That’s the date when area fans, players and coaches of high school football will find out just how much the local landscape will change as it pertains to the playoffs.
On Mar. 14, the CIF-Southern Section will make public the new football playoff division proposals by Southern Section assistant commissioner Glenn Martinez.
And as of now, questions abound about the fate of several local teams and leagues. Some teams could be in for a serious boost in competition by being placed in new divisions. Others could see their chances at championship glory improve greatly with the deletion of powerful leagues from their current divisions.
If it sounds like we’re talking about Monrovia, it’s because we are. The Wildcats won three consecutive Mid-Valley Division championships between 2010-13 and were heavy favorites to win a fourth last season before being upset by Paraclete in the semifinals.
Will that setback be enough to keep Monrovia and the Rio Hondo League in the Mid-Valley Division? Or is Martinez about to move the league into tougher surroundings in order to ratchet up the competition?
As of now, Monrovia is a team without a coach. Ryan Maddox, who led Monrovia on its wildly successful recent run resigned following the season and the school is currently fielding applications to find his replacement.
If Monrovia and the Rio Hondo League are moved out of the Mid-Valley Division, several local teams could see their chances at championship glory improve greatly. Or, last year’s champ San Dimas could be poised for a dominant run at more hardware.
The other big question around the area is where exactly the new-look Hacienda League will be placed. Charter Oak was moved into the league during the last re-leaguing cycle. The Chargers join other area football powers in Diamond Ranch, Los Altos and West Covina.
But will the Hacienda League remain part of the Southeast Division as we know it? That’s the big mystery, but there’s been rumors that the Hacienda League could be moving to another division that would have several new leagues as well.
“Nobody knows,” Charter Oak coach Lou Farrar said when asked if he knew where the Hacienda is headed.. “If I knew something, I would tell you.”
One of those new leagues being bandied about is the newly formed Palomares League, which features local teams in Bonita, Glendora, South Hills, Diamond Bar, Claremont and Chino.
The consensus among area fans is that they’d like to see both the Hacienda and Palomares leagues compete in the same playoff division in order to produce some very enticing postseason matchups between local teams.
“Those are teams we already know and we have relationships with those guys,” said Farrar, who would be in favor of being placed in the same division as the Palomares League. “It would spice up the division. I wouldn’t mind it at all. It’s local people and I would enjoy that.”
It’s hard to envision a scenario in which the Del Rio and Suburban leagues don’t stay in the same division. They both currently play in the Southeast Division, which could get a face lift if the Hacienda League is moved out.
The proposals are the brainchild of Martinez, who also consults with a football advisory committee to gain feedback and ideas. The proposals are based on the standard CIF formula of factoring in enrollment, geography and competitive equity.
Schools can appeal the proposals based only the three factors in the formula. The new divisions will be ratified at the Southern Section council meeting in April.
La Puente football coach Scott Morrison, who is on the board of the Southern California Interscholastic Football Coaches Assocation, or SCIFCA, is on the football advisory committee for the Southern Section. Morrison drafted his own playoff proposals, not representing either organization.
The reactions to Morrison’s proposals were designed to stoke conversation and gather input. They did that, and more. Morrison was quick to point out that his proposals are far from official.
“Our advisory board is strictly that,” Morrison said. “We simply advise. We don’t make any decisions about what things look like. I think the guys at CIF respect our knowledge of football, but at the end of the day we are not a decision making board.
“I’ve gotten a lot of reaction from coaches, principals and athletic directors. I just wanted guys to feel like they had input. What I sent out was simply a proposal.”