30Q-2-KICKOFF (No. 27): Bowling for Carson

OK, so I didn’t forget about everyone today. Well, maybe a little. Better late than never, I say! Today, we take on a bit of a broad topic.

What East Bay teams can we expect to have a shot at a bowl game this season?

Well, for starters, you can always put De La Salle in the California Interscholastic Federation bowl discussion. I expect that to definitely be the case this year. The Spartans lost a lot, sure, but they also bring back a bunch and they’ll be in the hunt for the Open Division again. The addition of the regional playoff makes things a tad more interesting, but I think we’ve seen over the years that if any team has the kind of depth to make that work, it would be De La Salle.

Part of what made last football season one of the better ones in recent history is the fact that we had a second team in Carson for the first time. Campolindo made it in the Division III title game and acquitted itself well in a loss to Washington Union-Fresno. The Cougars return UCLA baseball commit Brett Stephens to play quarterback, but I think they’d be the first to tell you that last year was the ultimate lightning in a bottle situation. Division III is so good (see: Marin Catholic, Cardinal Newman, Bishop O’Dowd, etc.) that if they make it back there this year, I’ll be proven wrong again (not the last time, I’m sure).

As I say every year, if a Division I team from the East Bay beats De La Salle and wins the NCS Division I title, you’ve got to consider that team for a bowl bid. How could you not take a team that beats DLS? My top candidates for that this year would be San Ramon Valley, James Logan and Freedom. I really liked what I saw from Logan last week, albeit in a bit of a skewed situation (scrimmage).

Looking at the other divisions, I just don’t see another obvious choice for a bowl game. Maybe a D-II team like Concord gets all the way through behind a talent like Olito Thompson? Or maybe a team like O’Dowd gets hot at the right time to make a run through the D-III playoffs? Right now, they all look like long shots to me. Hopefully that changes throughout the year.

Ben Enos

  • The Div III road is going to be much tougher this year with the addition of the regional playoffs.

    In the past years there have been some very deserving teams from the Northern section who have been left behind because they have started and finished before the NCS and CCS.

    My guess would be we would see a regional playoff between the NCS and the Northern Section.

    Paradise, Enterprise of Redding and Foothill (Palo Cedro)always field tough teams. Paradise is playing Grant of Sacramento in Zero week.They beat Grant a Div I power it would be hard to overlook them.

    More so than ever looks like the road to Carson will start on the North half of Hwy 101.

  • ManDown

    Chris Williams is the first african american QB I can remember at De La Salle. He is a very good athlete but throwing skills not that advanced from what I saw at the scrimmage. Who was the last DLS QB that was black? Can anyone help me out?

  • renegades10

    Starting QB? Because the backup the past two years was Mike Parros who was black.

  • ManDown

    renegades10, Yes starting QB.

  • DJ

    is it relevant? Dont mean to be insensitive here

  • ManDown

    DJ, Just saying. I don’t remember the last time DLS had a black QB starting for them. I think its great and with his athleticism, the veer offense will be that more dangerious with him under center.

  • Big Dog!

    While we are at it, who was the last BOD starting RB that was white? Geeez, this topic is lame. Can we talk football and not race?

  • BayAreaSection

    The NCS Div. III bracket is one of thee if not top Division for a Carson trip. Another poster metnioned playing the Northern Section Champion (nice one) in Regional Games. How about a SJS sv. CCS reigonal Game. Other than DLS is there another Div. I contender from the CCS to face the other powers in the CCS/SJS? They forgot to mention about Marin Catholic for Div. III, they did beat Vacaville (SJS Div. II Champion). Is Encianl Div. III?

  • BayAreaSection

    Oops! I meant another Div. I contender from the NCS to face off against a CCS/SJS Power in the Regional Game? Or whom do you think will face off in regional games? Is Encinal a Div. III Team?

  • Turftoespain

    @mandown..what difference does color make. You know DLS will play the most qualified or play the one who has great potential. You can bet that Williams has earned his spot. One big thing the kid has going for himself is that he is respected by his teammates and they will rally around him if the going gets tough. He has a calm maturity in his his play & that was apparent in his freshman year. Expect to see some good play and great play from Chris these next two seasons.

  • DLS QB could be a Lynn Swann type QB- Lynn his senior year replaced the great Jess Freitas and led Serra to the WCAL championship- veer QB system after Freitas left.

