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CIF eliminates Open Division regional games

Open Division regional games in football are a thing of the past, the California Interscholastic Federation announced Monday.

Instead, the CIF will now select the best team from the North and best team from the South to bypass the regional finals and compete against each other in the Open Division state championship game.

Since the regional championships were created in 2012, the CIF had been selecting the two best teams in each region to square off in a regional final with the winner earning a spot in the premier state championship game. The issue with that format was that the losers of the Open Division regionals — the second best teams — were not included in the state championships.

Regional championship games for Divisions I-IV will continue.

So what does this mean for East Bay teams? The most obvious team it affects is De La Salle, which has played in and won the NorCal Open Division regional final the last two years. Both wins have come against Folsom. Should the Spartans have another dominant season, we’ll likely see them getting the bye into the Open Division state final.

The new format could also make it harder for other local teams to earn a spot in the regional championships simply because there are now fewer spots to go around.

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“When the Game Stands Tall” takes in $3 Million on first night

Jim Caviezel

“When the Game Stands Tall,” the Sony Pictures movie about the De La Salle High football team, took in an estimated $3 million at the box office on its first day of release, as it was No. 2 among new releases and No. 5 among all movies in theaters this weekend.

According to Entertainment Weekly, “If I Stay” premiered at No. 1 as it took $6.83 million. Here’s the rundown of the top 5, according to EW.

1. “If I Stay” - $6.83 million (new)

2. “Guardians of the Galaxy” - $4.83 million ($239. 1 million total domestic total)

3. “Teenage Mutant Ninja Turtles” – $4.54 million ($133.3 million total domestic total)

4. “Let’s Be Cops” – $3.23 million ($37.5 million domestic total)

5. “When The Game Stands Tall” – $3.0 million (new)

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De La Salle could be without two key players for season opener

Injuries will likely keep two of De La Salle’s top players out of action for at least next Friday’s season opener against Jesuit-Carmichael, if not longer.

Starting quarterback Anthony Sweeney suffered a knee injury and Northwestern-bound linebacker Simba Short hurt his shoulder at yesterday’s Pittsburg Jamboree, an annual four-team scrimmage. Both players are team captains.

De La Salle coach Justin Alumbaugh texted on Saturday morning that both players are still being evaluated and though the team is hoping for a quick recovery for both, they are unlikely to play next week.

The bad news came the same day De La Salle learned that it won’t play Jesuit at the 49ers’ Levi’s Stadium, as originally planned. Issues with the sod at the new facility forced the 49ers to cancel the event. De La Salle will instead play Logan at Levi’s on Oct. 11.

A new venue for the De La Salle-Jesuit game has yet to be determined.

Chris Vanderklugt will start at quarterback if Sweeney can’t play. Vanderklugt was the junior varsity starter last year.

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High school doubleheader at Levi’s Stadium cancelled

De La Salle High’s football team will not be opening the season at Levi’s Stadium next week, but the Spartans are expected to play at the 49ers brand new facility at some point this season.

The Spartans’ Aug. 29 game with Jesuit-Carmichael was supposed to be part of a prep doubleheader to help open the shiny new stadium, but a problem with the turf has forced the 49ers to call off the event.

There’s no word yet on where De La Salle and Jesuit will play next week in a game scheduled to be televised by ESPN2, but all four of the involved high school teams are expected to play at the new stadium later in the season instead.

Wilcox-Santa Clara and Manteca made up the other half of the doubleheader.

Here’s a Q and A our 49ers beat reporter, Cam Inman, did with 49ers COO Al Guido.

Q: What is the status for the Aug. 29 high school games?

A: “We are looking into rescheduling the high school games. I can confirm they will not be played next Friday. We are talking to the (athletics directors) at the schools and we feel real good we’ll be able to reschedule these for later in the year. The good news on that front is if we’re able to get them rescheduled, we have dates in mind, and we’re waiting on final confirmation. We’ll play four high school games which would make it so eight football teams will be able to play on our field, over the course of a Friday-Saturday in between a good break for the 49ers.”

Q: The other two games?

A: “I can’t confirm yet. What I will tell you is we had four teams playing on Friday. They can’t reschedule those games so they’ll occur (elsewhere). The teams they’d be playing regularly on those weekends would be the participants in those games. We wanted to make sure the four teams that were playing (next Friday) would have the opportunity to play at Levi’s. To do that, you have to play additional games now since they’re not playing each other.”

Q: So those two originally schedule games still will happen, just not at Levi’s?

A: “They will absolutely happen. They may happen at other locations, not at the high schools, but they will happen.”

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Countdown to Kickoff Question #4: Can the TCAL-Rock Division have multiple NCS champions once again?

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Today we continue our look at the East Bay high school football scene as the season inches closer. Here’s the fourth of 10 daily posts.

For this one, we head to West Contra Costa/Northern Alameda counties to check in with what may be the best small school league in Northern California.

Q: Will the TCAL-Rock Division have multiple section champions once again in 2014?

Few leagues around Northern California could claim the type of postseason success the Tri-County Athletic League-Rock Division enjoyed in football last season.
For the first time in each school’s history, El Cerrito won the Division III title and St. Mary’s won the Division IV crown. In the Division V championship game, Salesian beat Valley Christian-Dublin for its fourth section title since 2005.
“It was like a perfect storm,” Salesian coach Chad Nightingale said after last season. “To get all the teams into the playoffs that we did, and then to perform as well as we did, well that’s pretty exciting for our league.”
Could the league have multiple section champions again? Definitely.

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Countdown to Kickoff: Enough with the movie, how is the real De La Salle football team looking this year?

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If you’ve watched much TV over the last couple months, you’ve seen plenty of the De La Salle football team coached by Jim Caviezel and Michael Chiklis. You can find out Friday what happens to the movie version of the Spartans. That’s the release date for “When the Game Stands Tall,” a Hollywood film based on the end of the Spartans’ 151-game winning streak and the 2004 season.

Q: But what about the De La Salle football team coached by Justin Alumbaugh, Terry Eidson, Bob Ladouceur and company? How does the 2014 version of the Spartans look? Are they feeling more scrutanized with the movie coming out? And can they win another Open Division state championship?

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Countdown to Kickoff Question #2: Is Campolindo still the team to beat in the DFAL?

Today we continue our look at the East Bay high school football scene as the season inches closer. Here’s the second of 10 daily posts. For this one, we head to central Contra Costa County to check in with a Division III power and its league foes.

Q: Is Campolindo still the team to beat in the Diablo Foothill Athletic League?

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