30Q-2-KICKOFF (No. 30): Picking the champs

Yep, it’s Aug. 23. We’ve finally reached No. 30 in our 30 Questions to Kickoff countdown. The season officially kicks off today when Concord travels to face Kennedy-Fremont at Tak Fudenna Stadium in Fremont. And then we really get underway with a host of games tomorrow. I know we’re all excited. So let’s get to our final question?

Who will win section titles?

JIMMY: Let’s start with Division I. Uh, not gonna waste time. It’s De La Salle. Anybody question that?

In Division II, I like Olito Thompson to lead Concord back to the NCS title game and I see the Minutemen winning their second title in the last three years.

Division III, to me, is always the most interesting. It’s such a great mix of really strong programs. Ignore what you see in the NCS divisions that are posted on their web site, there’s no way Cardinal Newman and Marin Catholic don’t move up to Division III. I see this as a year where Bishop O’Dowd could finally get itself back into NCS title contention and I’ll pick them as a team to reach the finals. But I’ve got to go with Marin Catholic to win it all. Jared Goff is possibly the best quarterback in the section and I think he’ll redeem a less-than-stellar outing in last year’s NCS finals.

On to Division IV. Salesian has won this two years in a row, but I’m not sure they’ve got the same level of talent from those teams. I still expect them to be good, but not sure if they have enough to win it all. Ferndale is always in the mix and from glancing at their roster, it looks like they had a lot of underclassmen next year. I’ll take them to win it.

Division V is usually a mystery. Those schools are so small that the turnover from year to year is great. Tomales is usually near the top and their roster from last year shows they were fairly young, so I’ll take them.

Finally, in the OAL, I’ve got to go with McClymonds to win the Silver Bowl. They’ve got a lot coming back and seem to be well ahead of the rest of the league.

BEN: I get to cover a game tonight! Fired up.

OK, on to business. There’s no secret in Division I. It’s De La Salle’s to lose yet again. The trickier part is to pick their opponent. I might take James Logan this year.

We’ll find out a lot about Division II tonight when Concord kicks off the season against Kennedy-Fremont. The reason that last year’s run-heavy offense worked was because nobody was expecting it. This year? I bet the Minutemen are more balanced when it comes to the run and pass breakdown. I’ll take them to win it as well.

Division III is crazy good again this year. I agree with Jimmy that this looks like the year BOD gets itself back in the hunt. I really like Hardy Nickerson as a coach, and I think they’re in it for sure. But, I also agree with Jimmy that the road to the title runs through Kentfield. No better pure passer in the area than Jared Goff, and Marin Catholic is going to be hungry to get back to Carson. I’m taking the Wildcats.

Division IV is a little more interesting this year. I say that because the potential is there for Salesian to be far more banged up than ever before once the playoffs start. Never tremendously heavy on numbers, the Pride is now playing bigger schools a bit more. I’m actually going to upset the apple cart on this one. I’m taking St. Mary’s as champion. Kevin Flemer at quarterback, Caleb Coleman at receiver and I think Keith Minor has done a good job to turn that program around. I’m going with the Panthers.

Like Jimmy, I know almost nothing about D-V. Gimme Tomales as well.

And, in the OAL, I think Mack has separated itself for the time being from the rest of the league. Coach Mac and co. get it done again.

Alright everyone. Hope you guys enjoyed the 30 questions this year. I know Jimmy and I are excited to get the season underway. See you all on the field this weekend!

Jimmy Durkin

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

  • junior

    Another great 30Q fellas! Well done

  • Ben and Jimmy…you guys have bombed us with a ton of information…this sure makes the season exciting that starts today with the concord/washington game…

  • Patrick

    It’s an even numbered year. That means Cardinal Newman will win D3. See if I’m wrong. Haha.

  • SL piratefootball

    hey ben
    i think st marys is going to surprise some people they should have the most speed in div 4 they have some good seniors, lots of talent and good staff

  • formerdragon

    Nickerson has a lot to prove this year because these kids have been under hisbwatch theblast two seasons. I personally do not think that he is a great person but i also do not want see my old high school not successful. I believe that they will win 9 or 10 games and make a good run in the playoffs. C/o 2006

  • onetwothreehornetpride

    hopefully Kemp breaks the 30-year long drought without a playoff win in Alameda!

  • EastBay Ray

    Good work, Ben & Jimmy! The best High School coverage in Northern California. Looking forward to a fun season.

  • Sportsfan

    I guess Campo is persona non grata…..again. That’s ok, we like it that way.


    @ POst #5:

    I am in agreement with you regarding the comment concerning the quality of person Nickerson is (or isn’t, for that matter).

    IMO: Nickerson and the Dragons have UNDERACHIEVED in 2010 and 2011 with the cupboard full of talent in that program. BOD has had, without a doubt, the most talent in D3, the past two years (and no distractions like the Martin kid a few years ago). But they can’t play defense worth a damn, especially in big games or second round play off action. Who is the defensive coordinator? Nickerson still has not accomplished what was done under the previous coach at BOD: WIN an NCS title (or how about three of them?). Again, IMO if the previous head coach and his staff had the experienced kids Nickerson had in 2010 and 2011 they would have hung two more NCS banners at the hilltop. Remember that the Dragons were extremely young in 2009 and they did seem to play well toward the end of that year. Played Alhambra extremely tough in NCS before lsoing in 4th quarter. Just my opinion

  • VC Fan

    Division IV Salesian has the weakest non-league schedule of anyone in D-IV. My pick is Valley Christian-Dublin. They have the talent and great coaching staff. With only 290 student in the High School they have overachieved and will take it all in 2012..

  • mckbooth

    I’ll take a pro NFL player over a well studied fan any day for a coach. The problem is they tend to be afraid to get too complicated with kids that are not at the same talent level that they came out of. This happens because they usually adjust to less speed and talent at the high school level.
    Even though the dragons had exceptional high school talent, they do not have the same type of talent a D1 Pac 10 team would have or a mediocre NFL team.
    I think they may have 2 potential NFL prospects maybe out of those last two years.

    He’ll do better with less talent as he moves forward, but he’ll start coaching at a higher level soon. He has more to offer to talents that mimic’s his own. If we were in Florida I’d say it was a good fit , but not in Norcal.
    I had a situation like this in high school and I learned more about football from a pro tailback than I did all the previous years combined. I went to a 5A high school and played for a pac 10 football team. There is a big difference.

  • Visitor

    @VCFan dude get off the VC hype and always hating on Salesian…you guys got your A%# wooped by them the last like 6 years…Even with Salesian down this year your athletes are just in another league from Salesian’s……SORRY