For as long as it has been around, the Silver Bowl has marked the end of the high school football season for Oakland Section teams.
McClymonds High hopes to buck that trend this year.
The Warriors will try for their third consecutive Silver Bowl championship Friday at 1 p.m. at Laney College against Oakland Tech. And with a victory in that game, McClymonds stands a decent shot to earn a bid in the new Northern California regional championships, even with an 9-3 record.
For the Warriors, getting a chance to extend their season would be a bit of redemption. Two years ago, a McClymonds squad that coach Curtis McCauley called "one of those one in a million teams" went undefeated but was overlooked for a bid to the Division II state championship game.
With new guidelines in place, McClymonds is now eligible for the Division IV state championship.
Cal-Hi Sports has the Warriors ranked No. 2 in the NorCal Division IV field, behind No. 1 Central Catholic-Modesto (10-2) and ahead of No. 3 Ferndale (11-1).
Should all three teams win section titles (a requirement to be selected to the regional games), McClymonds could be left out of the NorCal championship. The Warriors have the most losses of the top three teams, though they played a challenging nonleague schedule. They head into Friday's Silver Bowl on a seven-game winning streak, outscoring opponents 349-21.
"It would mean the world to us," McCauley said of being
The only team left in the way is Oakland Tech, which McClymonds beat 38-14 on Nov. 10.
The Warriors have a successful passing attack, led by senior quarterback and league MVP Keith Williams, as well as a solid defense. Protecting Williams on the offensive line are Kevin Vaughn and Dajon Ford, two players who started on McClymonds' outstanding 2010 team.
THANKFUL TO BE PRACTICING: California found itself in a good place this week as it eyes a showdown with James Logan in the North Coast Section Division I semifinals. Kickoff is Saturday night at 7 in San Ramon.
"That's what we keep reminding the kids," Grizzlies coach Eric Billeci said. "We're this close, and we're very fortunate to be still standing and practicing on Thanksgiving. It's always a good indicator if you're practicing on Thanksgiving."
The Grizzlies (9-2), seeded second, know they'll need their best effort against the No. 3 Colts (11-1), who beat Freedom 33-18 in the quarterfinals.
Billeci was James Logan's defensive coordinator for three years under Colts coach George Zuber before he landed the California job in April 2009. This will be the first time Billeci faces Zuber since he left James Logan.
"They're going to be really fast, and they're physical on defense," Billeci said of the Colts.
California walloped Foothill 36-6 in the quarterfinals after receiving a bye in the first round.
The Grizzlies' exceptional running game is bolstered by lineman Kevin Leathley, a first-team all-East Bay Athletic League pick.
"He has been playing outstanding all season," Billeci said of Leathley. "He continues to be our anchor on the line."
In the other Division I semifinal, No. 5 Amador Valley (8-4), which has won five in a row after a loss to De La Salle, will get another crack at the No. 1 Spartans (11-0) on Friday night in Concord.
BRONCOS ON HISTORIC RUN: A year after going 3-7, Northgate has put together its best season in nearly 20 years.
The Broncos are in the NCS semifinals for the first time since 1994. If No. 3 seeded Northgate wins against host No. 2 Rancho Cotate-Rohnert Park on Saturday to advance to the Division II championship, the team will make even more history.
The last time a Northgate football team played in an NCS final was 1982 -- so long ago that current Broncos' parents were probably in high school at the time. The Broncos lost to Monte Vista that year 38-7 in the 3A East Bay finals.
A big challenge awaits the Broncos on Saturday, however. Rancho Cotate is unbeaten, has home-field advantage and has a history of deep playoff runs.
Northgate is coming off a 30-6 win over Newark Memorial in last week's quarterfinals.
Despite playing in a rainstorm, the Broncos took to the air with Joe Pelletier completing 11 of 18 passes for a season-high 176 yards.
Staff writer Matt Schwab contributed to this notebook. Follow Stephanie Hammon at twitter.com/stephhammon.