30Q-2-KICKOFF (No. 2): Bring on the WACC

Get ready to become acquainted with the word realignment. Something tells me you’ll be hearing that word a time or two over the next month. That’s why we’ll waist no time going into one of the major results of the realignment of the North Coast Section’s Bay Shore Conference.

What happened to the HAAL and what is the deal with the WACC?

After more than 50 years of existence, the Hayward Area Athletic League is gone. Cue the tears (and yes, for me, a former HAAL athlete, there is some sadness to see the HAAL disappear). But the disappearance of the HAAL could lead to some great competition in plenty of sports, including football.

Essentially, all of the former HAAL — minus Moreau Catholic — joins the new West Alameda County Conference. The conference is broken up into the Foothill League and the Shoreline League. (They went with calling it a conference, rather than a league. And it’s broken up into leagues, rather than division. Really, it’s apples and apples here. The WACC is a league and the Foothill and Shoreline are divisions, for all intents and purposes).

Four new teams join the remaining HAAL members to make up the 12-team conference. Each league has six teams.

The Foothill (A) League contains: Berkeley, Bishop O’Dowd, Castro Valley, Encinal, Hayward and San Leandro. That’s a pretty darn good league. Outside of Hayward, which has had some lean years recently, all those teams are fairly competitive. Castro Valley isn’t as strong as it once was, but had a decent year last season. But the battle between Berkeley, O’Dowd, Encinal and San Leandro will be fierce. I’m really looking forward to a lot of those games.

The Shoreline (B) League contains: Alameda, Arroyo, Mt. Eden, Piedmont, San Lorenzo and Tennyson. There’s no mistaking that the dip between the two leagues is significant. But Alameda has had years in which it was a strong program, Arroyo has shown promise from time-to-time, Tennyson has made the playoffs back-to-back years (the only two playoff appearances in school history) and Mt. Eden has a 200-plus win coach in Paul Perenon. While I know we’re going to get comments from people bashing the quality of this league, the Shoreline should be very competitive and that’s what the point of this league set up is. The best teams get to compete at the top and the other guys get to compete at a more equitable level. I think that’s what we’ll see this year.

Both leagues will receive an automatic berth to the NCS playoffs. I know some contend that the B league shouldn’t, bu that’s the way it is. If it were up to me, I’d give the B league the automatic berth but maybe drop the automatic home game. That way a B league winner would need to be a top 8 seed to get a home game. I don’t see that happening, but that’s something I’d like to see eventually. Anyways, there should be plenty of interesting topics throughout the year as this new league gets underway.

Jimmy Durkin

Jimmy Durkin is a sports writer for the Bay Area News Group.

  • ManDown

    The way this league was set up is a joke. No way the winner of the B division should get an automatic home playoff berth. So if Tennyson wins the B league, Encinal finishes 2nd or 3rd in the A division they might have to travel to Hayward in the playoffs? I don’t see that being fair at all IMO.

  • Junior

    I am growing to like this set up the more I think about it. The big flaw can be addressed by Jimmy’s suggestion.

    The EBAL should follow suit and make a North EBAL league (DLS, SRV, CAL, MV) and South (Liv, AV, Foothill, Gra). Teams play all 3 opponents in their league plus two from the other league on a rotating basis. They then can play 5 non league games to complete their schedule.

    The BVAL has the potential to do the same. Maybe at some point then you can create the Open division out of the A leagues and the B leagues would be the D1 division.

  • ilovesoccer

    I think Junior’s idea is interesting, but I don’t think AV and Granada would be excited about being made second class citizens. On the other hand, maybe they could have the A and B divisions be dynamic with promotion and relegation the next season depending on how this season goes like European professional soccer does it.

    Something would need to be done about automatic NCS invitations though to make that attractive, since who would want to risk a losing record in the A league when the B division winner goes on for sure with an easier schedule? On the other hand, most of the EBAL winds up in the NCS playoffs anyway every year so maybe it doesn’t matter.

  • Everyone forgets that we now live a world where we need to make the kids “feel good” and that “everyone is a winner”

    So you take poor teams give them there own division and then the division leader gets to be called a Champion WHAT A JOKE….

    So Tennyson a 15th seed last season in D III get a home playoff game over a higher seeded team because they a division champs man someone drank the wrong cool aid

  • renegades10

    I don’t think Junior meant that they should be spilt up into A and B leagues just more of a North-South setup like the Pac-12 has. It would give the teams chances to play more non-league games.

  • 617lemon

    Couldnt agree more b league champ gets a home ncs game terrible dont know who’s idea that was. So with most of these b league teams playn bad teams n non league wat will a 8-2 type record really mean?especially if they get smoked n playoffs wen they play a team with a pulse. Y r these teams n da b league lack of adminstration support, talent pool no athletes or jus bad coaching? Would luv 2 hear y these programs r were they r.

  • EBfootball

    The buzz word with this “b league” thing is “competitive equity”. If these schools really want their schools to compete they need to hire some better head coaches. That’s the biggest factor if a team is horrible or not.

  • HAAL Fan

    People need to wipe thier its not fair that a “stronger” team from another league has to travel for a 1st round game tears away. If the team is that much stronger they should get an easy win. If the “B” league champs win then i guess they earned the home game.

