MaxPreps Northern California Top 25 Football Rankings
1. De La Salle (Concord) (1) 11-0
In the playoffs a NorCal-record 31st consecutive time and seeking a 21st consecutive North Coast Section Division I championship, the Spartans downed the last program that they lost to in Pittsburg, 35-13. It was 14-7 at the half before De La Salle kicked it into familiar gear. Tiapepe Vitale
rushed for 141 yards and four touchdowns and Chris Williams
had a 39-yard score for a 28-7 lead. It's always worth repeating because it's such a remarkable feat: DLS has not lost to a NorCal foe since Pittsburg in the 1991 playoffs. That's 233 games ago. Next face Amador Valley (Danville), a team DLS beat 52-24 on Oct. 5.2. Franklin (Elk Grove) (2) 12-0
Rolled preseason Sac-Joaquin Section No. 1 Lincoln (Stockton) 42-6 behind speed backs Christian Fonbuena
and Kyran Harris
, defense, special teams and sheer effort. The Wildcats exacted sweet revenge from a chippy playoff loss at Lincoln. Now Franklin is in the title game for the first time and will take on defending champion Granite Bay in a semifinal battle royale.
3. Bellarmine (San Jose) (3) 10-1
The West Catholic Athletic League champions beat Terra Nova (Pacifica) 33-14 in a Central Coast Section Open first-round game to set up more intrigue. Now it's Serra, the same Serra that went toe-to-toe with the Bels on Oct. 13. Bellarmine won 35-34 in overtime after stopping the Padres on a two-point conversion run attempt to win it. It gets fun now.
4. Folsom (4) 12-0
The Bulldogs stormed to their second Sac-Joaquin Section Division II rout, scoring on their first five possessions to down defending champion Vacaville 49-13. No picks and one sack allowed for ace sophomore QB Jake Browning
, who passed for 380 yards and five touchdowns; he has 55 scoring strikes this season. Have we mentioned that he's just a sophomore? He has 4,527 yards. Some teams don't amass that in five years. Face run-dominant and destructive Buhach Colony in semifinals.
5. Elk Grove (5) 11-1
A week after rolling Ponderosa 41-0 in a Sac-Joaquin Section Division II opener, the Thundering Herd took apart Del Campo 35-14, allowing one offensive touchdown and running amok with backs Wadus Parker
(three total scores) and Robert Frazier
(224 yards rushing, two scores). Next is a tailback supreme showdown with Del Oro in a semifinal.
6. Burbank (Sacramento) (7) 12-0
The Titans have a rarity in three 1,000-yard rushers in Ernest Jenkins
, Calvin Green
and Isiah Williams
, and all three were in high gear to beat Pleasant Grove 32-27 in a Sac-Joaquin Section Division I quarterfinal. Next is the same team that last beat the Titans: Oak Ridge, on Saturday. Defensive tackle Ngalu Tapa
has a state-best 23 sacks.
7. Logan (Union City) (8) 11-1Warren Miles
rushed for a career-best 290 yards and three touchdowns and the Colts win their first North Coast Section D-I quarterfinal contest since 2007 with a 33-18 win over Freedom (Oakley). Freedom had won eight consecutive games coming in. The loss was a wake-up call to a very good program in 2011 bowl team Del Oro, 20-13 in overtime.
8. Serra (San Mateo) (9) 9-2
A week after sputtering in a West Catholic Athletic League finale 24-0 to St. Francis, the Padres found themselves — and the end zone — in blitzing Palo Alto 52-35 in a Central Coast Section Open kickoff. It was 28-28 at the half. Tailback Eric Redwood
rushed for 289 yards and became the program's all-time leading rusher, eclipsing the efforts of Erich Wilson. Serra is the defending CCS D-I champion. One win against Buhach Colony.
9. Buhach Colony (Atwater) (10) 10-2
Took down Antelope 31-24 in Sac-Joaquin Section Division II action behind a bevy of backs who run with power and speed, including Stefon Gold
and Leon Miles
. Next is spread-offense machine that is Folsom in a semifinal. Last loss was 36-35 to Serra (San Mateo), which won it with a late two-point run.10. Granite Bay (11) 9-3
The defending Sac-Joaquin Section Division I champions rolled Napa in an opener then tore apart Downey (Modesto) 56-20 with more defense, fly sweep running and four more touchdown passes by Grant Caraway
. Next is a semifinal tilt against top-seeded Franklin. Losses are to Westlake, Oaks Christian and Pittsburg (Antioch). Play Franklin (Elk Grove) next.
