Medium & Small School Ranks Begin

Escalon running back Luke Anderson (left) breaks free during team’s recent game with Downey of Modesto. At right is Clayton Valley running back Mekhki Gervais with head coach Tim Murphy. Photos: Andy Alfaro / The Modesto Bee &

With competitive equity taking over California sections and how they conduct playoffs, certain schools can be forgotten as they are moved up and down in divisions with no regard at all for their size. We’ll still be doing CIF bowl game projections and at the end of the season will again do state rankings according to our traditional five divisions, but this season we also are adding medium & small school state rankings. Enrollments are a factor, but these are not based on strict cutoff numbers. Go inside to see the teams that are ranked and why some might not be included because we’re classifying them as large school.

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(After games of Saturday, Sept. 21)

Zevi Eckhaus had 548 yards passing with 7 TDs and a game-winning TD run in double-overtime last week vs. Palos Verdes. Photo:

1. Clayton Valley (Concord) 3-1
2. Culver City 4-0
3. McClymonds (Oakland) 4-0
4. Pacifica (Oxnard) 4-0
5. Palos Verdes (PV Estates) 3-2
6. Marin Catholic (Kentfield) 4-1
7. Camarillo 5-0
8. Cardinal Newman (Santa Rosa) 3-1
9. Glendora 4-0
10. Paramount 3-1
11. Las Lomas (Walnut Creek) 4-0
12. Los Gatos 4-0
13. Oxnard 4-1
14. Campolindo (Moraga) 4-1
15. Righetti (Santa Maria) 5-0
On The Bubble:
Buhach Colony (Atwater) 5-0, Capital Christian (Sacramento) 3-2, El Camino (Oceanside) 2-2, Encinal (Alameda) 4-1, Hanford 5-0, Kaiser (Fontana) 5-0, Oakdale 3-2, Palma (Salinas) 2-1, Placer (Auburn) 2-2, Redwood (Visalia) 4-0, Scripps Ranch (San Diego) 5-0, Seaside 4-0, Wilson (Long Beach) 5-0
The top of these rankings mirror the State Top 50 rankings for this week so Clayton Valley is on top as the highest ranked team in that package. The Ugly Eagles have a one-point overtime loss to state No. 19 Liberty of Brentwood and have been in the CIF North Coast Section Open Division the last two years. They have dropped to NCS D2 this season and hence become eligible for medium schools. Their top competition for that divisional crown figures to be 4-1 Campolindo of Moraga.
The No. 7 team, Camarillo, is the highest team that is listed in the bubble list for the State Top 50. The Scorpions have a close win over No. 13 Oxnard, which just impressed in a win over Chaminade of West Hills from the large school Mission League.
No. 8 Cardinal Newman possibly shouldn’t have dropped out of the State Top 50 for losing 17-13 to Liberty of Brentwood (large school), but the Cardinals also have a close win (30-27) over Placer of Auburn and probably have a good chance of moving back up in the next few weeks.
No. 3 McClymonds has handed the only losses so far for both Marin Catholic and Campolindo. The Warriors have won CIF state titles the last three years in D5A, D5AA and D4A. They should roll to another Oakland Section title and become bowl eligible again, but will be much higher on the NorCal bowl lineup, possibly even as high as D2A.
Local rankings are considered for these rankings and should be considered more closely by the CIF when doing its bowl pairings instead of just looking at the computer. Examples: Pacifica of Oxnard listed in a tie for No. 1 in Ventura County with Grace Brethren of Simi Valley (considered large schools) and Glendora being No. 1 in the San Gabriel Valley ahead of Bishop Amat.


(After games of Saturday, Sept. 21)

Cade Lambert is a tackling machine and also can pile up the yardage and TDs as a power-packed running back for West Valley of Cottonwood. Photo: Mike Daly / Shasta County Sports.

