By Monday we’ll know if they California Interscholastic Federation (CIF) plans to go for the proverbial 3rd-and-long and opt to play a regular fall high school football season or if it will punt the calendar back to some time in 2021 due to the coronavirus.
Odds are the CIF will opt for the latter and try to condense the fall, winter and spring schedules into a narrow window beginning in January and running through the end of the school year.
We are craving sports as much as anyone and hope they return in some form — seriously, how many home improvement projects can we tackle? But what if the state comes on Monday and says “We’re moving the state championships back to next year, but you, as an individual section, are free to schedule your year as you wish.” Is going it alone, especially in far Northern California, such a bad option, even given that it would mean forgoing a shot at a state title?
The Shasta County Sports staff have been mulling that over for months — what else do we have to do without sports — and have come up with a plan to have fall football … done regionally with like-sized schools, (mostly) in neighboring counties competing and then meeting for a section crown.
Under our scenario, there would be six league games, one preseason crossover game and one bye with the season beginning in late September/early October. The idea behind this would be to limit out-of-county matchups as best as possible. With how spread out the Northern Section is makes this difficult and how schools with similar enrollments range in two to four per county.
This is even more possible now that Shasta Union High School District announced Wednesday a full return in person for all students five days a week as part of Phase 3 of the SUHSD Board re-opening plan. There are safety protocols in place from, which includes all students and teachers wear face coverings on campus in addition to a variety of other social distancing measures.
The top four teams from each division — North and South — would earn a playoff berth with seeding formula to be fleshed out. The Northern Section could go with its usual three-part playoff seeding formula equally balancing out overall record, league record and strength of schedule.
Playoffs would begin either Nov. 13 or 20 depending on the season start date.
|North Large School League|
|South Large School League|
|Large School Crossover games (comp equity)|
|Out of league games|
|Red Bluff||Las Plumas||1,620||1,140|
Additionally, the formula works for a Small School League, divided into three geographic regions — North, Central and South.
The North and Central would play four league games with two crossover contests; the South would have five league and one crossover.
The eight-team playoff bracket would draw the top two from each league and two at-large teams.
|North Small School League|
|Central Small School League|
|South Small School League|
|Small School Crossover games (comp equity)|
Similar to the Large and Small School Leagues, the bottom 10 schools based on enrollment are split into two geographical regions to fill out the rest of the 11-man division. This would require dropping Hamilton (the smallest D-IV team in terms of enrollment) into D-V to get the round number of 10 teams. To be fair, Hamilton only has 27 more students than Modoc, the largest D-V school.
Splitting the division into two five-team leagues — North and South — gives each team four league games and two crossover games based on competitive equity. The six games aligns with the Large and Small School to keep everything on the same schedule.
|North D-V League|
|South D-V League|
|D-V Crossover games (comp equity)|
The 8-man football division in the Northern Section is already set up for this type of situation with 16 teams evenly split into a North and South. Each team can play seven league games (each team once) and then have the top two teams from each league make the four-team, two-week long playoff to stay on track with the rest of the Northern Section.
The playoff format would call for the league winner to host the opposite league’s runner up. The winners meet for the section championship.
The SCS crew split up the division to make more sense geographically and tried to keep neighboring counties together with Siskiyou and Shasta.
|North 8-man||South 8-man|
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