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The high school football regular season is going out with a bang.
Three of the four league championships were decided.
The other one will be decided today.
Two of the three league races that were decided have a co-championship.
The one to be decided today could end in a co-championship too.
Two of the three have a sensible tie-breaker
One does not.
The one that does not had the most dramatic finish of the night to end its co-championship.
The tie-breaker system could be felt as early as tomorrow when the NCS playoff Brackets are announced.   The NCS playoffs can only have one league champion.   When there is a co-championship the tie-breaker kicks in to decide the one champion.
But for now, tie-breaker or not, if they apply it to your team, your team is a league champion for 2014.
No. 2 Rancho Cotate 54 Santa Rosa 7
No. 3 Cardinal Newman 23 No. 8 Windsor 20
No. 6 Maria Carrillo 48 Ukiah 13
No. 10 Casa Grande 35 Montgomery 12
The North Bay League hasn’t had to use the tie-breaker in football since at least 2000.  Now that they have, hopefully they will revisit the rule.   The tie-breaking system has nothing to do with what happens on the field, but what happened by the luck of the draw.
Cardinal Newman and Rancho Cotate are Co-Champions.
Cardinal Newman had the luck of draw with the lowest number.
For the record, the draw was almost as close as the league race turned out to be and as close as the Rancho Cotate’s 45-38 overtime win over Cardinal Newman back on October 10th.
Cardinal Newman drew a three.
Rancho Cotate drew a four.
Low number wins.
There was nothing close about Rancho Cotate taking its share of the NBL crown, as they defeated Santa Rosa 54-7.   Michael Ross started the scoring with a two yard run and ended it with a 60 yard interception return.  Carlos Franco and Cooper Nicks also scored two touchdowns for the Cougars, who end the regular season 7-3 and NBL play at 6-1.   The lone loss was on October 17th to Maria Carrillo 34-28.
The tie-breaker rule came “this close” to being meaningless.    Cardinal Newman and Windsor played one heck of a high school football game.   Cardinal Newman didn’t lead until 3:25 left in the 4th on a touchdown run by Craig Lucey, to give Cardinal Newman a 23-20 advantage.
Windsor then drove the ball down and had a shot to send the game into overtime, but the snap was slighty off on a 41 yard field goal attempt, which threw off the timing and the attempt by Gedi Taveris was short.
The kick ended the game that could be called the injury game.  Not because there was a lot of injuries, but because key players who made big contributions were expected to be either question marks or out of the game because of injuries.
Lucey was one of those injured players,   He was expected to be out because of a hamstring issue.   But there he was in the game in the second half and gave a spark to an offense that Windsor had controlled pretty well for most of the game.
The other was Windsor quarterback Jalen Roman, who did not play quarterback for most of last week’s loss to Maria Carrillo because of an arm issue.  Roman returned the opening kick off, but didn’t start the first series at quarterback.  By the end of that first series he was at quarterback and would stay there for most of the rest of the game.   He passed for 130 yards and rushed for 262 yards on forty one carries and a touchdown.

(72) Dmitri “The Tank ‘ Acken plows into the end zone to give Windsor the early lead at Newman.

On that first drive, Roman went for a big gains on two quarterback draws, which set up the first of two touchdowns by Dmitri Acken, which gave Windsor a 6-0 lead.
After Cardinal Newman kicked a field goal on its first drive, Ackens ended the Jaquars second drive with his second touchdown to make it 13-3.
The offenses basically did what they wanted to most of the night, but it took them a while to do it.   The field goal by Cardinal Newman that wrapped up its first drive came early in the second quarter. Acken’s second touchdown came with 5:21 left in the half.
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Newman QB Jordan Brookshire (10) breaks away up the middle for a 41 yard TD run.

Up to that point Cardinal Newman had only been on offense for one series.   Moments later came the first big play of the game when sophomore quarter Jordon Brookshire went 41 yards for a score with 3:49 left to cut it to 13-9.  It was part of another big came for Brookshire, who rushed for 132 yards and passed for another 79.
Windsor took a 20-9 lead with three minutes to go in the third.
The personality of the game changed on the ensuing kickoff when Damien Wallace, filling in for Kasey Mansen (who was out with a fractured fibula) returning kicks, went 96 yards for a score. A two point conversion cut it to 20-17.
The Windsor offense pretty much had its way with the Cardinal Newman defense most of the night and did again on the next drive.   That was until they got into a goal to goal situation.   The Cardinal Newman defense came up with a goal line stand and then drove 98 yards for the go ahead score by Lucey.
Windsor’s offense came right back, but the field goal attempt was short and Cardinal Newman had its co-championship with Rancho Cotate.
