CIF-SS decides to move forward with concept of new football playoffs format

A CIF-Southern Section high school football postseason where playoff divisions are determined by teams, not leagues, got one step closer to becoming a reality on Thursday.

The Southern Section Executive Committee agreed to move forward with the concept of creating playoff groupings for football based solely on the competitive equity of teams. The concept will soon become a proposal made to the Southern Section Council at its Oct. 6 meeting. That would be followed by a vote of league representatives in January. The new format could be in place by the 2016-17 school year.

“We want to make a difference,” CIF-Southern Section commissioner Rob Wigod said. “If you’re in a leadership position, it’s your job and responsibility to make a difference. And I firmly believe this could be one of the biggest differences made in the Southern Section in our over 100 years of history. I really believe that.

“This is a major change from what we’ve been doing.”

The new format would be similar to the one currently used to determine the boys and girls basketball playoffs. But unlike basketball, school enrollment will not be considered, only competitive equity. Currently, football playoff divisions are determined by league groupings. Under the new format, teams from the same league could play in different playoff divisions.

Strength of schedule would be the key metric used to determine the power rankings of each team. Only the previous two seasons’ worth of data would be considered, thus creating the possibility of heavy movement from year to year. Teams would find out their annual division assignment in August, mere weeks before the season starts.

The new system would surely create a super Division 1 where the top 16 teams in the Southern Section would compete for the championship. It would also create a more realistic chance at postseason success for schools currently toiling in upper divisions simply because of their league placement.

“Our responsibility as an organization is to show our schools an alternative,” Wigod said. “We’ve been doing it a certain way and this is an attempt to show them a different. It’s ultimately up to them. It will be their decision; if they prefer to keep going the way we are or if they’re interested in a new concept, giving every school an opportunity to compete for CIF a championship at a level that school and that team in that sport should be able to compete it.”

The structure of the playoffs would remain the same with 13 divisions and 16 playoff teams in each division. Like the current system, priority will be given to league champions, second- and third-place teams. At-large bids would also still be considered in applicable divisions.

West Covina standout Isaiah Love progressing well after neck injury, but won’t play vs. Colony or St. Francis

West Covina standout defensive back Isaiah Love is making good progress as he tries to return from an unfortunate offseason neck injury.

According to Bulldogs head coach Mike Maggiore, Love’s neck fracture is completely healed as are two ligaments.

“It looks like he’ll be able to play this year at some point,” Maggiore said. “It just depends on how rehab goes. He wants to play, but no doctor is going to clear him unless he’s completely healed. He also has to get comfortable with it again, too.”

Love hasn’t practiced yet and Maggiore has ruled him out for the Bulldogs’ Week Zero opener against reigning Central Division champion Colony on Aug. 28. Love also is likely to miss the following week’s game against St. Francis.

Love did receive offers from Colorado and Washington State last week and Maggiore estimated Love’s college offers now exceed 10 schools. Love injured his neck when he was involved in a car accident earlier this summer while traveling to UC Berkeley for an unofficial visit with his 7-on-7 team Boby By Tra.

Bishop Amat dealing with two key injuries …

The last thing the Bishop Amat High School football team needs as it prepares for its Aug. 28 showdown with Mater Dei is a bad injury situation for two key players, but that’s exactly what the Lancers have.

Standout receiver Trevon Sidney hasn’t practiced yet during fall camp due to a hamstring injury, nor has All-Area defensive end Andrew Vasquez, who is still recovering from a knee injury suffered in the final game of last season against Corona Centennial.

It’s unclear how Sidney was injured, but the USC-bound receiver appears to be a better bet than Vasquez to be on the field against Mater Dei.

“He’s rehabbing it and trying to get better,” Hagerty said. “Hamstrings are weird. I think he should be back. I’m sure he’ll be ready to play, but if he’s not, we won’t play him.”

The outlook for Vasquez is less clear. The senior defensive end provides Amat with a strong pass rush off the edge as evidenced by his 65 tackles and seven sacks last season.

