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Jesuit forfeits playoff wins, Del Oro to section final

By: Nick Pecoraro
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We’ve learned that Del Oro will be the first team to qualify for the Sac-Joaquin Section Championship game from Divisions I-VI. Wait, what?

The CIF announced Friday afternoon that Del Oro’s opponent, No. 5 Jesuit, self-reported “inadvertently” playing an ineligible player during the Marauders’ first two playoff wins over Woodcreek and Granite Bay.

CIF Assistant Commissioner Will DeBoard said in an email that due to the section’s bylaw 207.3, those two contests are ruled forfeits. The Marauders are now eliminated from the postseason, meaning that Del Oro automatically advances to the Division II section title game Nov. 24.

“Because the ineligible player participated in both of the playoff victories, there is no advancement by Jesuit’s last opponent (Granite Bay),” the email stated. “We appreciate that Jesuit self-reported this violation. It’s an unfortunate situation for all.”

Del Oro head coach Jeff Walters said his initial reaction was “shock.”

“It’s unfortunate,” Walters said. “Obviously, this is not the way (Jesuit) want your season to end. I feel for Coach (Marlon) Blanton. I know they wouldn’t have played (an ineligible player) knowingly.”

Granite Bay head coach Jeff Evans echoed Walters’ sentiments.

“I’m pretty sure that player did not play an overall role in the outcome of the game,” said Evans, whose team lost 42-0 in the quarterfinal round to Jesuit Nov. 2. “It’s unfortunate for the section because of the teams on the other side of the bracket trying to knock each other out while Del Oro has only played one game in three weeks.

“It’s unprecedented to have to deal with this in middle of a playoff run. I guess that’s why they get paid the big bucks up at the section office.”

The Jesuit-Del Oro meeting would have been the first ever game in the long histories of both schools. For now, the Golden Eagles will continue to practice as normal.   

“It’s a big time tradition to practice on Thanksgiving Day, but we’ll have to be more creative since we don’t know who our opponent will be,” said Walters.

Del Oro will face the winner of next Friday’s Division II semifinal between Inderkum and Central Catholic for the D-II section title Nov. 24, likely at Sacramento State.