  • Here’s my prediction (which doesn’t quite elicit the “scientific procedure”) for the NCS 2012 FB championships, North and South Regional championships, and Cal Bowl(CIF State FB Championships)winners. It’s certainly not fullproof but I think interesting to talk about.

    NCS D1: De La Salle vs. Foothill(Pleasanton); De La Salle winner. Logan, if they stay healthy, San Ramon,if Birsch’s passes are accurate and the defense comes through, Freedom, and Pitt could make it to the Coliseum.

    NCS D2: Concord vs. Clayton Valley; Concord winner.(Windsor, last year’s D2 Champ, has lost most of its starters and has a new coach; should not be the team
    of last year. Casa Grande, Rancho Cotati, Las Lomas, even College Park could break through.)
    North Regional Open:De La Salle vs Serra [(the CIF commissioners’ vote will determine this. Hopefully, for the honor of the North, they’ll match the D1 1st seed with the 4th seed in the North Regional Open so the D1 North Regional winner will have a shot at giving the South Regional D1 champ a competitive game. Let’s face it,after De La Salle and usually someone else, the Northern teams get kind of thin compared to about a dozen “power” teams in the Southland.)(I don’t think Bellarmine has the team they had last year: they only have 4 starters returning, and although Jr. QB KJ Carta-Daniels is reputed to be a good one, I doubt if he’s a Travis McHue, at least not this year. However, the Bells can’t be ruled out as WCAL or CCS Open Champs.) Other strong NorCal D1 teams should be Del Oro (SJS D2 is a Cal Bowl D1 division this year and the Golden Eagles are now SJS D2), Lincoln of Stockton, Granite Bay, Vacaville, Franklin of Elk Grove, Grant, Pleasant Grove, Folsom, and St. Marys of Stockton.] Winner: De La Salle.

    North Regional D1: Del Oro(SJS D2) vs. Lincoln of Stockton(SJS D1). (see comments concerning North Regional Open); Winner: Del Oro.

    North Regional D2: Paradise(NS D1) vs. Oakdale(SJS D3). [(Paradise could easily go undefeated with a schedule that includes Grant and,of course, Foothill of Palo Cedro, who should be back as a power this year. Also, the Northern Section has had only 1 Cal Bowl team: Hamilton who got annihilated 7-59 by St. Margarets in the 2008 Cal Bowl D4. Although Novato played admirably against Oceanside 14-28 in the 2007 Cal Bowl D2, undefeated Foothill was snubbed with the excuse their schedule wasn’t that strong (as if the Marin County League was tougher than the Eastern League up North!)The North Commissioner will certainly bring this up at the Cal Bowl selection commitee meeting Dec.2 if Paradise (or another NS team) has a very strong season.The NCS D2 Champ, or some other team, could play in the Regionals if no NS team has a great season or Oakdale, if otherwise strong, gets cobbered by Oceanside Aug. 31 down at Westlake Hi. Another clinker in D2 is that a top WCAL team could choose at the end of the regular season to play in its “enrollment” CCS playoff division rather than the CCS Open Division(Several, including Serra, did this last year.). Both CCS D1 and D2 are Cal Bowl D2 this year.* Pioneer, Los Gatos, Palo Alto, and some other good CCS teams might do this. The commissioners may have a real hard time picking a couple of North Region teams in D2.]; Winner: Paradise

    South Regional Open: Santa Margarita(SS Pac 5) vs. Narbonne (LACS D1). (I won’t go into SoCal teams since I doubt if many around here particularly care about what goes on southeast of the Chowchilla. Or, east of Contra Costa and Alameda Counties and north of the San Joaquin for that matter. I highly recommend going towww.calhisportsfootball.com and/or California High School Football to get info about high school football in the other parts of the state.) I will say, though, that besides Santa Margarita, the reigning D1 Champ who gets 16 guys back as starters and an O-line that averages over 290 lbs to be coached by “wiley ole” Harry Welsh, the Cal Bowl Selection Committee will have a tough time figuring out the other 3 slots as to who goes to the Open and who goes to D1 in the South.]; Winner: Santa Margarita.

    South Regional D1: Rancho Cucamonga(SS Inland) vs. Bakersfield(CS D1). (see comments for South Regional Open); winner: Rancho Cucamonga.

