Escalon running back Colton Panero only had eight carries but finished with a team high 145 yards rushing in the Cougars big win over Hilmar
Samantha Schmidt/FrontRowPreps

NorCal Regional Games of the Week Recap: Favorites all prevail

September 29, 2019

We continue for a third week with a Recap of the NorCal Regional Games of the Week that were featured and this past weekend there was some great action but no surprises as the state-ranked teams flexed their muscles, another home team had a statement win, and No. 1 outlasted No. 2 in the battle of the top small school teams in the state.

De La Salle-Concord 56, St. Mary’s-Stockton 17

When De La Salle fell behind 7-0 and then only led 14-10 in the early second quarter the social media buzz began amongst the pundits, prognosticators, self-proclaimed experts and Spartans naysayers, but it was short lived.

By halftime it was 28-10 and it ended with total dominance as De La Salle warmed up and blew out the host Rams.

De La Salle (5-1) scored a lot of different ways including a halfback option pass from Shamar Garrett to Grant Daley that went 64-yards to the house for a touchdown and gave De La Salle a 21-10 second quarter lead. Garrett also rushed for a touchdown.

Quarterback Dorian Hale had a touchdown passing and rushing and before Coach Justin Alumbaugh emptied the bench James Coby and Mekhi Norfleet had rushing touchdowns.

St. Mary’s (1-4) got 154 yards passing from quarterback Noah May and sophomore running back Jadyn Marshall rushed for 83 yards and scored both Rams TDs including a 43-yard run that staked the hosts to their 7-0 lead.

St. Mary’s has had rough starts before and still made noise in the playoffs, and when you schedule as tough as veteran Rams Coach Tony Franks, there is nothing his boys now haven’t seen moving into Tri-City Athletic League action where they will once again be the favorites. St. Mary’s opens league on the road this Friday at West-Tracy.

For De La Salle the streak of not losing to a team north of Fresno in 303 games the past 29-years would not seem to be in jeopardy. The road to the CIF state Northern Regional Open Division Bowl Game berth begins on Friday at Monte Vista-Danville.

Valley Christian-San Jose 28, St. Francis-Mountain View 7

It wasn’t a big blowout in the purest sense of a shellacking, but the way host Warriors won, particularly after the way the game started, showed why Valley Christian (4-0) is the Prep2Prep CIF Central Coast Section top-ranked team, and No. 2 in the CCS and No. 16 in the Cal-Hi Sports rankings.

St. Francis took a 7-0 lead after Camilo Arquette took the opening kickoff 95-yarrds to pay dirt for a score, but that would be the one and only time they would change the numbers on the scoreboard.

After all was said and done the ball control running game of Valley Christian produced a three-touchdown win over one of the better teams in the West Catholic Athletic League this season, and that’s a pretty dominating statement.

Senior Chase Laubach had 118 yards and one TD rushing on a 67-yard run, and senior and major D1 college prospect Isaiah McElvane also went over the century mark rushing with 106 yards and one TD on a 37-yard run.

Senior quarterback Cory Taylor did more throwing than he has all season and finished 10-of-18 for 159 yards and two TDs, with one each going to senior Jackson Stewart and freshman Jurrion Dickey.

St. Francis has played about as tough a schedule so far as any team in Northern California after facing and losing to a third Cal-Hi Sports top 20 team after losses to Corona del Mar-Newport Beach, De La Salle and now Valley Christian. Whether or not it helps them going forward in WCAL action remains to be seen, Next up is a Friday night home matchup with Sacred Heart Cathedral-San Francisco.

Valley Christian should not be tested in its next four WCAL games against San Francisco’s St. Ignatius, Sacred Heart Cathedral and Archbishop Riordan, or Bellarmine Prep-San Jose, but anything is possible in the wild-and-wacky WCAL so Coach Mike Machado and his boys can’t look past those teams to a November 2 matchup at Serra, because if they do anything can happen.

Campolindo-Moraga 34, Rancho Cotate-Rohnert Park 14

The third time is a charm was the moniker in Moraga on Friday night after host Campolindo finally got one in the win column after a dominating victory over a Rancho Cotate team that has their number the past two seasons.

“This was so darn sweet tonight,” Campolindo Coach Kevin Macy told his team after the game. “You guys weren’t just playing for this year but for the last two years. You didn’t let Rancho Cotate have ownage of us and got a great win against a team we needed to beat.”

Prep2Prep CIF North Coast Section No. 9 Campolindo (5-1) didn’t do much on offense in a scoreless first quarter, but from there the running game and some timely passing took over to post a convincing victory in a game the hosts led 27-0 after three quarters.

For a complete recap of stats, details and additional quotes click here for the game’s feature:

Folsom 49, Menlo-Atherton-Atherton 0

Folsom was expected to win but the final score is a bit surprising and indicates the disparity between the state’s top teams and those in the second tier.

