CONTRA COSTA COUNTY, CA (Aug. 25, 2023) — High school football’s non-league schedule begins this Friday with three local schools led by new head coaches—College Park (Casey Moreno), Mt. Diablo (Fetuao Mua) and Clayton Valley Charter (Nick Tisa).
Five of the seven local high schools made it to the North Coast Section playoffs last fall and will be seeking returns to the post season.
As usual, De La Salle will garner the largest spotlight as coach Justin Alumbaugh’s Spartans look to win their 31st successive North Coast Section championship and get back to contending for a CIF State Bowl game title, something that has eluded the Concord school since 2015.
Last year’s team fell to Lincoln of San Diego in the State 1-AA Bowl 33-28, a fifth straight loss in a state championship game. That Spartan team lost an unprecedented four games but also fielded an unusually large number of underclassmen who got plenty of playing time. DLS also had some changes to its coaching staff including long-time assistant Terry Eidson returning this fall.
Clayton Valley Charter will take the field without Tim Murphy calling the plays for first time since 2012. Due to the upcoming 2024-28 NCS realignment, this will be the Ugly Eagles last season in the East Bay Athletic League before they return to the Diablo Athletic League.
CVCHS does have the advantage over the other schools with new coaches since Tisa has been on the staff for several years and is familiar with all aspects of the program and players.
Both the EBAL and DAL have adjusted their divisions as they continue to seek competitive equity among their members. In the DAL, College Park, which won the 2022 Valley Division with an unbeaten 5-0 league record, has moved up to the Foothill Division.
That was the Falcons first outright league title in 11 years, but the season ended in multiple controversies. Both head coach Travis Raciti and athletic director Jim Keck subsequently left their positions. Moreno’s team will have the added challenge of being placed in the competitive DAL Foothill Division.
Because that switch creates uneven divisions with seven schools in the DAL Foothill and five in the Valley there are three interleague games scheduled during the season to minimize bye weeks for league teams. For the Valley Division it also means there is only one league game in Weeks 5 and 10.
Concord coach Paul Reynaud and Northgate’s Ben Ballard want to get their teams into NCS again. Concord is in the DAL Valley Division and Northgate in the Foothill.
Mt. Diablo missed out on NCS last fall. New coach Mua reportedly had some transfer student athletes last semester move to the Concord school.
Ygnacio Valley has not won a game since late in the 2019 season and coach Rae Jackson Sr. hopes to turn that around.
De La Salle remains an unofficial member of the EBAL Mountain Division playing four games against EBAL opponents among its 10-game schedule. With Clayton Valley Charter’s departure for the 2024 season, EBAL football will have eight full-time members plus DLS.
High school football schedules
Clayton Valley Charter (Open Div./Div. 1) – 8/25 at Salinas, 9/1 Higley-Gilbert, AZ, 9/9 at Oak Ridge-El Dorado Hills, 9/15 at Turlock, 9/29 Jesuit-Carmichael, 10/6 San Ramon Valley, 10/13 Foothill-Pleasanton, 10/20 Monte Vista-Danville, 10/27 at California-San Ramon, 11/3 at De La Salle.
College Park (Div. 3) – 8/25 at Fremont-Oakland, 9/8 at Oakmont-Roseville, 9/15 at Antioch, 9/22 Acalanes-Lafayette, 9/29 Miramonte, 10/6 at Campolindo, 10/13 Las Lomas, 10/20 Northgate, 10/27 at Benicia, 11/3 Alhambra.
Concord (Div. 4) – 8/25 at Newark Memorial-Newark, 9/1 at Alameda, 9/8 San Lorenzo, 9/9/14 Archie Williams-San Anselmo, 9/22 Mt. Eden-Hayward, 9/29 Alhambra, 10/6 Las Lomas, 10/13 at Ygnacio Valley, 10/21 at Berean Christian, 10/27 Mt. Diablo.
De La Salle (Open Div./Div. 1) – 8/25 Orange Lutheran-Orange, 9/2 at Serra-San Mateo, 9/8 at Saint Francis-Mountain View, 9/15 St. Mary’s-Stockton, 9/22 at Folsom, 9/29 McClymonds-Oakland, 10/13 San Ramon Valley, 10/20 Foothill-Pleasanton, 10/27 at Monte Vista–Danville, 11/3 Clayton Valley Charter.
Mt. Diablo (Div. 4) – 8/25 Deer Valley, 9/1 Mission-San Francisco, 9/8 at Oakland Tech, 9/15 San Lorenzo, 9/22 at Castlemont-Oakland, 10/6 Ygnacio Valley, 10/13 at Alhambra, 10/21 Berean Christian, 10/28 at College Park, 11/4 Concord.
Northgate (Div. 3) – 8/25 at Reno, 9/1 Tamalpais-Mill Valley, 9/8 Twelve Bridges-Lincoln, 9/22 at Miramonte, 9/29 at Las Lomas, 10/6 at Acalanes, 10/13 Campolindo, 10/20 at College Park, 10/27 Alhambra, 11/3 Benicia.
Ygnacio Valley (Div. 6) – 8/26 Alameda, 9/1 at Lower Lake, 9/9 Kennedy-Richmond, 9/15 Washington-San Francisco, 9/23 at Galileo-San Francisco, 9/29 at Pinole Valley, 10/6 at Mt. Diablo, 10/13 Concord, 10/20 at Alhambra, 10/27 Berean Christian.
The Pioneer will post weekly updates of the local football scores. Check back at PioneerPulishers.com each week to get the latest update.
Jay Bedecarré is a long-time resident and writer in Concord and Clayton. He began his newspaper writing career while still a senior at Mt. Diablo High School and he has been part of The Pioneer since its inception in 2003. Jay also operates Bay Area Festivals, presenting events around the San Francisco Bay Area including Bay Area KidFest annually in Downtown Concord.