30Q-2-KICKOFF (No. 5): Taking the test

Today, I take on another reader submitted question. This one comes from YoMama.

Who has the toughest schedule coming out of the gate in Northern Cal this year?

Right off the bat, the answer is De La Salle. But, the answer is almost always De La Salle these days. No team actively pursues a challenge like the Spartans. What I will say though is this year’s schedule is not as tough as last year’s. I base that solely on the fact that DLS doesn’t have to travel across the country to take on a national-caliber team on the level of St. Thomas Aquinas. Subtracting a game like that automatically makes the schedule easier.

But, things are far from easy on Winton Dr., for many of the reasons YoMama gave when asking the question. Bellarmine is always good, Mullen-Denver is going to be good and St. Mary’s-Stockton will be solid as well. Three tough tests, then the East Bay Athletic League. If DLS is to get back to a bowl game, it will have to play an extra game too, making things even tougher. And, to top it all off, the Spartans are not playing a zero week game. That means 10 regular season games in 10 weeks. No byes.

So, you could guess I was going that direction with my answer. Who else has scheduled up this year? I’ll start with Pittsburg. I don’t think coach Victor Galli was necessarily looking to upgrade the schedule, but that’s what he ended up with. Clayton Valley, Cal, Monte Vista, Berkeley and Granite Bay make up a formidable five-pack of games, and if Pitt doesn’t come to play right out of the gate, they could very well end up in the same boat as 2010 when they had to rally to even make the playoffs. I don’t see that happening this year, but the Pirates will need to be ready to play from day one.

Another team that caught my eye is Foothill. Novato remains on the schedule, as does a Freedom team that could be very, very good. Nonleague play concludes for the Falcons with Las Lomas, always one of the most well-coached and prepared teams around. Then comes EBAL play, which is a whole other animal altogether. And Foothill finishes on the road at Amador, so a rivalry game on the road is also a bit tougher than usual.

Games against Reed-Sparks (NV), San Ramon Valley¬†and Del Oro-Loomis have James Logan on the tough schedule radar too, but that’s not unexpected. The Colts wanted the freedom to schedule tougher, they got it by going independent and I think they scheduled accordingly. Good for them.

I also wouldn’t sleep on Bishop O’Dowd’s schedule, with games against Las Lomas, Mack, Valley Christian-San Jose and Sacred Heart Cathedral in the first four weeks. The good news for the Dragons is all four are at home.


Ben Enos

  • Logan for sure scheduled up. Regardless of their record they want to win in the play-offs. Bod great schedule.
    The Jets kept Serra on the schedule added I thnk 9-2 Aptos, 5-6 D-1 Rodriguez, with B-High, BOD, SL should be tough. Also the Hornets are always on the schedule & will be improved this year. Their record will definitely show it.

  • EBAL fan

    What about San Ramon valley, Ben! Preseason schedule is Buhach Colony (SJS semis and undefeated until then), Folsom (SJS semis) and then Logan (undefeated until losing to srv in the playoffs). If that’s not a tough schedule I don’t know what is. Plus EBAL to follow.

  • I hate to say this but DLS will most likely march thru their preseason schedule with little trouble…Last year DLS shut out St. Mary’s but had to fight for their life against the Bells…but that won’t happen this time and as for Mullen…it looks like a 35-14 victory for DLS…..Lots of good football coming up…what is the best game…almost all of them…

  • BayAreaSection

    I would like to see a San Ramon Valley vs. Vacaville or Pittsburg vs. Vacaville Games in the near future. Much props to Logan! Hopefully to see Pittsburg venture more out of the NCS for Pre Season Games!

  • ManDown

    PERKIN, Jets would be lucky to be 6-5 this season. Losing too much IMO but coach Joe knows how to prepare his team so they will break 500. just for that reason.

    Pitt has a very solid schedule and we will know just how good they will be based on non league games. Pitt has the athletes and the line to be very good this season. Lets see what those coaches do.

  • ManDown….We should get a good picture of Pittsburg at the Pittsburg Jamboree on August 17th..The last two years have been a pretty good yard stick for the coming season…

  • epcthree

    @ Ben… The DLS game against Mullen will not be nearly the game it might have been. I would imagine most folks in California are not aware of the nonsense that has taken place here in Denver surrounding Mullen HS and the firing of its head coach.

