Prep2Prep reported on Sunday, March 27 that Wilcox vs. Manteca was probable first game of doubleheader in Santa Clara, with DLS vs. Jesuit-Carmichael the likely second game.
By John Murphy
Grab a seat if you’re of the faint of heart.
There is an excellent chance Wilcox High will open its 2014 football season on August 29 playing the first game of a double-header at Santa Clara’s sparkling Levi’s Stadium, brand new home of the San Francisco 49ers and the site of the 2016 Super Bowl.
“We’ve been asked to play at the 49ers stadium,” Wilcox coach Dan Brown said Saturday night. “We’re trying to set up a game against Manteca who we beat in overtime last season. … But we need to get a waiver from CCS because the game would be before the actual (allowable) start date. We want to play and our kids are pumped, but it’s not official.”
Wilcox’s desired waiver is one of a handful of huge votes facing the Central Coast Section Board of Managers at Wednesday’s 8 a.m. meeting at the Campbell Union High School District Office in San Jose (3235 Union Avenue).
Among the other big action items are whether to eliminate the Open Division in football and the doing-away of sub.-500 football teams from applying for at-large berths into the playoffs (except to fill out brackets for teams that have enough power points).
The Football Committee has recommended both tournament proposals pass, but it faces an uphill battle. The CCS Executive Committee is not in favor of either, meaning a possible continuation of the much-debated Open Division which has existed for 10 years and consists of section’s best teams. Serra defeated Mitty 21-7 in last year’s Open title game.
“I support the Football Committee,” Serra coach Patrick Walsh said. “If the guys who live and breathe football voted against the Open Division and for enrollment-based divisions, then I think they got it right. I think it will be great for the CCS on so many levels.”
Walsh also thinks a team with a sub.-500 record, but with losses to powerful teams should not be penalized because it plays a difficult schedule.
“If they have enough points, they should get in,” he said. “Otherwise, we need to do away with the points.”
The proposal would also eliminate the A-plus designation for some teams, such as those in the West Catholic Athletic League.
The Athletic Directors Advisory Committee has voted to eliminate the Open Division, but to disapprove the sub.-500 proposal. The Executive Committee is against both the Open and the sub-.500 measure.
A stronger bet to pass is Wilcox getting its waiver so it can toe the same turf as Colin Kaepernick and Patrick Willis.
The second game of the doubleheader figures to match a prominent team from the North Coast Section as the host, taking on a Sac-Joaquin Section team, according to Wilcox’s Brown. Nobody has said for sure which teams those will be, but Jesuit-Carmichael is scheduled to visit De La Salle on August 27, so don’t be stunned if those teams wind up at Levi’s as well.
De La Salle coach Justin Alumbaugh was not immediately available for comment.
Teams from the NCS and SJS will not need waivers to play because they open their seasons a week earlier than the CCS due to their longer playoff schedule. The CCS playoffs are only three weeks.
In a letter to the CCS from Wilcox principal Bonnie Billings, athletic director Woody Freitas and Brown, the Chargers stated their case for the waiver. Says the missive in part:
“We are submitting this letter to request a one-time waiver of our sectionâ€™s start date bylaw (Article V, Section 3-A.) so that we may play a game at the San Francisco 49ersâ€™ new home, Leviâ€™s Stadium just down the street from our campus in Santa Clara.
The 49ers have invited Wilcox High School to host a varsity football game on August 29, 2014, which as you know is the week of first contact in our section. The date for first contests is the following week, September 4, 2014. Our game would be part of a high school football doubleheader with a team from the North Coast Section hosting the other game. Our first choice for an opponent would be defending Sac-Joaquin Section Division II Champion, Manteca High School. We currently have them scheduled for September 4 at Wilcox. …
We feel that this is a great opportunity not only for our school and the Wilcox community but also for the entire Central Coast Section. We will have a chance to showcase a team from our section in the newest, state of the art National Football League stadium.”
In an amendment to the letter, Wilcox noted Manteca has agreed to move the scheduled Sept. 5 game at Wilcox to August 29 and then will seek another opponent to play Sept. 5. The Chargers also want to play a JV game against Manteca the same weekend, though that’s not a major concern.
So far it all looks promising for the Chargers. The CCS Executive Committee by a 6-4 vote on April 1 recommended Wilcox be allowed the waiver. However, it will have to receive a two-thirds majority when the 40-plus member Board of Managers meets Wednesday for the final vote.
Section assistant commissioner Steve Filios noted that in decades past there was no rule about when a first game could be played. He said the rule was installed for a reason and that waivers are not dispensed liberally.
“The board put this in years ago and it felt strongly about it for reasons of not letting teams get a competitive advantage and making sure everyone is in the same boat,” Filios said. “The executive committee recognizes this is a special opportunity for a high school team to play at Levi’s Stadium, but it’s also very cognizant about not wanting to set a precedent of violating its own bylaws.”
This meeting figures to be a doozy. And it’s open to the public.
Wilcox’s Mitchell to walk on at San Jose State: Delshawn Mitchell, Prep2Prep’s CCS football Player of the Year, will play at San Jose State as a walk on, Mitchell said on Saturday night.
“He’ll be a preferred walk on,” Wilcox coach Dan Brown said. “I’m a little surprised they didn’t offer him a scholarship, but they know his athleticism and his potential and they didn’t want to let him get away. He’s the kind of kid who could probably go play JC one year and then go somewhere, but he’s comfortable (at SJSU). He’ll be close to home and I think it will be good for him.”
Mitchell rushed for 1,747 yards and 18 touchdowns as a senior, caught eight passes for 121 yards and two scores, averaged 3.5 tackles per game, had three interceptions, three fumble recoveries and caused one fumble.
Nevada and Utah State were also interested in the two-way star who has been given the “athlete” designation by the Spartans, Brown said.
John Murphy is the Web Content Manager of Prep2Prep. He may be reached at firstname.lastname@example.org.