The WCAL was strong enough, but now Archbishop Riordan may be joining the party after its big win last week against Sacred Heart Prep. This week’s other major mover is Miramonte of Orinda, which went from unranked to No. 22.
Note: For this week’s Gold Club post highlighting the State Top 25 overall rankings, CLICK HERE.
To say it was a huge week for the West Catholic Athletic League would be a bit of an understatement. What it showed is there could be multiple contenders this year in a league where from one week to the next anything is possible when as many teams look as good as this year.
The Bellarmine team that found it hard to get respect in the preseason from anyone other than Cal-Hi Sports made another statement in a 34-31 Honor Bowl victory over hard luck host and state-ranked Del Oro of Loomis. In a back-and-forth affair the winning score came on a 29-yard touchdown pass from senior quarterback Troy Martig to senior running back Devon Buenrostro with only 33.7 seconds left.
The other statement game for the WCAL was a 35-29 win by Serra over Notre Dame of Sherman Oaks. It was Northern California’s West Catholic Athletic League against Southern California’s Mission League, and the wild-and-wackiness of the WCAL definitely rubbed off on this affair.
Serra dominated the first two-and-a-half quarters. At that point, the hosts led 35-17 with the ball at the Notre Dame one-yard line with five minutes left in the third quarter, however from there things got a little dicey. Instead of taking a possible 25-point lead, a fumble and a series of other Serra snafus coupled with a no-quit Notre Dame offense made things very interesting until Serra held on fourth down on its own 39-yard line and was able to run out the clock.
The Bay Area shocker was new No. 16 Archbishop Riordan opening its season by snapping the 14-game winning streak of defending Central Coast Section Open Division champion Sacred Heart Prep. Not only did the Crusaders beat the Gators but won in impressive style, 48-21.
It should come as no surprise that the upset came in the first game and for first-year head coach and De La Salle alum Kevin Fordon, and with a solid running game, physical defense, and accountability to the team as the new coach’s style.
Senior running back Raymone Sanders weaved his way for 175 yards rushing and two touchdowns and senior running back Jason Greene added two TDs and 88 yards on the ground.
Fordon, a social sciences instructor at Riordan the past three years, was named the head coach in January after serving as the defensive coordinator last season. Fordon, another in the long line of protégés of legendary De La Salle head coach Bob Ladouceur coaching in high school, was a member of “the streak,” and played on the 1998 and 1999 teams before graduating in 2000.
Fordon joins Vic Galli at Pittsburg, Patrick Walsh of Serra, Eric Billeci at California (San Ramon), Marlon Blanton of Jesuit (Carmichael) and De La Salle’s Justin Alumbaugh as pupils of Lad currently serving as head coaches.
“I have a lot more to prove than Patrick and those other guys, but at least I got one under my belt,” Fordon said and then continued. “We learned that if we tackle and block well, we can compete with anybody and not just the CCS champions, but the WCAL teams we will seeing shortly.”
Two other WCAL powers finished off the big week as St. Francis and Archbishop Mitty both went to 2-0 with wins over Palma of Salinas and Aptos, respectively.
Monte Vista and Miramonte making noise
Some familiar old faces with some new stars have arrived on the East Bay scene.
The biggest riser in the rankings this week is Monte Vista with junior quarterback Jake Haener leading the way in a 49-42 upset of Pittsburg. A star pupil under the tutelage of local quarterback guru Will Hewlett at The Range in Livermore, Haener, a 6-foot, 180-pound junior who was the Preseason All East Bay First Team QB, passed for 326 yards and six touchdowns. His 17-yard TD pass to Trae Banda gave the Mustangs the lead with 31 seconds remaining, and finished a 90-yard scoring drive after Monte Vista had stopped Pittsburg from scoring. Haener gets to continue his heroics this Friday night at historic Kezar Stadium in San Francisco against host Sacred Heart Cathedral in a game the Caravan may very well attend.
The Caravan was at Serra on Saturday but on Friday night the destination was Windsor, and in that contest the locals got stung by a very talented Miramonte in a 40-3 shellacking. As a result, the Mats come in as one of two newcomers this week with Riordan.
Four players stood out for Miramonte in the offense of veteran head coach Jack Schram. Junior quarterback Tim Tague passed for 261 yards and three touchdowns, senior running back Clayton Stehr rushed for 93 yards and two TDs, senior multi-purpose All East Bay Preseason First Team Ryan Anderson caught eight passes for 116 yards and two scores, and senior Sutter Lindberg, the preseason projected QB starter that was switched to receiver, had 98 yards receiving. Look for the quartet to put up big numbers again this week against Alameda.
(Previous ranking in parentheses)
(Through games of Saturday, Sept. 12)
(Includes all Central Coast Section schools but no North Coast Section schools north of the Santa Rosa Metro area)
1. (1) De La Salle (Concord) 2-1
2. (2) Bellarmine (San Jose) 2-0
3. (4) Clayton Valley (Concord) 2-1
4. (5) Serra (San Mateo) 1-1
5. (7) Valley Christian (San Jose) 2-0
6. (8) Foothill (Pleasanton) 3-0
7. (14) Monte Vista (Danville) 2-0
8. (3) Pittsburg 2-1
9. (10) Campolindo (Moraga) 3-0
10. (11) St. Francis (Mountain View) 2-0
11. (12) Antioch 3-0
12. (13) Freedom (Oakley) 1-1
13. (9) Palma (Salinas) 1-1
14. (16) Marin Catholic (Kentfield) 2-1
15. (18) Archbishop Mitty (San Jose) 2-0
16. (NR) Archbishop Riordan (San Francisco) 1-0
17. (23) James Logan (Union City) 3-0
18. (15) San Ramon Valley (Danville) 1-2
19. (19) California (San Ramon) 1-1
20. (21) Milpitas 1-1
21. (6) Sacred Heart Prep (Atherton) 1-1
22. (NR) Miramonte (Orinda) 3-0
23. (17) Cardinal Newman (Santa Rosa) 1-2
24. (20) Rancho Cotate (Rohnert Park) 2-0
25. (24) Amador Valley (Pleasanton) 1-1
Dropped Out: Previous No. 22 Windsor, No. 25 Aptos.
On the Bubble
Analy (Sebastopol) 3-0, Aptos 1-1, Burlingame 2-0, Concord 2-1, Deer Valley (Antioch) 1-1, Granada (Livermore) 2-1, Half Moon Bay 2-0, Justin-Siena (Napa) 1-1, Liberty (Brentwood) 2-1, Los Gatos 0-1, McClymonds (Oakland) 2-0, Menlo School (Atherton) 2-0, Moreau Catholic (Hayward) 3-0, Oak Grove (San Jose) 0-2, Palo Alto 1-1, Piedmont 2-1, Sacred Heart Cathedral (San Francisco) 1-1, St. Ignatius (San Francisco) 0-2, Salesian (Richmond) 2-0, San Benito (Hollister) 2-0, San Marin (Novato) 3-0, Santa Rosa 2-0, Wilcox (Santa Clara) 1-0, Windsor 2-1.
Harold Abend is the associate editor of CalHiSports.com and the vice president of the California Prep Sportswriters Association. He can be reached at email@example.com. Don’t forget to follow him on Twitter: @HaroldAbend