After surviving a scare last week against Oak Ridge-El Dorado Hills, the Cal-Hi Sports No. 6 ranked Bulldogs blasted No. 44 Menlo-Atherton-Atherton. Both teams were CIF state Bowl Game champions last season, Folsom in D1AA and Menlo-Atherton in D3AA.

Senior quarterback Jake Reithmeier rumbled 26-yards for a first quarter rushing TD and the rout was on. Reithmeier followed that with a 12-yard TD run, a 57-yard TD pass to Austin McMillan, an 8-yard TD pass to Deshawn Lynch, and then Dylan Richard came up with a 20-yard pick six to make it 35-0 Folsom at the half.

First year Folsom Coach Paul Doherty emptied the bench in the second half of a game that went to a running clock and the subs added two more scores to close out the game.

Folsom (4-1) now gets back to Sierra Foothill League action where the Bulldogs look like they may have a fight on their hands. The Oak Ridge-El Dorado Hills team they rallied to beat 36-33 last week, went down this week, 28-22 to a host Rocklin team that is now 2-0 in league play and that Folsom faces this Friday night at home.

Menlo-Atherton (1-3) has one more non-league game against visiting CIF Central Section power Arroyo Grande (4-2) at home before beginning Peninsula Athletic League – Bay Division action in two weeks against host Terra Nova-Pacifica.

Escalon 34, Hilmar 21

The battle of the two top small schools in California went to No. 1 Escalon over No. 2 and defending CIF state Division 6-AA Bowl Game champion Hilmar in a 34-21 road victory that confirmed the Cougars anointment by Cal-Hi Sports as the top-ranked small school in its initial rankings last week of medium and small schools.

The win by Escalon helped erase some disappointment the past two years. In 2017 they beat Hilmar 28-14 in Trans Valley League action only to lose to them 41-38 in the CIF Sac-Joaquin Section Division VI semifinals. Hilmar went on to win the section championship. Last year, when Hilmar went on to win a CIF Bowl Game title, the Cougars lost 20-17 in overtime to the Yellowjackets in league, and then Hilmar ended their season for the second straight year in the D6 semifinals once again, 28-18.

This past Friday night Escalon (5-0, 1-0) only led 14-7 at the half and 20-14 after three quarters, but the Cougars line and powerful running game took over, so when 6-0, 185-pound senior running back Kaden Christensen powered into the end zone from 10 yards out to make it 34-14 with four minutes left, it sealed the deal.

The running game of Escalon racked up 328 yards on 48 carries, and that meant the Hilmar defense was on the field a lot since their combined offense only ran 40 plays to a total of 63 plays for Escalon including passing.

All five Escalon TDs came on the ground. Junior Luke Anderson, a 5-10 workhorse-like fullback, got the bulk of the work with 24 carries for 114 yards and two touchdowns. Senior speedster Colton Panero only rushed eight times but finished with 145 yards and one touchdown. Christensen had the one TD and 56 yards rushing.

Junior quarterback Ty Harris did throw two interceptions but he finished 8-of-15 for 112 yards.

Hilmar junior quarterback Seth Miguel passed for three TDs but only had 103 yards passing and one of the TDs passing came after the Yellowjackets trailed by 20 points in the late going. Part of the reason Hilmar had to go to the air was the running game only managed 136 yards, and Miguel accounted for 57 of the rushing yards.

Escalon now has the inside track to the Trans Valley title and if they can run the table will have a legitimate claim to a CIFSJS Division VI top seed in a current battle with Bear River-Lake of the Pines and Amador-Sutter Creek.

In 2010, and under the old playoff system before there were CIF Regional Bowl Games and a lot less divisions, Escalon won the CIFSJS Division IV payoffs and were then selected for the CIF state Division III Bowl Game as the Northern Regional representative where they were an impressive 30-14 winner over Madison-San Diego.

Best of the Rest

We had said the gap between Folsom and the rest of the Sierra Foothill League was narrowing, and if the last two weeks are an indicator, our premonition may be somewhat accurate.

A week after having Folsom on the ropes but letting the Bulldogs escape with a 36-33 victory, Oak Ridge-El Dorado Hills (3-2) suffered a second-straight defeat when they visited Rocklin and the Thunder celebrated Homecoming with a 28-22 victory. Rocklin (5-1) has a lone 27-23 loss to Nevada Damonte Ranch-Reno but that team has a season-opening loss to a Granite Bay team that has a loss to Vacaville and a Sierra Foothill League loss to Del Oro-Loomis.

Folsom may still be the leader in the SFL but there is a scramble behind them and they could still be vulnerable this season.

For those that were anointing Las Lomas-Walnut Creek as a potential favorite in the NCS Division III playoffs they may have to take another look after the Knights struggled in a 21-20 victory at a Vanden-Fairfield in a game 14-0 after one quarter against a 1-4 team that was soundly beaten, 48-20 by Rancho Cotate.

Yes, Las Lomas has a 27-14 win over Bishop O’Dowd, but with the Dragons now 0-5 it looks like despite a 34-14 loss to Campolindo last week, Rancho Cotate now takes the NCS D3 favorites role.

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