NCS SATURDAY PREVIEW
The second half of the first round features ten local teams and the only two games in the first round where they go head to head.
This is the Saturday part of the preview with the Friday schedule attached.
There will be a special NCS Neat Package on both Saturday and Sunday.
SATURDAY (LOCAL TEAMS)…ALL GAMES AT 7 PM
No. 12 Miramonte (3-7) at No. 5 Casa Grande (4-6)
CALPREPS PROJECTION: Miramonte by 2
No. 9 Mt. Eden (7-2-1) at No. 8 Montgomery (4-6)
CALPREPS PROJECTION: Montgomery by 4
The last North Coast Section game of 2013 is among the first ones of 2014.
Miramonte and Casa Grande met in last year’s NCS Division 2 championship game. Miramonte ended Casa Grande’s undefeated season with a 41-28 win. That was a game between No. 3 and No. 1. This season it is a No. 12 and No. 5 matchup.
You would have been among the many who a month ago thought that Casa Grande wouldn’t make the playoffs this season. They were always in contention power rankings wise, but an 0-5 start in which the closest game was a 27-7 loss to Windsor, gave the feeling they were going nowhere fast.
But with the help of the soft part of the NBL schedule and two wins over playoff teams Casa Grande won four of its last five. The biggest was a 19-14 win over Maria Carrillo, which gave them some momentum. That appeared to be a big upset at the time. It turned out to be the Gauchos turning into a more familiar Casa Grande type of team. They showed that again last week with a one sided win over Montgomery, which is the main reason they got a No. 5 seed.
Miramonte started 0-3, the last loss to Windsor 49-27. They finished 2-4 in the Diablo Foothill League. That is the league that Campolindo won.
To get to a 2-4 league record they lost two close games and two not so close games. The league wins were against teams with a combined record of 6-14. One of them was a 34-21 win over Dublin last week ,which qualified them for the playoffs. Dublin is at Windsor in another first round game.
In the championship run, Miramonte was a senior packed team. Not the case this year. There quarterback, leading rusher and leading receivers are all juniors. They don’t have a dominating receiver with five making at least 19 catches and six with at least 200 yards.
Miramonte has given up at least 17 points in every game.
In its 0-5 start you could say the same thing about Casa Grande, but the turnaround to its season has been led by a defense that has had a reputation for years. In the four wins they gave up a total of 26 points and collected two shutouts. The defense actually shut out Montgomery last week in a 35-12 win. Montgomery scored its touchdowns on a kickoff return and an interception return.
The Montgomery-Casa Grande game set up the final seedings. Montgomery was holding its breath, hoping to get a home game and will host Mt. Eden of Hayward.
Montgomery has had a balanced year, with the longest winning and losing streak each at two games. They go into this game having lost two straight.
Mt. Eden came in second in the West Alameda League. They lost one league game to league champion Piedmont 42-24. Piedmont is 10-0 on the season and the No. 2 seed in Division 4.
Mt. Eden has been in some wild game so Montgomery better have its offense. The average score of a Mt. Eden game is 40-32. Mt. Eden has scored at least 40 points in seven of its games, including 42 in a tie with Tennyson.
They are a senior laden team that is very balanced on offense. They have two running backs that have rushed for over 700 yards and an over 1,000 yard receiver. All are seniors as is quarterback Giovanni Remen, who is averaging nearly 200 yards passing a game.
Mt. Eden is in the playoffs for the second time in three seasons. That was after a three year stretch when they went 2-28.
SATURDAY SCHEDULE (OTHER GAMES)
No. 10 Granada (2-8) at No. 7 Northgate (5-5)…7 pm
CALPREPS PROJECTION: Northgate by 6
No. 11 Pinole Valley (4-6) at No. 6 Tennyson (5-4-1)…1 PM
CALPREPS PROJECTION: Tennyson by 10
FRIDAY (LOCAL TEAMS)…ALL GAMES AT 7 PM
No. 14 Dublin (4-6) at No. 3 Windsor (7-3)
CALPREPS PROJECTION: Windsor by 14.
