Valley Christian climbs back into the top five after strong outing against Bellarmine. Palma of Salinas and St. Francis of Mountain View also get a major bump while this week’s lone newcomer is Las Lomas of Walnut Creek.
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The Bay Area caravan put on almost 400 miles and encircled the Bay between Friday and Saturday covering St. Ignatius at Serra on Friday night, and then returning home to Petaluma before turning back around to cover Day Two of the Levi’s Stadium Friday Nights Lights Black Bear Diner event in Santa Clara.
Serra silences naysayers
When Serra started the season with a 41-13 loss to De La Salle and then lost 24-14 the following week at now state No. 19 Notre Dame of Sherman Oaks, the 0-2 record caused the pundits, prognosticators and self-proclaimed experts to dismiss them down in the Bay Area pecking order, but not in the Cal-Hi Sports methodology in determining the pecking order, how long we stay with some teams and why.It turns out the 28-point loss to the alma mater of Serra head coach Patrick Walsh was as good as nationally-ranked Byrnes (South Carolina) did and much closer to the 23-point loss by state No. 7 Anaheim Servite – and way better than any Northern California team could muster against Sparta. Plus, it was the least points De La Salle has registered this season.
Then last week the Padres flexed their muscles in a 24-10 win at Valley Christian.
Against St. Ignatius on Friday night, Walsh unveiled the Hunter Bishop era, but former quarterback turned running back Sitaleki Nunn stole the show and showed just how deep the arsenal is for the Padres this season.
Senior star Kava Cassidy is still out with a shoulder injury but Nunn and junior running back Kelepi Lataimua did just fine without him in the 32-20 home victory.
The 5-foot-10, 160-pound Nunn finished with 209 yards on 17 carries with three TDs on runs of 63, 9 and 75 yards. Lataimua started a little slow but warmed up after halftime to finish with 85 yards on 15 carries with a 22-yard TD run.
On both of the long TD runs it was never a doubt once Nunn and his acceleration got to the outside and then down the left sideline. It was how he got there and a lot of that had to do with 6-foot-8, 290-pound Stanford-bound offensive tackle Jack Dreyer.
On the 63-yard run Dreyer took out two would be tacklers to open the outside lane. Nunn’s 75-yard run saw Dreyer literally pancake three defenders leaving no one but a defensive back to beat and Nunn blew by him to pay dirt.
With his size and frame Dreyer has an amazing presence on the field. “He’s only going to get better,” remarked Cal-Hi Sports Editor Mark Tennis when told of Dreyer’s feats in the game.
Bishop a little shaky
After sitting out the first four games because of his transfer from St. Francis, junior quarterback Hunter Bishop was a little shaky and threw a pick six that accounted for SI’s only second half touchdown and cut it to a 19-17 Serra lead. However, shortly after the gaffe, he directed a 13-play, 80-yard drive that resulted in the Lataimua TD run to make it 26-17. The drive had two critical fourth down conversions, including the 6-foot-3, 180-pound Bishop’s best play of the night, an 8-yard pass on fourth-and-seven right on the money to Brandon Monroe.
“Hunter was a little jittery but look at the ton of expectations put on him for a first varsity game,” Walsh told Cal-Hi Sports. “He’s got a lot of capabilities and he’s going to grow. We’re fortunate to have him.”
Here are the sixth rankings of the 2014 season (after games of Saturday, Oct. 11):
1. (1) De La Salle (Concord) 7-0
The Bay Area caravan was on hand at Levi’s Stadium on Saturday to see Silver-and-Black fan and Spartans’ quarterback Anthony Sweeney do his thing in a 51-7 victory over James Logan in the 49ers house. “My dad may have something to say about this because he’s a 49ers fan, and I have respect for the 49ers, but I’m a Raiders’ fan,” chuckled Sweeney and then he continued. “I know for our whole team, it was a privilege to play in the best stadium in the world. It feels like a whole different experience than playing in front of high school bleachers.” For Sweeney, the experience only lasted a half because that’s all he played, but the 5-foot-11, 175-pound junior still threw for three TD passes. Running back Andrew Hernandez got his two rushing TDs (28 and 67 yards) and 116 yards on only six first half carries. Up next is visiting Foothill in two weeks in what should be an interesting matchup. The Spartans have a bye this week.
