Over the last two years, the West Catholic Athletic League was 20-1 against public schools in the CCS playoffs.
Make it 25-1 over the last three seasons following this past weekend’s results.
On Prep2Prep, you can find a thorough breakdown we did before the playoffs on the CCS disparity regarding public versus private schools.
One game where a public school had a legitimate shot to knock off a WCAL power was SCVAL De Anza champion Wilcox, who hosted Bellarmine on Friday.
The Chargers, who had a considerable size advantage on the lines, had a couple of opportunities to seize control of the game but couldn’t quite overcome an early 14-0 deficit in a 31-19 loss.
In the final quarter, Wilcox had the football in the Bellarmine red zone after a K.J. Carta-Samuels interception but couldn’t make the Bells pay thanks to a fumble of their own.
The final nail in the coffin was an A.J. Forchette 30-yard interception touchdown return, his second in as many weeks, in the final couple minutes that sealed the Bells win. It was also the fourth turnover for the Chargers.
Thanks to special teams miscues, Wilcox put themselves in poor field position and that led to the early deficit. When you talk about the difference between public and private schools, that is an item that can’t be overlooked. Private schools usually have deeper rosters and that leads to much better special teams units.
Make no mistake about it, though, the Bells made the plays and Wilcox didn’t.
Bellarmine’s 7-0 road record in 2013 and their seventh consecutive trip to the CCS Open semifinals does not happen by accident.
K.J. Carta-Samuels had a couple of pretty throws and he, Amani Bryan, and Kyle MacAuley all scored touchdowns, while also capitalizing on four Wilcox turnovers.
It marked the end of a brilliant career for Delshawn Mitchell, who rushed for over 4,100 yards the last three seasons and also the end of a Wilcox season that was one of the best in school history.
Side note: I had the pleasure of doing the video broadcast of this game over the NFHS Network and we set up in the stands because of a lack of space in the Wilcox press box. Fortunately, everyone is nice wherever I go but I cannot state enough how friendly the Wilcox faithful were. It was complete class and I’ll never forget it.
- For the fourth time in six years, the Bells will play #2 Serra in the CCS Open semifinals.
The Padres made quick work of #7 Pioneer, 59-7, behind 160 rushing yards and five touchdowns from Kava Cassidy.
Also key to Serra’s 539-yard explosion was Matt Fa’aita, who was 10-of-14 for 149 yards and a touchdown. Fa’aita may be the Padres most important player as they hope for their first ever Open championship.
Serra has scored at least 28 points for seven straight games and are averaging 432 yards per contest.
Cassidy ran for 101 yards and a touchdown in the Padres 17-7 win over Bellarmine on October 4. Serra controlled the game and the defense was very good against Carta-Samuels. Erik Westerman recorded 3 of the 4.5 sacks and Kelepi Lataimua had two interceptions.
“We fired on all cylinders — our defense played great,” Serra head coach Patrick Walsh told Prep2Prep’s Adam Hegazy, “Now we look forward to playing next week.”
Bellarmine had won the previous seven meetings with Serra and have knocked the Padres out in the Open semifinals three of the last five seasons. Each time, though, the Bells were the higher seed and this includes a 17-12 Bells win last November.
- Even without Kirk Johnson, #8 Valley Christian rushed for 363 yards in a 26-7 win at #1 Terra Nova, the fifth straight Warriors win. Tre McCloud scored three times and Mark Quinby compiled 134 yards rushing as the duo combined for 46 carries.
Terra Nova was averaging 45 points and had not been held under 26 all season, but the Warriors controlled the game and outgained the Tigers, 277-30, in the second half.
Valley Christian’s defense also sacked Anthony Gordon four times and limited him to 9-of-17 passing for 148 yards. That was the lowest total of the season for a guy averaging 323.3 yards per game.
It was also the eighth time this season the Warriors held an opponent to 14 points or less.
In other good Warriors news, sophomore Collin Johnson, Kirk’s brother, returned to the lineup and caught three passes for 39 yards.
- As good as #5 Mitty’s defense has been this season, it hadn’t pitched a shutout until Friday when the Monarchs dealt #4 Palma a 28-0 loss.
Like Bellarmine, the Monarchs led 14-0 after the first quarter and four different players scored touchdowns. Kyle Evans, who scored one of those touchdowns, ran for 78 of the Monarchs 185 yards on the ground.
