Here we go again in the wild-and-wacky WCAL as Archbishop Mitty jumbles the race and this week’s rankings with an upset of front-runner Serra. In other moves, Milpitas is now a clear-cut No. 2 while Palma of Salinas gets a jump along with Pittsburg and California of San Ramon.
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The last time we were graced by working with Sister Frances was when she operated the scoreboard during a WCAL boys home basketball game at Sacred Heart Cathedral two seasons ago. Prior to that, it was in the press box at Kezar Stadium for an Irish home football game at their currently under repair (new track) home away from home. She also was around long before working the scoreboard for the Irish girls basketball team we witnessed that was No. 1 in the nation several years ago.
This past Friday afternoon at the temporary football home of the Irish at Westmoor of Daly City, Sister Frances was in her usual position at the controls of the scoreboard in the Westmoor press box.
If there’s one thing we’ve learned in watching Sister Frances for a couple of decades at the various Irish scoreboard helms is that if you give Sister her space and the respect she deserves, and occasionally engage her in some conversation, working beside the little lady can be quite entertaining.
Besides guiding the student-announcer through the opening prayer, she never hesitated to correct the young man any number of times on the finer points of announcing. She also has opinions, and not surprisingly almost always favoring the Irish.
“That was not a first down,” she groaned on a close placement by the officials.
“Oh gosh, can you please tackle Irish,” she yelled out the window as St. Francis running back Lutoviko Ahoia broke loose en route to a school record 325 yards rushing with three touchdowns on 30 carries to lead the Lancers to an exciting 27-21 victory.
After it became apparent the Irish would not pull out a victory when they failed to recover an onside kick after recording the game’s final score, Sister Frances had some words for yours truly.
“Well, you didn’t turn around our luck. We still haven’t won since you did that story on Logan.”
Sister is correct. After SHC broke out 3-0 this season, we penned a story on Irish quarterback Logan White and his being the son of San Francisco Fire Chief Joanne Hayes-White. Since then, the team has lost all five of its West Catholic Athletic League games. For his part, White had a great game after completing 22 of 29 passes for 287 yards and two touchdowns. The Irish defense just couldn’t stop the run.
The Cal-Hi Sports caravan wasn’t at the Serra vs. Archbishop Mitty game but the fact we were on the Peninsula must have carried the mojo south from Daly City to Foothill College where Serra was dropped from the ranks of WCAL unbeatens after falling 27-14 to Mitty.
The loss creates a three-way tie atop the wild-and-wacky WCAL between Bellarmine, Serra and Valley Christian. Mitty and St. Francis are next at 3-2 and frankly who would have thought it would be any different.
Serra has the road loss to Mitty but a road win over Valley Christian and a date with Bellarmine at home in two weeks after a match-up this week with Sacred Heart Cathedral at Terra Nova in Pacifica.
Valley Christian has the home loss to Serra but came back at home the next week to pin a 42-17 loss on Bellarmine, plus the Warriors have a win over the St. Francis team that has a win over Mitty. The Warriors face Mitty this week.
Bellarmine has the loss to Valley Christian but has a win over Mitty. Before finishing WCAL play with Serra, the Bells also meet a St. Francis team that has the win over Mitty but losses to Serra and Valley Christian.
After looking over the who-beat-whos this season trying to figure out who goes to the top of the WCAL pecking order looks like it should require the use of a Ouija board, but we’ll take a stab without one.
The one thing the WCAL shake-up does do is elevate Milpitas and Los Gatos of the De Anza League and actually the CCS in general as eight of the top 11 teams in the Bay Area this week are from the CCS…but that’s temporary since some of those teams are playing each other.
Here are the ninth rankings of the 2014 season (after games of Saturday, Oct. 31; previous ranking in parentheses):
1. (1) De La Salle (Concord) 9-0
Andrew Hernandez rushed for 133 yards and two touchdowns and Javari Anderson rushed for a TD and returned an interception for a second score in a 56-0 win over a Pleasanton Amador Valley team that was only able to muster 123 total yards. Next up is a California of San Ramon team fresh off a victory over San Ramon Valley.
