The year was 2005.
The Giants hadn’t won a World Series and it seemed like they never would. The 49ers weren’t very good, which means somethings don’t change. Katrina hit New Orleans, You Tube was founded and George Bush was starting he second term as president.
That was one decade ago.
It was also when High School football had more of a pure look to it. A good majority of the games were played on Saturday afternoons, the state playoffs were a thing in the future and the North Coast Section playoffs were more like a local tournament. The East Bay had its own playoffs and the Redwood Empire had its. Most of the teams from the NBL and SCL were in the Redwood Empire Division 3A bracket and usually won a section championship. The only time they didn’t was when Eureka snuck in and took the title.
2005 was also the last time that Maria Carrillo defeated Cardinal Newman, a streak they will try to break this Friday. The game is at Cardinal Newman and is the KSRO Game of the Week.
The 2005 season rates right up there as one of the best football seasons in Maria Carrillo history. Cardinal Newman is part of the reason why, both the good and the not so good.
It was the third year as head coach for Paul Cronin at Cardinal Newman, who won the NBL championship, going 6-1. Until last year, it was the last season a league champion in the NBL wasn’t won by an undefeated team. It is still the last time a one loss team won the title outright.
It was on October 15th, 2005 when Maria Carrillo defeated Cardinal Newman, winning a wild home game (on a Saturday afternoon) by a 37-30 score. That didn’t give them any momentum. They would lose the next two weeks to Rancho Cotate and Montgomery by a combined nine points. After a 0-2 start the Pumas finish the regular season 6-4 and 5-2 in NBL play.
It was one of the most balanced seasons in recent history and the playoffs followed suit. That year all eight teams in the Redwood Empire Division 3A bracket were either NBL or SCL teams. Cardinal Newman was the No. 1 seed and SCL co-champion Casa Grande was No. 2.
Casa Grande tied for the SCL championship with Healdsburg, who was in the Redwood Empire 2A bracket, which was basically the Marin County League bracket. That year Healdsburg went 10-2 and lost to eventual champion Novato 28-21 in a semi-final game. The only other loss that season was to Analy 43-28 which was the next to last regular game of the season.
Moving back to the 3A bracket, Cardinal Newman was the favorite. Besides the loss to Maria Carrillo, they had pretty much controlled the NBL. The closest league win was over Ukiah 42-30.
All three playoff wins were over NBL teams. Round one was 21-14 over No. 8 Ukiah. They followed that up with a 26-23 overtime win over No. 5 Rancho Cotate. During league, Cardinal Newman defeated Rancho Cotate 26-7. Rancho Cotate had advanced to that game with a 21-14 win at Windsor, which was the first home playoff game in Windsor history.
Not much was expected from Maria Carrillo, who was the No. 7 seed. What made it worse, the opening round game was at No. 2 Casa Grande. Back then a pre-league game between the two was an annual event. Part of that event was Casa Grande usually won. It was no different this season and that game wasn’t close with the 33-0 final, which dropping Maria Carrillo to 0-2.
Maria Carrillo got revenge, upsetting Casa Grande 28-18 in a game that wasn’t as close as the score indicated.
The other side of that bracket also a shocker. No. 6 Petaluma went to No. 3 and defending champion Montgomery and scored four fourth quarter touchdowns to pull away for a 42-7 win.
So the semi-final on that side of the bracket was No. 7 at No. 6. Maria Carrillo won a defensive game by a 14-9 score, which set up the championship game with Cardinal Newman. That game turned out to be anti-climactic as Cardinal Newman took the title 21-0. It was the first of four section championships for a Cardinal Newman team coached by Paul Cronin.
The next year the playoffs started changing. The Redwood Empire and the East Bay started to combined and the State Championship game began.
Like this year, Maria Carrillo’s head coach was Jay Higgins. That team was unlike most Maria Carrillo teams because it had a passing attack. The quarterback was Adam Froman, who passed for nearly 2,000 yards and twenty touchdowns. His main receivers were Robbie Bloyd and Matt Larson, who combined for fifteen touchdown catches. They did have a running game led by Demario Hills who rushed for over 900 yards and ten touchdowns.
