 4-0
The Bells had to come from behind at St. Ignatius on Saturday after trailing 28-24 heading into the fourth quarter. Antonio Garcia scored on a 30-yard run with 11:18 to go and the defense pitched a shutout the rest of the way in a 31-28 road win over the upstart Wildcats. Bellarmine is now the only West Catholic Athletic League team without a blemish.
4. (4) Serra (San Mateo) 2-2
The Padres opened WCAL play at Valley Christian after a bye, and for those that thought Serra was too high in the rankings they silenced some of the critics with a 24-10 road victory. Next up is a St. Ignatius team that has played everyone close and tough. Junior standout quarterback Hunter Bishop will see his first action of the season after sitting out due to his transfer from St. Francis.
5. (5) Milpitas 5-0
It was an easy 62-3 win by the Trojans in a De Anza League opening victory over Cupertino Monta Vista. Next up is homecoming versus Saratoga.
6. (6) Clayton Valley (Concord) 5-0
The Ugly Eagles had a bye after a big win over Napa. Up next is a Diablo Valley League opener with Concord Mt. Diablo that could be uglier than the ugliest of the Ugly Eagles.
7. (9) St. Ignatius (San Francisco) 3-1
Host Wildcats led 28-24 after three quarters but couldn’t quite close the deal in falling to Bellarmine. This is where the rankings make sense to some but not to others. The close loss coupled with still owning a win over 4-1 St. Mary’s of Stockton actually moves up St. Ignatius this weekend in front of Valley Christian and James Logan. How can Los Gatos or Mitty be in front of St. Ignatius this week since Los Gatos has a loss to St. Mary’s of Stockton and a win over Mitty?
8. (8) James Logan (Union City) 4-1
The Colts overcame a 22-21 deficit to pull out a 27-21 victory over Bishop O’Dowd. Up next is De La Salle at Levi’s Stadium with quarterback Christian Leota a question after injuring a knee early in the O’Dowd game. “It’s an MCL strain and we’ll know more in the next few days,” texted head coach George Zuber on Saturday and continued. “He’s probably out. We had a good game plan ready with him for DLS so it will be a tall order to compete without him.”
9. (7) Valley Christian (San Jose) 2-2
It was a closer loss to Serra than the score indicates and the Warriors fell to .500, but both losses still are to teams ranked above them. Before dropping VC behind Los Gatos and others we also wanted to see what happens in this week’s home game against Bellarmine.
10. (10) Los Gatos 3-1
The Cats had a bye last week before opening De Anza League action this week against a Cupertino Monta Vista team that was rolled last week by Milpitas.
11. (11) Archbishop Mitty (San Jose) 3-1
The Monarchs overcame a first half deficit to post a hard-fought 33-27 WCAL opening victory over Sacred Heart Cathedral at Foothill College. They continue to fall in behind the Los Gatos team that dealt them their lone loss. Next up is a host St. Francis team that barely escaped with a win over Riordan.
12. (12) Campolindo (Moraga) 6-0
The Cougars were one of the teams to play on Thursday and went to 2-0 in Diablo Foothill League action with a 42-26 victory over visiting San Ramon Dougherty Valley. Next up is a host Martinez Alhambra team that was knocked from the ranks of the unbeaten in a 28-7 loss to Lafayette Acalanes.
13. (13) San Ramon Valley (Danville) 2-3
We’re still going by head-to-head results for SRV, Pittsburg and California to be the next three teams in order. The Wolves just lost their third straight, but it was to No. 1 De La Salle.
14. (14) Pittsburg 3-2
After the 13-7 loss to Mitty. the Pirates had a bye. Next up is a trip to neighboring Antioch Deer Valley.
15. (15) California (San Ramon) 4-1
The Grizzlies went on the road and completed a sweep over the past two weeks against the Livermore teams and went to 2-0 in the EBAL with a 45-21 victory over Granada. On tap is a visiting Amador Valley team coming off a loss to Monte Vista.
16. (16) Freedom (Oakley) 3-2
After the victory over Vacaville Wood two weeks ago, the Falcons had a bye. That was good news for quarterback Joe Sweeny since he has an extra week to re-coup from a concussion he suffered in the Wood win. Next up is a BVAL opener at Antioch and super soph RB Najee Harris.
17. (17) Liberty (Brentwood) 5-0
After the win two weeks ago over San Leandro, the Lions also had a bye. Next up is cross-town arch-rival Heritage to open BVAL play.
18. (18) Concord 4-0*
*Indicates forfeit wins not included. The Minutemen had a bye following their big win over Deer Valley. Pleasant Hill College Park at home is on tap.
