Video: Top 10 Games of the Week
De La Salle highlights a packed opening week, taking on Florida's St. Thomas Aquinas.
As the kids like to say, it's go time.
High school football in Northern California starts this week, and the field is still tilted in favor of those guys in Concord — De La Salle, unbeaten against NorCal foes since 1992, a run of 299 games. The Spartans have won 27 consecutive North Coast Section crowns and made each of the last 12 CIF State finals.
Folsom is also back for more, representing the Sac-Joaquin Section, and Valley Christian is the early front runner for superiority in the Central Coast Section.
MaxPreps preseason NorCal Top 25 high school football rankings
1. De La Salle (Concord), 11-1 in 2018
Section: North CoastLeague:
Here they come again, fast, dynamic, disciplined and superbly coached. De La Salle has a 299-game unbeaten streak against NorCal teams since 1991 (north of Fresno) and is 384-5-2 against NorCal opponents since 1984. It has won 27 consecutive North Coast Section crowns and has been to 12 successive CIF State finals (those games started in 2006) and 10 in succession in the Open Division. RB Shamar Garrett
and QB Dorian Hale
lead the way.
Next: vs. St. Thomas Aquinas, Friday
2. Folsom, (14-1)Section:
A former Folsom assistant coach, Doherty takes over as head coach after Kris Richardson joined the Sacramento State football staff, and he has a roster that includes 11 players with Division I football offers, including national recruit RB Daniyel Ngata
, WR Elijhah Badger
and TE/DL DeShawn Lynch
to go with grinder talents such as AP CJ Hutton
. Folsom hosts De La Salle on Sept. 13.
Next: vs. Jesuit, Aug. 30
3. Liberty (Brentwood), 13-1Section:
Bay Valley Coach:
The Lions have stormed onto the NorCal scene, winning their first North Coast Section title in 2017 and then taking CIF State 1-A honors last season. They return star QB Jay Butterfield
, an Oregon commit, and he has OL Akili Calhoun
and Payton Zdroik
to work behind.
Next: vs. Vacaville, Friday
4. Valley Christian (San Jose), 11-3Section:
West Catholic AthleticCoach:
After allowing seven or fewer points in eight games last season, the Warriors are even better defensively with DB Kavir Bains
, LB Moon Ashby
and DL JT Reed
. VC is the defending CCS Open champion.
Next: vs. Wilcox, Aug. 30
5. Central Catholic (Modesto), 11-2Section:
The Raiders have won 19 section titles in 21 title-game appearances and two CIF crowns, so this is a legit machine, and it will host De La Salle on Aug. 30. Dalton Durossette
is back at QB and has RB Minaya Olivo
and WR Sithri Price
to work with.
Next: Clovis West
6. Serra (San Mateo), 7-5Section:
West Catholic AthleticCoach:
The talent is there to win the program's third CIF NorCal crown in four seasons as RB Nate Sanchez and QB Daylin McLemore
lead the way on offense and DL Nusi Malani
Next: vs. Pittsburg, Aug. 31
7. Menlo-Atherton (Atherton), 12-2Section:
The defending CIF 3-AA state champions return a ton on offense, including WR Troy Franklin
and RB Justin Anderson
, and transfer QB Raymond Price
is a boost to go with players from a 9-1 junior varsity team. Early games include Serra and Folsom.
Next: vs. Bellarmine, Aug. 30
8. St. Mary's (Stockton), 7-5Section:
QB Noah May
is a three-year starter, and skill players galore dot the roster in RB Tyrei Washington
and WR Elijah Wood
. Big early games include Pittsburg, Central Catholic, Serra and De La Salle.
Next: vs. Pittsburg, Friday
9. Pittsburg, 7-4Section:
RB Avant Muldrow
returns as do OL recruits Samiuela Fonongaloa
and Ryan Lange
. This is the last NorCal program to defeat De La Salle, in the 1991 playoffs. Big early games are St. Mary's and Serra.
Next: vs. St. Mary's, Friday
10. Cardinal Newman (Santa Rosa), 11-1Section:
The Cardinals are still smarting from their playoff exit of 2018, a coin-flip loss to Eureka to determining the North Coast Section D-III team for NorCal bowl consideration. The lone loss was to Liberty. Jackson Pavitt
is back at QB. This program had the state record for consecutive wins in the 1970s.
Next: vs. Fortuna
11. Saint Francis (Mountain View), 11-3Section:
West Catholic AthleticCoach:
The Lancers are a storied program with 17 section titles and a CIF State crown in 2017. OL Afa Sanft
and Mose Vavao
and QB Ryan Daly
are back to lead a team that has a brutal early test against De La Salle.
Next: vs. Corona del Mar, Aug. 30
12. Monte Vista (Danville), 7-4Section:
Matt RussiUpdate: Jack Stewardson
returns at QB as a third-year starter for a program that went 12-1 in 2016 and suffered close losses in 2018 to San Ramon Valley and Bishop O'Dowd.
