NCS football playoff picture

Miramonte can qualify for the NCS Division II playoffs with a win this week.

Miramonte can qualify for the NCS Division II playoffs with a win over Dublin this weekend.

With one week left in the regular season, here’s a look at the North Coast Section playoff picture in Divisions I-IV.


Qualified (in no particular order): De La Salle, Amador Valley, Foothill, Cal, San Ramon Valley, Monte Vista, Antioch, Pittsburg, Freedom, Liberty, James Logan, San Leandro, Mission San Jose

Need to win this weekend: Heritage, Deer Valley, Castro Valley

Eliminated: Berkeley, Dougherty Valley, Irvington

Notes: Even though there are only 19 total teams in Division I this year, it’s going to be a pretty full bracket with thirteen teams having already qualified for the maximum 16-team tournament. One more is sure to join them. Heritage and Deer Valley aren’t just playing to avoid the BVAL cellar, the winner will be playoff eligible and the loser will not. Castro Valley can also make it with a win over Bishop O’Dowd in its season finale. And no, including Mission San Jose on the “qualified” list was not a typo. The Warriors played just one Division I team this year — Irvington — and won, so they have a qualifying record against Division I teams. But at 1-8 overall, coach Sam Baugh said this week that Mission San Jose wouldn’t apply… The committee could have trouble deciding between Pittsburg and James Logan for the No. 3 seed.

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CIF endorses football clinic

The California Interscholastic Federation announced today that it is endorsing a free clinic about football techniques that will be held in February in Santa Clara, UC Davis, UCLA and Balboa Park in San Diego.
The Practice Like Pros clinic, which will have former NFL stars Warren Moon and Anthony Munoz as panelists among others, advocates less contact on high school practice fields. The CIF will issue clinic invitations to high school coaches, athletic directors, team doctors, athletic trainers, principals/headmasters and players’ parents.
The tour itinerary is as follows: Feb. 4 at 9 a.m. — Palisades Ballroom, UCLA; Feb. 4 at 2 p.m. — San Diego Hall of Champions, Balboa Park, San Diego; Feb. 5 at 9 a.m. — The Theater at Santa Clara Convention Center; Feb. 5 at 2 p.m. — Wright Hall, UC Davis.


Boys Soccer: WSC, Pre-Season Rankings

The time has come to release the schedule for the Winter Soccer Classic, and to make the Pre-Season Top 15 official.
The WSC will start right when I return from England, where I will be making a pilgrimage to visit many Premier League grounds. The trip will also include a stop in Germany to watch Everton in the Europa League. More details to follow.
Without further adieu.
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Bishop O’Dowd’s Paris Austin headed to Boise State

Bishop O’Dowd High boys basketball player Paris Austin announced on Twitter this afternoon that he has orally committed to Boise State.
“I am truly blessed to have this opportunity and to be able to play at a high level,” he said in the tweet.
Rivals.com listed the 5-foot-11 point guard as a three-star player. He was selected first-team all-Bay Area News Group East Bay last season as a junior.


Five East Bay football games to watch: Week 9

Tyler Henderson, right, and Acalanes will try to stay unbeaten in DFAL play against a tough Las Lomas team.

Tyler Henderson, right, and Acalanes will try to stay unbeaten in DFAL play against a tough Las Lomas team.

With just two weeks left in the regular season, league championship races are heating up. Many teams trailing in the standings still have plenty at stake, such as improving their postseason seeding or becoming playoff eligible. Here’s a look at some of the top games of the weekend.

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Realignment of the NCS’ Valley Conference is underway

There’s still a long way to go, but the the North Coast Section’s Valley Conference has taken one big step in its realignment process.

Representatives from Valley Conference schools, made up of teams in the current BVAL, DVAL, DFAL and EBAL, met earlier this month and voted for a league alignment proposal submitted by Las Lomas principal Matt Campbell.

Las Lomas’ proposal calls for three large leagues.

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Five East Bay football games to watch: Week 8

Nick Moore and Pittsburg have an important BVAL game with Liberty this week.

Nick Moore and Pittsburg have an important BVAL game with Liberty this week.

There’s matchup between the top two ranked East Bay teams, but I have a hunch the best game of the night is going to be on the other side of Concord. While De La Salle hosts Foothill, Concord and Clayton Valley Charter will get together for one of the best rivalry games around. Here’s a closer look at those games and three others we think are worth keeping an eye on.

