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NCS' Botched Seedings Set Up Well for SRV, MV; Not Cal

The Wolves open the playoffs against Castro Valley and Cal plays at Freedom.

The NCS playoff selection committee has been known to make questionable decisions at times, but the work it did in this year's Division I field is quite possibly the most baffling of all time. After the obvious picks -- De La Salle at No. 1 and undefeated James Logan at No. 2 -- it's almost like the committee was picking teams out of hats.

What it did do, however, was setup a very strong possibility the Danville schools will meet in the semifinals to earn the right be De La Salle's sacrificial lamb at the O.co Coliseum. 

Monte Vista got the No. 6 seed and plays at home against Heritage on Saturday at 7 p.m. Call that one a tune up for next week when the Mustangs will travel to San Leandro (6-4), which might be the most undeserving No. 3 in section history. After it beats San Leandro, there is a good chance Monte Vista will host San Ramon in a rematch.

It's laughable to think there are six teams better than San Ramon Valley in the entire section, let alone Division I. Yet somehow San Ramon Valley was given the No. 7 seed. Two of the Wolves' three losses came to defending state champions with the other a heart-breaker to rival Monte Vista.

The Wolves open with Castro Valley (6-4), which has won six-straight games, but was 0-3 against Division I teams. Read: it beat up on teams from schools with much lower enrollment numbers. For San Ramon, Castro Valley is merely a tune up game for the quarterfinals against James Logan (10-0). 

While Logan is good, the Colts' toughest game all year was a four-point win against the worst Foothill team in two decades. They haven't been tested since September and have a poor history against EBAL teams that can throw the ball. The last time Logan met an EBAL team in the playoffs (2009), Sean Mannion (Foothill, now at Oregon State) threw for a NorCal single-game record 582 yards in just three quarters.

A win at Logan and San Ramon gets another shot at Monte Vista for the right to play on the Raiders' home turf. 

The playoff seedings set up well for the Danville schools. They both get home games ($$$) and there is a relatively easy path the championship. 

Unlike for the Danville schools, NCS' ineptitude made life difficult on Cal High. The No. 9 Grizzlies (7-3) had a better record than Monte Vista (6-4) and beat the Mustangs (24-23) on the road. That seed means the Grizzlies have a road game at also undevalued Freedom (9-1). A win there? Congrats you get to at De La Salle, which is going to win it all again anyway. 

Rant aside, here is what you need to know for the SRVUSD's playoff games this weekend:

No. 10 Castro Valley (6-4, HAAL) at No. 7 San Ramon Valley (7-3, EBAL). Friday, 7 p.m.

Cal-bound QB Zach Kline has thrown for 2,560 yards and 26 TDs to just 4 INTs. His favorite targets have been Matt Turner (48 catches, 744 yards), Patrick Worstell (35 catches, 671 yards), Michael Tagliaferri (23 catches, 310 yards) and Sean Miller (21 catches, 421 yards). The running game has been consistent with Jordan Weiss leading the way (919 yards, 7.6 ypc). 

Castro Valley is in for a long night.

Prediction: San Ramon Valley 42, Castro Valley 14

No. 11 Heritage (5-5, BVAL) at No. 6 Monte Vista (6-4, EBAL)
Saturday 7 p.m.

Oregon-bound QB Jeff Lockie was recently named the EBAL MVP, just the first Monte Vista player to earn the honor since Kyle Wright in 2002. Lockie threw for 2,583 yards with 24 TDs and 6 INts. He also scored six rushing TDs and ran for 121 yards. RB Zack Chang ran for 951 yards on 193 carries (4.9 avg) and Dan Scritchfield caught 74 passes for 876 yards and eight TDs.

Prediciton: Monte Vista 38, Heritage 24

No. 9 California (7-3, EBAL) at No. 8 Freedom-Oakley (9-1, BVAL)
Friday, 7 p.m. 

Aside from a puzzling 26-22 loss to last-place Granada, the Grizzlies two losses were respectable. It took a masterful effort from Kline to lead the Wolves to a 42-38 win and Cal gave De La Salle one of its toughest games of the season. Equally dangerous as a receiver and a ball carrier, Armani Washington is one of the area's most exciting players to watch. He's part of a talented backfield of Jerrell Dunn and Karis Johnson which make Cal one of the area's toughest teams to defend. Cal was more dominant against its two common opponents with Freedom (College Park, Amador Valley) so it gets the edge.

Prediction: Cal 28, Freedom 24

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Follow Live updates from the San Ramon Valley-Castro Valley game on Twitter @KyleBonagura

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