“It’s not healing that well, so he’s just taking it a day at a time,” Hagerty said. “We’re going to miss him for sure, so hopefully he’ll get back healthy and ready to play. He’s a great kid. He’s out there everyday and he’s trying to help in any way he can. If anyone can come back, it’s him. We’ll see.”

Being a full strength for the Mater Dei would sure benefit Amat as all eyes in the Southland are sure to be on the Aug. 28 showdown in Santa Ana. Bishop Amat is one of the favorites to win the Pac-5 Division this season and Mater Dei isn’t far behind in the rankings.

La Mirada opens with No. 1 team in the country and that’s just how Coach Moschetti wants it

Moschetti

Earlier this week, La Mirada High School football coach Mike Mosechetti sent a Tweet out showing his followers that the Matadores’ Week 0 opponent St. John Bosco had just been ranked No. 1 in the country by a publication.

Regardless of the ranking, La Mirada knew what it was getting into when it scheduled the Braves. If St. John Bosco isn’t the No. 1 team in the country, it’s certainly in the argument. And that’s exactly how Moschetti prefers it.

“I think it’s incredible that a publication says they’re the No. 1 team in the nation and a school like us has the opportunity to play them,” Moschetti said. “As a coach and as a player, I think you see something like that (ranking) and it’s going to make you work that much harder because you know what you’re up against. That’s what these kids want and that’s what La Mirada is about.”

Whether you believe that St. John Bosco is deserving of such a ranking doesn’t change the fact La Mirada can say it has the rare distinction of preparing for and playing the top-ranked team in the country in its season opener.

More people may have issue with La Mirada biting off such a big chunk in Week 0 than where St. John Bosco is ranked. After all, last time they were seen, the Matadores were eliminated from the first round of the CIF-Southern Section Southeast Division playoffs by at-large team Salesian. La Mirada was the division’s No. 2 seed.

To come right back and play a St. John Bosco program that has established itself as a Southland power over the past few seasons is awfully of ambitious of Moschetti, who also scheduled Mater Dei for later on in the nonleague.

“We don’t care what anybody thinks or says about us, Moschetti said. “As a coaching staff, we believe in these kids. These kids have worked their butts off and we’re trying to build a program. We’re not happy with where we’re at. We’ve only won one playoff game in the last three years.

“We have a chip on our shoulders. We know it’s not good enough. People in the community or other cities, it really doesn’t matter what they say.”

La Mirada lost a lot of talent to graduation. It’s leading passer and top three receivers are all gone, along with two All-Area offensive linemen. But Moschetti has picked up several elite transfers and has what might be his most athletic team yet.

The Matadores are no stranger to playing and competing well against good competition. Last season, La Mirada opened the season with a win over Tesoro. A few years before that there was competitive game with Bishop Amat.

No matter what happens in the nonleague, La Mirada is still a heavy favorite to win the Suburban League and that will likely mean another high seeding in the Southeast Division playoffs. In the meantime, Moschetti has one focus and convincing his players to be alert from now until kickoff with Bosco won’t be a problem.

“We want to play a big-time team in our first game,” Moschetti said. “Whether it’s St. John Bosco or Tesoro, or in the past it was St. Paul. I think that’s important. That makes the offseason, spring football, summer conditioning, it just makes you work that much harder playing a team like that.

“We know we have to play a perfect game and Bosco has to play a bad game for us to have a chance.”

2015 HIGH SCHOOL FOOTBALL PREVIEW: Top 10 recruits in the SGV(N)

zioneCal-bound Charter Oak RB Zion Echols is No. 4 on our list.

1. Trevon Sidney
Bishop Amat, WR/DB, Class of 2016

Sidney exited his junior season ranked as the top cornerback in the nation for his class. However, he wants to play receiver. That’s what Sidney concentrated on this offseason and his stock at that position went through the roof. He had offers to play both positions and ultimately will get the chance at USC, where Sidney committed to in early July. Sidney chose USC after deciding from a large field of suitors that included UCLA, Michigan, Notre Dame and Miami.

