NCS PLAYOFF ROUND ONE PREVIEW: DON’T EXPECT TO MANY MAJOR UPSETS
The first rule of for the first round of the NCS football playoffs is don’t try to take a lot of time trying to pick an upset, let the upset come to you.
That is because they don’t happen very often.
This is the sixth year of the current format in which the East and North Bay are combined and the seeds go into double figures.
The double figure seed hasn’t done very well.
There has been 104 games involving double figure seeds since 2008 and they have a record of 17-87 for 16.3 winning percent. If that was the percentage in the NCAA basketball playoffs, there would be no March Madness.
The best season for the double seed was in 2009 when they went 8-18. One of the winners was No. 10 Analy who defeated No. 7 Acalanes 37-35.
If you think the double digit made some magical run, don’t. In the second round they went 5-12. Two of those wins were games that both teams were double seeds.
Actually both those winners went all the way to the championship game. In 2009 it was No. 10 Pittsburg in Division 1 before losing to De La Salle (of course) 49-14. Last year in Division 4 San Marin was also was a No. 10 went to the finals, before losing to Justin Siena 27-13.
The lowest seed to win the championship was in 2007 when No. 7 Fort Bragg won the Division 4 championship.
There has been 25 section champions crowned during that time and 17 have been won by the No. 1 seed. Of course with DeLaSalle, five for five of that is in Division 1. Still in the other four the No. 1 seed is 12 of 20 which is a pretty solid percentage.
Division 2 and 5 has had No. 1 seeds win four of five. It was in 2009 when the No. 1 fell in each division. Eureka as a No. 4 seed won Division 2 and St. Elizabeth as a No. 2 won Division 5.
The No. 1 seed has stuggled the most in Division 3 and 4. The No. 1 seed hasn’t won the championship since 2008. No. 2 has won it in the three of four years since with Campolindo as a No. 3 winning it in 2011.
Division 4 has the most suspense. Besides No. 7 Fort Bragg winning it in 2009, No. 4 Justin Siena took it in 2008 and No. 3 Salesian in 2010. Things have gotten back to normal with No. 1 has winning both seasons.
It is a reward for some of the teams for a job well done to make the playoffs. But for most that barely get in, they are a minor annoyance to the teams that end up winning the whole thing.
PLAYER OF THE WEEK
Derek Murphy, St. Vincent…a work horse performance help wins the NCL II/Bay League championship for St. Vincent. Murphy carried the ball 37 times for 189 yards and three touchdowns as St. Vincent took a 27-14 win over Calistoga. His 44 yard was his third touchdown of the first half and turned out to be the winning score.
ROUND ONE SCHEDULE…ALL GAMES START AT 7 PM UNLESS WHERE NOTED
DIVISION 2-DEFENDING CHAMPION: CLAYTON VALLEY CHARTER
No. 9 Windsor (5-5) at No. 8 Rancho Cotate (6-4)
KSRO GAME OF THE WEEK…BROADCAST TIME 6:30
CAL PREPS PROJECTION: Windsor by 1
No. 13 American (7-3) at No. 4 Montgomery (8-2)
CAL PREPS PROJECTION: Montgomery by 19
No. 15 San Lorenzo (5-5) at No. 2 Clayton Valley Charter (9-1)
CAL PREPS PROJECTION: Clayton Valley by 39
No. 11 College Park (6-3-1) at No. 6 Northgate (8-2)
CAL PREPS PROJECTION: Northgate by 21
No. 16 Alamada (6-4) at No. 1 Casa Grande (10-0)
CAL PREPS PROJECTION: Casa Grande by 36
No. 12 Newark Memorial (6-4) at No. 5 Concord (7-3)
CAL PREPS PROJECTION: Concord by 17
No. 7 Las Lomas (6-4) vs. Washington (6-4) at Tak Fudenna Staduim
CAL PREPS PROJECTION: Washington by 1
No. 3 Miramonte (8-2) at No. 14 Tennyson (7-3)…1 pm
CAL PREPS PROJECTION: Miramonte by 30
Windsor and Rancho Cotate meet for the second time and the results of the game is why the game is in Rancho Cotate. On September 27th in the first league game of the season Rancho Cotate defeated Windsor 43-14. It was 29-7 at the half.
