Here are rankings done by longtime Bay Area analyst Harold Abend and done for use on Antioch High football game broadcasts. Anyone wishing to see writeups and breakdowns of the top teams in the state, sign up for our Gold Club membership. For details, CLICK HERE
Check out this week’s new NorCal Top 20 from our partners at SportStars. CLICK HERE.
They don’t call it the wild-and-wacky West Catholic Athletic League just because it sounds cute. It’s because it seems like year in and year out, with some exceptional runs like recently by Bellarmine, it’s a league where on any given time the unexpected may happen or the expected might not happen. Kind of like a Yogi-ism for high school football.
Right now, new State Top 25 No. 25 Valley Christian sits in the catbird seat at 3-0 but the next four teams, St. Francis, who lost to same record Serra, Bellarmine and Archbishop Mitty, are 2-1 and tied for second, and although the Warriors have already beaten Serra and Mitty, they have Bellarmine at home this week and in three weeks they travel to face St. Francis. Stay tuned because the WCAL may get even wilder-and-wackier.
It’s been a tough ride for the Antioch fans that thought they might be able to ride the shoulders of Najee Harris to the same kind of season as last year. The problem has been the teams the Panthers have faced have been pumped up to face Harris and so have the opposing running backs like Ronnie Rivers of Freedom last week. Harris had 200 yards on 22 carries with three touchdowns, but Rivers ran wild and pretty much stole the show with 389 yards rushing and seven TDs on a whopping 42 carries.
(Previous ranking in parentheses)
(After games of Saturday, Oct. 8)
1. (1) De La Salle (Concord) 5-1
There have been more than one close call and last week against San Ramon Valley may have taken the cake but the streak continues and the Spartans have to be No. 1 here like they are in NorCal in the State Top 25 although Southern California now has the first seven spots in those rankings. Monte Vista still looms large in four weeks but before then a strong California team is in the mix in two weeks on the road. Foothill this week can’t be taken lightly, either.
2. (3) Monte Vista (Danville) 5-0
The Mustangs are now in a pasture right outside Sparta but they still have three more East Bay Athletic League games where Livermore and Amador valley shouldn’t be a problem but San Ramon Valley almost got the Spartans last week and they will need to be taken care of before Washington-bound quarterback Jake Haener can try to lead them to the Promised Land.
3. (4) Pittsburg 6-0
How good is Pittsburg? They fell behind Deer Valley 19-7 after the first quarter, but the Pirates led 21-19 at halftime and outscored the Wolverines 41-9 in the second half despite playing without starting running back Montaz Thompson. Head coach Vic Galli’s boys ended up scoring 49 straight points.
4. (10) Freedom (Oakley) 6-0
Although Nate Smith of Prep2Prep disagrees with good reasoning we are going to agree with the state rankings and move the Falcons way up commensurate with the way they handled an Antioch team that had stretched De La Salle when they put a 65-28 thumping on the Panthers. They move ahead of Clayton Valley but the road in the Bay Valley Athletic League means they will have to earn the bump from here out.
5. (5) Clayton Valley (Concord) 5-1
The Ugly Eagles moved up a spot in the state rankings but temporarily lose a spot here despite rushing for 401 yards and five TDs in 43-13 demolition of No. 18 Miramonte. Remember, only a league champion can be placed in the new CIF North Coast Section Open Division so either Freedom or Pittsburg has to lose a game meaning the Uglies will jump back up unless the bug bites them this week in the Claycord Cup battle with arch-rival Concord.
6. (7) Valley Christian (San Jose) 6-0
Sometimes teams beating each other hurts that group and that’s what’s happened to the WCAL teams which are tops in the Central Coast Section so the Warriors are the top CCS team but trail five NCS teams.
7. (12) Serra (San Mateo) 2-4
The Padres dropped three spots last week in a readjustment and guess what just happened? They created another readjustment with a win over a St. Francis team that beat Bellarmine. Their WCAL loss is by a TD to the VC team they fall in behind and gain back five spots. Remember, Serra started 0-4 and all four teams are above them here and in the state in the case of Stockton St. Mary’s.
8. (2) St. Francis (Mountain View) 5-1
What has happened before is thrown out at this point and the Lancers have to fall in behind the team that just beat them and is tied with them in WCAL play.
9. (6) Bellarmine (San Jose) 4-2
The Bells have to fall in place as the third 2-1 WCAL team since they lost to St. Francis.
10. (8) California (San Ramon) 5-1
The Grizzlies took care of business against Granada but lose two spots to make room for Freedom and Serra. They shouldn’t have any trouble with Dougherty Valley this week but in two weeks Sparta invades their turf.
11. (9) Antioch 3-3
12. (11) Cardinal Newman (Santa Rosa) 5-1
13. (13) San Benito (Hollister) 7-0
14. (14) Analy (Sebastopol) 5-1
15. (15) Milpitas 6-1
16. (16) Archbishop Mitty (San Jose) 4-2
17. (17) McClymonds (Oakland) 4-1
18. (18) Miramonte (Orinda) 5-1
19. (19) Campolindo (Moraga) 4-2
20. (20) Heritage 6-0
21. (21) Bishop O’Dowd (Oakland) 5-1
22. (22) Concord 5-1
23. (23) Marin Catholic (Kentfield) 5-2
24. (24) Palma (Salinas) 4-2
25. (25) Moreau Catholic (Hayward) 5-1
Dropped Out: None
On the Bubble
(In alphabetical order)
Acalanes (Lafayette) 3-3, Aptos 4-2, Carmel 6-0, Encinal (Alameda) 5-1, Foothill (Pleasanton) 3-3, Granada (Livermore) 3-3, Half Moon Bay 6-0, Hercules 7-0, Kennedy (Fremont) 6-0, Leigh (San Jose) 4-2, Liberty (Brentwood) 3-3, Live Oak (Morgan Hill) 5-1, Los Gatos 3-3, Menlo-Atherton (Atherton) 5-1, Monte Vista Christian (Watsonville) 6-1, Oak Grove (San Jose) 4-2, Piedmont 3-3, Rancho Cotate (Rohnert Park) 4-2, Redwood (Larkspur) 6-1, Salinas 4-3, San Leandro 3-3, San Ramon Valley (Danville) 4-2, St. Ignatius (San Francisco) 3-3, St. Patrick-St. Vincent (Vallejo) 6-0, Saratoga 4-3, Wilcox (Santa Clara) 4-3
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