11. Marin Catholic (Kentfield) (13) 11-1
Blasted Miramonte 59-6 in a North Coast Section D-III quarterfinal behind Jared Goff
and superb defense. Goff passed for 286 yards and four touchdowns and the defense came up with five turnovers. Next is a showdown with No 3-seeded Cardinal Newman (Santa Rosa) on Saturday at home.
12. Oak Ridge (El Dorado Hills) (16) 11-1
The Trojans beat another area-code 209 club in Sac-Joaquin Section D-I action, slipping past Pitman (Turlock), 17-16, behind a superb defensive effort and more offensive balance. Next is a playoff rematch at Burbank, the Titans' last loss. Other wins include Grant, Vacaville and Pleasant Grove. Lost to Folsom early in Delta River League action.
13. California (San Ramon) (19) 9-2
Rolled Foothill (Pleasanton) 36-6 in a North Coast Section Division I contest after taking apart the same team 36-7 earlier this season. Cameron Owen
passed for two scores and C.J. Cornwell
accounted for three touchdowns. The Grizzlies last lost to De La Salle 27-14 in a regular-season finale. Next is Logan in a nice showdown of teams eager for a shot at De La Salle.
14. St. Ignatius (San Francisco) (21) 8-3
SI is a slot above Mitty because it beat those Monarchs in a West Catholic Athletic League finale 21-6 on Nov. 10. Now the teams face off again in the Central Coast Section Open playoffs. In beating Palma (Salinas) 49-14, Jack Stinn
passed for two touchdowns and Elijah Dale
rushed for two.
15. Archbishop Mitty (San Jose) (22) 8-3
The Monarchs of the West Catholic Athletic League won their Central Coast Section Open contest by pounding previous 10-0 Oak Grove (San Jose), 24-0, thanks to strong line play on both sides of the ball and a time-churning run game. Next is a rematch game with St. Ignatius, which beat the Monarchs 21-6 in a WCAL finale.16. Del Oro (Loomis) (14) 7-5
Beat St. Mary's (Stockton) 21-10 in Sac-Joaquin Section Division II action, eliminating the frustrated Rams twice since 2009 in the playoffs. Two defensive stands inside the five set the tone, as did the hard running of Brandon Monroe
(297 yards, three touchdowns). Next is a superb semifinal showdown at Elk Grove, a team Del Oro scrimmaged before the first game. Beat Logan (Union City) in nonleague play.
17. Oakdale (18) 11-1
The Mustangs beat Benicia 35-12 in Sac-Joaquin Section Division III action to inch closer to their third consecutive title appearance. Oakdale lost the previous two seasons to Del Oro, now back in D-II. Loss was to San Diego No. 1 Oceanside in an early-season showcase. Face surging American Canyon (11-1) in a semifinal.18. Escalon (NR) 10-2
The Cougars have been a small-school power for years, including a CIF State small-school bowl win in 2011. Escalon stunned top-seeded Placer in a Sac-Joaquin Section D-IV quarterfinal in Auburn, denying the hosts any fourth-quarter life and winning it on a late field goal. Next is a rematch with an old friend in Los Banos.
