High School Sports

Merced, Golden Valley looking to play their way into football playoffs in final weeks

With just three weeks left in the high school football regular season, it’s crunch time for teams on the playoff bubble.

In the next few weeks, teams across the Sac-Joaquin Section will play their way in or out of the playoffs. Two of those teams are Merced (3-4 overall, 2-1 Central California Conference) and Golden Valley (3-4, 1-2 CCC).

Both will be in action on Friday night.

Merced will host Patterson (5-3, 2-2 CCC) and Golden Valley travels to Merced College to face El Capitan (1-6, 0-3 CCC).

Only league champions are guaranteed a playoff spot and Buhach Colony (7-0, 3-0 CCC) looks well on its way to winning the CCC. The Thunder will travel to Central Valley (3-5, 1-3 CCC) on Friday.

After the league champions are placed in their respective divisions, the rest of the at-large berths will be determined by CalPrep.com’s rating. Teams must win four games to qualify for the playoffs.

Buhach Colony looks like it will lock up a top four seed, which would come with a first-round bye, in Division III.

Atwater (6-2, 3-1 CCC), which has a bye this week, is ranked No. 10 in Division III coming into this week.

Merced is ranked No. 7 and Golden Valley No. 10 in Division IV.

The best way to ensure a spot in the playoffs is to keep winning.

That won’t be easy. The Bears close the season with three tough games against Patterson, Atwater and Golden Valley.

After Friday’s game against El Capitan, the Cougars close with Buhach Colony and Merced.

Winning won’t only help secure a playoff spot; it will also go a long way toward improving a playoff seed. Golden Valley was able to host a playoff game in Division IV last year with a 6-4 record.

With Buhach Colony, Patterson, Atwater, Merced and Golden Valley all in playoff contention in the CCC, it should make for an exciting finish in the last three weeks.

Friday’s Schedule

Patterson at Merced

Golden Valley at El Capitan

Buhach Colony at Central Valley

Livingston at Riverbank

Ceres at Los Banos

Pacheco at Mountain House

Le Grand at Gustine

Ripon Christian at Mariposa

Denair at Delhi

Brookside Christian at Stone Ridge Christian

Firebaugh at Dos Palos

Chowchilla at Yosemite

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