CONCORD, CA (Nov. 8, 2023) —The North Coast Section football playoffs get underway this Friday and Clayton Valley Charter and De La Salle are taking part. If that sounds familiar, it’s because that happens every fall.
What doesn’t happen as often is Mt. Diablo joining their two Concord counterparts in the playoffs.
De La Salle has won the Section championship every season since 1992 (of course, no playoffs were held in 2020) and over the years Clayton Valley Charter has been a perennial playoff team as well, winning three NCS titles between 2012 and 2015 as well as a 2-AA State Championship in 2019.
The playoffs begin Friday with Diablo and Clayton Valley on the road and De La Salle (8-2) beginning its post-season at home to James Logan (6-4) of Union City in Open Division.
CVCHS (5-5) has a rematch of an East Bay Athletic League game from two weeks in San Ramon against California (6-4) in Division I. The Ugly Eagles won that game 33-24 to cap a three-game winning streak before they were overrun last Friday by De La Salle 48-0.
Mt. Diablo (7-3), which has most recently been in the 2014 and 2021 playoffs, faces a tall task against Acalanes (6-4) in Lafayette in Division IV playoffs. The Concord team is seeded seventh in the eight-team bracket and Acalanes is No. 2.
Tough draw for Red Devils
The Dons looked like they had the Diablo Athletic League Foothill title all to themselves entering the fourth quarter last Friday with a two-touchdown lead over Campolindo. When the final whistle blew Campo won 25-24 so Acalanes has to share the title with Campo and Las Lomas, all three teams at 5-1.
The Red Devils took second to Alhambra in the DAL Valley Division.
Senior runningback Herschel Turner has been the story all season for Mt. Diablo. In the final regular season game last Saturday in Walnut Creek Turner scored five touchdowns and rushed for 415 yards in a 55-40 shootout win over Berean Christian. He’s now compiled nearly 3000 yards on the ground and over 40 touchdowns in a record-setting season.
Acalanes quarterback Sully Bailey has passed for over 2000 yards so there will be quite a contrast in offensive approaches in Lafayette Friday night.
Clayton Valley in Division I playoffs
Nick Tisa, first-year head coach of the Ugly Eagles, has seen his team be on a roller coaster this fall reaching the playoffs with a .500 record.
CVCHS were able to beat the Grizzlies in the team’s first meeting and have to go back to San Ramon for the rematch. Clayton Valley proved slightly better as a road team this year so the trip down 680 might not be as daunting as many teams would view it.
The team needs to put the De La Salle game out of its mind after falling behind 41-0 in the first half and had a running clock the remainder of the game.
The Ugly Eagles offense has been a shared experience this year with brothers Tyson and Mason Lovett both playing quarterback and Hayezon Jackson, Jahson Jones and Justin Underwood all getting enough carries to combine for over 1000 yards on the ground.
Clayton Valley Charter is seeded fourth, one spot behind Pittsburg in Division I
Open Division top seed De La Salle lost the first two games of the season and faced a difficult series of opponents ahead, but as so often happens, the Spartans improved over the course of the season and now ride an eight-game winning streak into the playoffs as they seek NCS championship No. 31 in a row.
Should they win their opener they will most likely have a rematch of last month’s Friday the 13th overtime thriller with San Ramon Valley that DLS won in the extra period 33-27. The winner of the Open Division moves on to the State playoffs while the loser will meet the Division I winner to determine the other State rep in the upper divisions from NCS.
Rough going for local schools
For the other four local schools, the 2023 football season was a tough go.
College Park jumped out of the box with two victories then the Falcons suffered six straight defeats before closing the season with a pair of wins for a 4-6 overall mark.
Northgate had an even more unusual season with seven successive losses before the Broncos rebounded by scoring nearly 100 points while winning their final three games.
Concord High finished with the same 3-7 mark as Northgate. The final season of Minuteman football sprinkled their three wins between three two-game losing streaks.
And finally, Ygnacio Valley High has yet to win a game this decade. The 0-10 Wolves last won in October 2019 when the then-Warriors were an NCS playoff team.
