After seven years of unprecedented success in league play, Clayton Valley Charter’s football team has encountered rough waters after being dropped into the East Bay Athletic League this fall.
The Ugly Eagles lost their first two league games and have yet to face Concord rival De La Salle and Monte Vista, considered the strongest two teams in the six-school EBAL Mountain Division.
While Clayton Valley has struggled in its new environment, Northgate and Ygnacio Valley are having strong seasons and De La Salle continues to rule the roost in Northern California prep football with the season entering its final three weeks before playoffs begin Nov. 8-9.
Coach Bryan Shaw’s Ygnacio Valley Warriors are 6-1 overall and Ben Ballard’s Northgate Broncos are 5-2, a season after the two schools combined to win three games. The neighboring schools didn’t play one another the past two seasons and will hookup this Friday evening at Ygnacio Valley with a lot at stake.
Both the Warriors and Broncos also have Diablo Athletic League Valley Division games against league leader Benicia High. Northgate is in North Coast Section Division 3 and YV is in D4, with both local teams positioning themselves for a spot in the postseason playoffs.
After having their 36-game league winning streak dating back to late 2011 snapped, CVCHS can take a little solace in that all three of its close losses have been to Division 1 teams in NCS bracketing. The Eagles (4-3 on the season) visit D2 Foothill in Pleasanton this Friday before meeting Monte Vista and DLS in their final two EBAL games.
A 5-5 record is very possible for the team which did not lose a league game in the past seven seasons as part of the Diablo Valley and Diablo athletic leagues. In fact, Clayton Valley Charter only lost seven regular season games during that time.
The Eagles fell 28-27 in overtime to defending State Division 1-A champion Liberty in the Honor Bowl before having its league streak snapped 17-14 at California in San Ramon and then losing its homecoming game last Friday to San Ramon Valley 23-16.
Concord High and Mt. Diablo need to finish strong to get consideration for one of the maximum eight berths in the D4 playoffs among the 14 NCS schools in that division. The long-time rivals meet one another at Diablo in the season finale Nov. 1 and before that each face winless Berean Christian.
The revamped North Coast Section football playoffs with seven divisions of a maximum eight teams each run for three weeks Nov. 8-9 through Nov. 22-23 with the State Regional Bowl Games Dec. 6-7 and the finals Dec. 13-14.
Mike Bellotti returns
Mike Bellotti was a three-sport standout at Ygnacio Valley High and recently returned to his alma mater for his 50th Reunion. He spoke to this year’s Warrior football team, who presented him with a commemorative autographed football. Since leaving YVHS in 1969 Bellotti went on to play football at UC Davis and then established himself as an outstanding college football coach. He’s the winningest coach in Oregon Ducks history and was elected to the College Football Hall of Fame in 2014.
Spartans on a roll
As they typically do, De La Salle is picking up steam as the season goes along, witness 119 points in their first two EBAL games, extending their incredible NorCal unbeaten streak to 305 games since 1991. There are two ties in that time, including a 17-17 draw with Clayton Valley in 2004, the year their historic 151-game winning streak was broken.
The Spartans wrap up their regular season with two more EBAL games at Owen Owens Field this Friday against California and Nov. 1 vs. CVCHS in the first league game between the Concord schools since 2006.
Despite De La Salle’s lopsided scores, the EBAL Mountain Division has proven to be one of the very strongest—top to bottom- among all Bay Area prep leagues. The six schools were a combined 26-5 in non-league games. Given their strength of schedule and overall records, Foothill and Clayton Valley seem likely picks for the D2 playoffs.
DLS is again ranked No. 1 in the Bay Area and will be seeking its 28th consecutive NCS title. It will likely find some of its EBAL foes in Monte Vista (ranked No. 8), San Ramon Valley (No. 27) and California (No. 16) also in a D1 playoff field that will have last year’s Open Division finalist Liberty (No. 4) and Pittsburg (No. 7) as other high seeds.
This week’s poll saw CVCHS drop out of the top 25 (ranked 26th) for the first time in many years. Only Campolindo (6-1) is in the top 25 among schools from D2 and should the Cougars win out they will most likely get the top seed.
Campo was on the losing end of three lopsided scores to Clayton Valley in the DAL over the past three years and were vocal advocates for removing CVCHS from the league. They may be renewing acquaintances with the Ugly Eagles in this postseason.
League (Overall) Records
EBAL MOUNTAIN DIVISION
California 1-1 (6-1)
Clayton Valley Charter 0-2 (4-3)
De La Salle 2-0 (7-1)
Foothill 1-1 (5-2)
Monte Vista 1-1 (5-2)
San Ramon Valley 1-1 (5-2)
DAL VALLEY DIVISION
Benicia 3-0 (6-1)
Berean Christian 0-3 (0-6)
College Park 3-1 (5-3)
Concord 1-3 (2-5)
Mt. Diablo 0-3 (1-6)
Northgate 3-1 (5-2)
Ygnacio Valley 2-1 (6-1)