  • ManDown

    HAAL Fan, You don’t make any sense. Good teams work hard all year long to have that advantage come playoff time but maybe you wouldn’t know anything about that. All good teams want to play at home at that time of year although they don’t mind traveling to play a team who earned it. You can’t possibly be apart of a winning program based on your statement.

  • Tennyson Fan

    Tennyson did beat Division I San Leandro last year and went 8-2. They were much better than everyone Is givin them credit for, but can they repeat that? I don’t think so.

  • Junior

    It’s a little of both what ilovesoccer posted and Ren10.
    In the short term it would be a way to get more non league games.

    In the long run ilovesoccer has it right-utilize dynamic promotion while establishing an Open division for the better programs.

  • 617lemon

    Tennyson did go 8-2 then they played a good team n ncs n we all saw the score! Tennyson beating sl says more about san leandros program. My have they fallen.

  • I’m with Renegades 10 on the EBAL…it would be just a north south split…In regular play any of the teams minus DLS can be dangerous…And more preseason games would be a benefit to all the teams….

  • ManDown

    The EBAL should just look into the MCAL and how they do things. The bottom two teams in the league don’t play the top two teams therefore the top teams can play more “tougher” non-league games and the bottom two programs can schedule a bit down if they wish to do so. But on the flip side if DLS just went open, we wouldn’t have this problem IMO.

  • Just read about SRV blogger on there defense and returnees. He predicted they would be close to the DLS defense this season.
    Is this the core of the same defense that gave up 42 pts. during the season and 56 to them in the playoffs?
    Is this the defense that allowed 6 TDS from one running back in the playoffs?
    Is this defense that is going to challenge the DLS defense with an allamerican linebacker and 3 others that will be going to pac-12 schools?
    Just wondering?
    Also wondering about the offense. You know, the offense that scored 3 pts in a season game, couldn’t protect the QB in both games with QB running for his life and he didn’t look any good either.
    Just wondering?
    Is this the team that the coach was popping off about playing a league opponent(You know who)?
    Just wondering?
    If I were that blogger I would concentrate on the improvements that need to be made out at SRV and not compare them to ANYONE.

  • Big Joe- well said.

  • I saw both games last year- not at all impressed with SanRamonValley. They will have a lot of rebuilding this year.

  • Independent

    Does SRV beat Logan in regular season this year (week 2 I think)?

  • Barefoot

    Big Joe, We all know the chances of beating or even competing with DLS football are very high. We know the standard DLS football has set is one very few schools can achieve. We may whine on occasion because we feel the frustration of not being able to beat them but our kids remain friends with and respect what DLS achieves, and above all else, work hard to improve. We’re ok with our effort. What we aren’t ok with is your arrogance. The irony is, your football team is not arrogant. If you think we don’t have the right of optimism or that the EBAL is not competitive enough for your school , then find another solution, but don’t belittle our team effort because DLS has a winning football team. Things don’t say the same forever.

  • Junior

    I believe SRV’s defense is going to be pretty good in 2012. Those LB’s are tough and they typically are a pretty physical team. The offense will be productive again too. Birse has tons of potential. I’m pulling for the Wolves to beat those two very good SJS teams.

  • The Ghost

    There are ton of scenario’s this year in the EBAL and it is safe to say DLS is a lock for running the table against EBAL Teams.

    The NCS knows that DLS is a ‘competitive anomaly’ and should NOT be in the running for the EBAL Title. The EBAL provides the best competition from top to bottom across all sports which is why it’s a great league for DLS/Crondelet … with that said, we all know that private schools have advantages over public schools. DLS Football has parlayed their success to becoming a football factory and a program that should compete on a national level each and every season. It’s an unfortunate competitive reality for DLS Football.

    The simple reality is that there are few schools that have a recruiting base a perfect as DLS. The demographics across Contra Costa County are perfect for building a football team … low income, high income, black, white and then factor in the best coaches in the business.

    I suppose if they finally embrace a national approach to scheduling … they might run across a few other private schools that have a similar geography to build a great football team (St. Thomas Aquinas High).

  • BayAreaSection

    The Oakland Sections shud join the NCS & just have their Section as a league or their teams to venture to new ones in the NCS. I doubt we will see any teams from the Oakland/San Francisco Sections in the Regionals any time soon!

  • HAAL Fan

    If Mack can go undefeated they should have a legit argument with trips to Bishop O’Dowd and Oak Grove-San Jose on the schedule.

  • BayAreaSection

    Good to see Mack schedule against 2 known teams however, West Valley-Cottonwood & Kennedy-Richmond plus the rest of the OAL Teams? Not that impressive even though the OAL scheduled intersectional games. Got some known teams while there are some head scratchers.

  • HAAL Fan


    your right about the kennedy-richmond but skyline has been on the come up the last 2 years. beating them twice and the 1st 4 games of the season are enough to make a strong case for a regional birth.

    8/31 at Bishop O’Dowd 5:30 (1st game is the toughest)
    9/8 vs Minico-Idaho at Oak Ridge 4pm (9-1 last season)
    9/14 vs West Valley-Cottonwood 7pm (Calpreps has them as northern sec. d1 #6)
    9/21 at Oak Grove-San Jose 7pm (always one of top CCS teams)