'Black Friday' For Top Div. IV Football Favorites

Through rain and mud lower CIF Sac-Joaquin seeds pull upsets
By: Mike Ray, Gold Country News Service
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If you were a top-seeded team in the second round of the CIF Sac-Joaquin Section Div. IV football playoffs,  “Black Friday” came early.


With rain, wind and muddy playing conditions the norm across the section Friday night, the complexion of the Div. IV high school playoffs changed perhaps more dramatically in one evening than ever before in the history of the section’s post season competition that dates back to 1971.


“We’d have to research it but we can’t remember four seeded teams in one division losing in the second round on the same night,” said CIF assistant commissioner John Williams Saturday morning. “That three of the teams were undefeated and lost makes it even more astonishing.”


In case you were home bundled up by the fireplace with a cup of hot chocolate, here’s what transpired Friday evening :


In Auburn, number one seed Placer was kept out of the end zone in the second half and was limited to just three offensive plays in the fourth quarter as visiting Escalon used Thomas Diniz’s 23-yard field goal as time expired to stunningly end the Hillmen’s dream season, 27-26. The Cougars, who out-gained the Hillmen in total yardage 307-204, used two time consuming drives to chew up the clock in the third and fourth quarter as their catalyst to pull off the upset.


Meanwhile, in Ripon, the here-to-fore undefeated host Indians, seeded No. 3, fell behind No. 6 Central Catholic 17-0 after a quarter before rallying to take a 21-17 halftime lead. However, with Ray Lomas and Rey Vega accounting for 241 rushing yards in the second half between them, the Raiders rallied for a dominating, 40-21, win. Vega, the transfer from Beyer, had second half scoring runs of 74 and 76 yards to spark the Central surge.


At Capital Christian in Sacramento, visiting Los Banos, the No. 5 seed, broke open a 14-14 game in the third quarter by following the running of James Sams to post a 42-14 win over the No. 4 seeded hosts. Sams rushed 24 times for 295 yards and scored on runs of 3, 33 and 38 yards to break the game open and lead the Bulldogs to the semi-final round.


And finally in Jackson, Center’s Cougars, the No. 10 seed, capitalized on Argonaut turnovers to hand the No. 2 Mustangs their first loss of the season, a tough 19-14, setback. All of the scoring in the game, which was played in rainy conditions, came in the first half.


Friday’s results sets up Friday semi-final match-ups that will pit Escalon (10-2) at Los Banos (11-1) and Center (10-2) at Central Catholic (10-2). The Escalon-Los Banos game is a rematch of a zero week contest won by the Bulldogs, 34-32.

Friday's winners will then play either Nov. 30 or Dec. 1 at a site to be determined for the Div. IV championship.



Sideline Yardage....


In another unusual fact about Friday’s four Div. IV quarter-final games, all four were played on real grass, something fairly uncommon these days…..Placer’s loss Friday isn’t the first time a No. 1 seed has been eliminated in the second round of the playoffs since the CIF went to its “seeded” 16-team playoff brackets in 2009. In ’09, in Div. I, No. 8 Los Banos defeated No. 1 Tracy, 28-27, and in Div. II that year, No. 8 Del Oro downed No. 1 St. Mary’s. In 2010, in one of the biggest stunners in CIF playoff history, in Div. II, No. 16 Vanden routed No. 1 Manteca, 55-22, in the first round…There were a couple of unusual game stoppage situations in the second half of the Placer-Escalon game that may need explaining. In the first instance, game officials required Escalon to go back to the use of a rubber ball after Cougars coach Mark Loureiro tried to insert a leather ball after the rain had stopped. “It was a good call,” said Loureiro.  “We had shown the officials only rubber balls before the game and therefore couldn’t switch. It’s in the rules.”….In the second stoppage, in the game’s final 30 seconds, game officials had anticipated that Escalon wanted to use a time-out after a rush by quarterback Phillip Kimble to center the ball for a field goal attempt. However, Escalon didn’t call a time-out. After conferring with Placer coach Joey Montoya to notify that the clock would restart without the ball being put in play, Escalon then called a time-out with two seconds left to set up the field goal attempt....Placer's 11-1 finish is the best for the Hillmen since the 2009 squad went 12-2. The Hillmen under coach Joey Montoya in six seasons are now 53-21.