The Central Coast Section Division 2 playoffs showcase eight teams from five different leagues, and is definitely one of the most diverse divisions league-wise in the entire section. With the wide assortment of teams from so many different leagues, the question is how will these teams stack up against each other, as they are all accustomed to playing in their respective leagues which vary in strength.
No. 1 Los Gatos, No. 2 Salinas, No. 3 Palma, No. 4 Sacred Heart Prep, No. 5 Bellarmine, No. 6 Palo Alto, No. 7 Oak Grove, No. 8 Live Oak.
Division 2 of CCS is stacked full of teams with impressive records and large PF totals. However, every team except for Bellarmine cruised through their seasons with relatively weak schedules. Bellarmine (3-7, 2-5 WCAL) suffered losses to several talented teams such as Serra, Valley Christian, Mitty, and Menlo-Atherton. MaxPreps has their schedule strength listed at 31.9, which is the second highest in all of CCS. The Bells finally have the chance to play some lower-caliber teams, but they will have to make it through No. 4 Sacred Heart (7-3, 3-2 Peninsula-Bay), a team looking to make a statement after falling short to Aptos last year by one point in the Division 3 finals.
No. 1 Los Gatos (9-1, 5-1 SCVAL-De Anza) almost snuck into Division 1 with the 8th seed, but will happily settle with being at the top of Division 2. The Wildcats are having an incredibly successful season with a team stacked with talent. They breezed through a mediocre schedule, with one loss against Wilcox and two tight wins against No. 6 Palo Alto and Mountain View, which earned them second place in their league. No. 2 Salinas (9-1, 7-0 Pacific Coast-Galiban) finds themselves in a similar boat. The Cowboys won their league with little trouble, and No. 3 Palma (7-2, 5-1 Pacific Coast-Galiban) was the runner up. Salinas is dominating on the offensive side of the ball this season, as they have put up an average of 44.3 points per game.
The bottom two teams in the division both dominated the Mount Hamilton League, with No. 8 Oak Grove (8-2, 7-0) taking first place and No. 7 Live Oak (9-1, 6-1) securing second. Oak Grove started off the season with an injury infested roster, which likely attributed to their slow start. However, as players returned including their star quarterback Caleb Ojeda, the Eagles found their rhythm, winning six straight and going undefeated in league. Live Oak’s only loss was to Oak Grove, but both teams are used to playing the weaker teams that make up the Mount Hamilton League.
PLAYERS TO WATCH
LG RB/LB Adam Garwood, LG WR Gian Lagemann, LG TE/LB Will Schweitzer LG OL/DL Andres Dewerk, SHS QB Carl Richardson, SHS RB Jeff Shaffer, SHS WR/SS Cade Smith, PHS RB Anthony Villegas, SHP TE/LB JP Frimel, SHP RB/LB Tevita Moimoi, BCP QB Wade Smith, PA QB Danny Peters, PA QB/DB Kevin Cullen, PA WR Jamir Shepard, PA WR Colin Griffin, OG QB Jessie Miller, OG RB/S Malique Sumler, LO QB/DB/K Caleb Ojeda, LO RB/CB Nick Lomanto
THEY SAID IT
“We’re not going to take any team lightly,” said Los Gatos USC commit Andres Dewerk. “It took some hard work and skill to get to this Division.”
“The seeding of teams is really deceptive and doesn’t really mean as much as you would think it means,” added Los Gatos DT Ronny Moore. “Paly is in a tough league. But because of their record, they are seeded lower, even though they are probably just as good as Salinas.”
No. 6 Palo Alto took an unexpected loss to Milpitas for their final regular season game, which slightly lowered their CCS seeding. The Vikings compete in the SCVAL-De Anza League, which is a relatively competitive league with teams like 2018 Division 3A state champion Wilcox and No. 1 Los Gatos. In their league game against the Wildcats, the Vikings kept it close, but ultimately fell short 29-22 in their Oct. 25 rivalry game. Palo Alto has one of the most effective pass offenses in the league, led by quarterback Danny Peters. Peters’ favorite targets, such as Fresno State commit Jamir Shepard, team touchdown leader Colin Griffin, and speedster Junacio Henley combine for 1516 yards and 18 touchdowns.
If Palo Alto makes it past Palma, they will likely face off against Salinas, who’s defense has not shown that they can shut down a solid passing threat. Many of their games have been offensive shootouts with very few stops on defense. Also, the Vikings will likely stop at nothing for an opportunity to face off against the Wildcats one last time this season. A championship rematch against Los Gatos would need an entire NFL Films crew to capture one of the most intense rivalries in all of high school sports, and there’s no doubt that Palo Alto will do whatever it takes to make this game happen and ultimately come out victorious.