For the first time since the Sac-Joaquin Section changed its football playoff format in 2009, a six-win team may be left out of the playoffs.
Heading into the final week, there are 54 teams in Divisions 1 through 4 that already have six wins. Two other teams (Placer and the San Joaquin Athletic Association No. 2 seed) don't have six wins but have already clinched playoff spots. There are 20 other teams sitting at five wins.
With only 64 playoff spots up for grabs in Divisions 1-4. there could be some six-win teams staying home for the playoffs.
It could make for some nervous folks on Saturday when the section releases the playoff brackets.
"I think what we've seen is a lot of our really good teams have gone out of section to play games and have won," said Sac-Joaquin Section director of communications Will DeBoard. "When our teams go out of section and win games there isn't a loss coming the other way.
"If you look at our section record overall it's well about .500. Normally we're hovering around .500."
Atwater (5-4) and Los Banos (5-4) are two area teams trying to reach six wins on Friday night. With the first tie-breaker being win totals of opponents, both teams should get in if they defeat their crosstown rivals and No. 4 Stone Ridge Christian will open at home against No. 5 Sac Adventist in Division 6.
The Sac-Joaquin Section volleyball playoffs will get underway tonight when No. 15 Merced hosts No. 18 Merrill West of Tracy in a Division 1 outbracket game.
The game is scheduled to start at 7 p.m.
The Bears are one of seven local teams to qualify for the playoffs.
The rest of the teams will begin postseason play on Tuesday, including No. 11 Atwater traveling to No. 6 El Camino.
Hilmar earned the best seed among area teams with a No. 2 seed in Division 4. The Yellowjackets will host No. 15 Summerville.
Los Banos also earned a home game in Division 4 as the No. 6 seed against No. 11 Ripon. Also in Division 4, No. 12 Mariposa opens at No. 5 Escalon.
Le Grand earned the seventh seed in Division 5 and will host No. 10 Holt Academy.
There will be a dedication ceremony prior to the start of the Bloss Bowl on Friday between Atwater (5-3, 2-2 Central California Conference) and Buhach Colony (4-5, 2-2).
The stadium at Atwater High will be named Falcon Field at Dave Honey Stadium in honor of the longtime Merced Union High School District board member.
"The board originally passed the resolution a year ago but it was after the football season and they wanted to do the dedication at a football game," Merced Union High School District superintendent Scott Scambray said. "Dave was at Atwater High for over 20 years as a coach, teacher, athletic director, associate principal. Him and a couple people were responsible for enlarging the stadium at Atwater.
"He's had a huge impact in the Atwater area. When you do that in so many capacities the honor is well deserved."
Athletic directors Roddy Svendsen (Atwater) and Scott Wine (Buhach Colony) will speak on behalf of Honey and all his contributions to both schools.
Honey will also handle the coin toss before the game.
Le Grand's Christian Williams currently is second in the nation in punt return average according to MaxPreps.
Williams averages 34.8 yards per punt return, which is second only to Westminter Christian's (Miami, Fl.) Tim Irvin, who is averaging 40.5 yards.
Williams has returned seven punts for touchdowns.
Tickets for this Friday's Mayor's Cup game featuring Golden Valley and Merced at Veterans Stadium are on sale in the student body offices of both schools until Friday at noon.
The prices are $7 for adults, $5 for students with ID and seniors. Children under six and GV students with ASB stickers are free.
Tickets will also be sold at the game.
Shawn Jansen is a Sun-Star sports reporter. He can be reached at 385-2462 or firstname.lastname@example.org.