News

Pleasanton Preps: Football season begins amid head-scratching changes to EBAL

League split into two divisions based on prowess; Falcons in top Mountain, Dons in lower Valley

Believe it or not, we have arrived at the start of the high school football season as both Amador Valley and Foothill start their campaigns this Friday night. (Our 2018 football preview issue will run on next Friday).

Amador opens at home against Del Oro, while Foothill travels to San Leandro.

It will be an interesting season to say the least as the East Bay Athletic League has again tweaked how the football league will be structured, and to be honest, it's a bit of a head-scratcher.

This year EBAL officials have divided the league into two separate divisions -- the Mountain and the Valley. This has been done in the other sports as well, but with football there are a couple of major differences.

The divisions were not done geographically as would make perfect sense, but rather by what is perceived a competitive balance. In addition, there will be a league champion in each division and with that title, an automatic berth in the North Coast Section playoffs.

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It gets better.

Recently in football, De La Salle was on an island, not competing for an EBAL title, which allowed the other nine teams in the league to fight for a chance to hang a banner.

Let's be honest -- that is the only fair way to handle the Spartans. Originally when De La Salle came into the league, I was in favor of it as I have always crowed about the EBAL being the best league in Northern California. And if you want to be the best, then you must beat the best.

I honestly believed over time, EBAL teams would figure out a way to play and at times, beat the Spartans. It hasn't happened, and with De La Salle getting stronger and stronger at times where the numbers are down at other programs, it's not going to happen any time soon.

At the end of the day, the Spartans, while enjoying an EBAL title, have their eyes on bigger prizes -- NorCal and California state titles. Winning the EBAL was a formality and with this new format, it will be again.

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So how do the divisions shake down and what does it mean for our Pleasanton teams? Well, good for Amador and bad for Foothill.

Based on a five-year competitive record, the Mountain or "A" Division will be comprised of De La Salle, Monte Vista, San Ramon Valley, California and Foothill. Foothill had the best mark over the last five years for schools other than De La Salle. The Valley or "B" Division has Amador, Livermore, Granada, Dougherty Valley and Dublin.

Once again, the winner of the Mountain and the Valley get a league title and an automatic NCS berth. In other words, De La Salle gets a banner and the five teams in the Valley battle for one as well.

As for the other four in the Mountain? Thanks for playing, now try to get an at-large berth.

Imagine entering a season and knowing you have no chance to win the title.

I mean there are teams each year that start behind the eight ball, but with injuries and breaks, anything is possible. Not the case with De La Salle. The Spartans are loaded, deep and not going to lose a league title.

There is also going to be a system where the last-place team in the Mountain will be sent to the Valley and the top Valley team reassigned to the Mountain, much the same as European soccer leagues work.

Will this promote tanking to be relegated to an easier division? You'd like to think not, but when tanking has become the norm in pretty much all professional sports, you must to wonder if it will trickle downhill.

This is a slippery slope the EBAL is going down, and one that could have easily been avoided. Hopefully nothing comes into question regarding losing, but in this day and age, anything is possible.

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Editor's note: Dennis Miller is a contributing sports writer for the Pleasanton Weekly. To contact Miller or submit local high school sports scores, game highlights and photographs for his weekly Pleasanton Preps column, email him at acesmag@aol.com.

Follow PleasantonWeekly.com and the Pleasanton Weekly on Twitter @pleasantonnews, Facebook and on Instagram @pleasantonweekly for breaking news, local events, photos, videos and more.

Pleasanton Preps: Football season begins amid head-scratching changes to EBAL

League split into two divisions based on prowess; Falcons in top Mountain, Dons in lower Valley

by / Pleasanton Weekly

Uploaded: Tue, Aug 14, 2018, 10:24 am

Believe it or not, we have arrived at the start of the high school football season as both Amador Valley and Foothill start their campaigns this Friday night. (Our 2018 football preview issue will run on next Friday).

Amador opens at home against Del Oro, while Foothill travels to San Leandro.