2. (3) Milpitas 8-0
The Trojans are in a place they’ve never been before, and that’s at No. 2 in Bay Area after a thrilling 27-21 victory over Los Gatos. Milpitas should be the top seed in the CCS Open Division playoffs and the pundits and prognosticators are beginning to wonder if Milpitas will be the team to eventually challenge Folsom in the CIF NorCal Division I bowl game. For more on the game, CLICK HERE.
It was no cakewalk but Foothill clinched its first EBAL title since 2006 with a 28-21 victory over Granada. Coach Matt Sweeney’s team also gets to rise one spot in these rankings due to Serra’s loss to Mitty.
4. (2) Serra (San Mateo) 5-3
The deciding factor in keeping the Padres as the highest ranked team from the WCAL is the road win over a Valley Christian team that has a win over a Bellarmine team that has a win over Mitty. Plus, Serra meets Bellarmine in two weeks.
5. (5) Valley Christian (San Jose) 6-2
It looked for sure like the Warriors were going down to defeat to St. Ignatius after giving up a touchdown and two-point conversion to trail 15-14 with 37.9 seconds left. What would have made things even wilder and wackier in the WCAL didn’t happen, however, as quarterback Michael Machado did his best Joe Montana impression and led VC 70-yards in four plays in the final moments for Nathan Parkin’s 22-yard field goal on the final play of the game to pull out a 17-15 victory. The matchup with Mitty this week should be the WCAL game to watch.
6. (6) Clayton Valley (Concord) 8-0
There was strong consideration to moving Clayton Valley ahead of Serra and Valley Christian but their resume just doesn’t warrant it at this time and they are already ahead of one WCAL co-leader (Bellarmine). The Ugly Eagles rolled Concord Ygnacio Valley 69-13 in this weekend’s game.
7. (7) Bellarmine (San Jose) 7-1
The Bells posted a 28-15 win over visiting Riordan of San Francisco that wasn’t anywhere close as the score indicates. The hosts had a 28-0 lead midway through the fourth quarter before the reserves yielded two scores. Prior to meeting Serra in two weeks, the Bells play St. Francis at San Jose City College in a matchup that has huge WCAL implications.
8. (11) Palma (Salinas) 8-0
The time has come to give the Chieftains credit for their resume and move them up even though they were tied 7-7 with host Monterey late in the third quarter, and Monterey even had a good chance to take the lead before Palma put it away with two fourth quarter TDs in a 21-7 victory. The factor for the move is being unbeaten including a win over a St. Francis team that has a win over Mitty.
9. (8) Los Gatos 6-2
The Cats jumped out to a 14-0 lead against unbeaten Milpitas, but the size and depth of the Trojans was too much in a 27-21 loss. Still, with the only other loss to St. Mary’s of Stockton plus another huge win over Mitty, Los Gatos only drops one spot in the rankings. For game recap, CLICK HERE.
10. (12) St. Francis (Mountain View) 5-3
The offense that had been lacking in league losses to Serra and Valley Christian the past two weeks came alive when the Lancers used a powerful running game to rack up 409 yards on the ground in the victory over Sacred Heart Cathedral. The only other loss is to Palma and there’s a big game this week against Bellarmine.
11. (10) Campolindo (Moraga) 9-0
As expected Campo took out arch rival Miramonte (Orinda) in a 49-12 victory against a team that is only a shadow of the defending NCS D2 champions of last season. The Cougars drop below some CCS teams that have big recent and prior wins but that should change if Campo continues winning and captures the NCS D3 title and teams above them beat each other from here out.
12. (13) Archbishop Mitty (San Jose) 5-3
The Monarchs’ 27-14 win over Serra has to count for something so despite losses to Los Gatos, St. Francis and Bellarmine, the Monarchs get to move up and stay behind Saint Francis. The move up will be even bigger next week if they can take down Valley Christian this week.
13. (9) James Logan (Union City) 7-2
The Colts continue to roll with a 42-6 victory over Washington of Fremont. They wouldn’t normally drop four spots after a result like that, but are making room for unbeaten Palma plus St. Francis and Mitty, which is all related to Mitty’s win over Serra.