Mitty capitalized on three turnovers and didn’t face Palma’s best player, running back Brandon Olivares, who was out with a separated shoulder.
This is Mitty’s third straight trip to the semifinals and, each time, they won their quarterfinal by shutout. The Monarchs, however, have not played in a CCS title since 2001.
Mitty and Valley Christian played in one of the wilder games of the season. Valley Christian blocked a punt for what appeared to be the tying score but, after a celebration penalty, the 35-yard extra point was missed for a 14-13 Monarchs win. Valley Christian could be without Kirk Johnson again after the junior also missed the first meeting.
We’re likely looking at another low-scoring game after the Monarchs outgained the Warriors, 165-85, last month.
NCS DIVISION I
#2 Pittsburg held on for a 27-21 win versus BVAL rival #10 Freedom after Joe Mixon fumbled at the Pittsburg two-yard line with 2:11 to go.
Mixon still had a terrific game with 189 yards rushing and two touchdowns. He finished his career with over 4,200 rushing yards and 69 touchdowns.
The story was Harris Ross, though, who told reporters he was 70-80% and still ran for 184 yards and three touchdowns on 17 carries in his return to the lineup after missing over three weeks of action because of a fractured fibula.
Ross and Pittsburg had a huge go-ahead 99-yard drive late in the third quarter. This was a drive that was helped by the Pirates recovering their two fumbles on that possession
The Pirates will meet #3 California once again in a rematch of a Week Two affair.
The Grizzlies disposed of #6 San Ramon Valley, 31-24, for the second time this season. Blake Bierwith rushed 29 times for 141 yards and two touchdowns as the Grizzlies stuck to their ball control, physical identity.
“We went into halftime tied and we just knew that we couldn’t end our season right here,” said Bierwith to Prep2Prep’s Chris Jackson. “We’ve worked too hard and just came through and out-physicaled them, and came out with the win.”
Cal ran the ball 50 times for 256 yards and Matt Lorenz continued to play solid in relief of Cameron Owen, as Lorenz was 7-of-9 passing for 85 yards.
San Ramon’s Marcus de la Pena, who ran for 171 yards and scored twice, capped a great career with over 1,700 rushing yards and 25 total touchdowns in his senior season. He had over 3,300 rushing yards and 34 touchdowns in his career.
In the 35-33 Pirates win versus Cal on September 6, running backs Ross and Bierwith stole the show. Bierwith rushed for 158 yards and two touchdowns but Ross finished with 233 yards and four touchdowns.
C.J. Cornwell had 102 yards receiving and two touchdowns for Cal, who was stopped on a key two-point conversion attempt with a minute left on a run by Bierwith.
This is first playoff meeting between the two programs since Pitt’s 17-9 quarterfinal win in 2008.
In a thriller, #4 Deer Valley outscored #5 James Logan, 67-44, to advance to the semifinals for the first time in school history.
Nsimba Webster passed for 240 yards and two touchdowns, while running for 152 yards and three scores. This included another highlight reel 93-yard touchdown scamper.
Deer Valley’s defense is allowing over 28 points per game in the last four contests but forced four Colts turnovers, including two picks from Christian Leota, who passed for a season-high 278 yards while also running for a score and passing for another.
A big concern for Deer Valley is that leading tackler Malik Hutchings suffered a shoulder injury.
Deer Valley’s offense is averaging 43.3 points this season but receives their biggest test against De La Salle on Friday.
#1 De La Salle won their 37th straight and scored all of their points in the first half in a 46-0 win over #8 Granada
John Velasco rushed for 146 yards and two touchdowns on 11 carries and now needs 540 yards to reach 2,000.
Five players rushed for touchdowns, including two from sophomore Antoine Custer, on a 419-yard rushing evening for the Spartans. It was the fourth game in which De La Salle ran for 400 or more yards and the Spartans are averaging 346.4 yards per game and 8.5 yards per carry.
Defensively, it was the second straight shutout and De La Salle is allowing just 9.4 points per game. They surrendered just 108 yards of offense and forced three turnovers.
De La Salle did turn it over twice after just one in their previous four games.
Like the other Division I semifinal, these teams met in the 2008 quarterfinals, a 52-7 De La Salle win.