Windsor has already had a form of a playoff game. They were in a must win situation last week and came away with an impressive 24-0 win over Montgomery. They had gone into the game losing four of five.
According to the power rankings, only Miramonte had a tougher schedule than Windsor among Division 2 teams.
This looks like a high scoring game. Rancho Cotate has hit the 40 point mark the last three weeks and given up at least 20 the last five weeks.
Windsor had given up 40 two straight weeks before the shutout win over Montgomery.
Rancho Cotate has gone to the NCS Championship game two of the three years. In between Windsor had its 14-0 season and won it all in 2011.
One of the surprising draws of the Sunday announcement was Montgomery getting a No. 4. The Vikings seemed to right the ship after less than impressive wins over Ukiah and Santa Rosa by defeating Maria Carrillo to knock them out of playoff consideration. Then last week the shutout by a Windsor team that has given up over 30 point a game in league play.
American came in second in the Mission Valley League. The league champion was Washington, who is the No. 10 seed and started 0-3 which included a 29-23 loss to Windsor.
American has won four of five and scored at least 40 points in each win. They run more than pass averaging nearly 300 yards a game. Both running backs, Sophomore Jared Luty and senior Drew Lyell could go over the 1,000 yard rushing mark and has combined to score 23 of the teams 36 rushing touchdowns.
Last week was the first week of the season that Montgomery running back Logan Francavilla didn’t score a touchdown. He is four yards away from the 1,300 yard mark and has scored 21 of the Vikings 28 rushing touchdowns.
Casa Grande waits till Saturday to play its first game in school history as a No. 1 seed. They meet an Alameda team that in a three way tie for second in the West Alameda League one game behind Tennyson, who they defeated 20-13.
Alameda has a balanced offense that averages 340 yards a game. To compare Casa Grande averages 420. They are led by junior quarterback Elijah Hernandez who has thrown for 1, 300 yard and rushed for a team high 600. He doesn’t make mistakes throwing 16 touchdown passes and only three interceptions. He also rushed for a team high six touchdowns.
That sounds a little bit like Casa Grande senior quarter Jujuan Lawson. His numbers are 1,690 yards passing with 18 touchdowns and one interception plus over 700 yards rushing and ten touchdowns.
His ten touchdowns isn’t a team high. That belongs to running back John Porchivina who has rushed for twelve scores while rushing for over 1,300 yards.
Alameda is in the playoffs for the first time since 2009 and hasn’t finished over .500 since 2007.
SECOND ROUND POSSIBILITIES:
Windsor-Rancho Cotate at Analy
Concord at Montgomery
DIVISION 3-DEFENDING CHAMPION: MARIN CATHOLIC
No. 1 Marin Catholic (10-0) BYE
No. 13 Petaluma (5-5) at No. 4 Analy (9-1)
CAL PREPS PROJECTION: Analy by 36
No. 2 Campolindo (10-0) BYE
No. 14 Tamalpais (6-4) vs. No. 3 El Cerrito (8-2) at DeAnza High School
CAL PREPS PROJECTION: El Cerrito by 36
No.9 Hercules (9-1) at No. 8 Eureka (8-2)
CAL PREPS PROJECTION: Hercules by 1
No. 12 Drake (6-4) at No. 5 Cardinal Newman (7-3)
CAL PREPS PROJECTION: Cardinal Newman by 43
No. 10 Sonoma Valley (7-3) at No. 7 Acalanes (7-3)
CAL PREPS PROJECTION: Acalanes by 24
No. 11 Novato (4-6) at No. 6 Encinal (8-2)
CAL PREPS PROJECTION: Encinal by 15
Analy hasn’t played in two weeks and that was against Petaluma in a game they won 42-13. As one sided as that score sounds, it was the closest SCL game the Tigers played. Analy led 21-10 at the half and put the game away with two third quarter touchdowns.
