As the 2015 High School Football season moves into the second half of the season it isn’t too early to think playoffs.
Playoff football is a little more complicated this year. So complicated I will have to admit I am not sure how it works. With the number moving from five to thirteen, there are more state championship games than they need. It appears all these games will be picked by a committee, as will the Nor Cal and Southern Cal play in games, which will be played the week before. The play in games or the regional games will be played the weekend of December 11th and 12th. That will lead to the state championship games, which will be play on December 18th and 19th at Sacramento State and in other places in the Sacramento area.rc gunnar deep
They almost got it to Christmas didn’t they?
How exactly the games will be picked I am not sure. There is an explanation at the CIF State Website that went flying over my head. The section commissioners are meeting on Sunday December 6th to pick the regional games. By the time all is said and done, a team making state championship weekend in the Sacramento area could play fifteen games, which is more than they play in College.
The format for the section playoffs hasn’t changed. There are changes in what division teams are in and for some of them it is a big deal. Also with the expanded state championship games, unlike other years, the section champions will make the regional games. It also appears some teams that don’t win the section championships, could advance. That is up to the committee.
This is a look at the North Coast Section playoffs, as in recent years have five divisions. Sixteen teams is a full bracket for each division. To qualify a team needs a .500 record either overall, in league play or against teams from its own division. The first round of the NCS playoffs is the weekend of November 13th and 14th.
Here is a thumbnail of each section and the projections are based on power rankings.
DIVISION 1
This is the Division De La Salle has dominated for over two decades. Any school over 2,000 students is in this Division.
Santa Rosa’s student count is 2,064 and is the only local team in Division 1. They didn’t have a game against a Division 1 team, so there best chance to become eligible is to finish .500 overall.
If they did make the playoffs the reward might be a trip to De La Salle.
DIVISION 2
This used to be the Division that most of the local NBL and SCL teams were in. That isn’t the case anymore.
There are five NBL teams in this Division, Casa Grande, Maria Carrillo, Montgomery, Ukiah and Windsor.
Clayton Valley Charter is the defending champion and a big favorite to repeat.
Casa Grande, Windsor and Maria Carrillo are solid choices. Casa Grande and Windsor would get a first round home game.
DIVISION 3
This Division has been shaken up. Two of the powers of this Division have moved out.
Two of the local powers are in this bracket. Another power is one of the teams that moved out.
The local powers are Analy and Rancho Cotate, who are No. 2 and 3 in the latest YSN365.com rankings. They are also No. 2 and 3 in the latest Division 3 power rankings. Rancho Cotate is No. 2 and Analy at No. 3. If the seedings worked out that way that means those two would be set up to meet in the Section Semi-final game (couldn’t we hope?).
The three other local teams are Petaluma, Piner and Sonoma Valley. Petaluma are on the bubble for a home game.
DIVISION 4
This is where the power teams from Division 3 went. That would be Cardinal Newman and Marin Catholic. Enrollment wise this is where they belong. In the power rankings Marin Catholic is No. 1 and Cardinal Newman is at No. 3.
Cardinal Newman is one of seven local teams in this Division and the only one from the North Bay League.
This is the only Division that has all three leagues in which we cover in it. El Molino, Elsie Allen and Healdsburg from the SCL, along from the NCL I teams from Fort Bragg, Kelseyville, Lower Lake and St. Helena.
As you might guess Cardinal Newman is nearly a lock for a first round home game.
Even with how good St. Helena and Fort Bragg have been, they are not locks for home games. Lower Lake is a bubble team period. The other three teams have work to do.
DIVISION 5
This is the NCL world with Clear Lake, Cloverdale, Middletown and Willits, along with St. Vincent in the Division.
Any school with under 500 students qualifies for this Division. St. Helena just missed at 505.
The NCL I doesn’t get a lot of respect. Cloverdale is the highest team in the power rankings at no. 7 and that is despite they beat No. 1 Berean Christian.
Willits is a bubble team for a home game.
There are 18 teams in this Division, which mean with a full bracket all but two would qualify. That isn’t likely to happen, but could.
There are 108 schools in the section with a football program. If all the five division brackets are full, which they usually aren’t, there would be eighty teams in the playoffs. Which means nearly 75% of the teams could get in.
Basically the high school playoffs have turned into a monster.
There is a lot of season left, so things can change quite a bit between now and then.
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