The opening weekend of the high school football playoffs is here.
Three weeks of section playoffs will be followed by Northern California regional championship games on Dec. 2-3 and then state championship games on Dec. 9-10.
Some teams will be at it for five more games. Others will pack up the football gear after this weekend.
The Bay Area News Group will have coverage throughout.
If you haven’t done so, please subscribe here for digital access all school year long. Our high school coverage does not stop when football season ends.
Here is the Week 12 preview and schedule:
No. 6 Archbishop Mitty (7-3) at No. 3 Los Gatos (8-2) in CCS Division I playoffs, Friday, 7 p.m.: Los Gatos is back in the Division I playoffs after winning another league title. Once again, the Wildcats are matched in the opening round against an opponent from the West Catholic Athletic League. Last year, Los Gatos was on the brink of a winning score until Bellarmine prevailed on a 94-yard pick-six in the final minute. This time, the Wildcats will have to beat a Mitty team coached by former Los Gatos quarterback Danny Sullivan, who led the Wildcats to a CCS title in 2005. After winning one game last year, Mitty bounced back with seven this fall and a third-place finish in the CCS’s strongest league. Wills Towers has thrown for 1,803 yards and 20 TDs. His favorite targets are Danny Scudero (41 receptions, 717 yards, 12 TDs) and Ben Kim (40 receptions, 620 yards, seven TDs). On defense, the Monarchs have intercepted 11 passes. Los Gatos has a balanced offense led by Jake Boyd (1,270 yards, 10 TDs passing) and Emiliano Mejia (997 yards and 17 TDs rushing). Will Brennan and Jaylen Thomas are the Wildcats’ top receivers, and LB Nicolas Ramos has 68 tackles, including 10 for loss. — Darren Sabedra
No. 5 Sacred Heart Prep (9-1) at No. 4 Salinas (9-1) in CCS Division I playoffs, Friday 7 p.m.: SHP thought it was getting a home game until the CCS confirmed with the neighboring NCS that Clayton Valley, not De La Salle, won the EBAL Mountain Division. DLS gets four EBAL games to fill out its schedule but isn’t eligible to win the league title. Because Clayton Valley was on its schedule, Salinas got a bonus point in the CCS’s formula that seeds teams for facing a league champion. The bonus point moved Salinas ahead of SHP in the seeding. The road environment at Salinas’ Pit will be challenging, but SHP has a veteran team that might be able to handle it. Power backs Anthony Noto and Andrew Latu propel a rushing attack that averaged more than 200 yards per game. Receiver/cornerback Carter Shaw, son of Stanford coach David Shaw, is a big-play threat who turned seven of his 22 receptions into touchdowns. But let’s not kid ourselves. It is SHP’s defense that carries a heavy load. The unit is led by senior linebacker Shay O’Kelly (125 tackles, 18 for loss). Seniors R.J Stephens and Eliseo Buffington each have six sacks. The Gators allow 8.1 points per game. Salinas is led by dual-threat QB Adam Shaffer, who has thrown for 24 TDs and ran for 14. Nyziah Hunter has 12 TD receptions. – Joseph Dycus
No. 5 Bellarmine (4-6) at No. 4 Menlo-Atherton (5-5) in CCS Division II playoffs, Friday, 7 p.m.: These teams being seeded next to one another in a playoff division would have surprised no one at the start of the season. The surprise is that the former Top 10 teams were up and down and fell to the middle of the pack in Division II. Bellarmine seemed to right itself with a three-game winning streak after an 0-2 start. But then a four-game skid ensued as its top player, RB Ben Pfaff, went down with an ankle injury. The Bells snapped the skid on Friday with a victory over Valley Christian. Pfaff returned for the ninth game of the season, a loss at St. Francis. Menlo-Atherton opened the season with a 48-34 victory over Bellarmine as five-star receiver Jurrion Dickey, a transfer from Valley Christian, caught three TD passes and ran for one. Dickey hasn’t played since Sept. 23 because of a leg injury and isn’t expected to return Friday. RB Sherrod Smith has 13 rushing TDs for M-A, which finished the regular season with losses to Sacred Heart Prep and Los Gatos. — Joseph Dycus