No. 13 American (7-3) at No. 4 Maria Carrillo (6-4)
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CALPREPS PROJECTION: Maria Carrillo by 15
FRIDAY (OTHER GAMES)…ALL GAMES AT 7 PM
No. 16 Newark Memorial (4-6) at No. 1 Clayton Valley (10-0)
CALPREPS PROJECTION: Clayton Valley by 62
No. 15 Hayward (5-5) at No. 2 Concord (9-1)
CALPREPS PROJECTION: Concord by 38
DIVISION OVERVIEW: The Mt. Eden-Montgomery winner goes to Clayton Valley…the second round could have a Casa Grande-Maria Carrillo game.
SATURDAY (LOCAL TEAMS)…ALL GAMES AT 7 PM
No. 13 El Cerrito (5-5) at No. 4 Analy (9-1)
CALPREPS PROJECTION: Analy by 8
No. 9 Novato (7-3) at No. 8 Cardinal Newman (7-3)
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CALPREPS PROJECTION: Cardinal Newman by 18
SATURDAY (OTHER GAMES)
No. 14 Tamalpais (6-4) at No. 3 Marin Catholic (7-3)…1 PM
CALPREPS PROJECTION: Marin Catholic by 34
No. 15 Mt. Diablo (3-7) at No. 2 Las Lomas (8-2)
CALPREPS PROJECTION: Las Lomas by 50
The Analy-El Cerrito game is a familiar one. In the 2012 NCS Semi-Final, a 12-0 Analy team was defeated by El Cerritto 42-20 in a game that wasn’t as close as the score might suggest. That was the first in a three year run that Analy has been on, that includes three SCL championships and a record of 32-4. They are 4-2 in the NCS playoffs.
The record for Analy has been changed at the NCS website to 9-1 so appearently the loss to McClymonds does count.
Analy is coming off its toughest SCL game in its three year run, holding off Petaluma 34-23. It is the only game this season that Analy hasn’t won a game by at least 21 points. The bright side is for the first time this season they had to play the whole game, which is a good workout and preparation for the playoffs.
Senior running back Ja’narrick James rushed for 125 yards and a touchdown. The touchdown was his 17th rushing of the season and the yardage put him over the 1,000 yard mark for the second straight season.
James has been on the team for all of the last three seasons which is the best in Analy history. He is closing in on a milestone, just 72 yards away from hitting the 3,000 yard career mark. He has scored 52 rushing touchdowns and has also caught fifteen touchdown passes
James’ numbers have been lost in the shuffle a little bit, as have all of Analy players stats over the last three seasons. Your can only say so many things about how they have been winning most of their games.
That shouldn’t be a problem in this game. After they beat Analy in 2012, El Cerrito lost to Marin Catholic in the championship game. Last year they went all the way, getting revenge in the championship game with a 54-38 win over Marin Catholic.
Over the last two seasons El Cerrito had a record of 25-3. It was obvious that this wasn’t going to be that kind of season when they lost the opener 49-14 to Sutter. Sutter turned out to be a good team, going 10-0 and is aiming for the Nor Cal Division 2 championship game. Two weeks later they dropped a 39-7 decision to Amador Valley and six weeks into the season they had more losses then the last two years combined. Since then, they have got their footing, winning three of four. The lone loss to the Division 5 No. 1 seed Salesian 21-10.
The opponent in this game maybe a break for Analy who has treated the first round of the NCS playoffs the last two seasons like they have most of the SCL competition. There might have been a sense that this might be easy again. After what happened in 2012, there is no way they will take El Cerrito for granted.
While that game is going on, two league co-champions will meet when Novato travels to Cardinal Newman. Novato was in a three way tie in the Marin County League. Cardinal Newman finished in a tie with Rancho Cotate for the NBL title. Cardinal Newman had better luck in the tie-breaking system than Novato. That is why the game is at Cardinal Newman instead of Novato.
There was a time that a Novato-Cardinal Newman playoff game would have been a headline game. That is because Cardinal Newman is Cardinal Newman and Novato was a team like Marin Catholic before Marin Catholic was.
It they had had state tournament games all of the first decade in this century, Novato may have gone more than once. They won four NCS championship from 2002-2007. They were 13-0 in 2002 and had a 28 game league winning streak from 2005-09.
Since then, Marin Catholic took over. Novato was in the league races since the Marin Catholic takeover; usually its only league loss was to Marin Catholic. Except for last season when they finished 5-7, which was the first time in who knows how long they have finished under .500. Despite that, they won an NCS playoff game.
