Santa Barbara and Bishop Diego are two high schools with veteran football teams and high expectations, but much has been left hanging in the air for their upcoming seasons.
The COVID-19 pandemic indefinitely delayed last week’s start of summer drills and a new playoff system adopted by the CIF Southern Section has left the end of next season just as foggy.
“I’m not too big on the new format,” said Dons coach J.T. Stone, who returns many of the key players from last year’s CIF-SS Division 8 finalist team. “But when you win, you’re going to move up. Our kids understand that we have to be at our best this year.”
Under the new format approved last week by the CIF-SS Executive Council, teams won’t know their playoff divisions until after the regular season is concluded. The 14 playoff divisions will be determined by the fall season’s results and will be seeded by the Cal Preps.com power rankings, regardless of league affiliation and finish.
Teams were previously placed in their CIF divisions before the season started by virtue of the results from the past two years.
“This is going to make it tougher for a couple of reasons,” Bishop Diego coach Tom Crawford said. “It will enhance competitive equity, so I don’t want to sound like I don’t like the idea, but one of the concerns I’ve raised is the timing of it.”
The new formula, which designates 13 automatic qualifiers and three at-large teams for each division’s playoff bracket — LL based on power ratings — has come before the next re-leaguing cycle. Bishop is still in the five-team Camino League where only two schools get automatic bids. Six-team leagues qualify three schools automatically.
“It is going to create more competitive playoffs,” Crawford said. “If you have a senior-heavy team that is stronger than the previous two years, or bring in a lot of transfer students, you no longer get the advantage of flying under the radar.
“There’s no perfect model. I’ve always thought we should be using more current data for playoff placement, so I guess this is as current as you can get.”
ALEXANDER HEADED FOR PUGET SOUND
San Marcos High’s Sophia Alexander has committed to play lacrosse next year at the University of Puget Sound, an NCAA Division III school which competes in the Northwest Conference. The university is in Tacoma, just south of Seattle.
Alexander, who also played for Mission Lacrosse Club, was converted from defender to a midfield position this year. She scored five goals on eight shots and also had six assists this spring during a season that was cut short by the COVID-19 pandemic.
“Her incredible attitude and work ethic are going to please everyone up there,” said Paul Ramsey, her coach at San Marcos and also the director of Mission Lacrosse. “Sophia came to everything we offered, worked on her stick skills, sprints hard on everything and her lacrosse IQ has really started to blossom.
“Sophia goes full speed and looks up to read the situation, scanning for teammates and openings, so every coach in her future is going to love that. We will miss her.”
ROYALS ALUMNI SCHOLARSHIPS
The San Marcos High School Alumni Foundation has granted scholarships to the following seven graduating seniors who “demonstrated the highest scholastic, citizenship, and athletic standards.”
Coaches Scholarships: Moe Claydon Scholarship — Eva Moschitto (performing arts); Satini Puailoa II Scholarship — Ben Partee (football, basketball); Joe Muller Scholarship — Alex Moosbrugger (baseball); Maury Halleck Scholarship — Conner Hess (soccer, track and field).
Foundation Scholarships: Bard Salcido Memorial Scholarship — Meghan Downing (water polo); Class of 1961Scholarship — Morgan Jensen-Magne (softball).
Football 1979/Class of 1980 Scholarship: Ian Brown, Paul Robinson, and David Tafejian Memorial Scholarship — Alejandro Martinez (football).
The scholarships are funded primarily by alumni donors, the San Marcos Golf Classic Tournament and The San Marcos Fall Bowling Tournament.