19. Central Catholic (Modesto) (14) 10-2
After rolling Bear River 63-20, CC blasted 11-0 Ripon 40-21 in Sac-Joaquin Section Division IV play beyind its Ray guns: backs Rey Vega and Ray Lomas. Next is a semifinal against Center. Other wins include Los Banos, St. Mary's (28-21) with losses to Placer (48-30) and Downey (45-42).20. El Cerrito (21) 12-0
Beat Bishop O'Dowd (Oakland) 19-6 in North Coast Section Division III action as the top seed. It's just the second close encounter for EC all season. The other was a 16-14 effort over Campolindo (Moraga) for Campo's lone regular-season loss. Now face 12-0 Analy (Sebastopol) next.21. Rancho Cotate (Rohnert Park) (21) 12-0
The Cougars, seeded second in the North Coast Section D-II field, edged Las Lomas 21-14. Jalon Luque
rushed for 184 yards and two scores, including a 66-yard effort for the sealer in the fourth quarter. Now take on 10-2 Northgate (Walnut Creek), which beat Newark Memorial 30-6.22. Sutter (22) 12-0
The top seed in the North Section Division II playoff mix and also the overall No. 1 team in the entire North State slugged past Orland 14-6 in a second-round game. In September, Sutter beat Orland 20-3. Next is West Valley (Cottonwood), with bowl hopes getting brighter.
23. Clayton Valley (Concord) (23) 10-1
Looking the part of North Coast Section D-II top seeds, the Eagles won their 10th consecutive game by steaming Dublin 47-7. Joe Protheroe
rushed for 427 yards and five touchdowns as his team compiled 639 yards of offense. Now face a Concord team it belted 49-6 earlier this season.24. Los Banos (NR) 11-1
The Tigers of the Sac-Joaquin Section D-IV field have been on a roll since their lone loss, 35-14 at Central Catholic in a game that was close in the first half. Los Banos has beaten Summerville 41-18 and Capital Christian 42-14 in the D-IV playoffs and now take on Escalon, a team it beat 34-32 in the season opener.25. Center (Antelope) (19) 10-2
The Cougars of the Sac-Joaquin Section D-IV mix rolled a 9-1 Dixon club 42-0 in D-IV play and then beat
11-0 Argonaut, 19-14, behind more of the same: tailback D'Juan Bellaire
and defense. Losses were to Chico early and Placer, 15-14, late. Play Central Catholic next.Thoughts, themes, teams and trends...
* The firing of Cal football coach Jeff Tedford seemed inevitable, in part because he hasn't been able to land a splash quarterback since discovering Aaron Rodgers a decade ago — while recruiting a tight end. Tedford has been able to recruit scores of impact players at other positions, however. Check NFL rosters. The Bears return a lot of talent next season, and a good recruiting haul this winter could help get the program back on track. There's a lot to like about Cal — academics, setting, conference and sparkling new facilities.
But a new coach with fresh ideas such as understanding the value of social media is a must now. Tedford is only 51, but he's much older when it comes to recruiting — or charming — prospects in every legal way possible. Tedford did land some linemen recruits last winter in part due to his pool-table charm. True story. He invited several prospects to his Bay Area home to dine and to play pool. He skunked them all, and the three recruits wound up at Cal. It can also be argued that the loss of Tosh Lupoi crippled Tedford and the Bears last winter. Lupoi, a former Bear and longtime coach and one of the nation's elite recruiters, left for Washington in the heart of recruiting season.
Lupoi had two NorCal, program-turning gems in his pocket, all ready to attend Cal, and the Bears ultimately wound up with neither. Grant (Sacramento) All-American safety Shaq Thompson switched allegiances and headed to Washington, where he starts as a hybrid linebacker/safety. All-American lineman Arik Armstead of Pleasant Grove (Elk Grove) was "99-percent bound to Cal" but ended up at Oregon, where he has had some starts on the defensive line. One regional recruit has said that he remains loyal to Cal in Marin Catholic quarterback Jared Goff. He's the sort of talent that can be part of the turnaround at Cal.
* Some league, that West Catholic Athletic League — again. The WCAL bruisers stands as the final four teams in the Open Division Central Coast Section field, with Mitty ripping previously unbeaten Oak Grove and St. Ignatius downing Palma (Salinas).
* The best of the Sierra Foothill League (Granite Bay and Del Oro) takes on the best of the Delta Valley Conference (Franklin and Elk Grove) in the Sac-Joaquin Section D-I and D-II semifinals. The debate has brewed for years as to which is the better league. We'll soon find out. Here's a Sacramento Bee story
.Joe Davidson has covered high schools with The Sacramento Bee since 1988. Follow him on Twitter: @SacBee_JoeD; on Facebook: sacbeepreps; and online: sacbee.com/preps; and radio podcasts: ESPN1320.net.