High School Sports

Five Sacramento-area schools earn top seeds in Sac-Joaquin Section football playoffs

Folsom is the top seed in the Sac-Joaquin Section Division I playoff bracket. In all, 78 teams from the section over seven divisions made the postseason.
Folsom is the top seed in the Sac-Joaquin Section Division I playoff bracket. In all, 78 teams from the section over seven divisions made the postseason. Special to The Sacramento Bee

Some brackets were easy to figure out, formulate and place onto paper. Others, not so much.

On Sunday morning at the Sac-Joaquin Section headquarters, a committee of section staffers and retired regional coaches and administrators crunched data and merged minds to seed seven divisions of the high school football playoffs that start Friday at home sites.

The top two divisions required the most attention and debate, as the criteria of seeding teams included league placement, strength of schedule, signature victories, enrollment and CalPreps.com computer rankings. Head-to-head matchups helped, but sometimes even that became a bit problematic, especially, as assistant section commissioner Will DeBoard said, “In a lot of cases, we have a Team A that beat Team B, who beat Team C, which beat Team A. We’re often asked, ‘Which criteria is the most important?’ Well, all of them.”

All told, 78 teams made the playoffs, including large-school Divisions I and II, medium-school Divisions III and IV, and small-school Divisions V, VI and VII.

The top four seeds in Divisions I-VI have first-round byes.

A look at the divisions

Folsom, top-ranked by The Bee for pretty much every week since the start of the 2012 season, was the clear D-I top seed. The Bulldogs (9-1) seek their eighth section title this decade and are also working on a CIF State championship Division I-AA three-peat.

Oak Ridge (8-2) placed third in the Sierra Foothill League behind Folsom and Rocklin, but earned the D-I No. 2 seed due to overall strength of schedule – and losing only by three to Folsom helped. Oak Ridge coach anticipated this seed.

No. 3 Inderkum (10-0) is in the D-I scramble for the first time after years of D-II and D-III enrollment, and St. Mary’s of Stockton got the No. 4 seed despite a 6-4 record because it played the most difficult schedule of any team in the section, if not all of Northern California, including losses to De La Salle, Serra of San Mateo and Pittsburg.

“St Mary’s schedule, everyone would have gone 6-4 with that,” DeBoard said. “Davis got the six seed in D-I at 9-1 but didn’t have that signature win outside league.”

Rocklin is the top seed in D-II, but the Thunder (7-3) will not host any section playoff games. The school violated section bylaw 201a last spring, a pre-enrollment contact. In this case, eighth-graders were working out in the Rocklin weight room – a seemingly harmless act, but a violation of section policy.

Cosumnes Oaks (7-3) is the No. 2 seed, followed by Vacaville (8-2) and Jesuit (5-5). Longtime section power Central Catholic of Modesto is seeded fifth and No. 6 Elk Grove and No. 7 Granite Bay loom as dark horses.

The Foothill Valley League advanced all six of its teams, the only one in the section to do so. None of the teams had a losing record: Placer (8-2), Rio Linda (8-2), Oakmont (6-4), Ponderosa (5-5), Lincoln (5-5) and Nevada Union (5-5).

The SFL advanced six of its seven teams: Folsom, Rocklin, Oak Ridge, Del Oro, Granite Bay and Whitney. Only Grant (1-9) is out.

Some teams had good overall records, but their seasons are over.

Laguna Creek went 1-9 last season and is 7-3 now, but will not make the postseason, DeBoard said, because, “It wasn’t ranked high enough (top 12 in its division) to advance.”

The same is true for 8-2 Grace Davis of Modesto – not a strong enough league, strength of schedule or CalPreps ranking.

It’s further proof that strength of schedule and league strength matters and that seedings are not win-loss standings.

Defending champion Capital Christian (8-2) is the top seed in D-III, with Placer (8-2) second, Buhach Colony (10-0) third and Manteca (8-2) fourth.

Defending champion Rio Linda (8-2) is the top seed in D-IV with Oakdale (7-3) second, Casa Roble (7-3) third and Sierra (7-3) of Manteca fourth.

Center (10-0) is the top seed in D-V with its best record in school history. Ripon (9-1) is second, Amador (9-1) third and Bradshaw Christian (8-2) fourth. Colfax (7-3), the defending champion, is seeded ninth.

Escalon (9-1) is the top seed in D-VI, defending champion Hilmar (9-1) is second, Ripon Christian (9-1) third and Golden Sierra (8-2) fourth.

Defending champion Denair (8-2) is the top seed in D-VII and Mariposa (6-4) second.

For complete brackets, visit cifsjs.org.

Sac-Joaquin Section football playoffs

Division I

All games Friday, 7p.m.

No. 9 Lincoln-S at No. 8 Edison

No. 12 Pleasant Grove at No. 5 Monterey Trail

No. 11 Gregori at No. 6 Davis

No. 10 Del Oro at No. 7 Turlock

Byes: No. 1 Folsom, No. 2 Oak Ridge, No. 3 Inderkum, No. 4 St. Mary’s

Division II

All games Friday, 7 p.m.

No. 9 Whitney at No. 8 Lincoln-L

No. 12 Tracy at No. 5 Central Catholic

No. 11 Oakmont at No. 6 Elk Grove

No. 10 Downey at No. 7 Granite Bay

Byes: No. 1 Rocklin, No. 2 Cosumnes Oaks, No. 3 Vacaville, No. 4 Jesuit

Division III

All games Friday, 7 p.m.

No. 9 Antelope at No. 8 Ponderosa

No. 12 River Valley at No. 5 Vista del Lago

No. 11 Johnson at No. 6 Roseville

No. 10 Yuba City at No. 7 Christian Brothers

Byes: No. 1 Capital Christian, No. 2 Placer, No. 3 Buhach Colony, No. 4 Manteca

Division IV

All games Friday at 7 p.m.

No. 9 Nevada Union at No. 8 Vanden

No. 12 Kimball at No. 5 Atwater

No. 11 Beyer at No. 6 Merced

No. 10 Del Campo at No. 7 Patterson

No. 13 Golden Valley at No. 4 Sierra

Byes: No. 1 Rio Linda, No. 2 Oakdale, No. 3 Casa Roble

Division V

All games Friday at 7 p.m.

No. 9 Colfax at No. 8 Union Mine

No. 12 Los Banos at No. 5 Woodland

No. 11 Livingston at No. 6 Rosemont

No. 10 Foothill at No. 7 Liberty Ranch

Byes: No. 1 Center, No. 2 Ripon, No. 3 Amador, No. 4 Bradshaw Christian

Division VI

All games Friday at 7 p.m.

No. 9 Hughson at No. 8 Linden

No. 11 Western Sierra at No. 6 Calaveras

No. 10 Highlands at No. 7 Bear River

Byes: No. 1 Escalon, No. 2 Hilmar, No. 3 Ripon Christian

No. 5 Sonora at No. 4 Golden Sierra, Nov. 15

Division VII

No. 6 Vacaville Christian at No. 3 Woodland Christian

No. 5 Big Valley Christian at No. 4 Le Grand

Byes: No. 1 Denair, No. 2 Mariposa

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Joe Davidson has covered sports for The Sacramento Bee since 1988 and is award-winning authority on high school sports, specializing in going behind the scenes. Davidson was a high school athlete in Oregon, where he participated in football and track.
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