In the game Analy running back Ja’Narrick James rushed for a season high 173 yards and three touchdowns.
Petaluma is mainly a rushing offense led by senior Gabe Medina who needs 41 yards to go over 1,000 on the season. He went for 131 yards and a touchdown against Analy.
Cardinal Newman and Drake have one common opponent and that doesn’t help fuel the fire for a close game. That opponent is Novato who Cardinal Newman beat in early September 41-9. Novato defeated Drake 42-14 in Marin County League play.
Drake started the season 3-0, two of the teams ended up with a combined record of 2-18.
Four of their five losses have been by four touchdowns or more.
Sonoma Valley comes into the playoffs on a down note. The regular season ended with a 24-21 loss to Petaluma which snapped a five game winning streak.
Quarterback Dan Deely has passed for over 1,200 yards and thrown 14 touchdowns and three interceptions.
Acalanes finished 3-3 in the Diablo Foothill League. That league winner was Campolindo. Acalanes lost three straight to start the league season to teams with a combined overall record of 24-6. One of those teams was undefeated Campolindo and the other two teams are in the playoffs. Since those games they have won three straight.
SECOND ROUND POSSIBILITIES:
Analy at Cardinal Newman (sorry Petaluma, but sure you have noticed that, maybe even using it for a rallying cry to ruin that game).
DIVISION 4-DEFENDING CHAMPION: JUSTIN SIENA
No. 9 Piner (5-5) at No. 8 St. Vincent-St. Patrick (5-5)
CAL PREPS PROJECTION: Piner by 1
No. 13 Kelseyville (6-4) at No. 4 St. Helena (8-2)
CAL PREPS PROJECTION: St. Helena by 19
No. 2 Fortuna (8-2) BYE
No. 3 Healdsburg (6-4) BYE
No. 1 San Marin (8-2) BYE
No. 12 Fort Bragg (5-5) at No. 5 St. Mary’s (6-4)
KUNK 92.7 FM…BROADCAST TIME 1 PM
CAL PREPS PROJECTION: St. Mary’s by 32
No. 10 Piedmont (5-5) at No. 7 Moreau Catholic
CAL PREPS PROJECTION: Moreau Catholic by 3
No. 11 Del Norte (4-6) at No. 6 Justin-Siena (6-4)
CAL PREPS PROJECTION: Justin-Siena by 14
There were two surprises involving local team in this division, one was good news-the other not so good.
The good was Healdsburg who got a No. 3 seed which came with a first round bye. The coaching staff will be in Napa on Saturday to scout the Del Norte-Justin Siena game. They will host the winner of that game in the second round next Saturday Night.
The not so good was Piner who was hoping to get a first round home game. Instead they got the dreaded No. 9 seed. The reason dreaded is because they have to go on the road in round one, then if they win they go on the road again to face the No. 1 seed, which in this case has a first round bye.
On the bright side Piner is playing its first playoff game since 2003. There is a little story with that. That was Paul Cronin’s first season as head coach at Cardinal Newman. He came from Piner to take the job. The last regular season game, Cardinal Newman defeated Piner 34-21 to win the NBL championship. The playoffs were a lot different then and in Round One of the NCS playoffs the next week; Piner met Cardinal Newman again and pulled off a 21-14 upset.
That game was played at Casa Grande, which is where they were at the next week against Casa Grande and lost 27-0, so some things haven’t changed.
Piner Quarterback Noel Hernandez needs 64 yards to go over the 2,000 yard mark for the second straight season. He has thrown eighteen touchdowns, seven of them to running back Niko Formosa, who has also rushed for four.
St. Patrick/St. Vincent is in the Tri County Rock League which was won by El Cerrito. Five of the seven teams in the league have made the playoffs. St. Patrick/ St. Vincent come into the game with a three game winning streak.