NCS DIVISION II
The leading passer in the NCS, Drew Anderson, passed for 358 yards and six touchdowns as #3 Miramonte outscored #6 Northgate, 66-48.
The Mats offset a great performance from the Broncos Eric Haynes, who rushed for 372 yards and five touchdowns. Haynes went over the 2,000-yard mark for the season and had 635 yards and nine touchdowns in two playoff games.
Anderson now has 3,384 yards passing and 39 touchdowns this year and he also got brother, Ryan, involved. Ryan Anderson had one touchdown catch on the year before three on Saturday night.
The Mats didn’t stray from their ground game as Ray Clark tallied 103 yards and two touchdowns. It was the eighth time he had 100 or more yards.
#2 Clayton Valley recorded their 11th straight win, 59-13, versus #7 Las Lomas.
Miles Harrison recorded 305 yards and four touchdowns on 17 carries and the Ugly Eagles finished with 489 of their 581 yards on the ground.
This was a a 21-13 game with 1:59 left in the half until Clayton exploded for the easy win.
Xavier Crawford caught a 47-yard touchdown pass and has a catch for 39 or more yards in each of the four games he’s been in the lineup.
Las Lomas had a good game plan of controlling the clock as they ran 71 plays to Clayton Valley’s 38, but the Eagles passing defense stepped up, holding the Knights to 138 yards passing on 28 attempts.
Clayton’s pass defense needs to be clutch against Anderson and Miramonte on Friday night after getting victimized a month ago in a near loss to Concord.
Speaking of #5 Concord, the Minutemen led 16-14 at the half, but fell at #4 Montgomery, 41-28.
The Vikings had a 3-0 edge in turnovers and also improved to 7-0 on their home field.
The steady R.J. Flores was 6-of-11 for 115 yards and Logan Francavilla rushed for 206 yards and three touchdowns on a whopping 34 carries. The Vikings are now 8-0 when their top back rushes for 100 or more yards.
For Concord, Malik Blackburn ran for 95 yards and two touchdowns and Mitch Daniels passed for 276 yards and two touchdowns, but needed 46 attempts and also threw two interceptions.
Concord will be a Division II force again next season with Blackburn, Daniels, and receiver Mason Knight all returning for their senior seasons.
Top seed Casa Grande crushed #9 Windsor, 42-7, as the Gauchos recorded seven sacks, two interceptions of Colin McAlvain, and held the Jaguars to just 76 yards in the first half.
It’s now six straight games with at least 40 points for Casa Grande as JaJuan Lawson rushed for 146 of the team’s 374 rushing yards and scored two touchdowns, while passing for another. His impressive streak of nine straight games without a turnover did come to an end with a fumble lost.
Montgomery fell, 30-12, at Casa Grande on September 27. The Gauchos had 461 yards of offense and held the Vikings to 215 yards. Lawson ran for 188 yards, three touchdowns, and also passed for a score.
NCS DIVISION III
#2 Campolindo was an impressive 38-14 winner over rival #7 Acalanes as Nick Fadelli had a season-high 19 carries and 158 rushing yards and two scores. The running game set the tone as Fadelli carried it seven times on the opening 11-play touchdown drive.
The Cougars tallied 463 yards and played turnover-free ball. Andrew Zolintakis passed for 241 yards and two touchdowns.
The secondary was solid again as Andrew Ahazie had two interceptions and the Cougars defense made Peter Mitchell work for all of his 115 yards on 20 carries. Mitchell finished his career with 1,437 rushing yards and 15 touchdowns in his senior year.
After scoring exactly three touchdowns in the previous five games, Adarius Pickett scored four touchdowns, two rushing and two receiving, for #3 El Cerrito in a 45-2 crushing of #11 Novato. The UCLA-bound senior finished with 86 yards rushing and 133 yards receiving.
The Gauchos held Novato to just 49 yards and also forced five turnovers, with Keith Benjamin turning a fumble recovery into a touchdown.
In the first meeting with El Cerrito, Campolindo rolled to a 42-27 win as Andrew Zolintakis passed for 303 yards and three touchdowns to Phillip Rei.
Because of an ACL tear, there is no Rei for the rematch, but the Cougars passing game has maintained their steady pace.
