City Puts 11 Area Teams in Playoffs; 1 Left Out
After a quick perusal of a playoff pairings sheet, North Hollywood High football Coach Gary Gray relaxed, let out a laugh and appeared somewhat relieved.
“It’s like Christmas: You can’t wait to see what ya got,” said Gray, who apparently received all that he wished for--a playoff berth.
The eight-member City Section seeding committee, composed of six football coaches, a principal and an athletic director, picked 32 teams from a field of 49 Friday morning to play in two playoff brackets, the 4-A and 3-A. First-round games are Friday. Eleven of 17 area teams made the cut.
What Sylmar got was more of the same, a fourth consecutive top seeding in the 4-A Division.
Kennedy got a slap in the face by way of a No. 3 seeding.
San Fernando, a team that went 7-3 on the field, received nothing--no playoff berth, no kidding.
Sylmar (10-0), the defending 4-A champion which has won 24 consecutive games, will play host to Jefferson (6-4), the No. 3 team from the Southeastern Conference.
Kennedy (10-0), which some coaches say deserved the top spot, is behind No. 2-seeded Dorsey (9-1), the Southern Pacific Conference champion. The Golden Cougars will play host to Garfield (6-3) in the first round and Dorsey faces Cleveland (7-3).
Members voted, 6-2, in favor of Dorsey over Kennedy based on the Dons’ strength of conference, which members agreed was the toughest in the section. Six of eight Southern Pacific teams made the playoffs, five of which gained berths into the 4-A bracket.
Five Northwest Valley Conference teams made it into the playoffs, three into the 4-A pairings, including Taft (7-2-1), which will travel to Narbonne (8-2).
In the 3-A, Reseda (7-3), which finished second in the Pac-8, received the No. 2 seeding and will play host to Roosevelt (4-5). Birmingham (4-6) and Bell (4-5-1), the two 3-A finalists last year, will get a rematch in the first round.
North Hollywood (5-4-1), seeded No. 4, plays host to Belmont (4-6), Monroe (7-3) faces Venice (4-6), El Camino Real (4-5-1) plays Huntington Park (4-5), Verdugo Hills (6-4) is at Hamilton (4-6) and Canoga Park (4-6) will face top-seeded Eagle Rock (8-2).
Meanwhile, San Fernando, the second-best team in the Northwest Valley Conference which was forced to forfeit five games for use of ineligible players, finished 2-8 and sixth in the conference and received little more than a mention at the seeding meeting.
A year ago, Carson had to forfeit four games and finished 2-8, but gained a berth in the 4-A playoffs.
Different rules for different schools? Section Commissioner Barbara Fiege says absolutely not.
She said the criterion used to determine playoff teams was shuffled a bit this year, which made conference placement and overall record more important than strength of conference.
This year more teams had better overall records than the number of teams a year ago, Fiege said.
That explanation is lost, however, on San Fernando Coach Sean Blunt, who believes he has one of the best teams in the City.
“On all ends I feel like we got screwed,” Blunt said. “And it’s unfortunate because who it affects is the kids.”