NorCal crown for Campolindo

Campolindo players Conner McNally (who scored the team's last TD) and Ryan Geistreiter pose with NorCal title trophy after 35-14 win against Sutter. Photo: Mark Tennis.

Campolindo players Conner McNally (who scored the team’s last TD) and Ryan Geistreiter pose with NorCal title trophy after 35-14 win against Sutter. Photo: Mark Tennis.

Cougars start slow against Sutter but dominate the second half in 35-14 victory that gives them a second trip to Carson to play in the CIF Division III state bowl game.

For more on El Capitan’s 41-0 triumph against Paso Robles in the CIF SoCal Division III bowl game, CLICK HERE.

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With a Stephens at quarterback in 2011, Campolindo of Moraga played in the CIF Division III state bowl game representing the north and lost to Washington of Easton.

With a Stephens at quarterback in Saturday night’s CIF Northern California Division III championship game held at Acalanes High in Lafayette, Campolindo earned a chance to go back to the same game with a 35-14 win against Sutter.

Jack Stephens is the latest from his family to get the Cougars to the StubHub Center in Carson – where they will meet El Capitan of Lakeside (14-0) – in the Division III final on Saturday at 12 noon. He had some difficult moments and poor throws against Sutter, but more than countered that with several picture-perfect “drop-in-the-bucket” passes down the sidelines.

With Stephens completing 12 of 21 passes for 302 yards and three touchdowns, Campolindo improved to 15-0 and could rise a few spots from No. 25 overall in the state.

Campolindo of Moraga head coach Kevin Macy guided the Cougars to their first appearance in the CIF state finals in 2011. Photo: Mark Tennis.

Campolindo of Moraga head coach Kevin Macy guided the Cougars to their first appearance in the CIF state finals in 2011. Photo: Mark Tennis.

“Jack just battles,” said Campolindo head coach Kevin Macy. “He knew before the start of the season we literally had nobody to be the quarterback and he knew somebody had to take over. He’s just a battler. He keeps his composure. He could have folded early in the game, but he didn’t.”

Campolindo’s entire team, in fact, could have folded early, but didn’t. It’s not like the Cougars were playing a vastly inferior opponent, either.

Sutter came into the night at 13-0 and had one extra week to prepare for Campolindo after winning the CIF Northern Section Division III title 42-7 over Lassen of Susanville.

Looking fresher and more precise, head coach Ryan Reynolds’ squad took the opening kickoff and marched 65 yards in 10 plays, capped by Jacob Gildea’s two-yard plunge.

The two teams then traded interceptions before Sutter scored again on a 19-yard scamper by Ty Prince. Campolindo was down 14-0 and looked lost trying to stop Sutter’s offense.

“I think once we proved our offense could move the ball against them, that helped our defense,” Stephens said. “After that first TD we scored, it settled them down on defense.”

That first touchdown came on a pass from the 1-yard line to Adam Remotto. Sutter answered with a negative yardage series, then a nine-yard punt and then an 18-yard pass from Stephens to Remotto quickly tied the score at 14-14.

Sutter’s next series was again three plays and a punt, but the Cougars had to start their following possession at their own 22. All that did was set up the play of the game when Stephens launched a 50-yard bomb right on the money to a streaking Caleb Whalen, who completed the 78-yard touchdown.

With Campolindo leading 21-14 at halftime, the Cougars took the second-half kickoff and drove 68 yards in nine plays. That TD came courtesy of a 4-yard run by Nick Fadelli. The lead was up to 28-14 and Sutter never seriously threatened to get back into the game.

“They were fresh, rested and sharper than us early in the game,” Macy admitted. “It took us awhile to settle in.”

Campolindo’s final score of the night came with 4:46 left in the third quarter on a seven-yard run by Conner McNally, who played well on both sides of the ball while playing with a pulled groin.

Stephens’ older brother, Brett, did not have to win a NorCal regional bowl game to advance to Carson, but Jack now has done just that and will attempt along with his teammates to take it one step further.

“We’re very proud because when we went the last time I said it probably was going to be the last time a neighborhood school like ours would play there,” Macy said. “It was a miracle year then and I really doubted we’d ever get back.”

Mark Tennis is the co-founder and publisher of He can be reached at Don’t forget to follow Mark on the Cal-Hi Sports Twitter handle: @CalHiSports

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  1. darrensf
    Posted December 14, 2014 at 9:08 am | Permalink

    Told you Mark. Aptos should’ve been in this game.

    Those weak teams from up north just can’t match up against the stronger Bay Area teams. Really hoping you get eliminated from influencing any of these match ups next year.

    It’s not fair to the kids for one guys opinion to have so much consideration.

    • Mark Tennis
      Posted December 14, 2014 at 12:16 pm | Permalink

      Anybody who says stuff like that is just a fan. Good for you. Nobody knows for sure if teams that didn’t get picked would have done any better against the teams that won.

  2. Jeff
    Posted December 14, 2014 at 5:59 pm | Permalink

    darrensf: your comment is ASININE! Sutter losing doesn’t strengthen your argument, just as Sutter winning wouldn’t have weakened it. Two great teams got picked to be in that game and unfortunately, one got left out. Stop crying and get over it.

    I am an Enterprise fan and we are in the same boat as Aptos. We were the team left out in division II. To address your theory of “those weak teams up north just can’t match up”….We won the Norcal Division II championship last year by beating Manteca. Just because Oakdale got beat handily, same margin as Sutter, it doesn’t make our argument any stronger that we should have been in that game.

    Who knows, Aptos may have been beaten worse than Sutter was. Campolindo is a great team and will do a great job of representing the north state.

  3. farmair3
    Posted December 14, 2014 at 10:24 pm | Permalink

    KUDOS Jeff!!!!!!!!! Well Said!!!!

  4. farmair3
    Posted December 14, 2014 at 10:25 pm | Permalink

    Congrats Campo!!!!! You guys earned it!!!!!!

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