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Redwood Football prepares for a new league that is game-changing

“These new league changes will reshape Redwood football. We will continue [to play]  against [Tamalpais], our rivals, but [we will] also get to play against tough teams up north like Casa Grande and Petaluma,” junior and varsity quarterback Kody Vasquez said.

Lining up on offense, junior Alex Zack gets ready to run a route. (Photo by Gil Ladetzky)

Last September, after a vote between the administrators that make up the Marin County Athletic League (MCAL), Vine Valley Athletic League and North Bay Athletic League, they decided to split the 26 11-man football schools into four leagues. There has been a visible gap in talent levels between MCAL teams over the last ten years, causing the competitive level of games to vary dramatically.

Following the decision, teams were split up based on talent levels, previous records and achievements. Redwood was placed in the second tier, which includes Tamalpais (Tam), American Canyon, Justin-Siena, Petaluma and Casa Grande. Other local programs, such as Marin Catholic (MC) and San Marin, were placed in the top tier, where they will compete against schools such as Rancho Cotate and Cardinal Newman.

Infographic by Julia Delsol

 The division names are not final, but as of now they are Adobe, Valley, Bay and Mountain. These leagues will all be part of the overarching Redwood Empire Conference. Marin County teams are featured in all but one conference, the Bay Conference, where teams such as Ukiah and St. Vincent De Paul will play. However, Archie Williams and San Rafael make up the top spots in the Valley division, followed by Novato and Terra Linda.

Even though significant changes will occur over the next year, rivalries will remain intact. Redwood will continue to fight for bragging rights during the annual game against Tam. San Rafael and Terra Linda will keep their tradition of the “Bell Game”, and San Marin and Marin Catholic will fight for the top spot in the Bay Area for years to come.

Ronan Ralston, a three-year football player and starting safety on the varsity team, understands the need for a more balanced league. 

“We [as a program] are looking forward to the big change. It will bring us new opportunities against top dogs and will allow us to show why we belong,” Ralston said.

Every two seasons, the league will reevaluate the teams and the competitiveness of the divisions. If teams can’t compete with their competition and have under a  .500 record several years in a row, they could get brought down a tier. If teams exceed their standards, they could ascend the ranks.

Matching up on defense against San Marin, senior Van Hampton gets ready to disrupt the pass. (Photo by Gil Ladetzky)

 Each of the four divisions will have an automatic qualifier, meaning that every year, the team with the best record will make its way to the North Coast Section (NCS) playoffs. At NCS, teams will face other groups of similar school size. Vasquez has big hopes for the team going forward and thinks the league change will help Redwood achieve them.

“We want the NCS banner and this is just a checkpoint to get there. It also gives us new goals to reach. Moving up to the top division and playing against the best teams will be the goal during our senior season and hopefully, we can get there,” Vasquez said.

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About the Contributor
Mason Garbo, Reporter
Mason Garbo is a junior at Redwood High school and is a Cub Sports Editor for the Redwood Bark. He enjoys hanging with friends, basketball and listening to music.