The North Coast Section Division 6 playoff bracket played out pretty much according to what most people predicted, with the exception of the exclusion of a St. Patrick-St. Vincent team which beat Alhambra, who beat Pinole Valley. Other than that, the division features a pair of league champions in Kennedy and Middletown, plus numerous other teams who figure to make noise.
With that being said, let’s take a closer look at the entire field.
No. 1 Kennedy-Richmond, No. 2 St. Bernard’s, No. 3 Middletown, No. 4 Justin-Siena, No. 5 Lower Lake, No. 6 Pinole Valley, No. 7 Ygnacio Valley, No. 8 Arcata
Each of the top three teams in this bracket have championships pedigrees, with the two and three seeds used to success at the section level. Meanwhile, top seed Kennedy shared the TCAL-Rock title with El Cerrito and Salesian, in a very competitive league.
Middletown captured the NCL title this season and would love to become a back-to-back section champion, which could certainly happen for the Mustangs, who are playing their best football of the season. But they are not the only team entering on a hot streak. Justin-Siena knocked off American Canyon to finish VVAL play, while six seed Pinole Valley enters the post-season having won four straight games.
Ygnacio Valley has posted its highest win total in 10 years, while Arcata looks to use its ground game to give Kennedy a challenge in the quarterfinals.
PLAYERS TO WATCH
JFK ATH Camron Young, JFK TE/DE Jermaine Terry, JFK RB/DB Trey Baker, JFK OL/DL Sateki Lavulo, St. Bernard’s QB Will Omey, St. Bernard’s WR/DB Lane Thrap, St. Bernard’s WR/LB Justin Hagler, St. Bernard’s OL/LB Jacob Smallwood, Middletown FB/LB Dillon Tingle, Middletown OL/DL Jared Pyzer, Middletown RB/DB Nico Barrio, Middletown QB Isaac Perez, Justin-Siena QB Hudson Beers, Justin-Siena TE/LB Miles Williams, Justin-Siena WR/DB Solomone Anitoni
Lower Lake QB Vann Wilkins, Lower Lake WR/DB Semaj Clark, Lower Lake RB/LB Aries Brooke, Pinole Valley QB/LB Elijah Mercer-Hursh, Pinole Valley WR/DB Tony Freeman, Pinole Valley RB/LB Nacarre Turner, Ygnacio Valley RB Angelo Castellano, Ygnacio Valley WR/DB Alan Lloyd, Arcata RB Kien Mazzotti
THEY SAID IT
“Our biggest challenge will be facing power-running teams that come right at us. We are athletic and fast, but small up front,” said St. Bernard’s coach Matt Tomlin. “We have to show that we can run the ball and stop the run.”
“Whoever voted against St. Pat’s being in the field should be ashamed. At the end of the day, it’s about the kids and those kids deserve to be in the dance, having played the toughest schedule in our division and with one of the best quality wins in the entire bracket,” said Kennedy coach Greg Marshall. “As far as the teams who are in the bracket, I believe every team has a shot at the championship. We have a great team, but so does everyone else.”
With a big win over American Canyon, Justin-Siena is not going to sneak up on anyone, but as the four seed we will consider them our sleeper. With two of the best overall athletes in the division, the Braves have some key figures to propel them towards a title run.