ANALY DIVES INTO THE BIG TIME
The Analy Tiger football team has had a taste of the big time and has had some success.
Last year it was a playoff win over Campolindo.
This season they opened the season with a win over Pittsburg and last week it was a playoff win over Cardinal Newman.
That win gets them to the next step and it’s a big one.
Analy meets Marin Catholic on Saturday Afternoon in the NCS Division 3 Semi-Final Game.
The win over Cardinal Newman shook up the local map.
The win over Pittsburg caused a rumble on the area map.
A win over Marin Catholic would shake the foundation of not only the NCS world, but the state high school world.
There aren’t too many people that do not wear an Analy uniform, that think they will give Marin Catholic a game, let alone win it.
Over the past five years, Marin Catholic hasn’t been the class of the North Coast Section, but it has been in a classy neighborhood.
The class of the North Coast Section is of course De LaSalle. It is obscene that they have won every NCS championship since 1991, which means that none of the kids playing this weekend, weren’t even born the last time they lost an NCS playoff game.
They really need a new word beside dynasty to describe the streak. The Niners of the 80’s were called a dynasty and they won four Super Bowls in nine seasons.
Since 2009, De LaSalle has won 66 of 69 games and all four state titles. Marin Catholic is not too far from that, going 63-6. To put that in perspective, the four leagues this website follows has thirty teams, 15 lost as many games this season as Marin Catholic has lost in the last five years.
To add to that, the six losses has been by a combined 19 points. The most one sided loss was the 2010 NCS Semi Final game to Encinal 20-15.
A third of the six losses has been in the State Championship Game in 2009 and 2012 by a combined seven points.
Marin Catholic’s record in regular season games is 46-4 and in Marin County League play is 35-0.
For comparison, Casa Grande has the best last five years in this area at 49-12. Cardinal Newman is second at 48-15-1. How good those teams have been, each lost two times more games than Marin Catholic.
The talent pool is almost is embarrassing. Take the quarterback position (anyone would). This year’s starting quarterback Morgan Mahalak received a scholarship from Oregon before starting his first game at Marin Catholic. That is because he sat on the bench until this season waiting for Jared Goff to graduate. Goff led Marin Catholic to the state championship game last season and then went to California, where he broke many freshman records in what was a forgettable season otherwise.
This season Mahalak has given Oregon a reason to let out a big sigh of relief by passing for nearly 2,200 yards, thirty one touchdowns and three interceptions.
How good Marin Catholic has been this past half decade, this maybe its best team. They have won all eleven of its games outscoring teams by an average of 47-7. There closest game was a Game 2 win over St. Ignatius by a 31-20 score. They outscored Marin County League opponents by a 50-5 average. During the middle of the season they had three straight league shutouts against teams that made the playoffs.
They followed that up the last two weeks with back to back 49-14 wins. The first one was what set up to be the Marin Catholic League championship game over San Marin, who is the No. 1 seed and a huge favorite in Division 4. The second one was in its first playoff game last week over Eureka.
The Wildcats are averaging over 400 yards a game on offense and has given up less than 200 on defense.
In the power rankings, Marin Catholic is at No. 2 in the North Coast Section. Of course De LaSalle is No. 1.
For comparison, Casa Grande is No. 5, Pittsburg (loss to Analy) No. 8, Analy No. 14, Montgomery No. 16 and San Marin is at No. 20.
Despite all of that, the guess is Analy will show up to play the game on Saturday. Despite all those big numbers, there is a trend that favors Analy.
This is the third time in the five seasons that Marin Catholic has gone into the playoffs undefeated. The other two seasons they didn’t get out of the North Coast Section Playoffs. In 2010 they lost in this game, which was the “blowout” loss to Encinal 20-15. The other loss was in 2011 when they were edged by Campolindo 20-18 in the Section Championship game.
This has been called a monster division. One reason is Marin Catholic. A couple other reasons are teams like Campolindo and Cardinal Newman. Analy has playoff wins over both of those teams over the last two years.
Are you feeling better about things Analy fans?
Actually there is reason to have hope. Yes the stars will have to align in the right place for the upset to happen, but Analy does have the talent. Whether it is enough to ruin the Marin Catholic party remains to be seen.
Anybody who has seen Ja’Narrick James run and Kerr Johnson catch can attest to the talent thing. Actually in the win over Cardinal Newman, Johnson didn’t catch one ball. If you would have said that before the game you would have figured that Cardinal Newman would be playing this game and not Analy. During the season he caught 1,100 yards worth of balls, averaging 27.5 yards a catch.
The offensive reason they are playing this game is James, who had over 230 yards of total offense and four touchdowns in the win over Cardinal Newman.
Analy has won nine straight and has outscored opponents overall by an average of 43-13 and Sonoma County League teams 51-6. In the power rankings there isn’t as much of a difference between the Marin County League and Sonoma County League. The Marin County League is more top heavy, thanks mainly to Marin Catholic and San Marin.
For the stars to align just right, Analy will need to be Analy for most of the game.
That means for example, quarterback Will Smith has thrown two interceptions during the season. It would be nice if that number didn’t change much if at all.
Johnson and James are both averaging over ten yards a touch during the regular season. That shouldn’t be expected against a defense like Marin Catholic, but an occasional 20 yard burst would be nice. Even though Johnson didn’t have a catch against Cardinal Newman they weren’t bashful about going deep. They didn’t connect. Maybe one, two or three will connect in this game.
The Analy defense has given up 13 points a game. Again that would be a lot to ask to hold Marin Catholic to that kind of number. But if they can make them earn everything and for the most part avoid the big plays, maybe a mistake would sneak in now and then.
The phrase perfect game is overrated because there is no such thing as one. How good these two teams have been, they haven’t played a perfect game.
But what Analy has to be better in is the unpredictable. The unpredictable means when trying to analyze things, something surprising will happen in the game and something surprising happens in every game. Some games its more obvious than others.
Analy won the unpredictable part of the game in its win over Cardinal Newman last week. One part was the squib kickoffs, which drove Cardinal Newman crazy all night and got Analy off to the right kind of start when they recovered a fumble on the opening kickoff to set up the first score. Later they came this close to recovering an onside kick.
The other unpredictable was the bad snap in shotgun formation which stopped one Cardinal Newman drive in the first half and ended Cardinal Newman’s hopes in the second.
Another unpredictable is turnovers. Very few games have no turnovers. You know they will happen your just not sure when. The timing of the turnover could be as big of the turnover itself.
One other hope for Analy fans is to remember how far this program has come in a short time. Just three years ago they finished under .500 for the fifth time in seven seasons. Part of the improvement was because of realignment, part is they are a better team. Even if you add two wins in three of those seasons over the new teams in the league, they still wouldn’t have finished .500.
It wasn’t too long ago that a win over Campolindo, Pittsburgh and Cardinal Newman was nothing more than a fantasy.
They are hoping that they add to the fantasy list.
The winner of this game will meet the winner of the Friday El Cerrito-Campolindo game for the NCS Division 3 championship.
NCS DIVISION 3 SEMI-FINAL
No. 4 Analy (11-1) at No. 1 Marin Catholic (11-0)
SATURDAY 1 PM
BROADCAST TIME 12:30 ON KSRO 1350
CAL PREPS PROJECTION: MARIN CATHOLIC BY 14
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