For the first time in four years, Vista High School will not play in the San Diego Section football championship.
Vista, which finished its season with a 6-4 overall record and a 3-3 Palomar League record, did not receive an at-large playoff berth from the sectional football seeding committee, which met Saturday at Francis Parker High.
Some coaches on the seeding committee said Vista was not chosen because Coach Dick Haines was not present at the 8 a.m. meeting.
"Basically, what I think happened, is when they asked which teams would like to be considered for at-large berths, someone--a coach--stood up," said Tom Pack, Fallbrook coach and a member of the committee representing the North County Conference.
"No one was there from Vista."
Haines said he was not present, but Vista athletic director Carl Hause was there to represent the school.
Pack said he nominated Vista for one of four at-large berths from the San Diego Section's 3-A division. Several of the coaches were upset with the nomination, Pack said.
Chosen over Vista were Patrick Henry (4-5), Granite Hills (5-5), Orange Glen (6-3-1) and San Dieguito (6-4).
Haines said he was "disgusted" by the committee's decision and blamed Commissioner Kendall Webb, who had the final decision.
"I have come to expect anything from the commissioner's office," Haines said. "There seems to be no policy but what feels good at the moment.
"I'm disappointed with the way it was handled. I didn't think I had to be there. . . .Kendall has the power to do whatever he wants."
Webb said before the meeting that a coach does not have to be present to gain an at-large entry. He could not be reached for comment Saturday night.
According to San Diego Section regulations, there will be no appeal to the commissioner's decision on the matter.
Several criteria are used in determining an at-large entry, such as common opponents and strength of schedule. Vista played two of its nonleague games against top teams in the state, Fontana (losing, 12-7) and Rancho Cordova (winning, 10-7).
Vista has been in the playoffs 12 times in the past 15 years.
The Panthers suffered losses this season to Orange Glen, Mt. Carmel, San Dieguito and Fontana high schools. Vista won San Diego Section titles in 1981 and 1985. Last year, Vista lost to Fallbrook in the section 3-A final, 28-14.
Pairings 3-A--(1) Mount Miguel (10-0), plays the winner of Patrick Henry (4-5) vs. Fallbrook (7-3); (2) Point Loma (10-0), plays the winner of Orange Glen (6-3-1) vs. Chula Vista (6-1-3); (3) Mt. Carmel (8-1), plays the winner of San Dieguito (6-4) vs. Helix (7-2-1); (4) Sweetwater (8-2), plays the winner of Granite Hills (5-5) vs. Morse (7-3).
2-A--(1) Lincoln (8-2), plays the winner of El Camino (5-5) vs. University of San Diego High School (9-1); (2) La Jolla (9-1), plays the winner of Coronado (7-3) vs. Oceanside (4-4-2); (3) El Capitan (6-4), plays the winner of San Marcos (4-4-2) vs. Christian (6-4); (4) San Pasqual (5-5), plays the winner of Crawford (6-4) vs. Mar Vista (7-3).
NOTE: Seeded teams have a bye the first week.
Rick Hazeltine contributed to this story.