They are back this season. ending in a first place tie in Marin County League race with Marin Catholic and Justin Siena. After a 1-3 start, the last a 21-7 loss to Marin Catholic, Novato has won six straight.
Novato has a balanced offense that averages nearly 30 points a game and was second in the Marin County League averaging 33 points a game.
These are two proud programs. They don’t only plan to make the playoffs, they plan to doing some damage. Since 2001 the two teams are a combined 45-14 in the NCS Playoffs, with eight sections titles. Until a couple of years ago, they were in separate divisions. Two of those championships came in the same year.
FRIDAY (LOCAL TEAMS)…ALL GAME AT 7 PM
No. 7 Rancho Cotate (7-3) at No. 10 John F. Kennedy (Fremont) (10-0)
CALPREPS PROJECTION: Rancho Cotate by 6
No. 11 Petaluma (7-3) at No. 6 Alhambra (7-3)
CALPREPS PROJECTION: Alhambra by 23
FRIDAY (OTHER GAMES)…ALL GAMES AT 7 PM
No. 16 Ygnacio Valley (3-7) at No. 1 Campolindo (10-0)
CALPREPS PROJECTION: Campolindo by 58
No. 12 Bishop O’ Dowd (5-5) at No. 5 Acalanes (7-3)
CALPREPS PROJECTION: Acalanes by 2
DIVISION OVERVIEW: If Cardinal Newman and Rancho Cotate win they will travel to the Sections No. 1 and No. 2 seeds respectively next week.
SATURDAY (LOCAL TEAMS)…ALL GAMES START AT 7 PM
No. 9 Moreau Catholic (5-5) at No. 8 Fort Bragg (8-2)
CALPREPS PROJECTION: Fort Bragg by 13
No. 10 El Molino (6-4) at No. 7 McKinleyville (4-6)
CALPREPS PROJECTION: El Molino by 1
No. 11 Piner (5-5) at No. 6 Fortuna (7-3)
CALPREPS PROJECTION: Fortuna by 11
This Division has already had some suspense. A protest was filed stating McKinleyville was ineligible, because they didn’t have the necessary .500 record in any categories. McKinleyville declared a Division 4 win over Trinity of the Northern Section. Trinity is in Division 4 in the Northern Section, but the Division has different standards than the North Coast Section. If Trinity was in the North Coast Section, they would be a Division 5 team. The numbers are pretty clear cut, but the NCS turned down the appeal.
That wasn’t the only complaint about McKinleyville. Another was its No. 7 seed. They were No. 11 in the power rankings and had the biggest advance of anyone in the Section. The main reason was the head to head 46-36 win over Fort Bragg on opening night. The win carried some bigtime weight. The rest of the season McKinleyville went 3-6.
The controversy isn’t going to stop the enthusiasm at McKinleyville, when they host El Molino. They will be playing their first NCS playoff game since 2008. That is the only time they have been in the playoffs during the Cal Preps area, which began in 2001.
El Molino doesn’t have much on McKinleyville when it comes to playoff experience. This is their second playoff appearance since 2003.
There might be some scoring in this game. In fact count on it. The average score of a McKinleyville game is 41-39. They have a quarterback who has passed for 2,600 yards and 32 touchdowns and running back who is over 1,200 yards and scored 14. They have lost two games when they scored 40 and two more when they scored 30.
Hold onto your hats in this game.
The team that got hurt by the McKinleyville seedring is Fort Bragg. They were disappointed with the No. 8 seed, but still get a home game against Moreau Catholic.
If that was all that was hurting, they would be in good shape. Unfortunately that isn’t the only thing hurting for Fort Bragg. Quarterback Kaylor Sullivan hurt his wrist two weeks ago against Cloverdale and missed last week’s game. Fort Bragg is being mum about his status on Saturday. Despite missing the game and a half, Sullivan has passed for over 3,000 yards and 29 touchdowns.
Moreau Catholic is out of Hayward and finished 5-1 in the Mission Valley League. The champion is Kennedy of Fremont (Rancho Cotate’s opponent).
This is the third straight season that Moreau Catholic has finished the regular season 5-5. Each season they lost in the first round of the NCS playoffs. Last year was a 54-50 game to Piedmont.
