First of all welcome to all the new viewers to our little part of the internet.
The high school football season officially begins this weekend.  This is part of the weekly YSN coverage.  We will have previews, game coverage (both written and video) and other nuggets, including rankings.
Bring on the games.
PRELEAGUE OUTLOOK
Games between the NBL and SCL used to dominate the pre-league schedule, now it only dominates scrimmage night.
One SCL team does have three of its four pre-league games against the NBL.  That is Analy, who opens the season this Friday with a home game against Casa Grande.   Next the Tigers host Maria Carrillo and then go to Montgomery.  There is only one other NBL-SCL game, that is Petaluma at Santa Rosa, which is also this week.
Not too long ago four NBL-SCL games was an average week.   In 2009 there were 13 games between the NBL and SCL (all won by the SCL), but times and the leagues have changed and in the last two years there was a combined six games between the two leagues (not counting the playoffs).
Part of the reason for the lack of NBL-SCL games is after realignment the balance of the two leagues has tipped the NBL way.  Another reason is that run for a shot at a State Championship.  Strength of schedule and win-loss record goes in hand in hand for that.  It doesn’t help the crowds, but it helps the resume.
When thinking State Championship, the thought usually goes to Cardinal Newman, who is the only team in the area that has made a state championship game.  Other teams have come close, but haven’t made it past the section championship game, which is another requirement to make “the big game”.
Cardinal Newman set the standard and annually plays a top notch pre-league schedule.  This year is no different.   That starts this Saturday, at Del Oro High School in Loomis, with a game against Churchill County of Fallon, Nevada.  Last year they were Nevada’s Division 1-A state runner up.

Cronin
Newman coach Paul Cronin has set his team up with a tough non-league schedule in 2014.

 
The three teams that Cardinal Newman meets in the pre-league had a combined record of 28-6 in 2013.  As for the power rankings, the lowest team rated a 21 last year and is a 12 to start this season.  That is the team from Nevada.   For comparison, Cardinal Newman’s power ranking in 2013 was 22. Casa Grande was the highest in the area at 39.
Analy’s pre-league opponents had a combined record of 37-13 last year.  Healdsburg’s opponents went 35-14.  SCL teams have higher numbers because with one less league team, they have one more pre-league game than the NBL teams.
MORE NEVADA
Cardinal Newman isn’t the only local team opening against a team from Nevada.  Sonoma Valley opens its season on September 5th with a home game against Galena which is a school from Reno.  According to  the power rankings, this team was better than the team Cardinal Newman is meeting.  Last season they went 8-3 and power ranking wise was No. 8 in the state.  Churchill County, the team that Cardinal Newman is meeting this week was No. 14 in Nevada.
SPEAKING OF POWER RANKINGS
Here are the pre-season power rankings of the local teams.   Don’t ask me how they figure this out before a game is played.
No.1 Casa Grande
No. 2 Cardinal Newman
No. 3 Montgomery
No. 4 Analy
No. 5 Rancho Cotate
No. 6 Maria Carrillo
No. 7 Middletown
No. 8 Healdsburg
No. 9 St. Helena
No. 10 Piner
LAST YEARS YSN365.COM SEASON ENDING RANKINGS
No. 1 Casa Grande.
No. 2 Analy
No. 3 Middletown
No. 4 Cardinal Newman
No. 5 St. Helena
No. 6 Montgomery
No. 7 Rancho Cotate
No. 8 St. Vincent
No. 9 Healdsburg
No. 10 Windsor
Honorable Mention—Calistoga, Sonoma Valley, Piner
This is an example of the weekly rankings we will have here at YSN365.com.
OTHER RANKINGS
Cal Hi Sports, the guru of high school sports, has put out its State Pre Season Top 50.  None of the local teams made the list and that includes twenty bubble teams.
One team that the local teams will be keeping an eye on this season is Clayton Valley who is at No. 33.   They are in Division 2, like most of the NBL.  They went 11-2 last season and lost the NCS Division 2 semi-final game to Miramonte 44-38.  Miramonte then won the section the following week with a 41-28 win over Casa Grande.
Clayton Valley will be in Sonoma County on Saturday September 13th, when they open the home schedule for Cardinal Newman.
DIVISION CHANGES
Division 2 used to be the North Bay League home and that has changed.  There were two defections in the last few seasons with Cardinal Newman moving to Division 3 and Santa Rosa to Division 1.  It has always been Cardinal Newman’s choice on the Division, which is why they jump from Division to Division depending on the sports.   Attendance wise they are a Division 4 school in most sports.
Santa Rosa had no options as they had to go to Division 1, because of the school size.  That changes this season, at least in football, as Santa Rosa is under the 2,000 student mark.  That is the cutoff between Division 1 and 2.  What that means is if they would make the NCS playoffs, they won’t have to be in the same bracket as De La Salle.   The guidelines change from sports to sport.  Santa Rosa is still in Division 1 for basketball.
The biggest change in football is that two North Bay League schools have dropped to Division 3.  One is usually a contender in the Division 2 world and that is Rancho Cotate.    The other is Ukiah, who is two students’ short of the Division 2 cutoff.
Both teams, in fact every team can move up from the Division they are in.  They have until the second game to make that decision.
PREDICTED GAME OF THE WEEK
Sometimes it is hard to pick the Game of the Week until the week of the games, but here is a look at the potential games of the week for the coming football season.
August 29th—Casa Grande at Analy…No. 1 vs. No. 2 of 2012
September 5th—Maria Carrillo at Analy…When in doubt go with the NBL-SCL game, plus it was one of the games of the year in 2013.
September 13th—Clayton Valley at Cardinal Newman…Both expect to make some noise come playoff time.
September 19th—Analy at Montgomery…SCL vs. NBL Contenders and could have a major effect on the early rankings.
September 26th—Casa Grande at Rancho Cotate…Nice start to the NBL race.
October  4th—Calistoga at St. Vincent…Co Champions of 2013 open up the new NCL II
October 10th—Middletown at St. Helena…Two highly rated teams in a game that could decide NCL I race.
October 17th—Cardinal Newman at Casa Grande….Defending champion host first league game against yearly contender.
October 24th—St. Vincent at Calistoga…Round two
October 31st—Cardinal Newman at Montgomery…Area’s best rivalry on Halloween
November 7th—Casa Grande at Montgomery…Top two teams of 2013 end league race.
HELP
We are looking for game day reporters.   It is an easy enough job.  All that is required is sending me scores.   For details either like this article on the facebook page—or email me.
My email address is [email protected]