Since that game a decade ago this month, most of games have been one sided Cardinal Newman wins. Just once has the difference been less than ten points. That was in 2009 when the final was 29-20. Last year’s 42-28 final was the second closest.
Maria Carrillo is hoping to re-live 2005 in 2015.
A note the preview has an addition to it. There are enough games now for Cal Preps to have projections of the games. Remember they are a Cal Preps projection and not a YSN365.com prediction.
NORTH BAY LEAGUE
No. 6 Maria Carrillo (2-2) at No. 2 Cardinal Newman (2-2) 7PM
KSRO GAME OF THE WEEK…PREGAME 6:35
CAL PREPS PROJECTION: Cardinal Newman by 21
No. 3 Rancho Cotate (3-1) at Montgomery (0-4)
CAL PREPS PROJECTION: Rancho Cotate by 43
No. 7 Windsor (3-1) vs. Casa Grande (0-4) at Petaluma High School
CAL PREPS PROJECTION: Windsor by 5
Santa Rosa (2-2) at Ukiah (1-3)
CAL PREPS PROJECTION: Ukiah by 3
The Maria Carrillo-Cardinal Newman game is the only one between teams that won its league opener.
Rancho Cotate and Windsor are the other two teams to win their openers. They are going on the road against teams that are looking for their first win of the season.
The Santa Rosa-Ukiah game is a rubber match of sorts. In each of the last two years the winner of this game got its only league win, while the loser went winless. The teams split the two games with the home team winning both.
Oh yes and by the way, one week from Rancho Cotate at Cardinal Newman.
SONOMA COUNTY LEAGUE
No. 1 Analy (4-0) at Sonoma Valley (0-5)
CAL PREPS PROJECTION: Analy by 62
No. 8 Petaluma (3-2) at Piner (3-2)…SATURDAY
CAL PREPS PROJECTION: Petaluma by 26
Elsie Allen (0-4) at Healdsburg (2-3)
CAL PREPS PROJECTION: Healdsburg by 42
El Molino (0-4) BYE
The winner of the Petaluma-Piner game will be, at worst, in a tie for first place and that first place tie wouldn’t be with Analy. After a BYE, Analy is playing its first SCL game.
Both Petaluma and Piner won its league opener. Healdsburg also won its league opener and a win over Elsie Allen, would put them in a first place tie with the Petaluma-Piner winner.
Kelseyville (1-3) at No. 4 St. Helena (4-0)
CAL PREPS PROJECTION: St. Helena by 42
Lower Lake (3-1) at No. 5 Fort Bragg (4-0)
CAL PREPS PROJECTION: Fort Bragg by 25
No. 10 Middletown (1-2) at No. 9 Willits (4-0)
CAL PREPS PROJECTION: Willits by 1
The Middletown-Willits contest is the only one of the four that is between teams that won their league opener. Middletown’s win over Lower Lake was its first win of the season in three tries.
Middletown plays its first home game since the fire next Friday against No. 5 Fort Bragg. In two weeks they host No. 4 St. Helena.
St. Vincent (1-4) BYE
SRJC (2-2) AT No. 6 Sequoias (4-0)…SATURDAY 5 PM
It has been an up and down season for SRJC, so it makes sense they are at .500. Last week, SRJC lost a road game to Laney 31-20, trailing 24-0 going into the fourth quarter. The loss knocked them out of the State’s Top 25 rankings.
Sequoias has been jumping up in the rankings each week. They were No. 17 in the pre-season rankings and weren’t mention after week one. They are averaging 37.5 a game, which is tied for seventh in the state.
The Big 6, the conference that SRJC is in and starts play in two weeks, took a hit last week. The conference went into the week with two undefeated teams that were ranked No. 2 and 3 in the state. Both those teams lost.
San Mateo was defeated by San Joaquin Delta 43-32. That was the team that had one win all of last season and beat SRJC in the opener 27-17 this season.
San Francisco lost to American River 20-17 on a field goal as time ran out. American River has won three straight to go 3-1.
San Mateo dropped to No. 5 while San Francisco dips to No. 9.
SRJC has next week off. In two weeks they open up conference play with back to back home games against San Mateo and San Francisco.
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PREVIEW: MARIA CARRILLO TRIES FOR SOME HISTORY
The year was 2005.