Here are rankings done by longtime Bay Area analyst Harold Abend and were 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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The Bay Area rankings continue and so does the Antioch football caravan as Najee Harris and company are still in action and in search of a first ever CIF North Coast Section title after the No. 2 seed in the NCS Division I playoffs posted a 38-31 victory over California of San Ramon.
Harris carried 29 times for 265 yards and three touchdowns rushing but he got some help from quarterback Willem Karnthong after the sophomore passed for 233 yards and two touchdowns. California got 325-yards with four TDs from junior quarterback Ryan Wright.
Going into the bye week and a match-up with top-seeded Monte Vista, the Alabama-committed Harris now has 2,596 yards rushing and 33 TDs in what the computer and the rankings agree on, and that’s that the Bay Valley Athletic League is the toughest in Northern California this season.
Editor and Cal-Hi Sports co-founder Mark Tennis came up with the term the “wild-and-wacky” West Catholic Athletic League long ago, but this year after the way the CIF Central Coast Section seeded things in the Open 2 Division playoffs the wackiness has gone to a new level down there.
No matter what formula the CCS uses that props up some leagues that aren’t really as strong as they get credit for could not stop two WCAL teams from playing for the title, except it’s the wrong two teams. The real title game was last week when No. 5 seed Serra beat No. 1 seed St. Francis for the second time this season after a 31-17 road victory.
Now, an Archbishop Mitty team that is this week’s lone newcomer after coming back into the rankings could be headed to a CIF bowl while the St. Francis team that beat the Monarchs 42-0 is out. Mitty could even get a bowl game as a CCS Open Division runner-up even if it loses to Serra in this week’s final.
(Previous ranking in parentheses)
(Through games of Saturday, Nov. 19)
1. (1) De La Salle (Concord) 10-1
In the old folk tale where Chicken Little cries “the sky is falling,” well it hasn’t fallen yet as Sparta swatted away the invading swarm of Ugly Eagles with a 28-0 victory that was typical De La Salle: plain vanilla physical domination and execution with little flash. It seems every week the arrow is on the Spartans’ back as the whispers continue. Is this the week the sky will fall? De La Salle has been in a lot of big games so there is little doubt head coach Justin Alumbaugh and staff will have them ready to rumble against Freedom for the NCS Open title and an almost assured trip directly to Sacramento for the CIF Open championship game.
2. (2) Freedom (Oakley) 11-0
In the old barroom brawls in the Wild West, the winner or the people backing him in the betting would yell “next,” and that is the position in which we find Freedom right now in facing De La Salle for all the marbles after the Falcons turned back Pittsburg for a second time only this time without any last minute heroics needed. What they got was 299 yards and five TDs rushing from Ronnie Rivers. With a bye, the Falcons can rest their wings and head coach Kevin Hartwig will have more time to figure out how to make history.
3. (3) Pittsburg 9-2*
The Pirates had their season come to an end so the possibility of Pittsburg turning the same trick as the 1991 team did 281-games ago against teams north of Fresno has gone awry .
4. (4) Clayton Valley (Concord) 9-2*
The Ugly Eagles fate was really determined when Akeal Lalaind went down on the second play in the loss to Helix after a huge game in a big win over a Reed (Sparks, Nevada) team that went on to soundly beat CIFSJS D1 semifinalist Oak Ridge of El Dorado Hills. Even without Lalaind, they rolled everyone until they faced Sparta. Even after getting shut out, they still stay in front of Monte Vista just like in the state rankings.
5. (5) Monte Vista (Danville) 11-1
The NCS D1 top-seeded Mustangs may not be in the Open Division but unlike Pittsburg and Clayton Valley, as salty as the Monte Vista faithful are at what they feel as being dissed out of an Open invite, they can claim a section title with a win over Antioch in two weeks after a bye so the 8-team bracket can catch up.
