30 Questions to Kickoff: Powers to the North

We hope everyone enjoyed their 3-day weekend. But more importantly, we hope everyone is excited to know that we’re just four more days away from the prep football season kickoff (actually, there is a game on Thursday, but it’s just not the same as the first true Friday Night). Of course, this means just four more questions to go.

Chace’s question: The leagues of the East Bay aren’t the only thing realigning in 2008, the North Coast Section’s playoff system is getting a face lift, too.  In order to be more in line with the CIF’s bowl system going to five divisions, the NCS is shedding the East Bay/Redwood Empire classifications and going to a playoff system similar to that of basketball: Five divisions that include teams throughout the section. So, who are the Redwood Empire teams that pose a threat to the East Bay when it comes to winning a section crown?

Ben’s answer: This one is easy because there are two teams that could step into the East Bay and be considered favorites right away.

The first, as usual, is Cardinal Newman-Santa Rosa. The Cardinals made it to the NCS 3A title game last year and would have won if not for some nifty footwork by Wolves QB Joe Southwick. Cardinal Newman loses QB Max Pond to graduation but the backfield returns. Jeff Badger and Joe Ferguson were both listed as All-Redwood Empire multi-purpose athletes by CalHiSports.com (they both play RB and LB). Also listed were DB Casey Miller and OL Jacob Gowan. The Cardinals should compete for the NCS Division III crown.

The other team is Novato. The defending NCS 2A champions move down to Division III this year in the new format. That means the Hornets could find themselves up against their Redwood Empire partners, the Cardinals, in the title game. Novato is loaded again and it starts with QB Jeff Stephens. I could make the case that the reason the Hornets lost to Oceanside in the CIF Division II bowl game is because Stephens got dinged up in the first half. Novato also returns WR Jake Davis, RB/LB Logan Edwards, and WR/DB Kyle Campas, all named to CalHiSports.com’s all-Redwood Empire team.

In Division IV, Ferndale is again the favorite to win the NCS crown. The Wildcats were dominant last year and I don’t see that changing this year. Division II is a toss-up but I don’t think a Redwood Empire team ends up with that title and in Division I, De La Salle overshadows any Redwood teams who even dream about a title shot.