If you were wondering why an unbeaten Antioch team with one of the nation’s top running backs is not ranked higher, we have the answer. In this week’s rankings, Bellarmine also bumps back up to No. 4 while Oak Grove and Moreau Catholic jump in as newcomers.
Note: For this week’s Gold Club post highlighting the State Top 25 overall rankings, CLICK HERE.
The Bells of Bellarmine are back in the WCAL catbird seat and jump back in front of several teams in the Bay Area pecking order after a 28-26 win over previous top banana St. Francis.
The result is for the fourth straight week there is a new team in the rankings as No. 1 from the wild-and-wacky West Catholic Athletic League.
Four games ago in early October, Bellarmine maintained the top spot it had since the first week of the rankings with a win over Serra but in the game quarterback Troy Martig injured an ankle. The Bells proceeded to get upset the next week by Archbishop Mitty with junior Ike Ogbogu at quarterback. That knocked the Bells out of the top spot and got Archbishop Riordan into the rankings, but the next week Ogbogu led Bellarmine to a 14-6 road victory that knocked the Crusaders out of the rankings and anointed a St. Francis team that had a win over Valley Christian under its belt.
Now, with Martig back and actually not doing a lot in the game statistically, the Bells also go back up in the rankings after an 11th straight win over St. Francis. The victory certainly gives Bellarmine the inside track to a WCAL co-title with three games to go.
Two in NCS D1 playoffs could be 10-0
It’s pretty much a lead pipe cinch De La Salle will enter the NCS D1 playoffs with a 9-1 record, but two other teams are knocking on the door of being 10-0.
Foothill got to 9-0 with a 24-7 win over California and if the Falcons can come off a bye week and then finish up East Bay Athletic League action with a win over crosstown arch rival Amador Valley, head coach Matt Sweeney will get win No. 249 and the Falcons will likely be a No. 2 seed behind De la Salle with a home game for his boys to get No. 250 for Sweeney.
Not to be forgotten is an 8-0 Antioch team that at times struggled last week in a 55-37 victory over Bay Valley Athletic League rival Brentwood Liberty. When the score tightened, however, Najee Harris just ran for more yards and the Alabama-committed junior running back carried the Panthers to victory with 360 yards rushing with six touchdowns and six two-point conversions. On two of Harris’ longest TD runs, he had to break at least five tackles in each run.
The reason Antioch hasn’t been ranked higher is we’re simply waiting to see what happens against Pittsburg in the Big Little Game. Pitt’s only loss was to Monte Vista and the Pirates have dominated that rivalry in recent years. Beating Pitt is one hurdle we’re going to make Harris and his teammates clear first before giving out a higher ranking.
This week’s two newcomers are Oak Grove of San Jose and Moreau Catholic of Hayward. Oak Grove blasted previously unbeaten Live Oak 36-0 last week and has lost only to St. Francis and Valley Christian. Moreau has to replace McClymonds since the Warriors only won 7-0 over Fremont of Oakland, which is a team the Piedmont beat 43-13 and Piedmont lost big to Moreau 55-9.
(Previous ranking in parentheses)
(Through games of Saturday, Oct. 24)
(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) 7-1
2. (2) Clayton Valley (Concord) 7-1
3. (3) Foothill (Pleasanton) 9-0
4. (9) Bellarmine (San Jose) 6-1
5. (5) Monte Vista (Danville) 6-2
6. (6) Pittsburg 7-1
7. (7) Antioch 8-0
8. (4) St. Francis (Mountain View) 6-1
9. (8) Valley Christian (San Jose) 6-1
10. (10) Archbishop Riordan (SF) 6-1
11. (11) Serra (San Mateo) 4-3
12. (12) Campolindo (Moraga) 7-1
13. (15) Marin Catholic (Kentfield) 8-1
14. (14) Palma (Salinas) 6-1
15. (16) Miramonte (Orinda) 8-0
16. (17) Milpitas 6-2
17. (18) James Logan (Union City) 6-2
18. (13) Archbishop Mitty (San Jose) 4-3
19. (19) Cardinal Newman (Santa Rosa) 6-2
20. (21) Freedom (Oakley) 3-4
21. (22) Amador Valley (Pleasanton) 6-2
22. (24) Analy (Sebastopol) 8-0
23. (23) California (San Ramon) 5-3
24. (NR) Oak Grove (San Jose) 5-2
25. (NR) Moreau Catholic (Hayward) 7-1
Dropped Out:Previous No. 20 Sacred Heart Prep (Atherton); No. 25 McClymonds (Oakland).
Teams On the Bubble
Aptos 3-4, Burlingame 7-0, Dougherty Valley (San Ramon) 6-2, Dublin 5-2, Half Moon Bay 7-0, Justin-Siena (Napa) 6-2, Live Oak (Morgan Hill) 6-0, Los Gatos 4-3, McClymonds (Oakland) 8-0, Menlo-Atherton (Atherton) 4-3, Monte Vista Christian (Watsonville) 6-1, Piedmont 6-2, Sacred Heart Prep (Atherton) 4-3, Salinas 5-3, San Benito (Hollister) 6-2, San Ramon Valley (Danville) 2-6, Tennyson (Hayward) 7-1, Wilcox (Santa Clara) 5-2.
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