Next: vs. Granite Bay, Friday
13. Monterey Trail (Elk Grove), 12-1Section:
The Mustangs were the second best team in this section in 2018, falling to Folsom in the section finals, and will again be a force with RB Prophet Brown
and LB Marcus Jones
Next: vs. Sheldon, Friday
14. Oak Ridge (El Dorado Hills), 8-4Section:
The Trojans are loaded again and are eager to clear the hurdle that is Folsom — in the same league and section (the teams open league play against each other). New QB Justin Lamson
has dazzled his coaches, as has OL Nicholas Scalise
and Vacaville RB transfer Dylan Warfield
Next: vs. Lincoln.
15. Vacaville, 6-5
With 28 playoff teams since 1976, this is one of the this section's storied programs, coached by the son-in-law of 200-game, all-time coaching Vacaville great Tom Zunino. QB Jeremy Villalobos
leads 15 returning starters back into action.
Next: vs. Liberty, Friday
16. Wilcox (Santa Clara), 14-1Section:
The Chargers have come on strong with a power running game headed by Paul Rosa
, son of the coach, and both are back for more after winning CIF State 3-A honors in a season that included an opening 10-6 win over Valley Christian.
Next: vs. Valley Christian, Aug. 30
17. Clayton Valley Charter (Concord), 9-2Section:
East Bay AthleticCoach:
The Ugly Eagles live to run the ball and have piled up success this decade, and will some more with RBs Carson Sumter
and Rahsaan Woodland
. The league includes De La Salle.
Next: vs. Turlock, Aug. 30
18. Bishop O'Dowd (Oakland), 12-2Section:
13 starters are back for the North Coast Section Division III champions, a program that went 15-1 and won a CIF State title in 2016. There is a lot of name recognition here with QB Jesse Madden
(grandson of John Madden), WR Sterling Stokes
(son of JJ Stokes), RB Nehemiah Kaufman
(son of the head coach) and TE/DE Colton Vardell
(son of Tommy Vardell).
Next: vs. Las Lomas, Aug. 30
19. Capital Christian (Sacramento), 13-1Section:
The Cougars had their finest team since opening in 1977 last season, a Section Division III champion that nearly reached a CIF State final. The stars this season include WR/LB Max Rodarte
and RB Isaiah Bass
Next: vs. Cosumnes Oaks, Friday
20. Rancho Cotate (Rohnert Park), 11-2Section:
The Cougars return QB Jared Stocker
and RB Rasheed Rankin
for a program that went 13-1 in 2012, 10-2 in 2017 and 11-2 in 2018.
Next: vs. Sacramento, Saturday
21. Turlock, 8-4Section:
Coach: James PetersonUpdate:
The Bulldogs have played football for 100 years and could have one of their finest teams, led by one of their greatest linemen in Cal commit Everett Johnson
Next: Freedom, Friday
22. Tracy, (8-4)Section:
This is as good of a Tracy team as we have seen in years, headed by QB Logan Fife
(Cal Poly) and Oregon State-bound WR/DB Trevor Pope II
. Early big games include Turlock and Vacaville with league rival St. Mary's also looming.
Next: vs. Kimball, Friday
23. Marin Catholic (Kentfield), 10-4Section:
New QB Michael Ingrassia
and USC-bound DL Jamar Sekona
lead the way for a program that has teams this decade that have gone 12-1, 14-1, 14-2, 13-1, 12-2 and 12-1.
Next: vs. El Cerrito, Saturday
24. Rio Linda, 13-2Section:
The Knights delighted their passionate home crowd with a CIF State title last season, and record-setting RB Cameron Skattebo
(3,550 yards, 42 scores) is back along with 15 other starters for a repeat run.
Next: vs. Center, Friday
25. Del Oro (Loomis), 13-2Section:
The storied Golden Eagles have won 11 section titles in 18 title-game appearances to go with five CIF State finals this decade, and so it goes. RB Sheldon Conde
leads the charge this season along with OL/DL Tucker Black and David Veske.
Next: vs. Pleasant Valley, Friday
The next 1026. Pleasant Valley (Chico), 10-3
27. Oakdale, 9-4
28. Inderkum (Sacramento), 11-1
29. Granite Bay, 6-5
30. Jesuit (Carmichael), 9-4
31. Campolindo (Moraga), 10-3
32. Las Lomas (Walnut Creek), 12-1
33. East Nicolaus (Nicolaus), 13-1
34. California (San Ramon), 8-4
35. Downey (Modesto), 7-5Joe Davidson has covered high school sports for The Sacramento Bee since 1988. Follow him on Twitter: SacBee_JoeD and on Instagram: JoeDavidsonMedia
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