Defensively, Campo also held Jalen Harvey and Pickett to a combined seven catches for 80 yards.
The Cougars also had a 3-1 turnover advantage and a 165-42 edge on the ground. .
Since, El Cerrito has won eight straight games and have not played a contest decided by less than 26 points.
Campolindo scored more points in that game than El Cerrito has allowed in their last six games combined.
Three of the last five meetings between these schools have been decided by three points or less.
In one of the more exciting games of the weekend, #4 Analy squeaked by #5 Cardinal Newman, 33-30, in the first meeting between the schools in 20 years.
5-foot-4 Ja’Narrick James finished with 231 of Analy’s 327 yards of offense and scored four of the team’s five touchdowns. The final rushing tally was 158 yards on 27 carries.
In his final high school game, Cardinal Newman’s Keaton Dunsford was 28-of-39 for 299 yards and a touchdown. He also had 87 yards rushing, but did throw a couple of interceptions.
Top seed Marin Catholic cruised again to a 49-14 win over #8 Eureka.
Morgan Mahalak had another very productive day with 162 passing yards and 3 touchdowns and also 87 rushing yards and two scores. Because of limited playing time in the second half, 33 of the 37 touchdowns he’s been a part of have been in the first half.
The Wildcats have won 23 straight games against Northern California competition and are in the semifinals for the sixth straight year.
Marin Catholic knocked out semifinal foe Analy in the 2008 and 2009 playoffs, including a 37-35 Wildcats win in the 2009 quarters.
NCS DIVISION IV
#5 St. Mary’s raced out to a 21-0 first quarter lead in their 24-7 victory at #4 St. Helena for their first semifinal berth in several years.
Sophomore Tamarick Pierce rushed for a season-high 166 yards and a touchdown. He now has 298 yards in the two playoff wins.
Also, Lorenzo Logwood added 97 yards and a score as the Panthers overcame three turnovers and held St. Helena stud Sebastian Segura to just 78 yards after he ran for 270 yards in the playoff opener.
The Panthers will now meet top seed San Marin in the semifinals after the Mustangs convincing 52-20 triumph versus #9 Piner.
Kyle Chernoff ran for 148 of the team’s 494 total yards and also scored two touchdowns
Manny Wilkins did throw two interceptions, but also had two long touchdown passes and two scoring runs.
#11 Del Norte pulled off an upset for the second straight week, 36-7, over #3 Healdsburg.
The Warriors were just 4-6 entering the postseason but have allowed just 13 points in two playoff wins.
#2 Fortuna is the semifinal opponent after the Huskies 48-21 decision over #10 Piedmont. Brett Renner ran for 125 yards, two touchdowns, and also had an interception.
NCS DIVISION V
Salesian’s De’Angelo Hernandez scored second of his two touchdowns with 3:26 left for a 21-13 win at #1 Middletown.
The #5 Pride, who won Division IV titles in 2010 and 2011, advanced to the championship for the third time in four years thanks to a solid defense that held Austin Benson to 89 yards.
Salesian will face TCAL foe #2 Valley Christian in the title game after the Warriors advanced to the final for the first time in school history with a 34-6 thumping of #3 Ferndale. Vince Volpatti rushed for 188 yards and two touchdowns.
It will be the second time in three weeks that the Warriors play the Pride after Valley Christian’s 21-12 win at Salesian in the regular season finale. Volpatti rushed for 129 yards and a touchdown in that contest.
CCS DIVISION I
#2 Milpitas, last season’s runner-up, crushed #7 Homestead, 62-28. Squally Canada rushed for 276 yards and five touchdowns on just 13 carries and now has over 1,600 yards on the season.
“He’s been a great player for us,” said Milpitas head coach Kelly King to Prep2Prep’s Eric He. “He’s played varsity since he was a freshman. He’s a great guy and has multiple scholarship offers.”
Milpitas will host #3 Piedmont Hills in a Friday semifinal after the Pirates outscored #6 Salinas, 60-38. Anthony McBride passed for 307 yards and five touchdowns, giving him 38 on the season.
Undefeated #1 Alvarez allowed less than 100 yards rushing in a 24-10 win versus #8 Monta Vista. Edric Gamble ran for a score and also passed for one.
Defending champion #4 San Benito crushed #5 Independence, 62-21. Zack Hicks ran for 170 yards and three touchdowns for the Balers.
