September 17, 2017
The fourth week of action is in the books, so it’s time for us to take a quick look back at the weekend that was, especially in a week where five games between ranked teams in the North Coast Section led to a number of ‘statement games’, and while some things became more clear, others only got more confusing.
- Clayton Valley’s blowout win over Antioch could potentially trigger a chain reaction of playoff ramifications down the road, but since there is a lot of football left to be played, we are still reserving judgment on the long-term impact. However, bolting out to a 49-0 lead was certainly unexpected, and the level of dominance displayed could be a big factor in selections for the Open Division, if the Panthers do well in league play. Clayton Valley certainly appears to be the class of the DAL once again, as league play nears for the Ugly Eagles.
- Aside from Antioch’s loss, it was another strong week for the Bay Valley Athletic League, which went 5-1, and now has every team at or above .500 after Deer Valley knocked off previously unbeaten Kennedy-Richmond.
- There appears to be no challenge on the regular season horizon for Marin Catholic, which improved to 3-0 with a 54-0 shellacking of Tamalpais. It was thought before the year, and after the first two weeks, that maybe San Marin could provide a test, but the Mustangs’ surprising 49-14 home loss against Acalanes on Saturday would seem to say otherwise. Expect the Wildcats to be unbeaten at the end of the regular season, and yet possibly not be a top seed for the playoffs.
- Could Liberty be the second-best team in the BVAL? The Lions walloped an overmatched Concord team on Friday, 60-0, but it is the close loss to Vacaville that has us most impressed at this point. Vacaville now has a pair of one-point losses to Oak Ridge and Granite Bay, and that same Oak Ridge team beat Reed-Sparks on Friday. And yes, that is the same Reed team which dominated Clayton Valley in the season opener. We are peeling back some layers here.
- After losing by 45 points to San Ramon Valley, some concern popped up that maybe it was more than just the absence of Ben Wooldridge which was affecting the Falcons. How things can change in one week. Wooldridge returned, the offense took form behind him, and the Falcons rolled past Monte Vista, 45-14. How good Monte Vista actually can be is still yet to be determined, as both early wins were unimpressive, but Foothill seems to be back in form, and its game against California in two weeks just got a lot more interesting.
- As San Ramon Valley rolled past Dougherty Valley as expected, and California methodically pulled away from Amador Valley, things have lined up for a showdown between these programs in the EBAL this week. But don’t automatically assume this is a two, or even three-team race. Keep an eye on Granada as well – the Matadors are still unbeaten after a 35-25 win over Dublin, and would love to use their ball-control offense to crash the party a bit.
- San Leandro may now be 1-3, but the rest of the WACC-Foothill has likely taken notice of those losses. The Pirates have the win over Foothill, and three tense losses to BVAL programs, falling 28-21 to Liberty, 54-44 to Antioch, and now 40-28 against Freedom. The last loss has to be the most galling for San Leandro, after it led 28-13 in the second quarter. Freedom’s comeback, meanwhile, gave the Falcons a section-best 17 straight regular season victories.
- Campolindo’s ability to play Rancho Cotate close into the final seconds on Friday night also serves as a bit of a gift to the Division III seeding committee. Since Marin Catholic dominated its game with Campolindo, the committee now has a factor of separation in common opponents between the Wildcats and Rancho Cotate. Those teams, along with O’Dowd and Cardinal Newman, all figure to make things difficult on the seeding committee later this year.
- The Mission Valley still has just one team above .500 – Irvington, who moved to 3-1 with its 14-0 win over Watsonville – but non-league records will be extremely deceiving when projecting league standings. The two teams who have actually played the best against decent competition are both winless right now. Moreau Catholic has played four phenomenal teams during its 0-4 start, including Inderkum this past Friday, and Kennedy-Fremont showed improvement in its 30-25 loss to Encinal, one week after leading Heritage at halftime.
- Harker, oh Harker. After beating James Lick 77-6 in its season opener, the Eagles have not allowed a point since, with shutouts against Cupertino, Santa Clara, and Healdsburg. And all three of those teams are .500 or better through the first four weeks.