With the announcement on December 1 by the state CIF that the December 7 date to begin practice in earnest has been postponed until January 1 “at the earliest” according to its press release, leaves everything further in limo, and what will happen after that is just as much in question.
We are going to continue the drive to No. 1 because whether or not there is some kind of season, it’s interesting to ponder as to what might or might not take place. For No. 8, we go to the West Catholic Athletic League and one of its perennial powerhouses since they joined the league.
8. Valley Christian-San Jose (11-2)
Some pre-season rankings had the Warriors a little lower in their rankings, but we still see them as a Northern California Top 10 team.
The Warriors' only losses last year were to Serra, both shutouts, 10-0 in West Catholic Athletic League play, and 17-0 in the CIF Central Coast Section Division I championship.
While Valley Christian may have not been able to score on Serra, it was almost as difficult for the Warriors' other opponents to score on them. The Valley Christian defense pitched four shutouts and only gave up an average of 6.3 points per game. Including the losses to Serra, the defense only gave up an average of 5.7 points against WCAL competition.
Head coach Mike Machado loses some players but returns some outstanding talent. Linebacker William Cuddie, who is starting to get attention from D1 programs, returns after leading the WCAL in tackles with 116 last season (7.5 sacks) as a sophomore. Another player to look for on defense is Dominic Oliver. The senior defensive end had 62 tackles and 5.5 sacks.
The offense loses two of its top three running backs but second-leading rusher Chase Laubach returns after rushing for 923 yards and seven TDs last season.
The Warriors don’t pass often, but when they did it usually went to current sophomore Jurrion Dickey. He finished his first high school season with a team-high 541 receiving yards on 28 catches for seven touchdowns.
Dickey, who is on the radar screen of all the recruiting services, currently has offers from Arizona State, Arkansas, California, Oregon State and San Jose State. When the Warriors pass, Dickey will be the favorite target of senior quarterback Drew Rampelberg, last year’s backup.
Valley Christian was scheduled to open at home on January 8 against Wilcox, but that date is obviously not going to happen.
On a final note, and as quiet as its kept, Machado will enter his next season with 228 career coaching victories since he started at Saratoga (1995-1997) and since 1998 at Valley Christian. That’s good enough to make him the No. 7 winningest coach in the history of the Central Coast Section according to the Cal-Hi Sports Record Book.