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December 19, 2012

Football Rankings Review

The 2012 football season is behind us, which means it is time to revisit our preseason rankings. Find out where we got it right, which programs over-performed and which schools finished lower than projected.

Final Rankings

1. De La Salle
2. Folsom
3. Granite Bay
4. Franklin-Elk Grove
5. Oak Ridge
6. Marin Catholic
7. St. Ignatius
8. Bellarmine Prep
9. Elk Grove
10. Burbank
11. Logan
12. California
13. Downey
14. Central Catholic
15. Oakdale
16. Serra
17. El Cerrito
18. Buhach Colony
19. Freedom
20. Clayton Valley

Preseason Rankings

1. De La Salle
2. Lincoln-Stockton
3. Pleasant Grove
4. Bellarmine Prep
5. Elk Grove
6. Del Oro
7. Granite Bay
8. Palma
9. Franklin-Elk Grove
10. St. Mary's-Stockton
11. Nevada Union
12. Serra
13. Folsom
14. Grant
15. Vacaville
16. Marin Catholic
17. Freedom
18. San Ramon Valley
19. Burbank
20. Buhach Colony

On the mark

Outside of De La Salle starting and ending the year at No. 1, Granite Bay and Franklin-Elk Grove both started in the Top 10 at No. 7 and 9 respectively and didn't disappoint. The Grizzlies finished the year at No. 3 and won the Division I state title game against Long Beach Poly. They finished second in the Sacramento area. Franklin had plenty of expectations after getting its first ever playoff win in 2011 and finished at No. 4. The Wildcats won its first 12 games before falling to Granite Bay in the Sac-Joaquin Section Division I semi-finals.

Freedom was picked as the No. 2 team in the North Coast Section Division I field to start the year and No. 17 overall in the preseason. The Falcons, behind an explosive offense with Darrell Daniels and Joe Mixon, won the Bay Valley Athletic League title and reached the second round of the playoffs. They end the year at No. 19 with a 9-3 record

Buhach Colony was 24-2 the past two years heading into the 2012 season, but struggled against elite opponents. We ranked the Thunder No. 20 in the preseason rankings and after a rise during the year, the Thunder ended No. 18 following a SJS Division II semi-final loss to Folsom. They went 10-3 with the other losses to Clovis North and Serra.

Teams that surprised

We had Folsom ranked No. 13 in the preseason because of its proven system and good young talent. It proved we weren't high enough on them as the Bulldogs raced out to 14-0 mark and the SJS Division II title before losing to De La Salle in the NorCal Open Division Regional Bowl Game. With plenty of returners like 2015 quarterback Jake Browning, expect Folsom to start 2013 in the Top 3.

Oak Ridge returned quarterback Jason Samuels, but were left out of the preseason NCP Top 20. The Trojans then put together a 12-2 season with losses to Folsom in the regular season and Granite Bay in the section finals. They also have wins over Vacaville, Grant, Pleasant Grove and Burbank. Oak Ridge ended the year No. 5 as the biggest jump for a non-ranked team.

Two West Catholic Athletic League were in the preseason rankings, but it was St. Ignatius which won the Central Coast Section Open Division title. The Wildcats finished at No. 7 behind Marin Catholic, which beat St. Ignatius in an early season meeting. They finished 10-4 in falling to Granite Bay in the Division I NorCal Regional Bowl Game.

Logan started gaining momentum after an impressive preseason scrimmage and carried it throughout the year. The Colts lost at Del Oro in the regular season and didn't lose again until De La Salle in the NCS Division I finals. They have wins over San Ramon Valley, Freedom and California. Northwestern commit Warren Miles Long was the star, but it was a deep squad which went from unranked to No. 11.

Teams we missed on

Pleasant Grove was the top team in the Sacramento area and ranked No. 3 overall. However, the Eagles' dealt with injuries and young players at key positions in going 7-3 in the regular season before being eliminated in the second round of the SJS Division I playoffs by Burbank. 2012 also marked the last season for head coach Joe Cattolico, who resigned after the season.

With good senior talent on the lines, Palma was ranked No. 8 in the preseason rankings as a legitimate bowl game contender. However, a slow start offensively and multi-sport athletes choosing to focus on other sports derailed those chances as the Chieftains lost in the first round of the CCS Open Division playoffs to St. Ignatius.

While transfer Cole Hannum being eligible would change some things, Nevada Union couldn't sustain a 2-0 start to finish 5-6 after losing to Franklin-Elk Grove in the playoffs. It is the third straight year the Miners haven't advanced past the first round as they finished fourth in the Sierra Foothill League.


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