Don't be surprised to see some new faces on football fields around the state Friday night.
With new rules in effect this year, fall athletes who transferred schools without making a valid change of address gained their eligibility on Oct. 1. In the past, transferring athletes without a hardship waiver had to sit out an entire year.
Now that the rules are less harsh, more athletes seem to be taking advantage, at least in the North Coast Section.
As of the end of September, the NCS had processed 604 eligibility cases. That's 82 more than last year. Of those cases, 43 were granted the "sit-out period" that made them eligible this week while many of the others were sophomores that were allowed a free transfer with immediate eligibility.
Commissioner Gil Lemmon didn't have data on how many of the transfers were football players.
His office has seen a decrease in appeals and hardship waivers, though, which cuts down on legal bills and paperwork for the section and California Interscholastic Federation.
Even with more athletes transferring, Lemmon doesn't see the newly eligible athletes drastically impacting many area football teams.
"I doubt there will be (much) change would be my estimate, but we're not at the school," Lemmon said. "Some kids will be thrilled to get out on the field, which I'm happy about. They have their eligibility and we want to be able to see them participate."
Transfer students who were
Lemmon also said only a very small number of cases have come up of players attempting to transfer in the middle of the season.
More at stake than Cup: The Mayor's Cup game between rivals Antioch and Deer Valley is about more than pride this season.
The Panthers and Wolverines are a combined 9-1 -- one of the most impressive won-lost records in the 16-year history of the rivalry -- and will try to establish themselves early in the Bay Valley Athletic League title race.
Antioch can also become playoff-eligible with a win in the 7 p.m. Friday game at Deer Valley.
Expect quite a few yards and points in this one.
Deer Valley has moved on from its lone loss to Sac-Joaquin Section power Folsom. Last week the Wolverines gained 526 yards when they rolled over Vacaville (55-35), a team that won a 2011 section title.
Behind quarterback Hunter Karnthong and running back Elbert Hamilton Jr., Antioch is undefeated and averaging 42.4 points per game.
The Panthers also won all five of their nonleague contests last season before going 1-4 in BVAL action. Their lone win was against Deer Valley.
HONOR FOR HUTCHINGS: De La Salle linebacker Michael Hutchings has been selected to participate in the 2013 U.S. Army All-American Bowl.
Hutchings, who has orally committed to USC, will be presented his jersey at a ceremony at the school on Oct. 9.
The all-star game features 90 of the nation's top players and will be held Jan. 5 at the Alamodome. It will be broadcast live on NBC.
The 6-foot-2, 215-pound senior has helped De La Salle to a 5-0 record with a team-high 33 tackles.
Moving up: Marin Catholic-Kentfield, Cardinal Newman-Santa Rosa and Valley Christian all had their petitions to move up a division this postseason approved by the NCS.
Marin Catholic and Cardinal Newman are Division IV schools by enrollment but will participate in the Division III playoffs as they've done in the past. Both programs have been successful in Division III, combining for two section titles in the past three seasons.
Valley Christian has elected to participate in Division IV for the fourth straight year even though the school's enrollment is 288.
Enrollment fluctuations also have caused schools to change divisions. Dougherty Valley has moved up to Division I, and Berean Christian and John Swett dropped to Division V.
Follow Stephanie Hammon on Twitter at Twitter.com/stephhammon.