No. 8 Overfelt (9-1) at No. 1 Sequoia (9-1) in CCS Division IV playoffs, Friday, 7 p.m.: In an era of competitive equity, a matchup such as this one underscores what the CCS decision-makers had in mind when they adopted this playoff format. Calpreps.com’s computer predicts Sequoia to win 28-21. By comparison, calpreps.com projects the top seed in the North Coast Section’s Division IV bracket, Marin Catholic, to beat eighth-seeded Newark Memorial 62-0. Overfelt went undefeated in the Blossom Valley Athletic League’s Santa Teresa-Valley Division. Its only loss came against Santa Teresa, 23-6, in a non-league game. Sequoia was the runner-up in the PAL/SCVAL El Camino Division, its only loss coming against The King’s Academy, 29-14. Overfelt’s Mathias Legrand Carrillo has rushed for 1,090 yards and 11 touchdowns and caught 21 passes for 537 yards and eight TDs. Gabriel Martinez has passed for 1,899 yards and 17 TDs, and John Stowers (177 tackles, 37 for loss) and Quinton Togia’i (114 tackles, 21 for loss) lead Overfelt’s defense. Johnny Larios, Sequoia’s dual-threat QB, has passed for 1,136 yards and 15 TDs and rushed for 465 yards and six TDs. — Darren Sabedra
No. 5 Amador Valley (5-5) at No. 4 Liberty (7-3) in NCS Open/Division I playoffs, Friday, 7 p.m.: In the North Coast Section playoffs, where close games in the first round are exceptions, this contest is intriguing. The Calpreps.com computer favors Liberty by 13 points. In the other three first-round games in this division, the average spread is 31 points. Which team advances will likely be decided by Amador Valley’s defense. The Dons, ranked No. 22 in the Bay Area News Group Top 25, have surrendered 164 points this season, 12 fewer than 14th-ranked Liberty. On offense, the Lions have amassed 376 points compared to 149 for Amador Valley. At the center of the Dons’ defense are DEs Brady Nassar (6-foot-5, 245) and James Rothstein (6-6, 240). Both are 247sports.com three-star recruits. Nassar is committed to Colorado. Rothstein, whose likely college destination is at tight end, recently received an offer from San Diego State. As formidable as they are, it’s doubtful they’ve faced many offenses as explosive as Liberty’s. Senior QB Nate Bell is a load. The 5-10 senior has passed for 1,513 yards, rushed for 633 yards and accounted for 27 touchdowns. Running backs James Searcy and Giancarlo Olvedo have combined for 1,075 yards and 18 scores. The Lions have five players including Searcy with at least 10 catches. If Amador Valley’s defense is at the top of its game, the score will be close. If not, a 31-point win for Liberty isn’t out of the question. – Mike Lefkow
No. 7 Salesian (5-5) at No. 2 Moreau Catholic (7-3) in NCS Division VI playoffs, Friday, 7 p.m.: Two schools from the old Catholic Athletic League will renew their rivalry in the first round of the D-VI playoffs. After going at least 12 years without playing, the teams have met on three occasions since 2016. The last time, in 2019, Salesian crushed the Mariners 42-14 in the NCS playoffs. Calpreps.com favors Moreau Catholic by 21 points in this contest. First-year coach Keith Minor has the Mariners on a roll following an 0-10 season last year. They are 7-1 after an 0-2 start, with a four-point loss to Berkeley as the only setback. Before arriving at Moreau Catholic, Minor spent the previous 13 seasons at Encinal and St. Mary’s-Berkeley, where he was 97-51. Moreau likes to keep the ball in the hands of 5-foot-8, 165-pound RB Dean-Taylor Chapman, who averages over 100 yards per game. Robert Morgan, who stands 6-2, is the team’s top receiver. In many other years, a matchup between these teams would’ve had to wait until at least the semifinals. Salesian won CIF-State 6A championships in 2019 and 2021 under longtime coach Chad Nightingale. It has nine seasons of 10 or more wins since 2004. But this year has been a struggle. Two of Salesian’s five wins were by forfeit. The Pride lost games by over 30 points on three occasions. The five defeats in 2022 equaled the number of losses Salesian had from 2019-2021, when it was 27-5. – Mike Lefkow
Central Coast Section
No. 6 Archbishop Mitty (7-3) at No. 3 Los Gatos (8-2), Friday, 7 p.m.
No. 7 Sacred Heart Cathedral (6-4) at No. 2 St. Francis (7-3), Friday, 7 p.m.
No. 5 Sacred Heart Prep (9-1) at No. 4 Salinas (9-1), Friday, 7 p.m.
No. 8 Palma (8-2) at No. 1 Serra (10-0), Saturday, 1 p.m.
No. 6 Christopher (9-1) at No. 3 Aptos (8-2), Friday, 7 p.m.
No. 7 Half Moon Bay (7-3) at No. 2 St. Ignatius (4-6), Friday, 7 p.m.
No. 5 Bellarmine (4-6) at No. 4 Menlo-Atherton (5-5), Friday, 7 p.m.
No. 8 Lincoln-San Jose (9-1) at No. 1 Wilcox (9-1), Thursday, 7 p.m.
No. 6 The King’s Academy (8-2) at No. 3 Menlo School (5-5), Saturday, 1 p.m.
No. 7 Soledad (9-1) at No. 2 Live Oak (8-2), Friday, 7 p.m.
No. 5 Hollister (5-5) at No. 4 Burlingame (5-5), Friday, 7 p.m.