It will be an interesting season to say the least as the East Bay Athletic League has again tweaked how the football league will be structured, and to be honest, it's a bit of a head-scratcher.

This year EBAL officials have divided the league into two separate divisions -- the Mountain and the Valley. This has been done in the other sports as well, but with football there are a couple of major differences.

The divisions were not done geographically as would make perfect sense, but rather by what is perceived a competitive balance. In addition, there will be a league champion in each division and with that title, an automatic berth in the North Coast Section playoffs.

It gets better.

Recently in football, De La Salle was on an island, not competing for an EBAL title, which allowed the other nine teams in the league to fight for a chance to hang a banner.

Let's be honest -- that is the only fair way to handle the Spartans. Originally when De La Salle came into the league, I was in favor of it as I have always crowed about the EBAL being the best league in Northern California. And if you want to be the best, then you must beat the best.

I honestly believed over time, EBAL teams would figure out a way to play and at times, beat the Spartans. It hasn't happened, and with De La Salle getting stronger and stronger at times where the numbers are down at other programs, it's not going to happen any time soon.

At the end of the day, the Spartans, while enjoying an EBAL title, have their eyes on bigger prizes -- NorCal and California state titles. Winning the EBAL was a formality and with this new format, it will be again.

So how do the divisions shake down and what does it mean for our Pleasanton teams? Well, good for Amador and bad for Foothill.

Based on a five-year competitive record, the Mountain or "A" Division will be comprised of De La Salle, Monte Vista, San Ramon Valley, California and Foothill. Foothill had the best mark over the last five years for schools other than De La Salle. The Valley or "B" Division has Amador, Livermore, Granada, Dougherty Valley and Dublin.

Once again, the winner of the Mountain and the Valley get a league title and an automatic NCS berth. In other words, De La Salle gets a banner and the five teams in the Valley battle for one as well.

As for the other four in the Mountain? Thanks for playing, now try to get an at-large berth.

Imagine entering a season and knowing you have no chance to win the title.

I mean there are teams each year that start behind the eight ball, but with injuries and breaks, anything is possible. Not the case with De La Salle. The Spartans are loaded, deep and not going to lose a league title.

There is also going to be a system where the last-place team in the Mountain will be sent to the Valley and the top Valley team reassigned to the Mountain, much the same as European soccer leagues work.

Will this promote tanking to be relegated to an easier division? You'd like to think not, but when tanking has become the norm in pretty much all professional sports, you must to wonder if it will trickle downhill.

This is a slippery slope the EBAL is going down, and one that could have easily been avoided. Hopefully nothing comes into question regarding losing, but in this day and age, anything is possible.

Comments

Phoenix45
Foothill High School
on Aug 14, 2018 at 11:49 am
Phoenix45, Foothill High School
on Aug 14, 2018 at 11:49 am
2 people like this

"Imagine entering a season and knowing you have no chance to win the title. "

Way to stay positive.


Everyone gets a trophy
Foothill High School
on Aug 15, 2018 at 10:25 am
Everyone gets a trophy, Foothill High School
on Aug 15, 2018 at 10:25 am
6 people like this

Congratulations! For being the 6th best team in the EBAL you get a banner and an automatic bid!


Scott Walsh
Amador Estates
on Aug 15, 2018 at 12:30 pm
Scott Walsh, Amador Estates
on Aug 15, 2018 at 12:30 pm
5 people like this

Imagine if politics, money and Adults were taken out of the equation. Should return to geographic league boundaries regardless of school population size. All about money. I bet the kids could come up with a better idea for leagues and competition likeness.


Mr Soccer
Downtown
on Aug 15, 2018 at 1:44 pm
Mr Soccer, Downtown
on Aug 15, 2018 at 1:44 pm
1 person likes this

Having been down the road with Foothill's football teams for four years and the outstanding coaching of the Sweeney era I can see that this new EBAL system sucks! De La Salle along with some of the other teams in this country, like it or not are recruiting and there is a cost, or not a cost as the case would be, if you have a skilled prospect to be a part of their system. How can a community school play on the same level as they do? To Pheonix45 it's not about staying positive it's about telling the truth about your chances. It's a David and Goliath situation. Not that it can't be done but it takes a lot of things to happen to make it fall in your favor. To say they are deep is an understatement. To date it has not happened for many of years. Look at some specs: Web Link
To say you have a great team and your going to compete with them is being very optimistic at best. The best you can do is blow up everyone else in your division and give them the best you have to make them know that they had to bring their A game to beat you. If the stars align and you win then you have done the one thing that many have not for many years.