Clayton Valley Charter (7-0) at Concord (7-0), Friday, 7 p.m. — There’s much more at stake than a trophy in this year’s ClayCord Cup. Both teams come into the game undefeated and the winner will have the inside track to the DVAL title, along with the top seed in the NCS Division II playoffs. They both also have offenses that have been virtually unstoppable all season.  Plus, both teams have numerous key returners from last year’s game, which Clayton Valley won 49-48 when Concord’s late two-point conversion try failed. The Eagles are led by running back Miles Harrison,  who is averaging 12.4 yards per carry. The senior has 1,164 rushing yards and 15 TDs this season. Concord also returns its top skill guys, including QB Mitch Daniels, RB Malik Blackburn and WR Mason Knight. Those guys, along with an excellent offensive line, have the Minutemen averaging over 50 points and 500 yards a game. Concord hasn’t defeated Clayton Valley Charter in three tries since Tim Murphy took over the Eagles’ program in 2012.

Foothill (7-0) at De La Salle (7-0), Friday, 7 p.m. — In another game between unbeatens (a rarity to still have so many this late in the season), the best Falcons team in several years travels to Owen Owens Field. But it’s likely to be an uphill battle for Foothill, despite its rare collection of top-tier skill guys. De La Salle is well-rested coming off its bye week and has been demolishing all comers this season on its rise to a No. 2 national ranking in multiple polls. One of the biggest challenges for Foothill, which leads the EBAL after posting wins over California and San Ramon Valley for the first time since 2008, will be slowing De La Salle’s offense. According to stats on MaxPreps.com, the Spartans haven’t punted since they played Del Oro on Sept. 19. Their starters have sat the entire second half in their past two games against San Ramon Valley and James Logan, winning teams that are ranked in the top 10 in the East Bay.

Liberty (6-1) at Pittsburg (5-2), Friday, 7 p.m. — The BVAL has plenty of solid teams and many games left, but this could be a big one in ultimately determining the league champion. Pittsburg is in a two-way tie for first in the BVAL standings after winning its first two games a combined 84-0 and has four shutouts on the year. With seven defensive players getting serious interest from colleges (three have offers) it’s no wonder teams have so much trouble scoring on the Pirates. Liberty has come crashing back to earth a bit following a rare 5-0 start to the season. The Lions lost to rival Heritage 15-12 in their BVAL opener, then gave up a big lead to Antioch before holding on for a 24-18 win last week. But a win over Pittsburg would put Liberty right back into the league title picture.

San Leandro (3-4) vs. Bishop O’Dowd (3-4) at Burrell Field, Friday, 7 p.m. — The overall records don’t look special, but both teams are in the thick of the WACC-Foothill race. The Pirates are battle tested after an ultra tough nonleague schedule during which they were without standout QB Stephen Johnson and only won one game. But they’ve dominated in a 2-0 start to WACC-Foothill play and the UCLA-bound Johnson could return this weekend, making them even more formidable. O’Dowd lost yet another heartbreaker in its league opener before beating Berkeley 48-7 last week. Three of O’Dowd’s four losses have been by five points or fewer.

Mt. Eden (5-1-1) at Piedmont (7-0), Friday, 7 p.m. — The team with the best shot at ruining an unexpected perfect regular season for Piedmont comes to town for a first-place showdown in the WACC-Shoreline. Both teams are 2-0 in league, tying for the lead. Piedmont’s defense continued to play well in a 46-0 drubbing of Arroyo last week. Mt. Eden, which beat Piedmont 69-48 last year, has only lost to unbeaten Kennedy-Fremont this year. After Mt. Eden, the remaining teams left on Piedmont’s schedule (Alameda and San Lorenzo) have combined for three wins. The Highlanders have a legitimate shot at an unbeaten regular season after going 6-6 overall last year. But they need to beat Mt. Eden, something they haven’t done since since both joined the WACC-Shoreline in 2012.

Bonus: John Swett (6-1) hosts Berean Christian (4-3) in a game for first place in the TCAL-Stone.


East Bay football poll — 10/21

Salesian and Kennedy-Fremont are newcomers to our latest East Bay prep football poll.

Team Record Points Last week
1. De La Salle (6) 7-0 90 1
2. Foothill 7-0 84 2
3. California 5-2 73 3
t4. Clayton Valley Charter 7-0 71 4
t4. Pittsburg 5-2 71 5
6. Campolindo 8-0 60 t6
7. San Ramon Valley 4-3 55 t6
8. James Logan 5-2 45 9
9. McClymonds 6-0 43 8
10. Concord 7-0 38 10
11. Freedom 5-2 28 13
12. Liberty 6-1 21 t14
13. Las Lomas 5-2 16 12
14. Salesian 5-2 14 NR
15. Kennedy-Fremont 7-0 6 NR

Also receiving votes:  Amador Valley (4-3, 3 votes), Acalanes (6-1, 2).  The East Bay Football Poll is voted on by the prep sports staff of Bay Area News Group East Bay. Records are through Saturday.