High school football scores
Playoff Schedule – Nov. 11
Mt. Diablo (7-3) at Acalanes (6-4)
Clayton Valley Charter (5-5) at California (6-4)
James Logan (6-4) at De La Salle (8-2)
Week 10 Scores – Nov. 3-4
Northgate (2-7) 36, Benicia 0
College Park (3-6) 35, Alhambra 28
Mt. Diablo (6-3) 48, Berean Christian 25
De La Salle (7-2) 48, Clayton Valley Charter (5-4) 0
Concord (3-7), Ygnacio Valley (0-10) seasons completed
Clayton Valley Charter (Open Div./Div. 1) – 8/25 W 17-0 at Salinas, 9/1 L 27-37 Higley-Gilbert, AZ, 9/9 L 0-28 at Oak Ridge-El Dorado Hills, 9/15 W 21-14 at Turlock, 9/29 L 0-26 Jesuit-Carmichael, 10/6 L 7-35 San Ramon Valley, 10/13 W 41-29 Foothill-Pleasanton, 10/20 W 39-35 Monte Vista-Danville, 10/27 W 33-24 at California-San Ramon, 11/3 L 0-48 at De La Salle, 11/10 at California.
College Park (Div. 3) – 8/25 W 14-0 at Fremont-Oakland, 9/8 W 49-14 at Oakmont-Roseville, 9/15 L 12-38 at Antioch, 9/22 L 0-56 Acalanes-Lafayette, 9/29 L 12-21 Miramonte, 10/6 L 21-49 at Campolindo, 10/13 L 0-41 Las Lomas, 10/20 L 27-31 Northgate, 10/27 W 26-20 OT at Benicia, 11/3 W 35-28 Alhambra.
Concord (Div. 4) – 8/25 L 0-41 at Newark Memorial-Newark, 9/1 L 0-49 at Alameda, 9/8 W 26-21 San Lorenzo, 9/14 L 0-24 Archie Williams-San Anselmo, 9/22 W 36-34 Mt. Eden-Hayward, 9/29 L 0-43 Alhambra, 10/6 L 12-48 Las Lomas, 10/13 W 32-6 at Ygnacio Valley, 10/21 L 14-46 at Berean Christian, 10/27 L 26-48 Mt. Diablo.
De La Salle (Open Div./Div. 1) – 8/25 L 14-35 Orange Lutheran-Orange, 9/2 L 0-28 at Serra-San Mateo, 9/8 W 35-17 at Saint Francis-Mountain View, 9/15 W 24-10 St. Mary’s-Stockton, 9/22 W 14-7 at Folsom, 9/29 W 21-0 McClymonds-Oakland, 10/13 33-27 OT at San Ramon Valley, 10/20 W 31-12 El Cerrito, 10/27 W 31-7 at Monte Vista–Danville, 11/3 W 48-0 Clayton Valley Charter, 11/10 James Logan.
Mt. Diablo (Div. 4) – 8/25 W 39-28 Deer Valley, 9/1 W 40-14 Mission-San Francisco, 9/8 L 27-31 at Oakland Tech, 9/15 W 53-20 San Lorenzo, 9/22 W 36-33 at Castlemont-Oakland, 10/6 W 49-22 Ygnacio Valley, 10/13 L 47-49 at Alhambra, 10/20 L 17-26 Benicia, 10/27 W 48-26 at Concord, 11/4 W 55-40 at Berean Christian, 11/10 at Acalanes.
Northgate (Div. 3) – 8/25 L 10-35 at Reno, 9/1 L 42-44 Tamalpais-Mill Valley, 9/8 L 0-40 Twelve Bridges-Lincoln, 9/22 L 27-28 at Miramonte, 9/29 L 31-38 at Las Lomas, 10/6 L 13-54 at Acalanes, 10/13 L 14-35 Campolindo, 10/20 W 31-27 at College Park, 10/27 W 28-17 Alhambra, 11/3 W 36-0 Benicia.
Ygnacio Valley (Div. 6) – 8/26 L 6-34 Alameda, 9/1 L 0-38 at Lower Lake, 9/9 L 26-48 Kennedy-Richmond, 9/15 L 8-27 Washington-San Francisco, 9/23 L 8-20 at Galileo-San Francisco, 9/29 L 6-56 at Pinole Valley, 10/6 L 22-49 at Mt. Diablo, 10/13 L 6-32 Concord, 10/20 L 0-65 at Alhambra, 10/27 L 8-56 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.