CCS Open Division in football to stay

Buried in the lead about Wilcox of Santa Clara getting a favorable vote to play in a proposed doubleheader on August 29 at brand, new $1.2 billion Levi’s Stadium is that the CIF Central Coast Section Board of Managers voted to continue with the Open Division format in football.

This vote went against an advisory committee vote that recommended that the Open Division be scrapped in favor of five divisions simply based on enrollment.

In the reality world of CCS football and all sports really is the dominance of the private school West Catholic Athletic League.

Yes, it’s true that by keeping the Open Division that there will continue to be “sacrificial lambs” as retiring head coach Bill Gray of Pacifica Terra Nova pointed out last November when his 10-0 team was beaten in a first-round Open Division game by Valley Christian of the WCAL. If the Open Division were scrapped, though, the enrollments of the various WCAL schools would be spread out so much so that Bellarmine Prep would be winning every year in Division I with different WCAL teams probably winning every year in Division II and Division III. At least with the Open Division, the top three or four WCAL teams will all be in it together.

Kava Cassidy (No. 8) and the rest of the team at Serra of San Mateo won 2013 CCS Open Division title. Photo: Mark Tennis.

Kava Cassidy (No. 8) and the rest of the team at Serra of San Mateo won 2013 CCS Open Division championship. Photo: Mark Tennis.

The best solution would be to scrap enrollments as the deciding factor in creating playoff divisions (as some sections are now doing) and use league strength. In the CCS, the WCAL obviously would be Division I. That might not be fair, though, to the fifth or sixth place teams in the WCAL with smaller enrollments that are probably much better than teams that would then be winning lower division section titles.

It really is one of the toughest situations in California prep sports for a section to deal with. The WCAL is just that strong.


It’s great for the kids especially at Wilcox to be given the opportunity to play a game that counts at the stadium which is literally in its backyard before the 49ers really do.

There was some doubt heading into Wednesday’s Board of Managers meeting that Wilcox might not get the vote to have its scheduled Sept. 5 game against Manteca to be moved up. The Chargers needed to get a waiver because their season and the rest of teams in the CCS is set to start one week later. They easily won approval and therefore will get to play at Levi’s Stadium.

The other game widely reported as being part of the Friday, Aug. 29 doubleheader is a scheduled game between De La Salle of Concord and Jesuit of Carmichael.

On that weekend, interest in De La Salle may be at an all-time high because it will be just after the movie “When The Game Stands Tall” is released in theaters throughout the country. And with all that the program has accomplished over the years, it makes sense completely that the 49ers would want to pair up in some fashion with the Spartans.

For the two games on the field, however, for that night, it doesn’t shape up as some gargantuan event.

De La Salle itself will be loaded as usual for 2014 with most of its defense back and most of its linemen as well. It will be interesting to see how the offense looks with a new quarterback and Jesuit is showing some strong progress under coach Marlon Blanton (a former DLS player) but the Spartans remember lost in their last outing from last season in the CIF Open Division state bowl game and it might not be a close contest.

Wilcox and Manteca staged a terrific game last season (the Chargers won 28-27 in Manteca) and both teams went on to outstanding seasons. Manteca eventually played Enterprise of Redding in the NorCal D2 bowl game. For 2014, however, it looks like both will be rebuilding with new skill players and a lot of new starters on both sides of the ball. It’s safe to say that neither team will be ranked very high in the preseason.

It looks like the biggest game in the state on that night will be at Cerritos College where Servite of Anaheim is taking on Bishop Gorman of Las Vegas. Servite was only 6-6 last season, but clearly has one of the top five teams in the state for 2014 based on returning talent. Bishop Gorman also is continuing to build its dominant program in Nevada. One new player coming to the Gaels is Cordell Broadus, son of rap artist Snoop Dogg, who played last season at Diamond Bar and is regarded as one of the top receiver recruits in the nation.

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