It was one of the best seasons of football for Vintage High School in years – 10 wins, a league title, three playoff games.
After going undefeated and winning the Vine Valley Athletic League championship, Vintage received the No. 8 seed for the CIF North Coast Section Division 1 playoffs and had wins over No. 9 James Logan-Union City, 36-0, and No. 1 Antioch, 24-21, in double overtime.
Playing for the first time since Nov. 9 due to the NCS postponing and rescheduling games because of poor air quality from the Camp Fire in Butte County, Vintage got sound and solid all-around play from its defense in a 14-3 loss on Saturday to host San Ramon Valley-Danville, the No. 4 seed, in an NCS semifinal-round game.
“We played defense, I thought, pretty well,” head coach Dylan Leach said following the game on KVON-1440 AM radio. “You could tell at the end there they kind of wore us down at that point. Hey, that’s what we’re used to doing to teams.
“We have a whole hell of a lot to be proud of in what we accomplished.”
The loss snapped a 10-game win streak for Vintage, which is in its first year as a North Coast Section member school since 1976. Vintage left the Monticello Empire League and CIF Sac-Joaquin Section at the end of the 2017-18 school year.
Vintage limited San Ramon Valley to 100 yards rushing and 70 yards passing. The Crushers got a 21-yard first-quarter field goal from Eddy Gonzalez. San Ramon Valley scored two touchdowns – the first on a passing play in the second quarter and the other one coming on a rushing play late in the fourth quarter.
“We just weren’t able to sustain anything and keep it up and obviously the offense sputtered and we weren’t able to move the ball,” said Leach. “We respected this (San Ramon Valley) team. Big, tough team. We knew exactly what we were getting into.
“This is obviously a tough pill to swallow. In the second quarter, we were driving on them. I felt the tide was turning. We got the untimely penalty and that kind of threw us back.”
Vintage was without Angel Castillo (tight end-outside linebacker), Rhys Irwin (left guard), Dominic Smith (nose guard), and Jacob Aaron (quarterback-safety) due to injury.
“If we would have been able to get healthy during (those) three weeks, it might have been a different story. We were hoping to,” said Leach. “Obviously, your timing is a little off. We tried to practice live at least once or twice each week, and it’s just hard to do, when you’re in a gym.”
Vintage increased its roster for the playoffs, giving younger players a chance to practice and experience varsity football.
“We’ve got kids that came up, that got 24 extra practices, that a lot of schools didn’t get,” said Leach. “These guys need to kind of take the lead, the example of the senior group and what they did and what they accomplished – not just in football, but what they have accomplished in the classroom and what they have accomplished in the weight room.
“I think if we can continue doing that, and the system keeps evolving and getting better, I think the future is bright at Vintage High School.”
Vintage (10-3 overall) is No. 17 in the MaxPreps.com North Coast Section Football Rankings.
San Ramon Valley (8-4 overall) and Freedom-Oakley (9-3 overall), the No. 3 seed, meet on Saturday, Dec. 8 in the NCS championship game at 7 p.m. at Heritage-Brentwood.
* UC Berkeley (7-5 overall, 4-5 Pac-12) has accepted a bid to play in the Cheez-It Bowl against TCU (6-6 overall, 4-5 Big 12) on Dec. 26 at Chase Field in Phoenix, Ariz., according to calbears.com. The game has a 6 p.m. start and will be televised by ESPN.
It’s the first bowl game for Cal since 2015.
“It’s an honor and a testament to all of the hard work our players, coaches and staff have put in to be in the postseason,” head coach Justin Wilcox said in a story at calbears.com. “We are excited to represent the University of California and the Pac-12 at the Cheez-It Bowl, and we look forward to a tremendous experience for both our team and our fans. It’s a great reward for our performance in the regular season, and it’s exciting to know that this group of young men will have the opportunity to play one final time together.”
* Stanford (8-4 overall, 6-3 Pac-12) will face Pitt (7-6 overall, 6-2 ACC) at the Hyundai Sun Bowl on Dec. 31 in El Paso, Texas. The game has an 11 a.m. start and will be televised by CBS.