19. (19) McClymonds (Oakland) 4-0
After the demolition of Sebastopol Analy, the Warriors also had a bye with Sonoma Valley next up in what could be another demolition derby.
20. (20) Palma (Salinas) 5-0
The Chieftains barely broke a sweat in a 45-0 shellacking of Seaside and now have outscored opponents 166-32 combined this season.
21. (21) San Leandro 1-4
A bye couldn’t have come at a better time for a Pirates team looking to re-group after a grueling non-league schedule. Next up is a trip to Berkeley to open West Alameda County – Foothill League play.
22. (22) St. Francis (Mountain View) 3-1
The Lancers got all they could handle from a visiting San Francisco Archbishop Riordan team after coming from 23-22 down after three quarters to pull out a 25-23 victory. St. Francis actually led 22-0 at one point. Riley Quinn booted a 39-yard field goal with 2:13 left for the game winner. Mitty is next at home.
23. (23) Sacred Heart Prep (Atherton) 5-0
Whether or not Washington-bound Ben Burr-Kirven was available this past week was a moot point because he wasn’t needed in a 42-0 whitewashing of Woodside in a game the Gators chopped their way to a 35-0 halftime lead. Next up is a bye and then a visit to Terra Nova in two weeks to open Peninsula Bay League action in a game Burr-Kirven will almost certainly see action.
24. (25) St. Mary’s (Berkeley) 6-0
The pass defense in the second half looked porous but by then the outcome against El Cerrito was pretty much decided. Next up is Dublin Valley Christian at home.
25. (NR) Windsor 5-0
This spot could have gone to a Wilcox team with a lone loss to Manteca, or a Las Lomas team that has a lone loss to San Ramon Valley. But despite being weak this year the Redwood Empire deserves one spot and the Jaguars claim it with a 27-7 North Bay League win over Petaluma Casa Grande. Next up is a trip to neighboring Santa Rosa Montgomery.
Previous No. 24 Marin Catholic (Kentfield).
Teams On The Bubble
(In alphabetical order)
Acalanes (Lafayette) 4-1
Alhambra (Martinez) 5-1
Alvarez (Salinas) 4-1
Amador Valley (Pleasanton) 4-1
Analy (Sebastopol) 4-1
Bishop O’Dowd (Oakland) 2-3
Cardinal Newman (Santa Rosa) 3-2
Deer Valley (Antioch) 4-1
El Cerrito 2-3
Justin-Siena (Napa) 4-2
Kennedy (Fremont) 6-0
Las Lomas (Walnut Creek) 4-1
Marin Catholic (Kentfield) 2-3
Rancho Cotate (Rohnert Park) 3-2
Sacred Heart Cathedral (San Francisco) 3-1
Salesian (Richmond) 3-2
San Benito (Hollister) 3-2
Terra Nova (Pacifica) 1-3
Wilcox (Santa Clara) 3-1
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
I get SRV lost to DLS and their #1. How does that not lead to any drop in the rankings. SRV with 3 losses on their record ranked over Cal with 1 loss?
Anyone can lose to DLS but give up 70 points?
And not drop one spot. Three straight losses SRV, you must have some pictures of some one at CHS doing something very wrong.
In the interest of fair play and player safety, teams that cannot pull players from unlimited geographical territories should not have to play DLS. If player safety is truly a concern, the CIF would put a stop to it. Instead, they let the myth get the best of them.
If local high school coaches and the adults who are responsible would stop scheduling them and the farce of unfair competition, we would see DLS losing once in a while. Force them to play against teams that have the same unlimited pull.
Another example is that most high school teams have two or less D1 prospects on their roster. DLS has a minimum of 6 or 7 every year. On top of that, when a DLS starter get’s injured he gets replaced by a player that’s a smidge less talented.
If you are counting juniors and seniors and sophomores together, then yes DLS has that many D1 college bound players on its roster each season. But there’s only been one or two groups of seniors that they’ve ever had with six D1 signers. This year, there will be Sullivan, Anderson and Short but maybe no others. The scary part is that next year there could be the six or seven, led by Boss, Asiasi, Custer, etc.
I’m counting sophomores, juniors and seniors from the public schools in my comparison.
Couldn’t agree more, Crane. I have always said that the biggest strength DLS has is their depth of talent. That’s why it’s so hard for them to put up less than 50 points a week against public schools. DLS second and third stringers are better than most team’s first teamers.
You forgot about the power of prayer.
I don’t mean any disrespect or have any ill will toward any DLS players. They are a fine bunch. The issue I have is the ranking system and the adult leadership that refuses to compete on equal ground and then act like the “game is standing tall.” Spare me. Far from the truth.