6. (8) Valley Christian (San Jose) 11-1
The Warriors were rewarded for their 35-7 win over Aptos in the CCS D3 Open Division by being bumped over Serra in the state rankings. It’s a simple head-to-head win rationale that will also be why VC will be higher on the CIF NorCal bowl board if both teams win this week.
7. (7) Serra (San Mateo) 8-4
After the Padres beat St. Francis a second time in the CCS Open 2 Division semis, they now face an Archbishop Mitty team they beat 41-14 on the road for a NorCal Bowl berth.
8. (6) St. Francis (Mountain View) 9-3*
The Lancers’ first loss to Serra was in overtime, but this time it was by two touchdowns and thus their season is complete.
9. (10) Antioch 8-4
The NCS D1 No. 2 seeded Panthers move up and could be moving up again if they take down Monte Vista to win a first-ever NCS championship.
10. (11) Cardinal Newman (Santa Rosa) 11-1
The top-seeded Cardinals get to jump California based on the fact they are solid favorites in the NCS D4 playoffs and are projected by last week’s Cal-Hi Sports’ Bowl Board to play in as high as a 2-A game due to strength of schedule. So far, no one has been able to stop Jordon Brookshire. Even in the lone 49-32 loss to state No. 12 Stockton St. Mary’s, he passed for 205 yards and rushed for 115 yards and four touchdowns.
11. (9) California (San Ramon) 9-3*
The NCS had the Grizzlies behind Antioch, and after a 38-31 loss to Antioch we make the switch as well, but they also have to fall behind Cardinal Newman and possibly could be passed by others still in action.
12. (12) Bishop O’Dowd (Oakland) 11-1
We decided to go two more deep on the write-ups to give a shoutout to the pride of Lompoc and Bishop O’Dowd head coach Napoleon Kaufman who has the Dragons in the NCS D3 semifinals for the second straight year in his third year at the Dragons’ helm. Pastor Napoleon is still the current Raiders’ team chaplain and he has O’Dowd looking real well as the No. 2 seed hosts No. 4 seed Rancho Cotate.
13. (13) Palma (Salinas) 10-2
14. (15) Analy (Sebastopol) 11-1
15. (17) McClymonds (Oakland) 10-1
16. (18) Campolindo (Moraga) 8-3
17. (20) Marin Catholic (Kentfield) 10-2
18. (21) Rancho Cotate (Rohnert Park) 9-3
19. (24) Milpitas 10-2
20. (25) Menlo-Atherton 10-2
21. (14) Bellarmine (San Jose) 7-5*
22. (16) San Benito (Hollister) 10-2*
23. (19) Miramonte (Orinda) 9-3*
24. (NR) Archbishop Mitty (San Jose) 7-5
25. (22) San Ramon Valley (Danville) 6-5*
Previous No. 23 Los Gatos.
On the Bubble
(In alphabetical order)
(Teams making section playoffs only)
Aptos 9-3*, Carmel 10-1*, Concord 6-4*, Encinal (Alameda) 8-3*, El Cerrito 7-4*, Half Moon Bay 10-2, Heritage (Brentwood) 8-4*, Foothill (Pleasanton) 6-5*, Kennedy (Fremont) 10-1*, Kennedy (Richmond) 10-2*, Leigh (San Jose) 8-3*, Live Oak (Morgan Hill) 9-3*, Los Gatos 8-4*, Monte Vista Christian (Watsonville) 8-3*, Moreau Catholic (Hayward) 8-4*, Oak Grove (San Jose) 8-3*, Piedmont 8-4, Salesian (Richmond) 9-3, San Leandro 6-5*, Seaside 10-2*, Westmont (Campbell) 11-1, Wilcox (Santa Clara) 5-6.*
Harold Abend is the associate editor of CalHiSports.com and the vice president of the California Prep Sportswriters Association. He can be reached at firstname.lastname@example.org. Don’t forget to follow him on Twitter: @HaroldAbend