    Dave Logan (Former CU All-American and Cleveland Browns receiver now a popular radio talkshow host and Bronco’s announcer) had been a successful head coach at Mullen for the past ten years, winning 4 state championships. A while back Mullen hired a new school “president” by the name of Ryan Clement. The name may sound familiar to some; he was a Mullen grad who played QB at the University of Miami in the mid 90’s. According to sources, Clement expressed a desire to become the QB coach under Logan. Logan said no (he already had his own staff) and Clement ultimately orchestrated the firing of Coach Logan. The uproar that resulted from this decision ultimately caused Clement to not attempt to renew his contract and he is no longer associated with the school. Having coached against Dave Logan, I can’t fully express to you how much of a loss this will be for Mullen.

    Mullen has hired a new head coach by the name of Tom Thenell who, while an excellent coach, has not had nearly the success of Logan (6 state championships with three different high schools). Ultimately, Mullen football will suffer and I imagine that will begin with this season.

    One other item of note; don’t be surprised if you start hearing about a school here in Colorado called Valor Christian. They have made no bones about wanting to become a national power and I have a feeling will come knocking at DLS’s door before too long. They opened their doors in 2007 and began competing with seniors in varsity foot ball in 2009. They won the state 3A Championship that season and in both 2010 and 2011 won the state 4A Championship. They are moving to 5A (the largest classification) this season and are considered the odds-on favorites to take the state title this year. Their varsity record these past three seasons is 39-3 and they currently are riding a 24 game win streak. They are already hearing the same complaints that DLS has heard over the years. It will be interesting to watch their progress.

  • If Northern Cal means this side of the Chowchilla (and if CIF ever gets its act together on this matter, this side of the Tehachapis), Granite Bay has it hands down. The Grizzlies open next town over at Del Oro High against Westlake Aug.25, then go south to take on Oaks Christian Aug.31 at Westlake High. After a bye week they get Vacaville at home Sept.14, Pittsburg at home Sept.21, and Lincoln of Stockton at home Sept.28. After taking on that bunch, they get the Sierra Foothill League, the league with the strongest MaxPreps
    power ratings northwest of the Chowchilla, Tehachapis, and Simi Valley Freeway going into the 2012 season. Their overall opponents’ power rating is 42.7. For non-league, it’s 54.0 (the strongest non-league schedule in the state at this point).
    #2 is Del Oro (who also plays Oaks and Westlake, but on opposite weekends from Granite Bay, and is also in the SFL) at 37.2 overall and 43.6 non-league.
    A sidebar on those 4 early season games: Generally the Southland FB blogsite chatrooms have no respect for NorCal FB after De La Salle. A 4-0 or 3-1 for GB and Del Oro in those games would stiffen a lot of SoCal wagging tongues. Even 2-2 would shut a lot of them up. A lot is at stake for the honor of NorCal football. It would be great if thousands of NorCalifornians showed up for those 2 games Aug.24 and 25 at Del Oro High. Oaks and Westlake are known to “travel well”.
    In the East Bay, Amador has the strongest overall strength of schedule at 35.5. DeLa has the strongest non-league at 43.3. Here are the next 10 in each category:
    Overall Non-league
    SanRamon 35.0 SanRamon 39.5
    Foothill 33.7 SanLeandro 39.3
    DLS 33.0 Amador 36.1
    MonteVista 32.1 Foothill 32.7
    Granada 32.1 Logan 32.5
    Cal 30.1 Berkeley 31.6
    DeerValley 29.6 Pitt 30.7
    Heritage 28.0 Freedom 29.7
    Pitt 27.0 DeerValley 29.3
    SanLeandro 26.5 Heritage 29.1

    I’m afraid that some of the teams that you mentioned should be good and scheduled competitive non-league games, the leagues that they’re in are just not tough enough for very strong strength of schedules.
    Kudos to the crews at SR and San Leandro for scheduling very competitive non-league teams this year. Also, Logan deserves a lot of credit for going independent and getting the lineup they did. (It’s not
    easy to schedule good teams later in the season.)

  • Missed these articles so am very late with a post script to epcthree’s post about Mullen not being all that and Valor Christian being the new national power out of Denver — Mullen beat VC last week