2. (2) Foothill (Pleasanton) 6-0
The Falcons posted one of their biggest margins of victory ever over East Bay Athletic League rival Monte Vista (Danville), in a 41-7 victory they led 21-0 at the half and 41-0 after three quarters. Will an easy game like they had against the Mustangs benefit head coach Matt Sweeney and his boys coming up against De La Salle? Nothing probably will matter except that Sweeney has to keep his boys focused on not letting whatever happens against the Spartans derail their efforts at capturing the East Bay Athletic League title where they are currently tied for first place at 3-0 with California. That’s who Foothill plays next on Friday night at home.
3. (4) Serra (San Mateo) 3-2
An omen in the game was the Padres’ defense being vise-like against visiting St. Ignatius even if head coach Patrick Walsh dodged the question when asked if stopping the run was the key to winning the West Catholic Athletic League this season. “The key to winning this league is winning games,” said a grinning Walsh in a duh-like response. Maybe so, but Serra sacked SI QB Ryan Hagfeldt five times and the Wildcats were minus-8 yards on 21 carries rushing for the game. Next up is a Saint Francis team next Saturday which is coming off a win over Archbishop Mitty.
4. (5) Milpitas 6-0
It’s not so much the 49-0 shellacking of Saratoga this past week that makes Milpitas look even better than it did previously. It has more to do with Valley Christian beating Bellarmine after the Trojans dropped Valley Christian 31-17 on the road a few weeks ago. Their stock rises and Milpitas is going up statewide, but in this group it can only get them one notch.
5. (9) Valley Christian (San Jose) 3-2
The Warriors lost two spots last week after the loss to Serra but as we said at the time if they could silence the Bell the two-spot drop for the loss would be a thing of the past – and it is with VC now falling in behind the two teams that beat them but getting credit for the big 42-17 home win over Bellarmine. It was a performance that showed how good we and others in the CCS thought the Warriors were going to be this season.
6. (6) Clayton Valley (Concord) 6-0
We thought about dropping the Ugly Eagles one spot and leaving Bellarmine higher, but the margin of defeat for the Bells was enough so that Clayton Valley simply stays put. The Uglies won their game 65-7 over Mt. Diablo of Concord and to us still look like the team to beat for the NorCal D2 state bowl game. Their strength of schedule is obviously lacking but that will get better when they travel to play Concord in two weeks.
7. (3) Bellarmine (San Jose) 4-1
The Bells have to fall after a decisive loss to a Valley Christian team that was beaten soundly by both Serra and Milpitas. Until another WCAL team beats them, though, they drop in behind the two teams that beat them but still ahead of the St. Ignatius team they beat two weeks ago. Up next is a San Francisco Sacred Heart Cathedral that’s lost two straight WCAL games, including 14-7 to Riordan last week.
8. (7) St. Ignatius (San Francisco) 3-2
The Wildcats are 0-2 in the WCAL and the loss to Bellarmine last week doesn’t help them, but they almost beat the Bells and were in the Serra game for three quarters. The theories and conjectures that they should have lost to St. Mary’s of Stockton and Los Gatos should have beaten St. Mary’s are shoulda, woulda, coulda, but didn’t happen. At this point, SI only drops to make room for Valley Christian rising above them in the wild-and-wacky West Catholic Athletic League pecking order. That could change this week when the Wildcats host a Mitty team coming off a loss to St. Francis.
9. (10) Los Gatos 4-1
There were no problems in a 63-14 win over Monta Vista of Cupertino but the Wildcats still have to stay behind St. Ignatius for now due to the common opponent factor involving St. Mary’s of Stockton. Playing Santa Clara and Palo Alto the next two weeks shouldn’t be a problem either, but then comes Milpitas.
10. (8) James Logan (Union City) 4-2
Other teams like the San Ramon Valley team that Logan beat and that gave up 70 points to De La Salle last week didn’t drop or dropped just a bit after losing big to the Spartans, and the Colts fall into the latter category. They drop one spot to make room for Valley Christian and at this point without much of a challenge until the CIFNCS D1 playoffs, it makes sense to put them behind Los Gatos since that team has Milpitas and Wilcox still on its schedule.
11. (12) Campolindo (Moraga) 7-0
The Cougars stayed perfect with a Diablo Foothill League 55-21 win over Martinez Alhambra. It was a game they led 48-7 at the half. Nick Fadelli ran for 150 yards and three TDs and quarterback Jack Stephens was 13-of-19 for 287 yards and two TDs with an interception. Once again, quality of competition both past, present and future make it hard for Campo to jump larger schools.
12. (13) San Ramon Valley (Danville) 3-3
Owning that head-to-head win over Pittsburg allows the Wolves to pick up a spot after a 33-10 win over Livermore. Next up is a Pleasanton Amador Valley that has lost two straight since opening with four wins.
