Our local high school football teams wrapped up their regular season Friday night and with the new playoff rules adopted for this year, only 2 teams are guaranteed playoff bids while the rest of our valley teams have to wait until Sunday morning to discover their post season plans.
The Rancho Mirage Rattlers, in only their third year of varsity action– only 2 years removed from a 1-9 season, went unbeaten in league play and took home their first-ever league title behind a dominating win over Desert Hot Springs Friday night. Ranked 2nd in their division going into that game, the Rattlers are a very talented squad and should make a deep playoff run. Do not be surprised if they’re playing beyond Thanksgiving– a distinction offered to only CIF title contenders.
In the DVL– the La Quinta Blackhawks went undefeated in league play and head into Division 5 playoffs with a great shot at a CIF title as well. Benji Cordova and Justin Anderson continue to be the offensive leaders of this team — they combined for 6 scores Friday night against Cathedral City and Sunday morning we’ll find out who their first round opponent is.
Those are the only 2 local teams confirmed in the playoffs. Under the new CIF rules, only league winners are guaranteed spots. But 3 other squads have a really good shot at getting in the tournament in their respective divisions. But they won’t know for sure until Sunday morning, after their season results are dropped into a mathematical equation that will spit out a division rankings. As long as they’re in the top 16– they’re in.
From the start of the season, the Mighty Arabs players told us they were on a mission to change the culture of CV High football. A 7-3 record will do just that. But will it be enough to make the playoffs? They beat Palm Desert for the first time in 17 years, won both rivalry games against Indio and Desert Mirage and finished third in the league. They were last ranked 13th in the CIF coach’s poll.
The defending DVL champs, Palm Springs, were off this week and used that time to induct a new group of former athletes into their Hall of Fame. The football team finished 2nd in the league, last year that would have delivered a playoff berth, but this year it only offers priority in Division 4. They’re ranked 6th in the coaches poll in that division, so the idea that they’d fall out of the Top 16 based on the CIF computer rankings is tough to imagine.
Perhaps no team is caught in the cross hairs of this new CIF rule quite like Shadow Hills.
Their first year in the DVL, the Knights should be very proud of their 6-4 season and 3rd place finish in the league and last year, that 3rd place finish would ave guaranteed a playoff bid.
But not this year. They needed a convincing win over Xavier Prep to get off the bubble in Division 10 and into the playoffs. They lost 42-23 and while there’s still a chance they get in, again 3rd place finishers get priority, there’s also a chance they don’t get in.
Some critics of this new CIF rule claim it’s too much like the college football quagmire, relying too heavily on a computer model. But the rules passed with overwhelming support and most coaches think it’s a good idea, but admit, it might take a couple years to perfect the system