It’s always a great debate among those in Southern California which leagues should be in the CIF Southern Section’s Pac-Five Division, which is basically that section’s No. 1 division for strength of schedule and premiere teams.
This year, the Pac-Five has added the Big VIII League from Riverside County (Corona Centennial, Norco, Corona Santiago, etc.) while the section has moved the South Coast League (Mission Viejo, Tesoro, San Clemente, Dana Hills, etc.) from the Pac-Five to the new West Valley Division. Two years ago, it was the Marmonte League (St. Bonaventure, Oaks Christian, Westlake, etc.) going to the Pac-Five with the Sunset League (Huntington Beach Edison, Los Alamitos, etc.) going out.
The section’s own realignments of leagues (such as this year with the creation of the Mission League by basically adding Gardena Serra and Chaminade to those teams that already were in the Serra League) also greatly impacts the process with the general effect of creating a super division of the CIFSS’s best teams.
Northern California sections obviously aren’t set up in the same way and many can’t even agree which sections should be north and south. Still, I thought it would be fun to throw out what would be the Pac-Five Division for Northern California.
For this discussion, I’ll first get off our soapbox that the CIF Central Section should be in the north and will just go by the current CIF state playoff structure, which is that NorCal is the Sac-Joaquin, Northern, North Coast, Central Coast, San Francisco and Oakland sections.
Due to realignment in the Sac-Joaquin Section this year, it’s two Pac-Five leagues in the north have become fairly obvious. That would be the Sierra Foothill League with Folsom, Granite Bay, Del Oro, Nevada Union, Rocklin, Oak Ridge and Woodcreek and the Delta Valley Conference with Grant of Sacramento, Elk Grove, Jesuit, Monterey Trail, Davis, Sheldon and Franklin of Elk Grove.
Two of the Pac-Five leagues from the Bay Area also would be easy to choose. They would be the West Catholic Athletic League of the CCS (San Mateo Serra, San Jose Valley Christian, Archbishop Mitty, Bellarmine Prep, Mountain View St. Francis, S.F. St. Ignatius, S.F. Riordan, S.F. Sacred Heart) and the East Bay Athletic League of the NCS (Amador Valley, Pleasanton Foothill, Danville Monte Vista, San Ramon Valley, San Ramon California, Livermore, Livermore Granada).
This brings us to De La Salle. The Spartans aren’t currently in a league officially for football but play some EBAL teams to fill out their schedule. They would be the fifth part of the Pac-Five for Northern California just by themselves but if they were ever to rejoin their old Bay Valley Athletic League (Pittsburg, Deer Valley, Freedom, etc.) then that league would instantly become Pac-Five of the north.
If there was a fifth league from Northern California that could be Pac-Five, however, which would it be? That’s where it gets difficult. In some years, based on historical results, a case could be made for the Tri-City Athletic League of San Joaquin County, which now has St. Mary’s of Stockton, Lincoln of Stockton, Tracy and others. The BVAL even without DLS also might be next, especially this year with Pitt looking so strong.