Maria Carrillo, who went into the game No. 4 in the Division 2 power rankings, jumped out to a 28-0 lead and defeated Ukiah 48-13.   Alex Netherda rushed for 147 yards on six carries, which included three touchdowns.  He also returned a punt for another score.
It will be interesting to see how the local teams get seeded on Sunday for the NCS playoffs.   Not only effecting the Division 3 teams (Cardinal Newman, Rancho Cotate and Analy), but also the Division 2 teams from the North Bay League, which includes Windsor, who has lost three straight after a 7-0 start.
The other teams in consideration are Maria Carrillo, Casa Grande and Montgomery
Windsor is No. 3 in the Division 2 power rankings and lost to Maria Carrillo.
Casa Grande finished the season in impressive fashion with a 35-12 win over Montgomery.  After a 0-5 start, Casa Grande has won four of five and is looking good to host a first round NCS game.
It doesn’t look as promising for Montgomery, who drops to 4-6 and will be holding its breath to see if they get a home playoff game.
Casa Grande had a 21-0 halftime lead.   Its defense pitched a shutout.  The Montgomery scores came on an interception and kickoff return.
Sophomore running back Spencer Torkelson rushed for a season high 164 yards and scored the game’s first two touchdowns on runs of 48 and 36 yards.   Casey Longaker also rushed for a touchdown, which gave Casa Grande a 21-0 lead.   He also led the team in tackles with eleven, three of them for losses, which included one sack.
So the standings end up Rancho Cotate and Cardinal Newman co-champions at 6-1.  Windsor, Maria Carrillo and Casa Grande all finished tied for third, one game ahead of sixth place Montgomery.
No. 1 Analy 34 No. 7 Petaluma 23
No. 9 El Molino 15 Piner 12
Sonoma Valley 20 Elsie Allen 6
It was thought that the so called SCL championship game was just that, the so called SCL championship game.
It turned out to be the real thing.
In the end, Analy won its third straight SCL crown, but not before Petaluma gave them their toughest test of the three year run, before dropping a 34-23 decision.
The game started out with lead changes.   There were three by halftime in which Analy had a 14-10 lead.   In the second half, Analy would score to apparently turn things normal, before Petaluma would almost come all the way back.
The final score came on a fourth and goal touchdown pass from Will Smith to Ja’Narrick James with seven minutes to go.
Up until then it was a back and forth game, which started with Petaluma going on a 65 yard drive.  They capped off the possession with a Greg Thomas 22 yard field goal giving the Trojans a 3-0 lead.
That started a trend of the two teams taking turns scoring.  That stopped when Will Smith hit Kerr Johnson Jr. on a 43 yard touchdown pass with 8:40 to go in the third quarter to give Analy a 21-10 lead.   At the time it was the biggest difference in the game.   That was followed by another Smith-Johnson Jr touchdown, this one from 42 and things seemed to be headed in the expected direction as Analy had a 27-10 lead.  It was the third straight touchdown of the game that Smith and Johnson Jr connected on.   The first one was from 27 yards with 2:30 left in the half and it turned out to give Analy the lead for good at 14-10.
That didn’t end the suspense.  Right after the third touchdown, Yusef Kawasami, who rushed for 181 yards on the night, got 72 of them for a score to make it 27-17.  Petaluma then recovered an onside kick and scored on a one yard run by Thomas to cut it to 27-23.
Next came the championship moment for Analy.  Smith, who passed for 204 yards, hit Malcolm Jenkins on a 54 yard play, which set up the touchdown pass to James that made it a two score game with seven minutes left.
Petaluma did make one last push, driving into Analy territory, but an attempt at a spike to stop the clock was mishandled and Analy recovered it to finally put away the league championship.
Analy is 9-1 on the season and will get a first round home game in the NCS playoffs.
Petaluma continues on the comeback trail since the 1-9 season in 2011.  The Trojans have improved each season and at 7-3 will go to the NCS playoffs for the second straight season.   The Trojans, who like Analy are in Division 3, will have to travel to its NCS playoff game.   Last season the first round game was against Analy.   That won’t be the case this year, but there is a decent chance they won’t have to leave Sonoma County.    It wouldn’t be surprising if the round one game is against Cardinal Newman or Rancho Cotate.
The Analy-Petaluma game was between two Division 3 playoff teams.
The Piner-El Molino game was between two Division 4 playoff teams.    El Molino made its case for a home game and finished over .500 for the second time in at least a decade with a 15-12 win.
Steve Mori hit Lonnie Gasper on a 41 yard touchdown pass with 2:47 left for the winning score.
Piner responded with an attempt at a game winning drive and just missed.  They were stopped on a 4th and goal at the one.
