Fallout from Antioch win over Pitt continues in an otherwise quiet week for upsets, big moves. We did flip-flop Monte Vista and Campolindo for No. 9 and No. 10 and didn’t drop either Amador Valley or California too far for losing to Foothill and De La Salle.
Note: For this week’s Gold Club post highlighting the State Top 25 overall rankings, CLICK HERE.
When everything was said and done in the exhilarating 44-42 Antioch win over host Pittsburg in the Big Little Game on Saturday afternoon, the standing room only overflow crowd had no choice but to acknowledge the obvious and that is that Najee Harris is quite possibly the best running back in Bay Area history.
Mr. Football State Player of the Year for 1999 D.J. Williams of De La Salle was outstanding, but he had one heck of a line to run behind and a big reason he got so much acclaim was he was as good or better as a linebacker as he was a running back. San Francisco Galileo Heisman Trophy winner and NFL Hall of Fame running back O.J. Simpson really didn’t come into his own until he got noticed at City College of San Francisco and then transferred to Southern California.
After getting somewhat bottled up in the first half against Pittsburg, the explosive 6-foot-2, 222-pound Harris put on a show that they will remember in East Contra Costa County and the annals of the Big Little game for a long time. He broke loose for three touchdowns in the final period, including a 1-yard run in which he legally hurdled two diving defenders, and then after going into his patented crouch between plays to save energy, Harris fooled the Pittsburg crowd and players that were yelling “he’s tired” after he blew past everyone untouched for an 80-yard TD that gave Antioch its first lead of the second half, 38-35, with 7:29 remaining in the game.
The only question remaining is what can Harris do against De La Salle? And if the NCS Division I seedings hold out, we’ll see in the first week of December in the title game. Before then its likely Harris is going to seriously pad his 2,217 yards rushing and 29 touchdowns this season so far that includes some games where he played less than a half. His first chance comes on November 20 when the Panthers host the Amador Valley at San Leandro winner.
Antioch didn’t get a huge push in the Bay Area rankings since the Panthers already were sitting at No. 6. By going up to fifth, however, that put them into the State Top 25.
The only other changes in this week’s S.F. Bay Area rankings involved how far to drop both Amador Valley and California after losing big to higher ranked teams. Both dropped but only a handful of spots.
The longest yard
Fortuna isn’t in the geographical area covered by the Bay Area rankings but San Jose Harker is and the reward the Eagles got for joining the NCS and the new Bay Football League is more long distance travel.
After already logging some big miles in league with a 230-mile round trip to Petaluma Saint Vincent de Paul, their longest so far, the San Jose boys take their 8-2 record this week and No. 14 seed in the NCS D4 playoffs up to Humboldt County for a 600-mile round trip to face No. 3 seed Fortuna.
It could be a long ride home, but what the heck. Harker made the playoffs in its first year in the NCS and that’s all the boys and the fans really care about.
(Previous ranking in parentheses)
(Through games of Saturday, Nov. 7)
(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) 9-1
2. (2) Clayton Valley (Concord) 9-1
3. (3) Foothill (Pleasanton) 10-0
4. (4) Bellarmine (San Jose) 8-1
5. (6) Antioch 10-0
6. (5) Pittsburg 8-2
7. (7) St. Francis (Mountain View) 8-1
8. (8) Valley Christian (San Jose) 7-2
9. (10) Monte Vista (Danville) 7-3
10. (9) Campolindo (Moraga) 9-1
11. (11) Archbishop Riordan (SF) 7-2
12. (12) Serra (San Mateo) 5-4
13. (14) Milpitas 7-2
14. (18) Freedom (Oakley) 6-4
15. (13) Amador Valley (Pleasanton) 7-3
16. (16) Marin Catholic (Kentfield) 9-1
17. (15) California (San Ramon) 6-4
18. (17) Palma (Salinas) 8-1
19. (19) Archbishop Mitty (San Jose) 4-4
20. (20) James Logan (Union City) 7-3
21. (21) Cardinal Newman (Santa Rosa) 8-2
22. (22) Analy (Sebastopol) 10-0
23. (23) Oak Grove (San Jose) 7-2
24. (24) Los Gatos 6-3
25. (25) Moreau Catholic (Hayward) 9-1
Teams That Dropped Out: None.
Teams On the Bubble
Aptos 5-4, Burlingame 8-1, Dublin 7-3, Justin-Siena (Napa) 8-2, Live Oak (Morgan Hill) 8-1, McClymonds (Oakland) 10-0, Menlo-Atherton (Atherton) 5-4, Miramonte (Orinda) 9-1, Monte Vista Christian (Watsonville) 8-1, Piedmont 8-2, Rancho Cotate (Rohnert Park) 7-3, Sacred Heart Prep (Atherton) 6-3, Salinas 6-4, San Benito (Hollister) 6-3, San Leandro 6-4, San Ramon Valley (Danville) 3-7*, St. Mary’s (Berkeley) 7-3, Tennyson (Hayward) 8-2, Wilcox (Santa Clara) 7-2
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