Football

Season-ending Bay Area News Group high school football rankings, plus early Top 5 for 2023

After four months of competition that culminated with last weekend’s state championships, the high school football season has come to a close.

It was a sad finish for even the Bay Area’s top programs as not a single one ended the year with a victory.

That said, there were many terrific and unexpected stories over the journey.

Seven teams that were not in the Bay Area News News preseason Top 25 made the final rankings.

Archbishop Mitty led that group, finishing eighth after winning just one game in 2021. The others were Acalanes, Liberty, Sacred Heart Cathedral, Menlo School, Tennyson and Christopher.

Seven teams that opened in the Top 25 were nowhere to be found at the end: Menlo-Atherton, Archbishop Riordan, Las Lomas, Heritage, Valley Christian, Monte Vista and Antioch.

Three teams that started in the Top 4 finished in the Top 4: Serra, De La Salle and Pittsburg.

McClymonds made the biggest leap among teams that opened in the Top 10, climbing from 10th to fourth.

As a bonus to these season-ending rankings, we also included early Top 5 for 2023.

Keep scrolling to find out which teams made that list.

Thank you for following along this season and subscribing to our coverage.

We can’t do it without your support.

On to the rankings …

Bay Area News Group season-ending Top 25

(Mercury News & East Bay Times)

No. 1 SERRA (13-1)

Regular-season-ending ranking: 1

Where it started: 2

How it finished: Captured Central Coast Section Division I title, outscoring three opponents 155-42. Lost to St. John Bosco-Bellflower 45-0 in the Open Division state title game.

No. 2 DE LA SALLE (10-4)

Regular-season-ending ranking: 3

Where it started: 1

How it finished: Won the North Coast Section Open Division championship. Beat Pittsburg 30-23 in the final. Won at Folsom 17-14 in a 1-AA regional title game before losing to Lincoln-San Diego 33-28 in the 1-AA state final. 

No. 3 PITTSBURG (12-3)

Regular-season-ending ranking: 2

Where it started: 4

How it finished: Repeated as NCS Division I champ with a 13-3 victory over Clayton Valley. Beat Manteca 34-14 in NorCal 1-A regional before losing to Liberty-Bakersfield 48-20 in 1-A state final.

No. 4 MCCLYMONDS (12-2)

Regular-season-ending ranking: 4

Where it started: 10

How it finished: Won another Oakland Athletic League championship. Beat Lemoore 49-35 in 2-AA regional final. Lost to Mater Dei Catholic-Chula Vista 26-18 in 2-AA state title game.

No. 5 SAN RAMON VALLEY (12-3)

Regular-season-ending ranking: 10

Where it started: 11

How it finished: Beat Campolindo 35-21 for the NCS Division II crown. Then beat Marin Catholic 19-17 in the 2-A NorCal title game and lost to Granite Hills-El Cajon 31-24 in overtime in the 2-A state final.

No. 6 CAMPOLINDO (12-1)

Regular-season-ending ranking: 5

Where it started: 12

How it finished: Bid to repeat as NCS Division II champion ended with a 35-21 loss to San Ramon Valley in the title game.

No. 7 EL CERRITO (13-1)

Regular-season-ending ranking: 6

Where it started: 13

How it finished: Captured the NCS Division III title with a 34-27 victory over Windsor in the final. Lost to Grant-Sacramento 36-7 in a 3-AA NorCal regional title game.

No. 8 ARCHBISHOP MITTY (9-4)

Regular-season-ending ranking: 15

Where it started: Not ranked

How it finished: Won back-to-back overtime games on the road in the CCS Division I playoffs, against Los Gatos 29-28 and St. Francis 42-41, and was tied 7-7 at halftime in the final against Serra before falling 41-14.

No. 9 ST. FRANCIS (8-4)

Regular-season-ending ranking: 12

Where it started: 3

How it finished: Beat Sacred Heart Cathedral 17-14 in the first round of the CCS Division I playoffs. Lost in overtime to Archbishop Mitty 42-41 in the semifinals.

No. 10 SACRED HEART PREP (9-2)

Regular-season-ending ranking: 7

Where it started: 20

How it finished: Lost at Salinas 28-21 in the first round of the CCS Division I playoffs.

No. 11 LOS GATOS (8-3)

Regular-season-ending ranking: 8

Where it started: 8

How it finished: Lost in overtime to Archbishop Mitty 29-28 in the first round of the CCS Division I playoffs.

No. 12 BELLARMINE (8-7)

Regular-season-ending ranking: Not ranked

Where it started: 5

How it finished: The Bells had a wild season, going from 3-6 to CCS Division II champions. They beat Menlo-Atherton 30-7, Wilcox 21-17 and St. Ignatius 21-14 in the section playoffs and Vanden-Fairfield 35-21 in the NorCal 3-A regional. Lost to Laguna Hills 28-27 in 3-A state title game.