Piner had trailed 8-0 at the half, but scored  2 touchdowns in the third quarter to take a 12-8 lead.   The second touchdown was on a 12 yard run by Tony Martignoli.
El Molino had taken a 7-0 lead in the first quarter on a 17 yard run by Jeremy Pearson.
It was the expected close game between the two teams that was mostly defensive.  The difference in the game turned out to be extra points.   El Molino kicked one after the first touchdown and scored two on a Mori pass after the second one.   Piner missed both of its PATs on kick attempts.
El Molino is now 6-4 on the season.    They finished 7-5 in 2010.  That included a two game appearance in the NCS playoffs.   The last time they finished .500 was in 2003 when they went 6-6.
Piner, who falls to 5-5 on the season, will have to go on the road for a first round game.
Sonoma Valley is eligible for a Division 3 playoff spot after a 20-6 win over Elsie Allen.   The Dragons, who are 3-7 on the season, are eligible because they have a 1-1 record again Division 3 teams.   They are a bubble team to get invited.
Two Tristan Mertens touchdown runs in the first quarter gave Sonoma Valley a 14-0 lead.
To Elsie Allen’s credit, they made it a game cutting the lead to 14-6 at the half on a two yard run by Ritcie Depaz.
Sonoma Valley put things away on a fourth quarter touchdown pass by Max Yankovich.
So the SCL finishes with Analy winning the league championship by two games.  Petaluma and El Molino finished second at 4-2.   Piner and Sonoma Valley tied for fourth with 3-3 marks.
No. 4 Fort Bragg 28 Clear Lake 16
No. 5 St. Helena 34 Cloverdale 14
Middletown 28 Lower Lake 13
Willits 14 Kelseyville 13
Like the NBL, the NCL I has a co-championship.
Unlike the NBL they have a tie-breaker decided on the field.
Fort Bragg and St.Helena finished at 6-1 and tied for the NCL I championship.   Fort Bragg gets the guaranteed berth for the league because of its 35-20 over St. Helena on October 24th.
As far as the NCS playoffs go, St. Helena will have the better seeding.  That is because St. Helena is in Division 5 and Fort Bragg is in Division 4.
Fort Bragg got its share of the championship with a 28-16 win over Clear Lake.  They won the game without quarterback Kaylor Sullivan, who injured his wrist in the win over Cloverdale last week.  Sullivan still ended up with over 3,000 passing yards on the season.   It is unsure if he will be back for the playoffs.
St. Helena took its share of the NCL I crown with a 34-14 win over Cloverdale.
Jack Preston threw two touchdown passes and ran in two more.
St. Helena could get a first round bye in the NCS Division 5 playoffs.
Cloverdale is also in Division 5 and is hoping for a first round home game.
Anthony Guzman rushed for 217 yards and three touchdowns as Middletown defeated Lower Lake 28-13.
Middletown will be a Division 5 playoff team.  Lower Lake will be in Division 4.
Willits scored on a 55 yard touchdown pass with two minutes left to edge Kelseyville 14-13.
Willit’s season ends at 4-6.
Kelseyville is 5-5 and is a bubble team for the Division 4 playoffs.
So the NCL I final standings have Fort Bragg and St. Helena as co-champions   Middletown finishes one game back in third and one game ahead of Cloverdale who finished fourth.
Calistoga 12 Upper Lake 0
Tomales (7-2, 4-1) at St. Vincent (5-4, 5-0)
CAL PREPS PROJECTION:  St. Vincent by 18
Dustin Anderson rushed for 89 yards, which included a 42 yard touchdown as Calistoga defeated Upper Lake 12-0.
Calistoga ends the season 2-8.  Upper Lake 0-10.
St. Vincent has clinched the automatic berth to the NCS playoffs.   Even if they lose to Tomales, which would mean a co-championship, St. Vincent gets the automatic berth because of numbers drawn at the beginning of the season.  If Tomales wins the head to head would be a split, forcing the use of numbers.  If St. Vincent wins, they win the title outright.  St. Vincent won the first game 40-6.
Foothill (1-7, 0-3) at No. 11 SRJC (6-2, 1-2)
KSRO 1350 AM-103.5 FM
Unless they host a bowl game, this is the last game of the season at Bailey Field for the Bear Cubs.
Last week the Bear Cubs snapped a two game losing streak with a 41-10 win over DeAnza.   Christian McAlvain threw for 295 yards and three touchdowns.  McAlvain now has eighteen touchdown passes, which is tenth in the state.
Foothill got its lone win in the opening game of the season, 27-24 over Sequioa.   Sequioa only has one win on the season, which was a 16-13 victory over DeAnza who is winless.
SRJC ends the regular season at Diablo Valley next Friday Night.
My email address is jacpasquini@comcast.net