Monte Vista football captures NCS title

Mustangs wrap up 12-1 season as Division I champs, but supplanted by Freedom in state tourney

The Monte Vista Mustangs took home the North Coast Section Division I championship on Saturday, scoring 28 unanswered points during the second half en route to a 42-18 victory against the Antioch Panthers to claim their first NCS football title in more than a decade.

The Mustangs finished their championship season at 12-1, going undefeated in East Bay Athletic League play and winning their three NCS playoff games by a combined score of 150-46. Their only loss came at the end of the regular season, 45-17 at De La Salle on Nov. 14.

But Saturday's win marked the end of the road for the 2016 Mustangs, who did not advance to the California Interscholastic Federation (CIF) Division I state playoffs.

The nod, instead, was given to Freedom (Oakley), who was undefeated before getting trounced 42-7 by De La Salle in the NCS Open Division championship. NCS policy allows the Open Division runner-up to supplant the Division I champion as the NCS entry into the CIF Division I state playoffs.

Monte Vista posted a strong 2016 campaign before the NCS playoffs, finishing the regular season at 9-1, including 8-0 in EBAL. In those nine wins, the Mustangs outscored opponents by an average of 28.7 points, including two shutouts. Their closest victory was a three-point win at Cal High on Sept. 23.

That helped the Mustangs earn the No. 1 seed in the section playoffs. They opened with a blowout win at home over Irvington (Fremont) 52-0 in the quarterfinal.

Monte Vista hosted the semifinal too, defeating Heritage (Brentwood) 56-28 to set up a showdown with the second-seeded Antioch Panthers in the NCS Division I final on Saturday night at a neutral site, Dublin High School. The Panthers were led this year by running back Najee Harris, who has verbally committed to Alabama.

After a scoreless first quarter, the Mustangs grabbed a 7-0 lead in the second quarter on a touchdown pass from quarterback Jake Haener.

The Panthers moved ahead 8-7 on a rushing touchdown and two-point conversion before the teams traded touchdowns again to give the Panthers a 15-14 edge at halftime.

Antioch extended its lead with a field goal early in the third quarter, but that would be the final point Monte Vista would yield this season.

The Mustangs scored two touchdowns later in the third quarter, a 44-yard touchdown pass by Haener to Zane Cribb and a rushing score by Shane Perry.

The Mustangs added another pair of touchdowns in the fourth -- rushing TDs from Haener and Perry -- to close out the 42-18 win.

It was Monte Vista football's first NCS division title since 2002, when the Mustangs won their second of back-to-back championships.

As for the CIF playoffs, Freedom (11-1) plays St. Mary's of Stockton this Friday in the northern half of the four-team Division 1-AA state championship tournament. De La Salle plays St. John Bosco (Bellflower) at Sacramento State's Hornet Stadium Dec. 17 for the CIF Open Division state crown.

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1 person likes this
Posted by Matty
a resident of Danville
on Dec 8, 2016 at 7:58 am

Great Season Mustangs! They were fun to watch and pretty much dominated the 4-5 games I attended. Unfortunate that Freedom HS got the original Open nod before playing DLS, and after MV's only loss to DLS. MV fared better in the common opponent comparison after the fact, but they sent Freedom to the Open State playoff anyway. I'm sure it will all be moot as either DLS or Bosco will come away with the crown, but this was still a historic season for our NCS Div 1 champs. Congrats to the team, and especially the Seniors.

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