13. (20) Palma (Salinas) 5-0
Despite a bye, the Chieftains’ win to open the season over a St. Francis of Mountain View team that just beat Mitty means Palma has to come up and looks like more of a lock to be in the CCS Open Division playoffs. Next up is a trip across town to play North Salinas.
14. (22) Saint Francis (Mountain View) 4-1
Devin Hurtado rushed 22 times for 177 yards, including the game-winning touchdown with 7:31 to go in the fourth quarter, but a safety was ultimately the difference in a 15-14 win over Archbishop Mitty that gets the Lancers to 2-0 in the WCAL and gives them a huge jump on the coattails of Palma.
15.(11) Archbishop Mitty (San Jose) 3-2
The loss to a Saint Francis team that has a loss to Palma means the Monarchs fall in behind Saint Francis and Palma but ahead of the Pittsburg team they beat three weeks ago.
16. (14) Pittsburg 3-2
After the 13-7 loss to Mitty and a bye last week, the Pirates went into Antioch and clobbered Deer Valley, but despite the 50-0 shellacking they still have to fall in behind Mitty so they lose ground in this week’s rankings. Next up is Brentwood Heritage.
17. (15) California (San Ramon) 4-1
The Grizzlies are still paying for the loss to a Pittsburg team that has losses to San Ramon Valley and Archbishop Mitty. This past week they beat Amador Valley 17-7. Next up is a trip to Foothill and if they win head coach Eric Billeci and his boys will get to go in front of Pittsburg despite the early loss and perhaps get back into the top 10.
18. (16) Freedom (Oakley) 4-2
Quarterback Joe Sweeney came back from a concussion to pass for 225 yards and account for all of his team’s touchdowns with three TDs in the air and a fourth score rushing in a 27-16 win over Antioch.
19. (18) Concord 5-0*
*Not including forfeits. The Minutemen were 60-14 winners over Pleasant Hill College Park and face Mt. Diablo this week in Diablo Valley League action.
20. (19) McClymonds (Oakland) 5-0
The season is in jeopardy if the ineligible ruling of transfer quarterback Kevin Davidson is upheld. This past Friday, the Warriors didn’t seem fazed and posted a 55-0 win over Sonoma Valley. Next up is an Oakland Athletic League opener with Oakland.
21. (23) Sacred Heart Prep (Atherton) 5-0
After a bye, the Gators open Peninsula – Bay League action on the road at Terra Nova with Washington-bound Ben Burr-Kirven scheduled to play.
22. (24) St. Mary’s (Berkeley) 7-0
The Panthers scored 48 points for the second straight week only this time the defense was stouter than against El Cerrito in a 48-9 victory over visiting Dublin Valley Christian.
23. (21) San Leandro 2-4
The Pirates came off a bye to post a 33-9 road win at Berkeley but a 14-10 loss two weeks ago to a Liberty team that just lost to Heritage means a drop for a team that still could very well be 6-4 entering the NCS D1 playoffs. Next up is a trip to Alameda Encinal.
24. (NR) Las Lomas (Walnut Creek) 5-1
We thought of bringing in the Knights last week but even with a bye this week the lone loss to San Ramon Valley coupled with a pretty strong schedule and a shutout of Miramonte coupled with Windsor giving up four touchdowns to Miramonte and barely beating Santa Rosa Montgomery means Las Lomas gets to come in to take the place of Liberty as the lone newcomer, but ahead of Windsor.
25. (25) Windsor 6-0
The top team in the Redwood Empire had a hard time with a down Montgomery team but came away with a 10-7 victory. This coupled with a 50-27 win over Miramonte and a common opponent with a Las Lomas team that put a 49-0 shellacking on Miramonte means the Jaguars fall in behind the only newcomer this week.
Dropped Out: Previous No. 17 Liberty (Brentwood)
On the Bubble
(In alphabetical order)
Acalanes (Lafayette) 5-1
Alhambra (Martinez) 5-2
Alvarez (Salinas) 5-1
Amador Valley (Pleasanton) 4-2
Analy (Sebastopol) 5-1
Cardinal Newman (Santa Rosa) 3-3
Deer Valley (Antioch) 4-2
El Cerrito 2-4
Justin-Siena (Napa) 5-2
Kennedy (Fremont) 6-0
Liberty (Brentwood) 5-1
Marin Catholic (Kentfield) 4-3
Rancho Cotate (Rohnert Park) 4-2
Sacred Heart Cathedral (San Francisco) 3-2
Salesian (Richmond) 4-2
San Benito (Hollister) 3-3
Terra Nova (Pacifica) 2-3
Wilcox (Santa Clara) 4-1
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