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NORTH COAST SECTION PLAYOFFS NEED AN OVERHAUL

by / Tuesday, 17 November 2015 / Published in News

The North Coast Section playoffs need to be overhauled. Heck the leagues need some major work, especially in football, but that is a different subject.

I have ranted about this before and there hasn’t been any changes, but if you yell enough times maybe that one person will hear the screaming, someone who can do something about it and will try to make a change

pet pitch

Petaluma QB Brendan White pitches as he is hit and Harrison Royal takes it in for a Trojan score vs Novato in the NCS playoffs

Last week I wrote how bad the double digit seeds did in the North Coast Section playoffs last year. The 4-28 record isn’t pretty.

Compared to this season, that is pretty good. This past weekend the double digit seeds went 0-24. Yes there were eight less games involving double digit seeds, because there were eight less teams.

If that stat doesn’t hit you, how about this? The closest of those games was in Division 4 with No. 7 Justin Siena defeating No. 10 San Marin 31-14. Of the other 23 games, only one game was decided by less than 25 points. That was Petaluma’s 38-20 win over Novato, a game in which Petaluma led 35-7.

The reason for the one sided games is simple numbers. There are 107 teams in the North Coast Section. Sixty nine of them made the playoffs, which is approximately seven out of eleven. There is actually room for 80, but some teams who were eligible didn’t apply.

These aren’t the top ranked sixty nine teams, at least according to the power rankings. Some of the teams in the top 80 weren’t eligible for the playoffs. An example of that is Montgomery, who was No. 63 in the power rankings, but wasn’t eligible.

The lowest ranked team in the power rankings who made the playoffs was Healdsburg (sorry about that). The Hounds are No. 93 in the section and went up against No. 12 Cardinal Newman. Another game was No. 17 Analy against No. 87 Albany.

The results were predictable.

The playoffs are a big deal for the NCS. I get that. It is how the section makes its money and I am guessing football is the No. 1 attended game of all the sports, although basketball might be close. Either way, they are going to schedule as many games as they can get away with.

But this is ridiculous.

There are other ways to do it. One would be the model of the Central Coast Section. Their playoffs start this week and they have five brackets of eight teams each. The section has 93 teams, with forty of them making the playoffs. Three of the five divisions  play for a state playoff berth, the other two divisions are not eligible. That playoff system is also set up by a point system, in which the teams pretty much know where they are going to be seeded before the announcements are made. The first round is this week and biggest difference I could find in the power rankings is No. 1 vs. No. 42.

That system would mean fewer games.

My idea for the North Coast Section would have the same amount of playoff games as they do now, but have more brackets. They could be called Bracket “A” and Bracket “B”. The teams’ seeded No. 1-8 could be Bracket “A”, No. 9-16 in Bracket “B”, which wouldn’t be eligible for the state playoffs, but they are eligible for a section championship.

This could cause some controversy. The No. 9 seed might scream we should have been in Bracket “A”. History tells us that the No. 9 seed might win one game and then usually goes home, so that isn’t a major concern.

One other thing would change for at least the “A” bracket. To qualify for the playoffs now, a team needs a .500 record either overall, in league play or against its own division. Albany, the team that lost to Analy was 4-6 on the season, 1-5 in its league, but qualified by going 1-1 against Division 3 teams. That win was opening week over Ygnacio Valley 21-20. Ygnacio Valley was 3-7 on the season and they also made the playoffs. They lost their first round game as a No. 16 to No. 1 Campolindo 70-44. The score after one quarter was 42-8. Power rankings wise that was No. 11 vs. No. 81 in the section.

To qualify for the “A” bracket a team would need to be at least .500 in two of the categories. The “B” bracket could stay the same. The section would have as many games and these games would almost have to be more competitive.

In other sports, like volleyball, the brackets seem to play out the same way and I know that it does in basketball. But football is different. The sport is under fire from all angles about several things, including safety. There have been several national headlines this season about players dying from hits in games. Games were forfeited this season and some teams are having a hard time fielding a team, while other proud programs have changed to eight man football.

To put the kids at risk in these kinds of games just doesn’t make sense. If I was a leader of the section who scheduled them, I would have a hard time looking in the mirror if a kid got seriously hurt in the kind of games that were played last weekend.

You can’t blame the kids on this one. They want to play and I am sure a few on Healdsburg convinced themselves they had a chance against Cardinal Newman.

The blame goes to the adults here and they should do the right thing for the kids they are supposed to be looking out for and that is change the system.

My email address is jacpasquini@comcast.net

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