CCS DIVISION II
After the Open, this is clearly the most competitive CCS Division.
#1 St. Francis, the defending champ, gave an expected beat-down to #8 Andrew Hill, 41-6, as Will Fischer-Colbrie threw a couple touchdown passes and Landon Baty ran for a couple more.
It was the third time in the last four games that St. Francis scored at least 40 points and they’ll try to continue that momentum when they host #5 Palo Alto.
The Vikings trailed 17-14 in the second quarter, but rattled off 40 unanswered points for a 54-24 win at #4 Leland. Keller Chryst passed for 258 yards and five touchdowns. Three of those went to Keesean Johnson, who also returned a punt for a score.
Paly began the season 14th in the state, according to CalHiSports, but have been a disappointing 6-5 this year.
“We have to keep improving our run stoppage,” Palo Alto coach Earl Hansen told Prep2Prep’s Trevor Sochocki. “That’s first. Then our protection. We have breakdowns every now and then, and we have to make sure we fix those.”
The Vikings did beat the Lancers, 39-23, in the 2011 CCS Open semifinals.
Joey Wood scored seven touchdowns and rushed for 309 yards for #2 Los Gatos in a 59-34 win versus #7 North Salinas. The Wildcats are a win away from playing in the title game for the third straight year.
“Our defense held them a few times and we just kept scoring,” Wood said to Prep2Prep’s John Murphy. “I just held onto the ball and ran north and south. That’s the way I like it.”
Los Gatos gets a rematch with #3 Menlo-Atherton after the Bears 21-7 win against #6 Oak Grove. Running back Isaiah Nash scored on receptions of 70 and 75 yards.
Menlo-Atherton beat Los Gatos, 19-10, in the second week as the Wildcats turned the ball over four times and Nash ran for 176 yards and two scores.
CCS DIVISION III
#5 St. Ignatius continued the WCAL dominance over public schools with a 24-0 takedown of #4 Christopher. Joe Lang has made a living on return scores this season and scored on a 45-yard punt return and a 60-yard interception return. The Wildcats are looking for their third CCS title in as many seasons and have held the opposition to just 24 points in the last three games.
#1 Burlingame won their first playoff game in six years with a 31-7 decision over #8 Hillsdale. It was the seventh time this season that the Panthers held an opponent to seven points or less. Keone Keahi ran for two scores and Liam Martinez picked off two passes and returned one for a touchdown.
The 11-0 Panthers will be underdogs when they host 3-8 St. Ignatius on Friday.
#2 Aptos, last season’s runner-up, topped #7 Aragon, 34-19, as Michael Chavez scored a couple touchdowns for the Mariners.
#6 Willow Glen won convincingly at #3 Leigh, 42-14, behind a 282-yard, four touchdown performance from running back Hakeem Mays.
CCS DIVISION IV
Jake Speed rushed for 136 yards and three touchdowns for #7 Pacific Grove in a 42-20 win over #2 Live Oak. The Breakers have scored at least 33 points in every game this season
The Breakers “held” Trevor Bearden to 184 rushing yards and Bearden finishes the season with 2,737 yards.
Pacific Grove gets a rematch with #3 Carmel, a 54-26 winner over #6 Scotts Valley. Holden Smith rushed for 179 yards and three touchdowns and Connor Marden completed 15-of-18 passes for four touchdowns.
In the first meeting, Carmel rolled up 505 yards of offense in a 40-35 win and the Padres have taken six straight meetings, averaging 56.8 points in those wins.
Defending champion #1 Sacred Heart Prep shut out #8 Seaside in the second half for a 35-12 win. Andrew Segre rushed for 191 yards and three touchdowns on 29 carries.
#4 Menlo’s slide to end the season continued again without quarterback Jack Heneghan. The Knights fell to #5 Monterey, 30-12, despite two long touchdown passes from Austin D’Ambra to Travis Chambers. The Toreadores’ Gilbert Scott had an interception and also returned a fumble for a touchdown.
Players of the Week
Offense: Nsimba Webster, Deer Valley. Webster is used to putting up ridiculous numbers but gets extra kudos this week for doing it against a James Logan defense that was allowing just 14.6 points per game. In a 67-44 win, Webster passed for 253 yards and two touchdowns on only 17 attempts, while also running for 156 yards and three scores.
