Playoffs for Foothill League football not cut and dried

Hart High linebacker Nick Soto tackles Golden Valley's Tai Brown at Canyon High on Friday night. Katharine Lotze/The Signal

This is not meant to scare, but to simply to inform: Finishing in the top three of the Foothill League does not necessarily guarantee a playoff spot anymore.

The Foothill League, because it has six teams, is “guaranteed” three entries into the CIF-Southern Section 11-man football playoffs.

However, under the Southern Section’s new power-ranking-based playoff system (which places teams in divisions individually rather than by league), a particular division may end up with more guaranteed entries than its 16 playoff spots.

Simply put: There may be more teams than room.

In that case, a priority procedure is used.

First-place teams get first priority. Second place gets second priority. Third gets third, and so on — all the first-place teams are placed in the bracket, then the second-placers…

So, hypothetically, if Division 1 had 16 first-place teams in it, any D1 squads that finished second or worse in their league would be left out, even if their league was “guaranteed” two or three playoff spots.

This could impact the Foothill League.

If Valencia High beats Canyon on Friday, claiming the Foothill League title outright, then the winner of the Saugus-Hart matchup at College of the Canyons will finish second and the loser will take third.

Looking at the teams in Saugus’ Division 6 and Hart’s Division 3, it seems like a third-place finish would do greater harm to the Centurions’ playoff chances than to the Indians’.

Roughly 19 of the 22 teams in Division 6 remain in playoff contention, while there may be as few as 16 still contending in Division 3, which only had 19 to begin with.

One last note: If two third-place teams (or two second-place teams for that matter) are contending for one remaining playoff spot, the CIF would use the same criteria it uses to determine at-large berths:

(a) Head-to-head competition of teams under consideration

(b) Overall strength of the league from which the team is entered based on the end of season rankings

(c) Overall win-loss record

(d) Strength against common opponents

(e) Strength of schedule (using overall win-loss record of opponents)

Golden Valley High’s Lewis knew what he was doing

Grizzlies junior wide receiver Jalin Lewis broke his school’s single-season receiving yards record Friday night in a loss to Hart. He caught seven passes for 105 yards to give him 859 on the season, 14 more than David Malinoski’s 845 in 2007.

“I was aware (I might) break it,” Lewis said after the game. “I checked earlier on the stats.”

Golden Valley's Jalin Lewis (11) runs after a catch against Hart High. Katharine Lotze/The Signal
Golden Valley’s Jalin Lewis (11) runs after a catch against Hart High. Katharine Lotze/The Signal

Lewis burst on the scene this season after playing junior varsity as a sophomore. His best game came on Oct. 14 against first-place Valencia, a 10-catch, 209-yard outing.

“It means a lot to me, a kid coming from JV and doing my thing on varsity with a lot of my family out here (to watch)” Lewis said of breaking the record.

Lewis has seven receiving TDs on the year, three behind the record Isa Bey set in 2010.

Even with just one game left, Lewis said he’s interested chasing Bey.

That’s not out of the question, either. Lewis caught three touchdowns in the Valencia game.

Golden Valley plays West Ranch at Valencia High on Friday.

Moore… Moore … Moore …

Hart senior quarterback Nick Moore rushed for four touchdowns in Friday’s win over Golden Valley, scores of 4, 10, 9 and 4 yards. He has now run for 10 TDs in the Indians’ last three games and 14 on the year.

Has 28-year Hart coach Mike Herrington seen a signal caller go on a rushing-TD streak like this?

“Yeah, I don’t know. Probably not,” Herrington said. “… He just knows how to read the defense and do some good things for us out there.”

Moore rushed for 99 yards on 12 carries against the Grizzlies.

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