If CIF-Southern Section commissioner Rob Wigod gets his way, and he likely will, the complexion of the football playoffs could change drastically in two years.
Wigod said during a special one-on-one interview last week that he is exploring alternative playoff formats for football that would make it so playoff divisions are no longer determined by leagues but by teams instead.
Under the current format, an entire league plays in the same playoff division once the postseason begins. Under Wigod’s concept, teams from the same league would be dispersed to different divisions based on a formula that the commissioner is currently working to perfect.
“We’re going to hopefully create competitive, balanced divisions with teams that are there because of their performance and no other reason,” Wigod said. “It’s ultimately going to be the Southern Section Council’s decision. We’re either going to do this because it’s the right thing to do And if we don’t do it, it’s not going to be because we didn’t study it.”
Wigod’s model would use two years of data to set the divisions every year before the upcoming season. Hypothetically, the day after football season ends, that year’s data combined with date from the season prior would be used to produce division alignments for the following season.
Before Wigod’s idea comes to fruition, the CIF blue book would need an overhaul in terms of how the playoff divisions are currently formulated and voted on. But there’s no denying that Wigod’s vision, at least for the very best teams regardless of present division, would create a super division at the very top somewhat similar to the open division currently being used in the boys and girls basketball playoffs.
“We trying to study this to see if it’s going to be implemented for all sports so that we can be consistent and people won’t get confused,” Wigod said. “My goal for this year is to develop the formula that we believe would utilized and be workable. If we believe we have a workable formula, then we’ll add the data and we’ll be able to look at what divisions would look like.”
Pomona High School could face far more costly ramifications than just a forfeited game for its football team after the Red Devils failed to honor a contract to play Mission Prep of San Luis Obispo in a nonleague road game last Friday night.
The result will go into the record books as a loss for the Red Devils, who didn’t make the trip after district officials determined that a four-hour ride to Mission Prep and a four-hour ride back were not in the best interest of the players, according to a statement last week by Pomona Unified School District administrative director Fernando Meza.
Pomona’s problems may not end there, however. According to the CIF-Southern Section blue book, under rule 151.2 any expenses incurred by the offended school, in this case Mission Prep, for stadium rental, transportation, officials’ fees, etc., shall be paid in full by the school breaching the contract.
It gets worse for Pomona. Under rule 151.3, when a school fails to engage in a contest agreed upon, without giving notice to the other school and securing an honorable release, it may be suspended from membership.
Mission Prep athletic director Vic Ecklund said Monday that he and school principal James Childs are still mulling what action, if any, to take next.
On Aug. 6, the two schools finalized a contract to play each other in a nonleague game at Mission Prep on Sept. 12. Ecklund said that in late August, Pomona informed Mission Prep it wasn’t going to honor the contract due to district concerns.
When asked last week by this newspaper about the reasons why his school needed to cancel the game, Pomona athletic director Anthony Rice cited travel costs and other factors.
“Once the info was sent to the school district, it was one of those things where they said it was too much,” Rice said last week.
Rice’s explanation makes little sense since the original contract had Mission Prep paying $1,500 for Pomona to have a chartered bus for the trip and even a pregame team meal paid for the by the host school before the game, according to Ecklund. Rice did not return calls seeking comment on Monday.
As for the time concerns, Ecklund said that Mission Prep offered to move the kickoff for Friday to 8 p.m. or play the game on Saturday. Those offers were declined. Eventually, Ecklund said his calls to Rice were not returned.
Meza issued another statement on Monday saying that the game was cancelled after the school district decided that its students would have returned to campus at 3 a.m. on Saturday morning. Meza did not answer questions as to why the game was scheduled in the first place if that was such a concern.
“After determining that having an overnight trip to play a non-league game was not in the best interest of our students, athletic directors at Pomona High opted out of the game,” Meza’s statement said. “Upon making that decision, Pomona High athletic directors immediately communicated with Mission Prep two weeks prior to the Sept. 12 game.
“While we worked with Mission Prep to reschedule the game, it was mutually understood that neither school could accommodate alternative arrangements. Cancellation or rescheduling of preseason games among schools is not uncommon.”
Southern Section spokesperson Thom Simmons said Monday that his office had been informed of the cancellation by the schools and has received no other information on the matter.
Resolving the situation, according to Simmons, was between Mission Prep and Pomona and that no other CIF action beside calling the game a forfeit loss for the Red Devils would be taken unless either school expresses further complaints on the matter.
“We’re always disappointed when schools that enter into contracts don’t live up to the agreements,” Simmons said. “What we don’t know is the full extent of the reasoning behind why they couldn’t fulfill the terms of the contract.”
Both teams appear headed toward big seasons in their respective divisions. Pomona is 2-0 in games played on the field, but technically 2-1 after the forfeit. The Red Devils are ranked No. 3 in the Mid-Valley Division. Mission Prep, which is now 2-1, is ranked No. 2 in the Northwest Division.
It’s not uncommon for teams from the Southland to play nonleague games at Mission Prep. Arcadia-based Rio Hondo Prep has an annual series going with Mission Prep, that requires the Kares to make the trip at least once every two years assuming the teams don’t also meet in the playoffs.
Other teams to have played road games in recent years against Mission Prep include St. Monica of Santa Monica, Linfield Christian of Temecula and Riverside Christian.
