Football

CIF state football: NorCal matchups are set. What are the top storylines?

DE LA SALLE: NEW REGIONAL OPPONENT FOR SPARTANS

De La Salle figured its regional opponent would be Clovis North or Folsom. Clovis North is undefeated and captured the Central Section Division I championship on Friday. Folsom has lost twice, to Serra and De La Salle, and won the Sac-Joaquin Section Division I title on Friday.

The California Interscholastic Federation went with Clovis North for De La Salle, giving the Bay Area power a home game on Friday night after sending the Spartans to Folsom for a regional last season.

Instead of facing the Sacramento-area powerhouse and its spread offense for the fifth time since October 2021, De La Salle will play run-dominated Clovis North, which has put together its first undefeated season since it began playing varsity football in 2009.

“If they had chosen us to play Folsom, we would have been excited, don’t get me wrong,” DLS coach Justin Alumbaugh said. “But some new competition is always nice. It’s not like we were hoping for Clovis North or anything like that. They’re a really good team.”

Calpreps.com’s computer rates Clovis North sixth in the state, the highest rating among any team playing in the North, even Open Division representative Serra, which is eighth.

What makes Clovis North so good?

Well, like De La Salle, it keeps the ball on the ground and the clock moving.

“Whoever is coming to our game, it should be a quick one,” Alumbaugh said. “They rotate three running backs, have a really big offensive line, impressive defense. They’re an outstanding team. You’re not 13-0 for no reason.”

– Darren Sabedra

PITTSBURG: NO HOME GAME FOR UNDEFEATED PIRATES

After his team’s victory over San Ramon Valley in the North Coast Section Division I championship game Friday night, Pittsburg coach Charlie Ramirez said it would be nice to get a home game for the regional.

The undefeated Pirates didn’t get a home game but will see a familiar opponent when they travel to Folsom on Saturday night.

It will mark the third consecutive season in which Pittsburg has played Folsom.

The Pirates are 0-2 in those games, losing 38-17 at Folsom in September 2021 and 23-15 at home early last season.

The teams had a verbal agreement to play earlier this season but that changed because of new scheduling for Folsom in its section.

Ramirez didn’t need a lot of words to describe Folsom’s strength.

“Their quarterback,” he said, referring to 6-foot-3, 205-pound sophomore Ryder Lyons, who has passed for more than 3,000 yards and run for more than 600 this season.

Ramirez said he is very similar to SRV senior Luke Baker, whose high school career ended on Friday against Pittsburg.

“It’s going to be a challenge for sure,” Ramirez said.

– Darren Sabedra

MCCLYMONDS: WARRIORS STAY LOCAL BUT STILL HIT ROAD

McClymonds, the reigning 2-AA NorCal champion, is back in a regional title game for the ninth time after winning the Silver Bowl on Saturday.

But unlike last season, the Warriors will go on the road to face perennial North Bay powerhouse Marin Catholic. A victory would send retiring Mack coach Michael Peters out with a sixth NorCal title and a berth in the 3-A state championship game.

The teams have some recent history, with McClymonds 3-0 against the Wildcats in the MaxPreps era (2004 to present), the latest matchup being a 33-21 victory at Mack in 2021.

Marin Catholic, which rolled past Cardinal Newman 24-3 in the NCS D-III title game, will be the first serious test the Oakland school has faced in months. McClymonds (8-2) has not allowed a point since its 21-0 loss to De La Salle on Sept. 29, shutting out six Oakland Athletic League opponents by a combined score of 307-0.

Eight of its 10 games have ended with a running clock. Because of this, McClymonds’s small roster should be fresher than at any point since the start of the season.

– Joseph Dycus

EL CERRITO AND LOS GATOS: EAST BAY VS. SOUTH BAY

The 2-A title game will pit two of the Bay Area’s top teams against one another when El Cerrito travels south to Los Gatos on Saturday night.

The winner will advance to the first state title game in either school’s history.

NCS Division II champion El Cerrito, whose only loss was a 31-12 defeat at De La Salle in October, welcomes playing away from home after hosting eight of 13 games this season.

“We like to get on the road because it keeps us focused and dialed in,” coach Jacob Rincon said

Los Gatos coach Mark Krail, who is taking his program to its second regional game, hopes for better conditions than the rain that greeted the Wildcats in their NorCal loss on the road against Cardinal Newman in 2019.

Rincon, who had just started studying Los Gatos, said that he was impressed by how the Wildcats consistently avoid making mistakes.

Los Gatos beat Archbishop Riordan, St. Ignatius and Wilcox to win the Division I crown and extend its season.

Krail said El Cerrito, “They look big and they look fast and physical.”

– Joseph Dycus

BEST OF THE REST

Acalanes won its first North Coast Section championship on Friday when it beat San Marin. Friday, the Dons can add to the trophy case when they play host to Escalon (12-1) for the 3-AA title. … Miramonte will play in its first regional when it travels to play Pleasant Valley-Chico for the 5-AA title on Friday. Pleasant Valley is 1-3 in regional games, its lone victory coming against Milpitas in 2016. … Palo Alto will be making its second consecutive regional appearance when it faces St. Vincent de Paul for the 6-AA championship on Friday at Casa Grande High. The Vikings lost to Santa Teresa 30-20 in the 6-AA regional last season. … South San Francisco, fresh off winning the CCS Division V title, gets a home game Saturday night against Colusa for the Division 6-A title. South City is 12-1, Colusa is 12-0.

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