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Prep Playoffs

Loaded Div. IV Football Playoff Field Rugged Top To Bottom

Placer, Central Catholic Take On Favorite Roles
By: Mike Ray, Gold Country News Service
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It’s being called from top to bottom the toughest playoff division this year in the CIF Sac-Joaquin Section. In fact, any correlation to the make-up of this year’s Div. IV playoff bracket to ones in years past is strictly imaginary.

 

Yes, Virginia, this isn’t the Div. IV field that your grandfather remembers.

 

In this year’s Div. IV playoff football field, there are thirteen teams with records of 8-2 or better. The cumulative records for this year’s complete Div. IV field is 130-30, making it the one of the highest win percentage football brackets ever put together in the history of the CIF Sac-Joaquin playoffs.

 

At first glance, there are as many as seven to eight teams, something almost unheard of in most divisions, that look capable of going all the way to the top. Nine of the teams in the 16-team field have found their way this week into Cal-Hi Sports’ Div. III North state bowl polls.

 

“There’s four 8-2 teams that are on the road Friday,” said Escalon coach Mark Louriero. “That’s almost unheard of. Usually 8-2 gets you at least one home game.”

 

Central Catholic coach Roger Canepa echoed Louriero's thoughts.

 

"I'm not so sure Div. III wouldn't be the way to go this year," said Canepa. "Div. IV is loaded." 

 

So, without much further adieu, here’s how this year’s ’s Div. IV playoff football field handicaps out:

 

The Favorites:

- Placer (10-0) – Despite offense bogging down in recent weeks, Hillmen still have the parts to earn a trip to regional bowl game.

- Central Catholic (8-2) – Bolstered by addition of standout transfer running back Rey Vega, Raiders are salivating for rematch with Hillmen.

 

Best Bets

-         Center (8-2) – Cougars have speed to wreak havoc in this division.

-         Los Banos (9-1) – Only loss is to Central Catholic. Health of RB James Sams’ ankle could be key.

 

Dark Horses

 - Bear River (8-2) – Only Center has exploited Bruins’ defense.

-         Argonaut (10-0) – Mustangs’ double-wing “Box” offense tough to stop.

 

Longshots

-         Escalon (8-2) – Cougars have storied tradition in this division and 230-pound fullback Nathan Chunn.

-         Ripon (10-0) – Indians QB Kyle Wengel has 23-4 TD-interception ratio.

 

 Road Warriors

-         Calaveras (8-2) -  Redskins starting to peak.

-         Hilmar (6-4) – ‘Jackets face tough task at Placer.