Defense: Andrew Ahazie, Campolindo. The senior picked off two passes in a 38-14 quarterfinal win over DFAL rival Acalanes. Ahazie and the Cougars secondary also allowed just 99 yards passing.
Special Teams: Kody Kroening, Valley Christian-San Jose. In less than ideal conditions, Kroening converted a 30-yard field goal and all of his extra points in the 26-7 win over Terra Nova.
Recruiting and Other Tidbits
Tyler Petite, a 6-foot-5 junior tight end from Campolindo, received an offer from Arizona State last week.
There was plenty of recruiting news surrounding Freedom. While senior running back Joe Mixon took a visit to UCLA, the Bruins offered his junior teammate, lineman Dominic Frederickson.
Also, Freedom senior defensive end Patrick Chouja was offered by Nevada.
After a 29-17 record in four years and a 3-7 mark this past season, Hardy Nickerson stepped down as head coach at Bishop O’Dowd.
Moreau Catholic junior Jason Hinton rushed for 473 yards and five touchdowns on an eye-popping Ds on 51 carries in the Mariners NCS 54-50 loss to Piedmont last week. Hinton broke the 464-yard record set by Pittsburg’s Harris Ross against Monte Vista.
Mark Tennis of CalHiSports says the CCS was exposed this weekend.
“The big joke in the CCS is calling its top playoff division an ‘open’ division,” wrote Tennis. “There’s nothing ‘open’ about it because if it were truly an Open Division then the top eight teams in the section regardless of league affiliation or enrollment would be in it.”
They Said It
“At some point, a program is going to say ‘No thanks.’” –John Devine of The Herald on many CCS teams being sacrificial lambs to the WCAL.
“I’m not going to say it’s mission impossible. We’re going to keep on trying. But this was an athletic mismatch. We can deal with that as a small public school of 1,000 kids to a degree. But if they’re going to take us out of our enrollment division, put us in the Open Division and make us a number one seed, why can’t we at least play the number eight seed?’ –Terra Nova coach Bill Gray to the Mercury News after his team’s CCS Open quarterfinal loss to Valley Christian.
“Anyone else wish that the matchups were Pitt-SRV and Freedom-Cal this week instead of the league rematches? Would be nice to see interleague” –Tweet from Nate Smith on the NCS Division I quarterfinal pairings.
“Deer Valley students are celebrating the team’s victory by twerking in the parking lot.” –Tweet from Luke Johnson
“I think our guys are used to playing two quarters of football. This is the first time since preseason that we played a close game. It wasn’t perfect, but we won.” –Analy coach Daniel Bourdon to the Press Democrat after his team was rarely tested during the regular season.
“They were crashing the outside pretty hard so I knew I had to cut it up every time I saw the outside backer coming up. I saw the cutback lanes. I saw it on film and I knew I’d have to do that. Their defense is pretty good, but our offense just came out to play.” –Clayton Valley’s Miles Harrison to the Contra Costa Times after a huge performance in a win over Las Lomas.
“If you want to be great you have to go out and beat North Bay teams. Montgomery is a fantastic football team.” –Concord coach Brian Hamilton to the Press Democrat after his team’s quarterfinal loss at Montgomery.
“They were much faster than we thought they were on both sides of the ball.” –St. Helena coach Brandon Farrell to the Press Democrat after a quarterfinal loss to St. Mary’s.
“They dumped water on their coach after beating us in the second game of the year. That’s been etched in my mind. Hopefully it’s etched in my players’ minds as well.” –Los Gatos coach Mark Krail to the Mercury News on his team’s upcoming semifinal with Menlo-Atherton.
“It was like playing a college team. They were everything that’s been written about them and then some.” –Pioneer coach Eric Perry on Serra to the Mercury News.
Top Games for This Week
- El Cerrito at Campolindo
- Valley Christian-San Jose vs. Archbishop Mitty
- California at Pittsburg
- Miramonte at Clayton Valley
- Bellarmine vs. Junipero Serra
- Deer Valley at De La Salle
- Valley Christian-Dublin vs. Salesian
- Palo Alto at St. Francis
- Menlo-Atherton at Los Gatos
- Montgomery at Casa Grande
Prep2Prep will provide coverage of these top games this week.