Also traveling up North on Saturday is Piner, as they will be at Fortuna. This is heady stuff for Piner, who got its first NCS win since 2003 last year. That is the only other time they have made the playoffs during the Cal Preps era.
Fortuna finished second in the Humboldt Del Norte Big 5 league. They started out the regular season with a 35-21 win over Healdsburg. Two of their three losses were to league champion Del Norte.
While this playoff thing is fairly new to Piner, it is getting old hat for Fortuna, who has made the playoffs every season since 2006.
SATURDAY (OUT OF AREA)
No. 13 Terra Linda (4-6) at No. 4 San Marin (7-3)…1 PM
CALPREPS PROJECTION: San Marin by 34
No. 1 St. Mary’s (9-1) BYE
FRIDAY (LOCAL TEAMS)…ALL GAMES START AT 7 PM
No. 12 Lower Lake (5-5) at No. 5 Del Norte (8-2)
CALPREPS PROJECTION: Del Norte by 22
No. 14 Kelseyville (5-5) at No. 3 Justin-Siena (7-3)
CALPREPS PROJECTION: Justin Siena by 35
FRIDAY (OUT OF AREA)…ALL GAMES START AT 7 PM
No.15 John F. Kennedy (Richmond) (5-5) at No. 2 Piedmont (10-0)
CALPREPS PROJECTION: Piedmont by 35
DIVISION OVERVIEW: If they win it will be Kelseyville at Piner in Round Two…A win for Fort Bragg puts then against No. 1 Saint Mary’s in the second round.
No. 8 Cloverdale at No. 9 St. Vincent…1 PM
CALPREPS PROJECTION: Cloverdale by 12
No. 13 Tomales at No. 4 Middletown…7 PM
CALPREPS PROJECTION: Middletown by 35
This is the only division that has local teams meeting each other. They are both of them are NCL I vs. NCL II games.
The Cloverdale-St. Vincent game is a rematch of a game played on September 6th, which was won by Cloverdale 28-7.
That was part of a 0-4 start for St.Vincent. They have won six straight since, all the wins were NCL II league wins.
This figures to be a rushing show between Cloverdale Junior running back Luke Bernardi and St. Vincent senior George Sammon.
Bernardi has rushed for over 1,400 yards on the season. Sammons is over the 1,000 yard mark. The two have combined to hit the 200 yard mark three times.
This is Cloverdale’s first playoff game since 2009.
The other NCL I-II matchup is Tomales at Middletown.
Tomales started the season 5-1, but down the stretch suffered two one sided losses to St. Vincent.
Tomales senior running back Willy Lepori has rushed for over 1,500 yards and scored 15 touchdowns.
Middletown’s three losses are two teams with a combined record of 23-7.
Both of these teams are used to playing this time of season.
When Tomales’ season ends so will the coaching career of head coach Leon Feliciano. After 19 seasons he is stepping down.
SATURDAY…(OUT OF AREA)
No. 15 Ferndale (4-5) at No. 2 St. Bernard Catholic (9-1)…1 PM
CALPREPS PROJECTION: St. Bernard Catholic by 23
No. 10 CSD (Fremont) (8-2) at No. 7 Berean Christian (5-5)…1 PM
CALPREPS PROJECTION: CSD (Fremont) by 4
No. 11 St. Patrick/St. Vincent (3-7) at No. 6 John Swett (9-1)…7 PM
CALPREPS PROJECTION: John Swett by 10
FRIDAY (LOCAL TEAMS…ALL GAMES AT 7 PM)
No. 14 South Fork (5-5) at No. 3 St. Helena (9-1)
CALPREPS PROJECTION: St. Helena by 46
FRIDAY (OUT OF AREA…ALL GAMES AT 7 PM)
No. 12 Valley Christian (4-6) at No. 5 Stellar Prep (7-3)
CALPREPS PROJECTION: Stellar Prep by 4
No. 1 Salesian (8-1) BYE
DIVISION OVERVIEW: The trend is complete. The winner of the Cloverdale-St.Vincent game goes to No. 1 and defending champion Salesian. In all four Divisions the local teams are in situation where a win puts one of them on the road against No. 1 in round two.
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