14. (15) Pittsburg 7-2
With a 24-13 victory over Freedom to clinch the BVAL title combined with California knocking off San Ramon Valley, the Pirates get to climb a bit in this week’s rankings. Neighboring Antioch is on tap to close out league play.
15. (17) California (San Ramon) 7-2
The who beat who in the East Bay Athletic League and Bay Valley Athletic League power leagues of the NCS isn’t as wild as in the WCAL and California’s win over San Ramon Valley puts the Grizzlies firmly in second-place in the EBAL.
16. (14) San Ramon Valley (Danville) 5-4
The past win over Pittsburg on the road keeps the Wolves in the rankings even with four losses. Next up is host Danville Monte Vista to close out league play.
17. (16) St. Ignatius (San Francisco) 4-4
The best .500 team in the Bay Area has been involved in some heart-breaking, heart-stoppers. The Wildcats rallied to beat Marin Catholic, held off Terra Nova, beat Stockton St. Mary’s in double overtime, and then lost three close games to Bellarmine, Serra and Mitty. They then handled arch-rival Sacred Heart Cathedral. This past week it looked like a late fourth quarter touchdown and 2-point conversion was going to get them an upset against Valley Christian, but this time the hammer fell on the Wildcats as the Warriors rallied in the final 37.9 seconds to stun SI in a 17-15 loss.
18. (19) Concord 7-1*
*Win by forfeit not included. As expected, the Minutemen overran Walnut Creek Northgate 62-27 in a scoreboard lighter-upper. Next up is Ygnacio Valley.
19. (20) McClymonds (Oakland) 9-0
In a 40-8 victory, Mack made fast work of a Skyline team many thought was the second-best OAL team. The win over Salesian is looking real good but the cloud of whether the Warriors have forfeits in their future is the big question as we get close to the playoffs.
20. (21) Sacred Heart Prep (Atherton) 8-0
With or without Washington-bound Ben Burr-Kirven, the Gators haven’t blown away anyone that was decent but they’re still perfect after a 31-21 win over Atherton Menlo-Atherton.
21. (18) Freedom (Oakley) 6-3
Despite a 24-13 loss to Pittsburg, their resume in this group including the fact they’re still in second place in the Bay Valley Athletic League, keeps them in the rankings but lower. Brentwood Liberty on the road is next up.
22. (22) Salesian (Richmond) 7-2
The Pride go to 5-0 in the Tri-County–Rock League with a 21-10 win over visiting El Cerrito. If Salesian goes on to win the NCS D5 title, it could be in a position to get a NorCal D4 Bowl bid depending on the McClymonds forfeit situation and what happens in the CIF Sac-Joaquin Section.
23. (23) St. Mary’s (Berkeley) 8-1
The Panthers had a bye and will face host Pinole Valley of Pinole this week.
24. (25) Wilcox (Santa Clara) 6-2
The No. 3 team from the De Anza League rebounded from being shut out by Milpitas by shutting out Cupertino Monta Vista 41-0.
25. (24) San Leandro 5-4
The Pirates continue toward the 6-4 record to enter the playoffs we predicted several weeks ago after a 57-14 shellacking of Castro Valley. It was San Leandro’s biggest offensive output of the season.
Teams On the Bubble
(In alphabetical order)
Acalanes (Lafayette) 7-2
Alhambra (Martinez) 7-2
Amador Valley (Pleasanton) 5-4
Analy (Sebastopol) 8-1
Aragon (San Mateo) 8-0
Cardinal Newman (Santa Rosa) 6-3
Deer Valley (Antioch) 4-5
El Cerrito 4-5
Justin-Siena (Napa) 6-3
Kennedy (Fremont) 9-0
Las Lomas (Walnut Creek) 7-2
Liberty (Brentwood) 7-2
Marin Catholic (Kentfield) 6-3
Monte Vista (Danville) 3-6
Pioneer (San Jose) 7-1
Rancho Cotate (Rohnert Park) 6-3
Sacred Heart Cathedral (San Francisco) 3-5
San Benito (Hollister) 4-4
Terra Nova (Pacifica) 3-5
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