POMONA DISCUSSION STARTS AROUND 26:30
1. Bishop Amat (2-1) — Posted historic beatdown of Rancho.
2. Chino Hills (2-1) — Averaging 50 points per game!
3. St. Francis (2-0) — Hoping to show Monrovia who’s boss (again).
4. La Mirada (2-1) — May not lose again in regular season.
5. Monrovia (3-0) — Need better showing than last year vs. SF.
6. San Dimas (2-1) — Saints putting together impressive resume.
7. Charter Oak (1-2) — Woke up against Damien. Watch out
8. Pomoma (2-0) — Players deserved better than canceled game.
9. Los Altos (2-1) — Won big as expected vs. Wilson.
10. Damien (1-1) — Good looking team should get better.
11. Glendora (1-1) — Got worked by solid San Gorgonio team.
12. La Habra (1-2) — Defense better wake up vs. La Mirada.
13. La Salle (2-1) — Trampled by Bishop Diego again.
14. West Covina (2-1) — Gaining steam at a good time.
15. Ayala (2-1) — Might be a dangerous team after all.
16. La Serna (2-1) — Blanked Schurr in show of force.
17. Northview (3-0) — Nobody told me.
18. San Marino (3-0) — Averaging 56 points per game.
19. Diamond Bar (2-1) — Can’t be as bad as final score vs. SD.
20. Muir (0-2) — Need to take another step fwd vs. Hart.
21. Diamond Ranch (2-1) — Had better bounce back vs. Schurr.
22. El Rancho (1-1) — Can take out frustration on Montebello.
23. Claremont (2-1) — Why is Pack playing Mountain View?
24. Maranatha (3-0) — We’ll find out vs. La Salle.
25. Arroyo (2-1) — Coming back around.
… Don’t wake up in a roadside ditch.
1. La Mirada (2-0) — Gonna really find out vs. Servite.
2. Bishop Amat (1-1) — Testes dropped in Texas. Look out now.
3. Chino Hills (1-1) — Hart/JSerra exacta was bit much to ask.
4. St. Francis (1-0) — We’ll find out a lot more vs. Moorpark.
5. Glendora (1-0) — Trailing Alta Loma at half is ominous.
6. Monrovia (2-0) — Looking every bit like a Central favorite.
7. Damien (1-0) — A win over Charter Oak would go far.
8. Pomona (2-0) — The team you don’t want to play.
9. La Habra (1-1) — They can score. No doubt.
10. Charter Oak (0-2) — Mojo returns with a Damien win.
11. La Salle (2-0) — Like that PHS win a lot.
12. San Dimas (1-1) — Huge street cred win over LA.
13. Los Altos (1-1) — Got nailed late by San Dimas.
14. Diamond Ranch (2-0) — Had to work against Rosemead.
15. Diamond Bar (2-0) — Two games, two easy wins.
16. West Covina (1-1) — Last Friday was more like it.
17. Ayala (1-1) — Took out frustrations on El Dorado.
18. San Marino (2-0) — Where do they fit in Central?
19. La Serna (1-1) — Went to Grizzly country and got a bear.
20. Muir (0-2) — Much better showing vs. Cathedral.
21. Northview (2-0) — Can’t argue with success.
22. El Rancho (1-1) — Good showing vs. solid Troy team.
23. Claremont (1-1) — Salesian win is an eye opener.
24. Pasadena (1-1) — Moving up a spot after La Salle showing.
25. Maranatha (2-0) — Soft sked so far, but good results.
The Pasadena High School football program has been here before. Several times in the recent past the Bulldogs have had step-up games and come up way short of expectations.
Yet again, there’s optimism surrounding the Bulldogs and tonight they can show whether it’s justified when nearby La Salle pays a visit. Kickoff is 7 p.m.
“It’s definitely going to be a heated night,” Pasadena head coach Douglas Bledsoe said. “This is a rivalry game for us, because everybody knows each other. We want to win.”
Pasadena started the season with a resounding, 50-7 win over South El Monte last week. The Bulldogs have now equaled last year’s win total, but there’s a sentiment around town that many more happy Friday nights are on the way.
It starts with standout wide receiver Tyrek Adams, who is 6-foot-3 and also one of the top basketball players in the area. Pasadena was bolstered in the offseason by the transfer of quarterback Jorge Reyna, who guided Downey to a CIF championship two years ago as a sophomore.
“We feel we have the best quarterback in the area, we feel we have the best receiver in the area and we feel we have one of the best offensive lines in the area,” Bledsoe said. “Our kids are very confident. They’re going to play in front of the home crowd. We’re going to go out there and play hard, but we know La Salle is one of the better-coached teams around.”
Despite all of the Pasadena hype, La Salle is still considered to be prohibitive favorite tonight. The Lancers are led by quarterback Will Plyburn and feature some top-flight receivers of their own in Evan Rambo and Isiah Spencer.
But it was the Lancers’ defense that stole the headlines last week by putting the clamps on Compton in a 34-0 win that saw the visiting Tarbabes struggle to cross midfield. La Salle won last year’s game against PHS, 28-0.
“I’m really impressed with their quarterback,” Bledsoe said of Plyburn. “They have probably one of the best wide receiver tandems. They’re going to give us problems, but we’ve got the play them. You want to be the best, you’ve got to beat the best.
“We know they’re a very talented football team, but like I said, they’re one of the better-coached football teams in the area. This is a big game for us and we’re looking for a big game. And we’re looking to come out with a victory.”