SportStars Magazine

Las Lomas, Rancho Cotate Football Open With NorCal Ranks Of #23-24

Las Lomas, Football, Isaiah Newell

With 23 Combined Wins In 2019 And Pair Of NCS Semifinal Appearances, Both Las Lomas And Rancho Cotate Are On Serious Upward Trends •

This is the fourth of five releases this week debuting the opening 10 teams to our expanded 2019 Fit Pro Go! NorCal Preseason Rankings. Las Lomas-Walnut Creek returns two of its top skill players on offense after opening 2018 with 12 straight wins. The Knights will blend a promising mix of experience and talent to be a serious NCS Div. III threat. Rancho Cotate-Rohnert Park finds itself in a very similar boat. The Cougars join Las Lomas as Div. III frontrunners. Both are chasing defending-champion Bishop O’Dowd-Oakland.

24. LAS LOMAS-WALNUT CREEK (12-1)

Las Lomas, Football, Isaiah Newell, Jalen Apalit-Williams

Jalen Apalit-Williams (2) and Isaiah Newell are two big reason why Las Lomas opens the year inside the Top 25. (Chace Bryson photo)

FINAL 2018 NORCAL RANK: NR
OUTLOOK: The Knights begin Year 3 of Doug Longero’s exceptional return stint as head coach with the arrow assuredly pointing up. Much of that rides on outstanding senior RB Isaiah Newell (2,166 yards rushing and 31 touchdowns). Newell is soon to announce his college choice among a list of Pac-12 finalists. WR/DB Jalen Apalit-Williams is stockpiling offers for his potential at safety. Also returning to a defense that posted seven shutouts last year is DL Zach Transue, who recorded 23 sacks a year ago. The Knights have moved up to the Diablo Athletic League’s steeper Foothill Division for 2019 and have added key transfers. WR/DB Tyler Darr, formerly of Campolindo-Moraga and son of Diablo Valley College head coach Mike Darr, and RB/DB Elijah Lash from De La Salle-Concord, should both bolster Las Lomas on each side of the ball.
KEY GAMES:  BISHOP O’DOWD-OAKLAND, 8/30; MILPITAS, 9/6; CAMPOLINDO-MORAGA, 10/25

23. RANCHO COTATE-ROHNERT PARK (11-2)

Rancho Cotate, Football, Rasheed Rankin

If Rasheed Ranking can top or equal his 22 rushing touchdowns from 2018, Rancho Cotate ought to be in good shape in 2019. (Harold Abend photo)

FINAL 2018 NORCAL RANK: 25
OUTLOOK: Another season of dynamic offense looks likely for the Cougars. They return quarterback Jared Stocker, who threw for 2,522 yards and 25 touchdowns in 2018, and running back Rasheed Rankin, who ran for 1,295 yards and 22 touchdowns. Rankin’s TD total rated fourth-best in the NCS. Furthermore, the Cougars’ 372.5 yards per game was seventh-best in the section. Rancho came into the NCS Div. II semifinals averaging nearly 40 points a game, but lost 7-2 to Marin Catholic-Kentfield. However, Stocker missed the game with a concussion. They need to fill some holes defensively due to graduation, but junior LB Milhalis Santorineos (119 total tackles, 8 sacks) and junior DB/WR Tai Peleti (117 tackles, 3 interceptions) top the list of returnees.
KEY GAMES: @ Pleasant Valley-Chico, 9/20; @ Campolindo-Moraga, 9/27; CARDINAL NEWMAN-SANTA ROSA, 10/4

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