1. Escalon 4-0
2. Hilmar 5-0
3. Half Moon Bay 4-0
4. West Valley (Cottonwood) 5-0
5. Xavier Prep (Palm Springs) 3-1
6. Sutter 3-1
7. Linfield Christian (Temecula) 4-0
8. Fillmore 5-0
9. Kennedy (Richmond) 5-0
10. Bear River (Lake of the Pines) 5-0
11. King’s Academy (Sunnyvale) 3-0
12. Caruthers 4-1
13. Sacred Heart Prep (Atherton) 3-1
14. Amador (Sutter Creek) 4-0
15. St. Bernard’s (Eureka) 5-0
On The Bubble:
Calvary Chapel (Santa Ana) 4-0, East Nicolaus (Nicolaus) 3-1, Holtville 4-0, La Jolla Country Day (La Jolla) 4-1, Paradise 5-0, Poly (Pasadena) 4-1, Rim of the World (Lake Arrowhead) 4-0, Rio Hondo Prep (Arcadia) 4-0, Ripon 4-1, Ripon Christian 3-1, Soquel 4-0, St. Helena 4-0, Trinity Classical Academy (Valencia) 4-0, Vincent Memorial (Calexico) 5-0, Yosemite (Oakhurst) 5-0.
When Escalon pounded large school Downey of Modesto 49-20 two weeks ago to get to 4-0 and we knew that these small school rankings were coming soon, we thought the Cougars had a good chance to be No. 1. Well, they are and of the other teams around the state that were slotted for small schools, look who ended up No. 2? That would be Hilmar, last year’s CIF D6AA state champs and fresh off a win just last week over previously unbeaten Ripon. Escalon and Hilmar also happen to be playing each other in a Trans-Valley League game on Friday. A No. 1 vs. No. 2 matchup was born and it’s also ended up being the game we’ll be going to this week.
In the CCS, we don’t know which playoff divisions all of its teams are going to be in because those will be done after the eight teams are placed in its Open Division. Half Moon Bay, Sacred Heart Prep and King’s Academy plus a few others have been small schools in the past so we’re putting them in small schools again. If one or two of them happen to be in higher CCS playoff divisions, it won’t matter for these rankings. One of the goals is to celebrate those traditional small schools that tend to get screwed by competitive equity seeding (large schools able to move down and many smaller schools having to move up).
Everyone is rooting for Paradise to do well this season because of the community’s recovery from the Camp Fire. The Bobcats (5-0) already have a win over East Nicolaus and have an interesting schedule coming up. Before the fire, they were in the same league as larger schools like Pleasant Valley of Chico and Chico. After having the school’s enrollment sliced almost in half, however, the team isn’t playing a league schedule this year. It’s going to be more of a small school similar to an East Nicolaus. In the Northern Section small schools race, West Valley of Cottonwood is loaded this year and may be better than last season’s team that lost to Rio Linda in a close game in the NorCal D5AA championship. Sutter just beat Chico 40-0 and has only lost to Cardinal Newman (21-7). Paradise may not quite be up there with those two, but is doing quite well indeed.
Games to watch this week: Linfield Christian vs. Aliso Niguel (Aliso Viejo); St. Bernard’s (Eureka) vs. Templeton.

What’s Medium Schools & Small Schools
For These State Rankings?

To start, it’s a combination of enrollment and competitive equity and is based on each CIF section’s playoff divisions. Here how it breaks down for each section:

Central – D1 is large, D2, D3 & D4 are medium, D5 & D6 are small. D4 could go either way but most of the schools in it have enrollments of 1,200 to 1,300 (which is a bit too high for small).
Central Coast – No West Catholic Athletic League schools are medium (all would be large). Schools that have been in CCS Open D1 finals last few years also considered large (Menlo-Atherton, Wilcox, Salinas, etc.). We were going to say that no teams from a so-called A league can be small, but there are some in that situation that clearly would be small (King’s Academy & Sacred Heart Prep for example). It basically has to be a case-by-case basis and going by what we’ve tended to think of as medium & small over the years.
L.A. City – Narbonne and most of the schools that project to be Open Division would be large. We don’t know which schools are going to be top-seeded for D1 (like San Pedro last year) but once they are those would be medium. Schools from D2 and D3 would be small, but other than a few exceptions they have enrollments too high for small and instead have to be medium. Marquez (4-0) and Mendez (5-0) would be D3 teams eligible for small schools state rankings, but aren’t yet on the bubble.
North Coast – D1 is large, D2, D3 and D4 are medium, D5 is a mix, D6 and D7 are small. For D5, schools such as Encinal of Alameda and Ygnacio Valley have enrollments too high to be considered small. Kennedy of Richmond in that same division was deemed to be okay by enrollment and can be small.
Northern – Pleasant Valley of Chico, last year’s CIF D4-AA state champion, would be medium along with a handful of others (Shasta, Chico High, Enterprise of Redding, etc.) but the rest of the section’s teams would be considered small schools. There are no large schools in the section by this criteria.
Oakland/San Francisco — Medium or small on case by case basis. Three-time CIF state champion McClymonds of Oakland, for example, has to move up this year from small to medium.
Sac-Joaquin – D1 & D2 are large, D3 & D4 are medium, schools over 1,000 enrollment in D5 are medium and those below 1,000 are small, D6 & D7 are small.
San Diego – D1/Open Division is large, D2 & D3 are medium, D4 & D5 are small. For D4 and D5, however, there aren’t many schools that can be small because they have large-school enrollment and therefore need to be medium.
Southern – D1/2 is large, D3 is large, D4-D5-D6-D7 would be medium. For Divisions 8 through 14, if a school’s enrollment is found to be too large for small schools (generally above 1,000 students) then that school is considered ineligible to be in the small schools rankings and will be considered medium schools. That eliminates a lot of schools because there are many schools with enrollment near or above 3,000 that are in some of these CIFSS divisions. Just can’t consider those teams and players to be from small schools.

Mark Tennis is the co-founder and publisher of He can be reached at Don’t forget to follow Mark on the Cal-Hi Sports Twitter handle: @CalHiSports

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    Posted October 1, 2019 at 6:08 am | Permalink

    Where’s St Paul Swordsmen of Santa fe Springs? They were on the list last year and have climbed the ladder in national and state rankings since then. 🤔

    • Mark Tennis
      Posted October 1, 2019 at 8:43 am | Permalink

      They’ve only “climbed the ladder” after just beating Los Al. We’ll look for them.

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