No. 8 Terra Nova (8-2) at No. 1 Soquel (9-1), Friday, 7 p.m.
No. 6 San Mateo (7-3) at No. 3 Branham (9-1), Friday, 7 p.m.
No. 7 Homestead (4-6) at No. 2 Mountain View (3-7), Friday, 7 p.m.
No. 5 St Francis-SCP (9-1) at No. 4 Santa Teresa (5-5), Friday, 7 p.m.
No. 8 Overfelt (9-1) at No. 1 Sequoia (9-1), Friday, 7 p.m.
No.. 6 Woodside (8-2) at No. 3 Seaside (6-4), Friday, 7 p.m.
No. 7 Stevenson (6-2) at No. 2 Palo Alto (4-6), Friday, 7 p.m.
No. 5 Monterey (6-4) at No. 4 Pioneer (8-2), Friday, 7 p.m.
No. 8 Willow Glen (7-3) at No. 1 Westmont (9-1), Friday, 7 p.m.
North Coast Section
No. 8 James Logan (7-3) at No. 1 De La Salle (7-3), Friday, 7 p.m.
No. 7 Antioch (4-6) at No. 2 Pittsburg (9-1), Friday, 7 p.m.
No. 5 Amador Valley (5-5) at No. 4 Liberty (7-3), Friday, 7 p.m.
No. 6 California (5-5) at No. 3 Clayton Valley Charter (6-4), Friday, 7 p.m.
Note: The first-round winners in the top half of the bracket will play for the Open Division championship in Week 2 of the playoffs. The loser of the Open Division championship will play the winner of the bottom half of the bracket for the Division I championship in Week 3 of the playoffs.
No. 1 San Ramon Valley (8-2) at No. 8 Berkeley (7-3), Friday, 7 p.m.
No. 5 Vintage (6-4) at No. 4 Foothill (6-4), Friday, 7 p.m.
No. 7 Granada (4-6) at No. 2 Campolindo (10-0), Friday, 7 p.m.
No. 6 Livermore (8-2) at No. 3 Rancho Cotate (8-2), Friday, 7 p.m.
No. 8 Montgomery (3-6) at No. 1 El Cerrito (10-0), Friday, 7 p.m.
No. 5 Northgate (6-4) at No. 4 Las Lomas (5-5), Friday, 7 p.m.
No. 7 College Park (7-3) at No. 2 Windsor (7-2), Friday, 7 p.m.
No. 6 Casa Grande (6-4) at No. 3 American Canyon (7-3), Friday, 7 p.m.
No. 8 Newark Memorial (5-5) at No. 1 Marin Catholic (10-0), Saturday, 1 p.m.
No. 5 Del Norte (8-1) at No. 4 Tennyson (8-2), Friday, 7 p.m.
No. 7 Concord (9-1) at No. 2 Acalanes (9-1), Friday, 7 p.m.
No. 6 Petaluma (7-3) at No. 3 Cardinal Newman (6-4), Friday, 7 p.m.
No. 8 Alhambra (4-6) at No. 1 San Marin (8-2), Saturday, 1 p.m.
No. 5 St. Bernard’s Academy (5-5) at No. 4 De Anza (5-4), Saturday, 7 p.m.
No. 7 Sonoma Valley (4-6) at No. 2 Miramonte (6-4), Friday, 7 p.m.
No. 6 San Rafael (5-5) at No. 3 Analy (5-5), Friday, 7 p.m.
No. 8 Arcata (5-5) at No. 1 St. Mary’s-Berkeley (10-0), Saturday, 1 p.m.
No. 5 Fortuna (4-6) at No. 4 Pinole Valley (5-4), Friday, 7 p.m.
No. 7 Salesian (5-5) at No. 2 Moreau Catholic (7-3), Friday, 7 p.m.
No. 6 Middletown (5-5) at No. 3 Justin-Siena (5-5), Friday, 7 p.m.
No. 8 Hoopa Valley (6-4) at No. 1 St. Vincent (10-0), Saturday, 1 p.m.
No. 4 Willits (8-2) at No. 5 McKinleyville (6-4), Friday, 7 p.m.
No. 7 Cloverdale (6-4) at No. 2 Clear Lake (9-1), Friday, 7 p.m.
No. 6 Kelseyville (5-5) at No. 3 St. Patrick-St. Vincent (8-1), Friday, 7 p.m.
Oakland Athletic League
Castlemont at Fremont-Oakland, 5 p.m.
McClymonds at Oakland Tech, 7 p.m.
Skyline at Oakland, 7 p.m.
How to report results/game details
We encourage Bay Area coaches or team statisticians to email the final score and key scoring plays (a few stats, if you have them) to [email protected] right after each game. Please include the school names in the subject line.
Look here as the Bay Area News Group’s Darren Sabedra, Joseph Dycus, and correspondent Mike Lefkow make their weekly predictions.