Football title tilts may get new look

If Central Catholic reaches next season's Sac-Joaquin Section football final, it could face Oakdale or Sonora under a new proposal by the section playoff committee.

The original proposal was released Jan. 9 and sought to overhaul a format that had been in place nearly 30 years.

Tuesday's revisions focused on Divisions 1 through 4, and highlights included:

  • Picking the 24 at-large schools -- 20 league champions and 20 runners-up earn automatic berths -- without regard to enrollment. Originally, Divisions 1 and 2 would get 12 at-large spots and Divisions 3 and 4 would get 12.

After 64 teams have been determined, the section will divide them into four divisions based on enrollment -- the 16 largest schools will be D-1, the next 16 to D-2 and so on.

  • Schools cannot play more than one division below their league. Christian Brothers of Sacramento is in a D-2 league, but its school enrollment puts it at D-4. It would be allowed to drop no lower than D-3.
  • D-4 would have two eight-team brackets, 4A and 4B, based on enrollment. Following three weeks of playoffs, the winners of each bracket would play for a section title.
  • That's where the Central angle comes in. Originally, Central's situation was nearly identical to the way it is now.

    Central, because of its low enrollment, would have continued to be paired in the playoffs against teams in the Trans-Valley and Mother Lode leagues. It would still play those teams during the first three weeks.

    The difference would come in Week 4 of the playoffs: If Central wins 4B,it would play the 4A champ for a section title. There would be only one section champion for D-4.

    Teams playing in 4A could also include Sierra, defending D-4 champion Whitney and perennial power Colfax.