With all action for Week 3 in the books, it’s time for a quick look at the weekend that was around the North Coast Section.
- We want to give a quick shout-out to Cornerstone Christian, which improved to 4-0 in the eight-man division by holding off a fierce Branson team on Saturday, 66-62. The Cougars had cruised past their first three opponents before getting challenged by the Bulls. But the shout-out comes not from their performance on the field, but rather the fact that they chose to wear ‘KW’ decals on the backs of their helmets in the Branson colors with the Bulls’ logo, in remembrance of former Branson quarterback and point guard Kwentyn Wiggins, who passed away in a car accident back in June.
Sportsmanship should always be our top priority, and this small gesture made it clear that this approach is still alive and well when teams choose to make it such.
- For the first time this season, three BVAL teams were victorious on the same weekend, and the result was one which surprised many. With Antioch and Freedom held winless for the season, each falling by one point on Friday night, it was Heritage which picked up its first win of the season, stunning an Amador Valley team which was missing its top two running backs, 21-14. Heritage was also without its starting quarterback and top outside linebacker, but senior Trevor Moorman threw for a first-half touchdown and ran for the game-winner with less than a minute remaining.
- Speaking of the BVAL, Liberty is now 4-0 after surviving a difficult three-game gauntlet. The Lions have beaten Oakdale, Clayton Valley and Monte Vista by a combined nine points, needing a last-minute goal-line stand to beat Oakdale, escaping on a missed extra point in overtime against Clayton Valley and then holding on due to a missed field goal with nine seconds remaining against Monte Vista. However, with Vacaville beating Granite Bay this week, the dominating season-opening performance against the Bulldogs looks more impressive now. Either way, head coach Ryan Partridge has made it clear that he is seeking more consistent performances from his team.
- Scheduling has become an issue for many schools, and the results have been some ridiculously one-sided scores. This week, Livermore’s 88-3 win over Healdsburg takes the cake, but one has to wonder why these programs were even in contract with one another. The Cowboys had 68 points by halftime, and the final 20 points all came in the third quarter. Livermore’s junior varsity also won by a score of 56-0. We don’t think there should be a second year for this agreement.
Then there are the programs which have a sudden surge, and wind up playing overmatched opponents as a result. That has certainly been the case for Piner, which beat Sonoma Valley 71-0 on Friday and has now outscored opponents 244-0 through the first four weeks. Things should get a bit tougher with a home game against Miramonte this week.
- Even with Campolindo’s loss to McClymonds on Friday night, the DAL-Foothill continues to play like an elite league. The five teams are now a combined 16-4, with unbeaten Las Lomas looking to make a rare transition from lower-tier (in this case, the Valley Division) to top-tier champion in back-to-back seasons.
- After a 1-7 mark in 2018, Ygnacio Valley is off to a 3-0 start this year, and has a realistic chance to match its five-win mark from two years ago in the next two weeks. It has been nine years since the Warriors won more than five games.
- Last season, there were no divisional upsets in the HDN, meaning each match-up between a Big 4 team and a Little 4 team ended in a win for the Big 4 school. That is not the case this year, with Ferndale knocking off Fortuna 13-7 in the annual Milk Can Game to claim the trophy for the first time in seven years in one of the best small school rivalries in Northern California who battle for bragging rights in the Eel River Valley.
- We will discuss all the ramifications of the past week or two for James Logan in a later column this week, but the Colts’ win over San Leandro confirms that they are indeed back in a spot among the East Bay’s top programs, and now have a target on their chests in the upcoming MVAL title race.
- American Canyon and Justin-Siena both improved to 4-0 this week, and while Vintage suffered a somewhat surprising loss to Bellarmine, the overall results for the Napa-area teams this year are still impressive. The five schools, also including St. Helena and Napa, are a combined 17-2 this season.
- It is pretty clear at this point that the TCAL-Stone should be a two-horse race, with unbeaten Bethel and De Anza at the top. And while Bethel’s earlier win over College Park was solid, De Anza has a pair of impressive victories for any team from a lower division, having beaten Miramonte and now St. Pat’s, who resides in the Rock Division.
- Speaking of the Rock Division, Kennedy-Richmond is 4-0 after easily handling Deer Valley on Friday, but coach Greg Marshall has no illusions about his team cruising during league play. Especially not with Salesian having beaten Moreau Catholic and now dominating Piedmont this past Friday, and El Cerrito finally getting in the win column by trouncing Oakland Tech.
- Emerging names to keep an eye on: Salesian’s Kareem Sullivan, Foothill’s Jayden Payne, Acalanes’ Jake Delaney, Redwood’s Luke McKernan, Livermore’s Shaun Smith, College Park’s Jeremiah Jack, Napa’s Isaiah Newton and Oakland Military Institute’s Charles Colvin.