CONTRA COSTA COUNTY, CA (July 28, 2023) — High school football games begin the last Friday of August with the first round of non-league games and right on the heels of that Friday Night Lights tradition a new dawn is coming with the introduction of girls flag football in California high schools.
The state CIF approved 7v7 flag football as a sport beginning this fall. Both the Diablo and East Bay athletic leagues have scheduled a slate of games for all their schools who decide to take part this first year, which will not include any post-season playoffs. Carondelet is the only EBAL school not on the schedule.
DAL commissioner Mark Tran set up a league schedule including all 13 league schools with the understanding that a number of them may ultimately decide against participating this year. He slated a round-robin scrimmage jamboree on Saturday, Aug. 26, to inaugurate the new sport.
Fall football season
On the football side there will be new head coaches on the sidelines at three of the seven local teams—College Park (Casey Moreno), Mt. Diablo (Fetuao Mua) and Clayton Valley Charter (Nick Tisa).
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 team lost an unprecedented four games but also fielded an unusually large number of underclassmen who got plenty of playing time. You must go back to the 1970s for a De La Salle team losing that many games.
The Spartans again have scheduled a slate of six non-league games against outstanding competition from throughout the state, including all three teams who defeated DLS during the 2022 regular season—Serra-San Mateo, Folsom and St. Mary’s-Stockton.
Their EBAL end of the regular season matchup with hometown rivals Clayton Valley Charter will end a mini tradition between the Concord powerhouses since the Ugly Eagles will be moving back to the DAL next fall in a NCS alignment decision for 2024-28.
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 record, has been moved to the Foothill Division.
Because that switch creates uneven divisions with seven schools in the 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.
In the EBAL, Valley Division champion Foothill was moved up to the Mountain Division, switching places with its fellow Pleasanton school Amador Valley.
De La Salle remains an unofficial member of the 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.
Local 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 YVHS, 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.
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.