I guess three kids dying in US high school football last week and a 99-9 and 70-14 score aren’t enough to change things. I just wonder when it WILL be enough.
Sure hope your son does not play football.
That 99-6 score was a public school vs a public school.
Do you feel the same angst about Berean Christian’s football team? They have no boundaries.
Hey Johnson, don’t concern yourself with me or my family. I must have struck a nerve somewhere if you need to get personal. But yes, I feel the same way about any system that is set up to give a set of kids tremendous competitive advantage over another set.
Whether or not you can site contrary examples with some other school that doesn’t take advantage of gaming the system like DLS does will not change my opinion. In fact, I applaud a Christian school that actually lives by their stated values instead of trampling the weak.
I don’t blame DLS for the way things are. They are in a unique situation that allows them to draw from a much bigger geographic area than most. However, don’t try to ram it down my throat how great they are when most times they are facing far inferior competition and I can’t remember the last time they travelled out of state to face a top opponent.
As suspected, “safety” is code for “you are winning too much”.
Thankfully, CA is full of coaches and players who do not share your non-American value.
Hey Johnson, where did you get the idea that opinions about player safety and unfair rankings have anything to do with DLS winning too much? And what gives you the right to judge what is and what isn’t an “American value”? Painting people as commies or heathens to protect your ground is way over the top.
Simply stated, DLS should win all they want against teams that play by the same rules. And DLS should be ranked #1 in a category that awards teams that play by the same rules.
As stated above, the kids are great. The strange, holier-than-thou adults who worship them are a little creepy.
Every DLS kid I have ever known was a great kid, I want to make that clear. I’m just not that impressed with the team and what they stand for.
this from a guy who admitted his team quit in a game last year. Now THAT is not impressive.
It’s easy to be a big shot Paul when you’re team has at double the talent of 90% of the teams on their schedule.
Yes, some of the Cal kids did quit against DLS in week 10 but they didn’t in the NCS Championship game against the University of De La Salle.
Your “safety” concern is fake. You dont like the fact that a program continues to kick your schools behind. The American attitude is to defeat them, not to whine, complain and make excuses.
Actually, DLS doesn’t play the schools I root for. They dodged the BVAL after they saw they might lose once in a while to the tough public schools here. The same ones they suck their best athletes from.
I don’t think DLS dodges ANY Nor-Cal teams.
My bad. That was the wrong word.
Jeez your ignorant- the BVAL and now the EBAL- begged for DLS to go independent.
Maybe DLS should schedule a couple of tough games out of state instead of always having such a soft schedule?
How about a little love for Kennedy High School in Fremont on your poll? They are 6-0 and have literally blown out every team they have played. Yes, their strength of schedule is a bit weak, but no weaker that that of Piedmont, who is listed on your poll.
Piedmont got listed because it has a win over Justin-Siena and Justin-Siena just beat Marin Catholic. Still, Kennedy should be mentioned on the bubble and has been added.
Still figuring out how a team with three losses gets ranked over one with 1 loss. SRV over Cal. I see where Harold states that Cal Pitt and SRV are going on head to head results. Tie breakers are figured using common opponents records and scores. You don’t rank a team higher that has three straight losses. Records first then common opponents is the industry standard! See competing ranking below for East Bay teams. Get a clue Cal High Sports you loose credibility when you go this route.
Rank, School Rec. Pts LW
1. De La Salle (5)* 6-0 75 1
2. Foothill 5-0 70 2
3. California 4-1 62 3
4. Clayton Vly. C. 5-0 61 4
5. Pittsburg 3-2 56 5
6. San Ramon Vly. 2-3 49
Actually, CIF state and section seeding committees will always look at head-to-head first, even in many cases above win-loss record. We do the same. A lot of these EBAL teams also are going to play each other soon enough. For California (which has not played a tough schedule) it just needs to beat SRV and then everything is fine. That team just hasn’t done enough yet to overcome the loss to Pitt and Pitt itself hasn’t been that great, either.
Paul I would agree with you if Cal were squeeking past weak opponents. Cal pulled their starters midway through the second quarter against Livermore, at halftime against Rodriguez and midway through the third against Castro Valley. Against Granada the Matadors dropped 8 or 9 in the box all night long and if it weren’t for Billeci trying to kill clock in the second half, Wooldridge probably could have thrown for a couple more TD’s in the second half. I won’t argue that with the exception of Pittsburg, Cal’s schedule has been soft. However, having to beat a 2-3 team to move up in the rankings seems odd.
Oops……make that Mark……
Cal lost the benefit of the doubt because their non league schedule is embarrassing. They don’t deserve to be ranked until they beat Foothill and SRV.
Take a look at DLS point margin in wins and get back to me regarding who has the soft schedule.