2. Tyler Vaughns
Bishop Amat, WR, Class of 2016

Name a college football powerhouse and odds are that school has offered Vaughns. The phenom receiver has been called “The High School Megatron” because of his size and ability to treat a football like it’s a tennis ball. Vaughns’ stock stayed high all offseason and the reigning Tribune player of the year has his choice of SEC powers, Pac-12 elites and several others big names mixed in. It’s thought that USC is the front runner, which means Vaughns will team with fellow locals Matt Fink and Trevon Sidney at Troy.

3. Matt Fink
Glendora, QB, Class of 2016

At this time last year, Fink had no offers. At the end of his junior season he had just Boise State and Washington after his services. But once the offseason circuit of camps and combines began, Fink flashed his dual-threat skills and college interest spread like wildfire. Fink quickly became one of the top QB recruits on the West Coast and ended the suspense early by giving a verbal commit to USC in spring.

4. Zion Echols
Charter Oak, RB/WR, Class of 2016

Echols saw his stock jump this offseason after strong sophomore and junior seasons. Echols’ versatility allows him to fit nicely into the vast wide-open offensive strategies being employed by many teams at the next level. Echols took visits to USC, LSU, Oregon and Washington, but following a visit to the Bay Area and an offer from Cal, he was hooked on the Bears and committed before getting on the plane and coming home to the San Gabriel Valley.

5. Keanu Saleapaga
La Mirada, DE, Class of 2016

Saleapaga is a new name to area fans after transferring to La Mirada this offseason. He played his sophomore season at Gahr and last season he was at Cabrillo. At 6-foot-5 and 270 pounds with good speed off the ball, it’s easy to see why Saleapaga is in hot demand at the next level as a strong-side defensive end. But he ended all suspense early by committing to USC in June.

6. Francisco “Paco” Perez
Baldwin Park, OL, Class of 2016

Perez combines good size at 6-foot-4 and 300 pounds to go with a versatile style that has some thinking he can play guard or tackle at the next level. Perez saw a slew of offers in March when the likes of Arizona State, Texas Tech, Oregon State and Vanderbilt came calling for his services. But Perez ended the suspense in early summer by giving a verbal commit to Cal.

7. Brian Casteel
Charter Oak, WR, Class of 2017

Looking for the prized gem of next year’s area super recruit? Here he is. Casteel was named to CalHiSports.com’s All-State sophomore team last season and was a Tribune All-Area first-team selection after putting up some of the top receiving numbers around. He’s a stone-cold play maker who can catch whatever is thrown at him and make things happen in the open field. The recruiting barrage is expected to begin this season.

8. Micah Croom
La Mirada, DB, Class of 2016

Croom played last season at Servite and is part a dynamic haul of transfers that La Mirada got this offseason. At 6-foot-2, 190 pounds, Croom was on many recruiters’ short list of safety recruits. Croom had offers from Oregon, Colorado, UCLA, Illinios, Indiana and Stanford. But Croom ended the process early and chose Utah.

9. J.P. Shohfi
San Marino, WR, Class of 2016

Shohfi used the offseason to shine with his traveling seven-on-seven team and opened eyes just about everywhere he went. Shohfi has the speed needed to thrive at the next level and catches just about everything thrown his way. It also helps that he scored a perfect 800 on the math portion of his SAT. His 1,821 yards and 25 touchdown receptions last season were among the best in the state. Shohfi has no official offers yet but said he’s in heavy contact with Stanford, Colorado, Washington State, Harvard, Yale, Nevada and Cal.

10. Jake Colacion
La Habra, LB, Class of 2016

Colacion was one of the most sought-after defenders in Southern California. His speed allows him to be a menace from his outside linebacker position whether he’s pressuring the quarterback or dropping into coverage. That kind of versatility helped Colacion give the impression that he was all over the field on every play. Colacion didn’t wait long and this offseason he chose Arizona as his college destination. He had offers from Washington State, Boise State, Indiana, Illinois, Northwestern, Air Force and San Diego State, among others.