No. 13 CLAYTON VALLEY CHARTER (8-5)

Regular-season-ending ranking: 13

Where it started: 6

How it finished: Beat California 42-21 and Liberty 21-13 in the NCS Open/Division I playoffs before losing to Pittsburg 13-3 in the final.

No. 14 ACALANES (10-2)

Regular-season-ending ranking: 11

Where it started: Not ranked

How it finished: Beat Concord 42-0 in the first round of the NCS Division IV playoffs and then lost at Cardinal Newman 17-14 in the semifinals.

No. 15 WILCOX (10-2)

Regular-season-ending ranking: 9

Where it started: 9

How it finished: Rolled past Lincoln-San Jose 56-14 in the first round of the CCS Division II playoffs before losing to Bellarmine 21-17 in the semifinals.

No. 16 LIBERTY (8-4)

Regular-season-ending ranking: 14

Where it started: Not ranked

How it finished: Beat Amador Valley 35-21 in the first round of the NCS Open/Division I playoffs and lost to Clayton Valley 21-13 in the semifinals.

No. 17 SACRED HEART CATHEDRAL (6-5)

Regular-season-ending ranking: 18

Where it started: Not ranked

How it finished: Lost to St. Francis 17-14 in the first round of the CCS Division I playoffs.

No. 18 ST. IGNATIUS (6-7)

Regular-season-ending ranking: Not ranked

Where it started: 14

How it finished: Beat Half Moon Bay 24-15 and Aptos 28-14 to reach the CCS Division II final. Lost to Bellarmine 21-14 in the title game.

No. 19 MENLO SCHOOL (8-6)

Regular-season-ending ranking: Not ranked

Where it started: Not ranked

How it finished: Won the CCS Division III championship with victories over The King’s Academy 37-20 and Live Oak 21-14 in the first two rounds and Hollister 42-6 in the final. Lost at San Marin 29-21 in the 4-A regional title game.

No. 20 LIVE OAK (9-3)

Regular-season-ending ranking: 21

Where it started: 25

How it finished: Beat Soledad 49-9 in the opening round of the CCS Division III playoffs. Lost to Menlo School 21-14 in the semifinals.

No. 21 AMADOR VALLEY (5-6)

Regular-season-ending ranking: 22

Where it started: 16

How it finished: Lost to Liberty 35-21 in the first round of the NCS Open/Division I playoffs.

No. 22 HALF MOON BAY (7-4)

Regular-season-ending ranking: 24

Where it started: 22

How it finished: Lost at St. Ignatius 24-15 in the first round of the CCS Division II playoffs.

No. 23 TENNYSON (8-3)

Regular-season-ending ranking: 16

Where it started: Not ranked

How it finished: MVAL/WACC Foothill Division champ lost to Del Norte 50-14 in the opening round of the NCS Division IV playoffs.

No. 24 JAMES LOGAN (7-4)

Regular-season-ending ranking: 17

Where it started: 17

How it finished: MVAL/WACC Foothill Division runner-up lost to De La Salle 40-14 in the first round of the NCS Open/Division I playoffs.

No. 25 CHRISTOPHER (9-2)

Regular-season-ending ranking: 19

Where it started: Not ranked

How it finished: Lost to Aptos 38-7 in the first round of the CCS Division II playoffs.

Bay Area News Group early 2023 Top 5

No. 1 SERRA

Here’s why: Strong junior class — led by the likes of QB Maealiuaki Smith, LB/RB Jabari Mann, SS Joseph Bey, LB/RB Danny Niu and RB Joseph Latu — will be back for a final season.

No. 2 DE LA SALLE

Here’s why: The Spartans will lose quite a bit of their 2022 core. But QB Toa Faavae and RB Derrick Blanche were just sophomores this season and standouts such as OLB/TE Andrew Cunningham and DB Jonathan Guerrero will be back for one more year.

No. 3 SAN RAMON VALLEY

Here’s why: QB Luke Baker. Aaron Becker says Baker is “the best I’ve ever coached” and SRV will have the play-making, spiritual-leading QB back for another season in 2023. RB John Pau Mendoza also returns.

No. 4 ST. FRANCIS

Here’s why: The Mountain View powerhouse was stunned by Archbishop Mitty in the CCS playoffs this season but had a breakout star down the stretch in sophomore RB Kingston Keanaaina.

No. 5 CLAYTON VALLEY CHARTER

Here’s why: The Ugly Eagles will have a new QB, but return their leading rusher (Micah Avery) and two of their top three receivers (Davin Amos and Hank Phifer).

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