    South Regional D2: Oceanside (SDS D2) vs. Edison of Huntington Beach(SS Southwest). (I want to comment about this division since I know of nothing said about what I’m going to point out. Hope nobody gets too bored. If Oceanside turns ou to be as good as many are predicting, the Pirates should be a hands down choice. However, Edison and the Sunset League got kicked out of the Southern Section’s D1 Pac 5 playoff division last year and dumped all the way down to the D6 Southwest division which is a Cal Bowl D2. This would be like putting all but DLS of the EBAL teams into the NCS D2 playoffs! Needless to say there’s been more than a bit of squawking by other teams and leagues in the Southwest. Edison will probably lose to Servite and Mater Dei in non-league games, but should have little trouble in the playoffs unless it’s from another Sunset team or possibly Tustin, Villa Park, or the usual Southwest Champ, La Habra. Or, another Sunset team such as Huntington Beach, Los Al, or Newport Harbor could take Edison’s place this year in their league and/or win the division. Opposite in situation is Lompoc and the Los Padres League. That, and because my wife used to live there, deems this necessary to mention. Lompoc was the undefeated SS D10Northwest Division Champ last year and most thought the Lompocians would be in the D3 Cal Bowl, but were snubbed in favor of also undefeated Washington Union of Easton(next to Fresno)and Central Section D4 Champ. Not to demean Washington Union (they beat Campo 21-15),it’s fair to say CIF politics were involved. The Braves have 15 starters returning, including their 5 star RB, and should even be stronger than last year, but have to get through the much tougher (arguably the 8th or 9th toughest playoff division in the state) SS D4Western Division, 6 divisions up from last year! I might add, the Los Padres teams are relatively 7 smaller public schools (under 1500, except for Santa Maria at about 2400 and the perenial last place team, 2 of them are well under 900 and 800 respectively) especially in the Southland. It would be like putting the DFAL(which is similiar in size, composition, and competition levels) into the SJS D2 playoffs. However, Lompoc should have the team to run the table and get past the always formidable Mission League teams in the playoffs. If this were to be the case, would the Commissioners give the Lompocians the D2 nod over 9 other South Region division champions (Not including Oceanside’s SDS D2), of which only 1 has much of a chance of going undefeated. Hopefully, this will all be on the Commissioners’ palette at the Selection meeting Dec. 2.]; Winner: Oceanside.

    NCS D3: Marin Catholic vs. Campolindo. (O’Dowd certainly has the athletes to get that far, but the Dragons can’t shoot themselves in the foot. Cardinal Newman would be a threat too if they move up from D4. Actually, MC is technically a D4 team also, but it’s very unlikely they’d stay down there. Eureka might be a surprise, even though most think they’ll be better than last year. Novato can never be counted out, and El Cerrito also has the athletes.) Winner: Marin Catholic (Campo lost most of its starters including their best backs and receivers, but return 1st rate QB Brett Stephens plus a 10-0 JV team, are coached by Kevin Macy, one of the best in all the land,and even if they get their Fairy God Mother and her majic back, I doubt if even all of that can overcome MC’s monster team.)

    North Regional D3: Marin Catholic vs. Palma(CCS D3). (Palma could choose to go into the CCS Open play-
    offs but is unlikey to unless they’re much better than anyone is expecting or the WCAL and other top CCS teams end up with worse seasons than anyone is expecting. If the Chieftans do go Open or really falter than Sutter(NS D2) would have to be a favorite, especially if they run the table or only lose once in a competitive game.)Winner: Marin Catholic

    South Regional D3: Valley Center(SDS D4) vs Washington Union(CS D4). Winner: Valley Center

    NCS D4: Salesian vs Fortuna (Not too many candidates in this division. Fortuna was good last year and most predict a stronger Husky team in 2012. Salesian isn’t expected to be what they were in 2011, but should still have enough speed and size to hold off every one else in D4 and win the new Tri County Rock Division.) Winner: Salesian

    NCS D5: Ferndale vs Valley Christian of Dublin. (Ferndale has moved up to D4 for the past several seasons but the Ferndale locals told me that the Wildcats are thinking past the section for a possible Cal Bowl D4 birth this season and this school of less than 150 will stay in NCS D5. Valley Christian has been improving every year and there’s no reason to expect it to stop in 2012. St. Helena, the North Central favorite, and Berean Christian could also get to the finals.) Winner: Ferndale

