The edict from CIF was clear on Thursday when the Southern Section office announced the football playoff division groupings for the upcoming season. Have success and you’re moving on up. The only question is how much.
The Southern Section had until early August to make public the new playoff groupings, but like last year, they are out early. And now all local teams know exactly where they stand and what the competition will be should they make the postseason this November.
Last year was the first season played under the current format of grouping football playoff divisions based on competitive equity rather than by league, as had been done for decades. Every year the divisions will change with teams moving up or down based on the previous two season’s worth of data.
Arroyo, which was the only area team to win a CIF championship, was a glaring example of the new system at work. The Knights won Division 12 and on Thursday found out they are being bumped up a notch to Division 11.
“To be perfectly honest, we thought we’d go to 10,” Arroyo head coach Jim Singiser said. “That was the big mystery. Nobody understood what impact last season would have on the placement this year. What was the cut off, if you made the playoff you were getting bumped up? If you made the quarters you were getting bumped up? If you made the semifinals or the finals you were getting bumped up two (divisions)?”
Well, in Arroyo’s case, a division championship meant going up one division. In Charter Oak’s case, making the semifinals in Division 4 was enough to help get the Chargers moved up to Division 3. La Mirada, which reached the Division 3 championship game is now in Division 2.
For some teams, there was no movement at all. Bishop Amat remained in Division 1 despite being ousted in the first round last season. The Lancers probably still carry a lot of weight because the 2015 team reached the semifinals and that season is still considered in the data.
La Habra shocked a lot of people by winning two games in the Division 2 playoffs last season and the Highlanders almost got bumped up to Division 1 because of it. Instead, La Habra was the last team after the cutoff between Division 1 and 2 and will remain in the same place at least for this season.
Los Altos made the Division 6 championship game last year and will be boosted to Division 5. And South El Monte, which made the semifinals in Division 13 is now in Division 12.
The largest division is the lowest, Division 13. There are 81 teams in that division while the top two divisions each have 18. Outside of the area, there were several moves worth noting. Calabasas, which has been transfer central in the past couple years and has had big success, flew up three divisions (the biggest jump of any program) to from Division 5 to Division 2.
Both Upland and Tesoro were dropped from Division 1 to Division 2. They were replaced by Murrieta Valley and San Clemente.