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Plenty of change ahead for area teams following CIF fall realignment

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St. Francis High football coach Jim Bonds and the Golden Knights will compete in CIF Southern Section Division III in 2019 after being in Division II last season.
(Tim Berger | Staff Photographer)

Veteran St. Francis football coach Jim Bonds was getting set to prepare for the Memorial Day weekend when he received some news that left him surprised.

The CIF Southern Section office released its 2019 fall realignment for football, girls’ tennis, girls’ volleyball and boys’ water polo Friday. The postseason realignment was based on a formula that considers playoff performance, wins, margin of victory and strength of schedule in order to promote playoff equality.

Bonds got word that St. Francis would be moving from Division II to Division III for the upcoming season.

“It’s going to make things quite a bit harder,” said Bonds, whose team lost in the first round of the playoffs last season to second-seeded Calabasas after advancing to the Division III championship contest against Rancho Verde in 2017. “Some teams that are above us are also sliding down and that’s what makes it rather hard.

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“[CIF] is taking into consideration the teams that we had in 2017 and 2018 and we’re not going to be those teams because most of those players have graduated now. So, we’ll go out and play hard and see what we can do.”

Of the 25 area fall teams across the four sports, 13 will be in new divisions.

There will be some significant changes in football, according to a message sent out Friday by CIF Commissioner Rob Wigod

“You will notice that we have a larger group of schools in a combined Divisions I and II. The reason for that is at the end of the regular season, similar to what we have done in basketball, volleyball, water polo and tennis, we will have a Football Selection Committee choose the top eight schools after week 10 games have been played and place them into Division I,” the message read.

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““I have been clear since the beginning of competitive equity playoffs that this system will continue to evolve in the time ahead. The most significant step step moving forward in determining the strength of programs is to apply the results of the current regular season to the previous two years power rankings, so we may develop new power rankings at the end of the regular season and create playoff divisions at that time.”

In addition to St. Francis, Crescenta Valley, Glendale and La Cañada will be moved as well.

Crescenta Valley will go from Division VII to X, Glendale will move from Division VIII to XIII and La Cañada will be in Division XIV after being in Division XIII. Crescenta Valley fell to Warren in the first round of the playoffs last season. Glendale and La Cañada didn’t qualify for the postseason.

There will also be changes for the 2020 football season in which divisions won’t be determined until the conclusion of the regular season.

Flintridge Prep, which participates in eight-man football, wasn’t affected.

In girls’ tennis, two of the area’s six teams will reside in new divisions.

The biggest jump will be La Cañada, which won the Division II championship last season and its first title since 1977. The Spartans will go back to Division I, which they competed in for many seasons.

“At the championship match last year, CIF told me we would be going back to Division I next year,” La Cañada coach Will Moravec said. “It makes sense and I get it.

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“We had a great last year in winning CIF. We’re all going to practice the same way and it give it our best shot in Division I.”

Crescenta Valley will remain in Division I, Glendale will stay in Division II and Flintridge Prep and Flintridge Sacred Heart continue in Division IV. Hoover will compete in Division III after being in Division IV last season.

Three of the six teams in boys’ water polo squads will be in new divisions.

Crescenta Valley will move to Division IV from III, Glendale goes from Division IV from V and St. Francis will reside in Division V after previously being in VI. Hoover, which won the Pacific League crown last season, will remain in Division III and Flintridge Prep and La Cañada will stay in Division IV.

In girls’ volleyball, four or of the nine teams will enter new divisions.

Crescenta Valley goes from Division IV to III, Glendale moves to Division IV from V, Flintridge Prep shifts to Division V from VI and Holy Family will be in Division VII after competing in Division VIII last season.

Flintridge Sacred Heart will stay in Division I/II, La Cañada will remain in Division III. Hoover will remain in Division V and Glendale Adventist Academy and St. Monica Academy will remain in divisions VII and VIII, respectively.

For boys’ and girls’ cross-country, all five divisions are still tentative.

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