With the start of the high school football season less than two weeks away, we continue our countdown of the Bay Area News Group’s rankings, which this season have expanded from 20 to 25 teams.
As usual, much of the preseason rankings is based on tradition, given that most programs graduate quite a bit every year and fill in spots with lesser known players.
In the meantime, we’ll give you five teams per day, culminating Monday with Nos. 1-5.
Here are Nos. 16-20.
Last season: 10-2
Why No. 20: Paul Lautaimi rushed for 1,609 yards and 15 touchdowns as a junior last fall, receiving third-team All-Bay Area News Group honors and leading the Dons to a CCS Open Division II semifinal. The team’s second-leading rusher, Camron Grant, was also a junior last season. Grant stood out at linebacker, too. Aragon doesn’t open its season until Aug. 31, at home against Aptos.
Why No. 19: Coming off their first losing season since 2006, the Bells have a lot of question marks entering the new year. Most important, was last season merely an aberration? Since 2007, Bellarmine has claimed at least a share of the West Catholic Athletic League championship six times but hasn’t come close since its magical 2015 season, tying for fifth last year and finishing fourth in 2016. Returning QB Harry Mingrone filled in at times as a junior, including in a season-opening win over Menlo-Atherton.
18. Archbishop Mitty
Last season: 5-6
Why No. 18: The Monarchs went just 4-7 on the field last season (one loss was later forfeited) and were outclassed by the upper echelon of the West Catholic Athletic League, allowing an average of 52.7 points in two losses to Serra and one to St. Francis. But they have a new coach — Sione Ta’ufo’ou — and return quarterback Shamir Bey (1,644 yards passing; 775 rushing) and receiver/safety Joseph Vaughn, a two-star college prospect, according to 247Sports. Mitty’s non-league schedule should be a telling gauge moving forward as the Monarchs face Oakdale, Menlo-Atherton (Ta’ufo’ou’s former team) and Acalanes before opening league play against Serra.
Last season: 10-5
Why No. 17: The Cougars no longer have quarterback John Torchio and leading receivers Vincent Mossotti and Parker Windatt — all have graduated — but under coach Kevin Macy the program just seems to reload. Campolindo has played in four state finals over the past seven seasons, winning titles in 2014 and 2016. Grant Harper, now a junior, threw for 836 yards and eight touchdowns as a backup last season. The Cougars open the season at home Aug. 17 against Marin Catholic.
Last season: 14-1
Why No. 16: The Bracy brothers era ended in triumph for Milpitas as Tariq and Tyree helped lead the Trojans to their first state championship. Tariq, last year’s Bay Area News Group player of the year who is now at Notre Dame, rushed for 2,042 yards and 24 touchdowns and played shutdown defense in the secondary. Tyree threw for 1,858 yards. Milpitas certainly will be challenged to duplicate last year’s success, but the program has been good for too long to expect a complete plunge.