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.
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Things really begin to tighten up in the CIF North Coast Section as spots in the new Open Division from the Bay Valley Athletic League will likely be decided this week when unbeaten state-ranked powers Pittsburg and Oakley Freedom square off.
The East Bay Athletic League title and its spot in the Open Division can get wrapped up if Monte Vista takes out San Ramon Valley but that’s no given, and that’s exactly why San Ramon Valley has to come into this week’s rankings and pretty high. The other newcomer is Rancho Cotate from the NCS Redwood Empire area.
In the wild-and-wacky West Catholic Athletic League, four-loss Serra is poised to make a run for the league title depending upon what happens this week in that mix.
The Antioch/Najee Harris watch was a twisted affair but in the end the Panthers won the Antioch Mayor’s Cup with a 44-19 victory over cross-town arch rival Deer Valley. Antioch scored 20 points in the final two minutes as part of a 36-3 run over the final quarter and a half of the game. Harris scored three of his four touchdowns in the second half and finished with 215 yards rushing. His busy weekend also included his official trip to the University of Alabama, where he continues to be committed.
(Previous ranking in parentheses)
(After games of Saturday, Oct. 22)
1. (1) De La Salle (Concord) 7-1
California of San Ramon scored for the first time in four meetings between Spartan teammates and current De La Salle head coach Justin Alumbaugh and California head coach Eric Billeci, but after a 31-9 road win the Spartans have still outscored the Grizzlies 184-9 over the four years.
2. (2) Monte Vista (Danville) 8-0
The Mustangs blew past Amador Valley of Pleasanton. Washington-bound quarterback Jake Haener threw for three touchdowns and ran for a fourth. Shane Perry added 117 yards rushing and a touchdown.
3. (3) Pittsburg 8-0
In a Pirates’ blowout A’jae Boyd had three TDs on offense, defense, and special teams as the Pirates rolled past Liberty. Now comes the showdown with Freedom for Bay Valley Athletic League bragging rights.
4. (4) Freedom (Oakley) 8-0
No problem with neighboring Heritage in what continues as the best start in school history. A win over Pittsburg this week could have the Falcons as high as No. 2 but no lower than No. 3 in the new CIF North Coast Section Open Division playoffs if they can get by Pirates and then Liberty to capture Bay Valley Athletic League.
5. (5) Clayton Valley (Concord) 7-1
Someone has to lose in Pittsburg versus Freedom matchup, so Ugly Eagles are poised to move up next week.
6. (6) Valley Christian (San Jose) 8-0
Top team from the CCS should move into top five unless they fall to host St. Francis and it would not be a surprise if either team won this game.
7. (7) Serra (San Mateo) 4-4
Some rankings are still hung up on those losses but the only thing separating the West Catholic Athletic League second place Padres and first place is a 7-point loss to Valley Christian.
8. (8) St. Francis (Mountain View) 7-1
A walk in the park against Sacred Heart Cathedral but this week the rubber meets the road.
9. (9) Bellarmine (San Jose) 5-3
The Bells rolled against Riordan and now get Mitty before closing out WCAL play with Serra.
10. (10) California (San Ramon) 6-2
The Grizzlies only trailed 7-3 at the half against DLS, but the dam broke in the second half in what was a 31-9 loss.
11. (11) Antioch 5-3
The Panthers hold tight for now but could be passed by San Ramon Valley.
12. (NR) San Ramon Valley (Danville) 6-2
Some may say whoa, how can the Wolves jump up so high after sitting on the bubble and being lower in many other rankings? The answer is simple. They had De La Salle on the ropes and played the Spartans better than the California and Antioch teams above them. Yes, they have a loss to Foothill but bottom line is SRV is tied with California at 5-1 in the EBAL and if they beat Monte Vista will warrant this position. There’s even a chance they can get into the top five in the next two weeks.
13. (12) Cardinal Newman (Santa Rosa) 7-1
14. (13) San Benito (Hollister) 8-0
15. (14) Analy (Sebastopol) 7-1
16. (16) McClymonds (Oakland) 6-1
17. (17) Campolindo (Moraga) 6-2
18. (18) Bishop O’Dowd (Oakland) 7-1
19. (19) Miramonte (Orinda) 6-2
20. (22) Marin Catholic (Kentfield) 7-2
21. (24) Palma (Salinas) 6-2
22. (NR) Rancho Cotate (Rohnert Park) 6-2
23. (25) Kennedy (Fremont) 8-0
24. (15) Milpitas 6-2
25. (21) Heritage (Brentwood) 6-2
Dropped Out: Previous No. 20 Archbishop Mitty (San Jose), No. 24 Concord.
On the Bubble
(In alphabetical order)
Acalanes (Lafayette) 4-4, Aptos 6-2, Archbishop Mitty (San Jose) 4-4, Carmel 8-0, Concord 5-3, Encinal (Alameda) 6-2, Foothill (Pleasanton) 4-4, Leigh (San Jose) 6-2, Live Oak (Morgan Hill) 6-2, Los Gatos 5-3, Menlo-Atherton (Atherton) 6-2, Monte Vista Christian (Watsonville) 7-2, Moreau Catholic (Hayward) 6-2, Mountain View 5-3, Oak Grove (San Jose) 6-2, Piedmont 5-3, Redwood (Larkspur) 7-1, Salesian (Richmond) 6-2, San Leandro 5-3, Wilcox (Santa Clara) 5-4.
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