Prep Roundup

CIF Playoff Picture Starts To Take Shape

By: Mike Ray, Gold Country News Service
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Placer, Bear River and Del Oro’s football teams all have one thing in common this Friday night. A respective win by each would make the trio post season eligible for the upcoming CIF Sac-Joaquin Section playoffs that will begin on the weekend of Nov. 9-10. With one of the Sac-Joaquin Section playoff criteria being, “must have two league wins”, the Hillmen, Bruins and Golden Eagles, thanks to posting opening league wins last week, are half-way there. However, while Del Oro’s goal at Roseville Friday night is clear-cut, something will have to give in Auburn when Placer (6-0) entertains Bear River (6-0) in an early Pioneer Valley League showdown. One team will become eligible Friday night while the other must wait. Colfax, meanwhile, will be trying to break into the Pioneer Valley League column and most likely needs to win at least three of its final four games to reach the post season. The Falcons, 3-3, get no break as they host Center (5-1), the No. 19 ranked team in the Sacramento area. Foresthill, 5-1 overall and 4-1 in the Sacramento Metro League’s double round robin schedule, has already reached the playoff eligible number of wins needed and is now playing for postseason seeding. The CIF Sac-Joaquin Section office will start releasing its weekly win totals Monday afternoon. Along with win totals, number of opponents’ wins, a tie-breaking criteria, and those good old two league wins, will also be noted. Speaking of the playoffs…. Like last season about this time, a lot of discussion is starting to arise on whether Placer’s Hillmen will land in either Div. III or Div. IV for this year’s post season. While the CIF Sac-Joaquin Section doesn’t like to speculate on its final playoff divisions until all games are played, early projections look to have the Hillmen, considered a “bubble” team because of its enrollment (1,346), will compete in Div. III. As of games played last weekend, 11 teams in the Div. IV enrollment range have already recorded five or more wins. You then have to add two to that total to reach 13 teams because the Golden Empire League receives two automatic berths. After that, playoff staples such as Sonora, Colfax, Hughson and Modesto Christian all look to have a shot at least five wins. Making Placer’s road to Div. IV even tougher is that PVL foe Center, already 5-1, has five students less than the Hillmen and would land in the lower division before the Hillmen. If the Hillmen do indeed land in Div. III, there is a push at the state level for Placer to succeed. That is according to Cal-Hi Sports Editor Mark Tennis, who composes the weekly state-wide bowl polls that are used by the CIF as a guide for for bowl selections. According to Tennis, “If Placer is Sac-Joaquin Section Div. IV, the field opens up in a big way. It also makes a rout in the CIF D2 state bowl game more likely. Without Placer, it’s hard to see any NorCal D2 team coming very close in a matchup against opponents like Oceanside, Lompoc, Hart, Edison, Chaminade and others. The addition of a CCS Division I or D2 team (which could end up being a top tier West Catholic Athletic League squad) might help some, but it’s too early too tell.” Cal-Hi State Bowl Rankings DIVISION II NORTH 1. (1) Placer (Auburn) 6-0 2. (3) Oakdale 5-1 3. (4) Paradise 5-1 4. (5) Rancho Cotate (Rohnert Park) 6-0 5. (6) Cosumnes Oaks (Elk Grove) 5-1 6. (9) Casa Grande (Petaluma) 5-1 7. (NR) Northgate (Walnut Creek) 5-1 8. (NR) Yuba City 5-1 9. (2) Concord 6-1 10. (10) Benicia 5-1