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The Bay Area rankings continue as does the Antioch football caravan as Najee Harris and his mates will look to win a first ever CIF North Coast Section title this Friday when the No. 2 seed faces off against top-seeded Monte Vista of Danville.
Coming off the bye week, the Alabama-committed Harris now has 2,596 yards rushing and 33 TDs and not too many games have been against stiffs.
CCS is set
As predicted, the CCS made Archbishop Mitty the odd team out and will send Open 1 champion Menlo-Atherton and runner-up Milpitas, Open 2 champion Serra, and Open 3 titlist Valley Christian and runner-up Palma on to a Northern Regional Bowl game to fill the five CCS spots.
Those teams now have a bye week to rest before scouting the opponent they will play next week. The full bowl lineup is expected to be announced at approximately 1 p.m. on Sunday.
(Previous ranking in parentheses)
(Through games of Saturday, Nov. 26)
1. (1) De La Salle (Concord) 10-1
If the Spartans can take control physically, that will be a key to the matchup with a Freedom team that is as explosive offensively as the Utah state champion Salt Lake City East team that edged them this season or any of the top Southern California teams De La Salle has faced in state title games recently. What De La Salle has going for it is experience in big games and an offensive and defensive line that is far superior to Freedom. Win or lose, it would be hard to imagine a CIF Bowl lineup in Sacramento without Sparta.
2. (2) Freedom (Oakley) 11-0
Is Freedom the team that will do what hasn’t happened in eons and be a team north of Fresno to topple Sparta? The Falcons certainly have the offensive resume, but they likely will have to score a lot of points to win and that’s something that very few teams can do against De La Salle. Win or lose, Freedom will be bowling next week. The loser of the NCS Open Division final likely will play at the winner of the Sac-Joaquin D1 final between Stockton St. Mary’s and Folsom.
3. (3) Pittsburg 9-2*
4. (4) Clayton Valley (Concord) 9-2*
5. (5) Monte Vista (Danville) 11-1
The last time the Mustangs won an NCS title was in 2002 when they were in the old 3A East Bay division and De La Salle was in the 4A Division. Head coach Craig Bergman and his boys can’t remove the sting of not being chosen for the NCS Open Division but a banner in the gym will look good if Washington-bound Jake Haener can orchestrate the offense and they can contain Najee Harris.
6. (7) Valley Christian (San Jose) 12-1
The Warriors stay ahead of Serra in the state rankings and in the power rankings and they are almost assuredly going to be in a higher division than Serra come Sunday’s CIF placement meeting. We’ve had them behind Serra in these rankings at times, but it’s hard to overcome a head-to-head result.
7. (6) Serra (San Mateo) 9-4
Serra now has captured its fourth CIFCCS title and has been ahead on Valley Christian in these rankings but is behind then in the state rankings and apparently in the CIF Bowl board pecking order.so we will follow suit here as well. That all could be a blessing in disguise because head coach Patrick Walsh and his boys and the rest of the Padres faithful likely don’t care what Bowl Game they are in because they are in.
8. (8) St. Francis (Mountain View) 9-3*
9. (9) Antioch 8-4
The NCS D1 No. 2 seeded Panthers could be moving up if they take down Monte Vista to win a first-ever NCS championship. If Najee Harris has been saving anything in the tank, he’ll need everything he can muster to carry the East Contra Costa County boys past Monte Vista.
10. (10) Cardinal Newman (Santa Rosa) 12-1
The NCS D4 top-seeded Cardinals only gave up a score on a hook-and-ladder play with some JV players brought up on defense. This team has been dual-threat quarterback Jordon Brookshire and defense and they will need both against a defending CIF Division 5-A champion St. Bernard’s of Eureka that has its own dual-threat quarterback with even bigger numbers in Jack Rice. The Crusaders may be on a crusade but when they get to Rancho Cotate on Saturday night they’re meeting Cardinals, and that’s something they’ve never faced.
11. (11) California (San Ramon) 9-3*
12. (12) Bishop O’Dowd (Oakland) 12-1
The Dragons came close to being slain but escaped against Rancho Cotate when a last second field goal by senior Trey Miller pulled out a 37-34 victory for the No. 2 seed in the NCS D3 semis. Now, head coach Napoleon Kaufman gets a game at Diablo Valley College with No. 4 seed Marin Catholic. The Wildcats were a 40-35 winner at top-seeded Analy. The one and only known time O’Dowd and Marin Catholic met was in the 2008 when Marin Catholic beat O’Dowd 42-27 in Oakland in the second round of the D3 playoffs.
13. (13) Palma (Salinas) 10-3
14. (17) Marin Catholic (Kentfield) 11-2
15. (15) McClymonds (Oakland) 11-1
16. (16) Campolindo (Moraga) 9-3
17. (20) Menlo-Atherton (Atherton) 11-2
18. (14) Analy (Sebastopol) 11-2*
19. (18) Rancho Cotate-Rohnert Park 9-4*
20. (19) Milpitas 10-3*
21. (21) Bellarmine-San Jose 7-5*
22. (22) San Benito (Hollister) 10-2*
23. (23) Miramonte (Orinda) 9-3*
24. (24) Archbishop Mitty (San Jose) 7-6*
25. (25) San Ramon Valley (Danville) 6-5*
Dropped out: None
On the Bubble
(In alphabetical order)
(Teams making section playoffs only)
(**Season complete but won the CCS D5 championship)
Aptos 9-3*, Carmel 10-1*, Concord 6-4*, Encinal (Alameda) 8-3*, El Cerrito 7-4*, Half Moon Bay 11-2**, Heritage 8-4, Foothill (Pleasanton) 6-6*, 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 8-5*, Salesian (Richmond) 9-4*, San Leandro 6-5*, Seaside 10-2*, 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