To go down the path of being relegated to play for a banner is not honorable but something that will likely happen. When you find yourself in a bad way at the start of the season there are those that will just find it easier to layoff for a year and pick it back up for the next year.

Hope the best for both Amador and Foothill's football programs and that they will still play for the love of the game no mater who they are playing.

Mr. Soccer
Amador Grad of 84


Don Daddy
Amador Valley High School
on Aug 15, 2018 at 2:14 pm
Don Daddy, Amador Valley High School
on Aug 15, 2018 at 2:14 pm
5 people like this

This should help De La Salle on their way to more CIF State Championship games. They will still ROLL through whatever competition the EBAL has to offer. Really, when is the last time that an EBAL team beat them? Without having to play teams from the Valley/B division DLS's strength of schedule will increase thus making them an even stronger candidate to be picked for CIF title games. The NCS should create a six team power football league with the likes of DLS, Pitt, SRV, Cal, Clayton, Foothill or whoever else in the NCS would like to apply. Let teams petition into the league annually. Money maker for NCS and schools involved.


Moved away but still interested
another community
on Aug 15, 2018 at 4:03 pm
Moved away but still interested, another community
on Aug 15, 2018 at 4:03 pm
13 people like this

I live in Folsom now and we play De La Salle for our first game this week. I don't think they should have ever been allowed to join EBAL and hope that Folsom beats the snot out of them.


What about the other sports?
Registered user
Ruby Hill
on Aug 15, 2018 at 9:54 pm
What about the other sports?, Ruby Hill
Registered user
on Aug 15, 2018 at 9:54 pm
Like this comment

How do the EBAL changes impact the other fall, winter and spring high school sports teams?

I realize football is a huge deal for many people, but in terms of total student participation the other sports have far more players and matches affected.

So it would be good to see this topic fleshed out for the other athletes and their families and fans.


Basketball Fan
Amador Valley High School
on Aug 15, 2018 at 10:49 pm
Basketball Fan, Amador Valley High School
on Aug 15, 2018 at 10:49 pm
3 people like this

"Imagine entering a season and knowing you have no chance to win the title."

Basically the NBA for the past 3 seasons


Hansen Curious
Registered user
Del Prado
on Aug 16, 2018 at 3:06 pm
Hansen Curious, Del Prado
Registered user
on Aug 16, 2018 at 3:06 pm
9 people like this

All the teams in the EBAL are public while Del La Salle is a private school. Why in the world are they allowed to compete in the same league? That is crazy. They should be playing against other private high schools like Bellermine or Mitty. Public schools cannot recruit students, coaches, and fund college level training programs like private schools.

Why not create a division system like is done in college sports? Div 1 teams do not play div 3 schools and the playing field (pun intended) is mostly level.


STACKAHIGHSCHOOL
Nolan Farms
on Oct 24, 2018 at 10:46 am
STACKAHIGHSCHOOL, Nolan Farms
on Oct 24, 2018 at 10:46 am
Like this comment

As competitive balance swings more and more in favor to higher ranking competitive schools and our communities less and less interest in our beloved sport it is imperative that the EBAL recognizes what is happening to our programs. The only solution to fight the Private schools in Football is have the football kids decide early to join the best program available for our kids. One that is centrally located to the I-680 and I-580 Corridor. Football kids from Danville, South to Pleasanton, and East to Livermore make the conscious decision that this is the best way to Combat the Private Schools. Create a powerhouse in the EBAL. All it takes is a few parents to create a Forum and start communicating. This is what they do in Southern California already. Folsom is building a Bully as well.


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