Its schools may be off the beaten path a bit, but there’s been some very good football played in the De Anza League this year. Not coincidentally, there’s quite a free-for-all for the league’s two guaranteed playoff spots going on.
1. Twentynine Palms (7-2, 4-0): The Wildcats have clinched a playoff berth regardless of how they do Friday against Big Bear. A win seals up an undisputed title and the No. 1 seed out of the league while a loss puts Twentynine into the No. 2 spot by virtue of losing the head-to-head tiebreaker with the Bears.
2. Big Bear (7-2, 3-1): The Bears would clinch a playoff spot and the No. 1 seed from the league with a victory over Twentynine Palms by virtue of winning the head-to-head tiebreaker. They can also make it with a Desert Hot Springs loss to Desert Mirage. If Big Bear loses, Desert Hot Springs wins and Yucca Valley loses to Shadow Hills, Big Bear would lose out on the No. 2 spot to DSH because of the head-to-head tiebreaker. A loss coupled with DSH and Yucca wins would cause a three-way flip for the No. 2 spot, as each team would be 1-1 against the other two. Either way, the Bears are a cinch to make it as an at-large if they don’t snap up one of the two automatic slots.
3. Desert Hot Springs (6-3, 2-2): The Golden Eagles would qualify as the No. 2 team out of the De Anza with a win over Desert Mirage and losses by Big Bear and Yucca Valley by virtue of owning the head-to-head tiebreaker with Big Bear. A loss by Big Bear and a win by Yucca Valley would cause a three-way flip for the last automatic playoff spot. A loss of any kind would eliminate DSH from getting an automatic berth, but the Golden Eagles would be in good shape for an at-large with a 6-4 or 7-3 overall record.
4. Yucca Valley (4-4-1, 2-2): Yucca Valley needs a win, a Desert Hot Springs win and a loss by Big Bear to get into a three-way flip for the last automatic spot. Otherwise, Yucca Valley needs a win of any sort to keep any at-large hopes alive. A loss would certainly eliminate the Trojans from all playoff consideration.
5. Desert Mirage (1-8, 1-3): Eliminated from playoff consideration.
6. Shadow Hills (1-8, 0-4): Eliminated from playoff consideration.