No. 20 | MONTE VISTA
Coach: Matt Russi
Last season’s record: 12-1
Why No. 20: Quarterback Jake Haener (Washington), tight end Erik Krommenhoek (USC) and linebacker Nate Landman (Colorado) have moved on to major colleges after leading Monte Vista to the North Coast Section Division I championship last season. Matt Russi, a former Monte Vista standout, has taken over from longtime coach Craig Bergman. Sophomore Jack Stewardson had an impressive offseason and will succeed Haener at QB. The team is young but could be a contender when the playoffs roll around.
No. 19 | LOS GATOS
Coach: Mark Krail
Last season’s record: 8-4
Why No. 18: Los Gatos is in a familiar position, having to replace a starting quarterback from the previous season. Mark Krail has done so every year since he took over the program in 2013, and the results have not suffered. Robert Nelson will be under center this fall, the senior replacing Kyle Reid, now at Cal Poly-San Luis Obispo. Reid helped the Wildcats win the SCVAL De Anza Division championship and reach the semifinals of the Central Coast Section Open Division II playoffs. Nelson, now a senior, threw 11 passes last year, completing six. LB Kyle Smith played beyond his years last season, the sophomore finishing with 158 tackles. Los Gatos will have good size on the line, with Joe Zanardi and Will Fulton coming in north of 260 pounds. Will Fordyce is back after leading the team in rushing (1,011 yards) and all-purpose yards (1,209) last year.
No. 18 | ANTIOCH
Coach: John Lucido
Last season’s record: 8-5
Why No. 18: Willem Karnthong threw for 2,369 yards and 20 touchdowns as a sophomore last season, superb numbers that were overshadowed by superstar running back Najee Harris (2,776 yards, 34 TDs). With Harris now at Alabama, Karnthong becomes the leader of an offense that averaged nearly 39 points per game. Linebacker Omari Harris, a Cal commit, is one of the region’s top recruits and figures to provide a strong presence wherever coach John Lucido lines him up. Harris finished third on the team in tackles last season with 92, behind LBs Vinny Ballardo (105) and Cameron Nathan (100), also returning players from a squad the reached the NCS Division I final. The non-league schedule includes a visit to San Leandro on Sept. 8 and a home game against Clayton Valley Charter on Sept. 15.
No. 17 | ARCHBISHOP MITTY
Coach: Keith Burns
Last season’s record: 7-6
Why No. 17: Mitty returns six starters on offense and five starters on defense, including highly touted defensive end Nick Alftin, from a team that beat Oak Grove and Los Gatos to reach a Central Coast Section final last season. QB Phillip Tran (2,104 yards, 13 touchdowns) and RB/LB Zondre Farawashington (1,427 rushing yards, 121 tackles) have graduated. Shamir Bey and Clay Crisafulli are competing for the quarterback job. The Monaarchs open the season Aug. 25 at Foothill College against Sacramento. Menlo-Atherton and Palo Alto also are on the non-league schedule.
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No. 16 | BELLARMINE
Coach: Mike Janda
Last season’s record: 7-5
Why No. 16: After a storybook season in 2015, when the Bells beat Folsom to win a Northern California championship, the team had a rougher time last year. It lost to rival St. Francis for the first time in 11 seasons and later got eliminated from the CCS playoffs by Menlo-Atherton. As fate would have it, Bellarmine will get another crack at M-A to open this season. Bellarmine has more experience than it did last year and features two college prospects, RB/LB Austin Ajiake and TE/DT Cade Hall. But question marks remain at quarterback. After the M-A opener, the Bells play host to Clovis North and Gonzaga Prep-Spokane at San Jose City College before the league grind begins.
Teams eligible for these rankings come from leagues based predominantly in Alameda, Contra Costa, Santa Clara and San Mateo counties. For more on high school sports, visit our site here.
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