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It could be that we are looking at a historic year for the North Bay League.
Actually it might be already.
That is unless you believe it is all about winning a championship, which I don’t.
It appears that this is the most teams the NBL has ever had in the NCS Football playoffs.  The playoffs have changed over the years, but in the Cal Preps era, which started in 2001, six is the record.
Formats have come and gone, but there was a time that a fullbracket had fewer teams than the North Bay League had picked this season.  So I feel pretty safe when I say this is a record number of teams for the North Bay League.
The six playoff teams isn’t the most in the section.  That honor belongs to the Marin County League, which had seven.  The fact That all six NBL teams won in the first round gives them the most of any league still going.
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The Marin County League got a bad break in the pairings.  Two games in the first round were league vs. league, so they were going to have two teams eliminated.  They had one other team lose, which was Novato, who lost to Cardinal Newman.
Not bad for a league that is considered to be down.
In the Cal Preps era the most teams that the NBL had in the post season was five, which they did in 2005, 2011 and last season.
The North Bay League is on a little roll in first round games.   Counting this season, over the last five years they are 18-4.  One of the losses had to happen because it was NBL vs NBL (last year Windsor over Rancho Cotate).
The only other time since 2001 that the league went undefeated in the first round was in 2010 when Cardinal Newman, Rancho Cotate and Maria Carrillo all took first round wins.   Cardinal Newman would go on to win the Division 3 championship.  That was the season that Rancho Cotate made it to the Division 2 championship game and lost to Concord in that epic 40-37 game at the Oakland Coliseum.
If you are wondering how the NBL has done in second round games over these past five seasons, they are 8-4.   One of the losses was NBL over NBL, with Casa Grande beating Windsor last season.  Two of the other three losses were to the eventual champion.  Both of those were by Maria Carrillo to Concord in 2010 and Windsor 2011.   Remember Windsor and Casa Grande were in the SCL until two years ago.
Going through this history is making me think twice about what I have said about the East Bay getting the higher seeds, because of its history of winning championships and that has been pretty one sided since the East Bay and Redwood Empire playoffs have combined. However, A NBL team has been in every Division 2 championship game except for 2011, with Cardinal Newman winning the section in 2008.  In 2011, Windsor won the whole thing as a SCL team.
That doesn’t include Cardinal Newman winning the Division 3 crown in 2010.
So the North Bay League has nothing to be ashamed about.

CN Lucey
Cardiinal Newman running back Craig Lucey has helped the Cardinals race into the number 3 computer power rating in the Norcal D3 Bowl Rankings.

The State powers rankings for Division 3 have had a drastic change.  Actually it is almost mind boggling how one week can change so much.
Before the playoffs began Cardinal Newman was No. 7, Analy No. 10 and Rancho Cotate nowhere to be seen.
After the one round of playoffs, Cardinal Newman jumps to No. 3, Analy is at No. 5 and Rancho Cotate is No. 6.
I haven’t been following this that closely because frankly I thought the chances for a state berth for any of the local teams was over.  Actually I’m still not sure what the chances are.
Going into the playoff week Sacred Heart Prep was 9-0 and ranked No. 3.   They won and now are nowhere to be seen apparently because they are playing in an Open Division in the Central Coast Section playoffs and are no longer eligible for Division 3.
Anyway is a little pre-mature to speculate on a State berth.  One reason is, to have a shot at the State berth, each team needs three more wins.   Even if that happens, the next thing is that humans get involved again and the humans weren’t too impressed with any of the three teams with the seedings they got in the playoffs, especially Rancho Cotate and Cardinal Newman.
Another reason is just because you when the section doesn’t mean you are going to be picked.  A good example of that is last year in Division 2.  It was considered a locked that the NCS winner would advance to state.  There was an asterisk that for the winner to advance it had to be the winner that most experts thought would win it.   That was Casa Grande or Clayton Valley.  Neither did, both losing to Miramonte, as they won the section crown.  Miramonte wasn’t invited to the state playoffs.
See the Rankings here 
During the regular season this was announced on the same page as the rankings, but since there are no more rankings, we will do it here.   This was a tough decision.   Since this is the playoffs, let’s have a Player of the Week for Friday and a Player of the Week for Saturday.
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Carrillo’s Alex Netherda had 4 long TD runs in the Puma’s win over American on Friday Night.

Alex Netherda, Maria Carrillo…262 yards and four touchdowns in the 49-13 win over American.   Netherda scored three of his touchdown in the third quarter.   Maria Carrillo scored five touchdowns in the quarter to break away from 14-7 halftime lead.   The last of the touchdowns went for 92 yards.  Netherda is a Player of the Week for the third time in five weeks.
George Sammon, St. Vincent…241 yards on thirty carries, both career highs.  He scored three touchdowns in the St. Vincent 27-21 win over Cloverdale.    Two of the three touchdowns came in a :23 span that cut a 21-7 Cloverdale lead to 21-19.   He also carried the ball six of seven plays, as St. Vincent ran out the last four minutes of the game.
No. 3 Northgate (26-8) at No. 2 Maria Carrillo (27-8)
Somehow I missed this match in the Tuesday recap.
Of course Maria Carrillo is in this round like they have been every season since 2005, when they started a streak of three section championships in four years.  In this round since then, they are 2-3.  One of the wins was against Northgate two years ago.  Two of the losses have been to the eventual champion, including Petaluma in 2009.
No. 3 Sonoma Valley (21-3) at No. 2 Bishop O’ Dowd (28-4)
Bishop O’ Dowd is the defending champions.   Last year they defeated Sonoma Valley in the same round, same place and same seeding 3-1 win.  Bishop O’ Dowd also won the NCS titles from 2007-09.
No. 4 Healdsburg (28-11) at No. 2 Justin Siena (18-15)
As a No. 7 seed Justin Siena won the championship on the way they beat Healdsburg 3-2.  Healdsburg actually outscored them in  the match, all three Justin Siena wins were by two points.  Nine of twelve games Justin Siena won on its way to the championship were by two points.
No. 5 Rincon Valley Christian (16-11) at No. 1 Anderson Valley (23-4)
Anderson Valley tries to make it five straight NCS Championships.  The last three years they have beaten Rincon Valley Christian in the championship match.
The last time Anderson Valley didn’t win the section championship is 2009.  That season Rincon Valley Christian won it.
The two teams have met twice this season with Anderson Valley winning both matches.
The winners meet in the championship matches on Saturday.
My email address is jacpasquini@comcast.com