Division 2 has an NBL vs. NBL game, Division 3 has an SCL vs. SCL game and Division 4 has an NCL I vs. NCL I game.
St. Helena defeated Kelseyville 42-12 in what was the opening league game. It was Kelseyville’s first loss after a 3-0 start and started a four game losing streak. They have rebounded to win three straight.
St. Helena comes into the game with a four game winning streak. In those games they have given up 20 points. The least they have scored is 28. The losses by St. Helena are to Middletown and Healdsburg. The Healdsburg game was the second one of the season by a 16-14 score.
Fort Bragg meets a St. Mary’s team that tied St. Patrick-St. Vincent for third in the Tri County Rock League. All four losses are to playoff teams.
SECOND ROUND POSIBILITIES
Piner at San Marin
Justin-Siena at Healdsburg
DIVISION 5-DEFENDING CHAMPION: FERNDALE
No. 8 Emery (6-3) at No. 1 Middletown (9-1)
CAL PREPS PROJECTION: Middletown by 37
No. 7 St. Bernard (8-2) at No. 2 Valley Christian (7-3)
CAL PREPS PROJECTION: Valley Christian by 19
No. 5 Salesian (5-5) at No. 4 St. Vincent (7-2)…1 pm
CAL PREPS PROJECTION: Salesian by 6
No. 6 Calistoga (8-1) at No. 3 Ferndale (7-3)
KWPT 100.3 Fortuna…BROADCAST TIME 1 PM
CAL PREPS PROJECTION: Calistoga by 4
According to the Cal Preps Projection in Division 2, 3 and 4, the No.9 seed is on the road and a favorite over the No. 8 seed. Outside this Division, that is the only games where the lower road seed is the favorite. In this bracket there are two that are favored.
Both those games are on Saturday and involve local teams; one of them is the favorite, the other the underdog. Ironic the underdog beat the favorite last week to set in motion these games.
Of course we are talking about the two teams played in the NCL II/Bay League Championship game, which was taken by St. Vincent in a 27-14 win over Calistoga.
Both teams are going against teams that have had some playoff success.
Calistoga is meeting Ferndale who is the NCS Division 5 defending champions. In its school history they have won eight championships, including four of the first six ever played. That first one in 1975 Ferndale defeated St. Helena 7-6 in the championship game in then what was a four team tournament. In the first round, St. Helena defeated Calistoga 42-0 and Ferndale took Emery 45-0.
Salesian success came in Division 4 where they won two of the last three championships.
Middletown is the favorite in this bracket and meets an Emery team that has seen its program change since that first playoff in 1975. It has been up and down along with stop and go with the program since. They have started and stopped the program three times in the last decade. From 2001-2011 they played four years and had a combined record of 3-34. They seem to be on good footing now going 4-5 last year and 6-3 this season.
St. Bernard Catholic head coach is former Piner Coach Matt Tomlin. Tomlin also was offensive coordinator for the undefeated Windsor team of two seasons ago. Earlier this season St. Bernard Catholic defeated Ferndale for the first time since 1995. Tomlin was the quarterback of that team.
SECOND ROUND POSSIBILITES
St. Vincent at Middletown
St. Bernard Catholic at Valley Christian
Yes we are following this Division. Nobody thinks De LaSalle will lose because they don’t lose in the NCS playoffs. It is written in the NCS bylaws. But if they do the unthinkable and gets beat, you will hear about it long before it is typed here. That would be treated by the press as big as the Kennedy Assassination.
SRJC (6-3, 2-2) at San Mateo (8-1, 3-1)
SATURDAY 1 PM…KBBF 89.1 FM
The regular season end for SRJC who has had a nice bounce back season in Lenny Wagner’s first year as head coach. They have found out there is a little distance between them and the top teams in the state, some of which is in its own conference. SRJC has lost league games to Butte and San Francisco by scores of 55-21 and 40-17.
San Mateo can get a share of the league title with a win and if San Francisco defeats Butte.
SRJC is hoping for a bowl berth. No invite yet has come its way so a win would help that cause.
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