    North Regional D4: Central Catholic (SJS D4) vs Ferndale. (Central Catholic will have to win the SJS D4, arguably the 2nd toughest Cal Bowl D3 playoff division in the state. There are plenty of good teams in that division: Colfax, Calaveras, Modesto Christian, Argonaut, Hilmar, Sonora, and always very good Escalon. Placer could end up in that division too since their enrollment puts them in the SJS D3-D4 bubble. Also, the Raiders play in the tough Western Athletic Conference composed mostly of SJS D3 teams and play St. Marys of Stockton at home Sept. 7 non-league, they could easily have a 2 loss regular season. Since, SJS seeds by overall record, they probably will not get a #1 or #2 playoff seeding and not have a home field advantage in the semis. Still, I think this team will be good enough to get through the SJS D4 playoffs. Ferndale, as good as they are for a tiny public school, is just not in the same “league” as Central.) Winner: Central Catholic

    South Regional D4: Sierra Canyon(SS Mid-Valley) vs Santa Fe Christian(SDS D5). Winner: Sierra Canyon

    CIF State Championships (Cal Bowls)
    Open: De La Salle vs Santa Margarita.[This game should be a real humdinger(no sarcasm intended) should it come about and Margarita is as good as the media thinks the Eagles will be and DeLa is DE LA SALLE this year. Margarita, as prevoiusly stated, has an O-line that averages over 290 and none them are overweight tubbies. QB Johnny Stanton,a Tim Tebow play-a-like, was a Nike Elite 11 finalist. Both coaches: Harry Welsh of Santa Margarita and Bob Ladeceur of De La Salle are the 2 most successful high school coaches in California and arguably the best. Plus Ole Harry’s Canyon of Canyon Country team upset Lad’s Spartans 27-13 in the first Cal Bowl D1 in 2006. In a TV interview at halftime it was easy to see Coach Lad wasn’t too happy with the Spartans’ performance. The guys at CIF, if they really know their high school football, should be praying the Eagles and Spartans both have terrific seasons and get to Carson with good weather. It would be the best high school football matchup ever in this state! And, they could really lick their chops about the possible huge attendance records it would make with the resulting big revenue for CIF coffers!] Winner: De La Salle (if I currently didn’t live about 14 miles from 1130 Winton Drive, Concord and live the vast majority of my life in the East Bay, but instead lived most of it on the other side of the Tehachapis, I’d probably be predicting Margarita with the slight edge!)

    D1: Rancho Cucamonga vs Del Oro. Winner: Rancho Cucamonga (as well coached, football savy of the players, and ablity to adjust to the game situation the Golden Eagles can do, Cucamonga’s size, speed, athleticism and depth will be too much for DO. Could be a very similiar game as to last year’s Del Oro-Helix game in Cal Bowl D2).

    D2: Oceanside vs Paradise. Winner: Oceanside (If the Pirates come through the way many are predicting, with the possible exception of Lompoc, no D2 team north of the Santa Monica Freeway will be able to stay in the game with them).

    D3: Marin Catholic vs Valley Center. Winner: Marin Catholic (The MC program would be a SJS D2 or SS Western Division power if the school were located in the Delta Area or LA. This year is no different; it may be the best Wildcat team ever.

    D4: Central Catholic vs Sierra Canyon. Winner: Central Catholic [Sierra Canyon is a newer private school of about 300 students in Chatsworth that’s only been a full 4 year high school for about 6 years that has made it clear they want to have an outstanding athletic program, especially in football. They’re the reigning D4 State Champions and showed a powerfull offensive machine against LeGrand in last year’s Cal Bowl D4 (34-13). Most of their offensive guys are back, including their all-section RB. However, Central Catholic will not be LeGrand, and with the possible exception of Sante Fe Christian, Sierra should not face any defense in 2012 anyway near the caliber of the Raiders’.]

    * Until last year, the Los Angeles City Section allowed their schools to choose whether to be a D1 or D2 elgible football playoff team. But, the teams had to declare well before the FB season started. However, this was discontinued because the number of D1 teams got smaller every year. Now, the section mandates a teams division classification, but with the teams near the bottom of D1 and near the top of D2 able to appeal their classification.
    It’s fine if CCS wants to let the top teams choose whether to be in the Open or their enrollment division, but like it was in LA, the classification should be made before the football season starts.