CCS football playoffs: St. Francis in, Soquel out as pairings are announced; 4 local teams advance

CCS football


Division I – No. 7 Watsonville [7-3] at No. 2 Piedmont Hills [8-2] in San Jose, 7 p.m.


Division IV – No. 8 Scotts Valley [5-3-2] at No. 1 Carmel [9-0], 1 p.m.

Division IV – No. 6 San Lorenzo Valley [4-3-3] at No. 3 Sacred Heart Prep [7-3] in Atherton, 1 p.m.

Division IV – No. 5 St. Francis [6-3-1] at No. 4 The King’s Academy [7-3] in Sunnyvale, 7 p.m.

SAN JOSE – St. Francis High, the fourth-place finisher in the Santa Cruz Coast Athletic League, will compete in the upcoming Central Coast Section football playoffs and SCCAL co-champion Soquel will not, it was learned Sunday at the CCS seeding meeting.

Four teams from Santa Cruz County qualified for the playoffs, but the Knights [6-4 overall, 4-2], who had the second-highest win total in the area, didn’t finish with enough power points to qualify for an at-large berth. Soquel’s heartbreaking, 34-31 loss to host Scotts Valley on Saturday sealed the Knights’ postseason fate.

Scotts Valley [5-3-2, 3-1-2] and San Lorenzo Valley [4-3-3, 3-1-2], who shared the title with Soquel, and snatched the league’s automatic berths based off head-to-head play, join St. Francis [6-3-1, 3-2-1] in the Division IV field.

Watsonville [7-3, 4-1], newly crowned Monterey Bay League co-champion with Seaside, also advanced to postseason play and it will compete in Division I.

This is the first season the CCS will use five divisions: an Open Division for the section powers, and four divisions based off enrollment. Division I is reserved for schools with larger enrollments and D-IV is for the small-enrollment schools. The power-point cutoff was 19.83 points.

Watsonville, making its first postseason appearance since 2003 and celebrating its first league crown since 1994, takes on host Piedmont Hills [8-2] on Friday night at 7 in San Jose.

The host Pirates finished second to unbeaten Pioneer [10-0] in the Blossom Valley Athletic League’s Mount Hamilton Division.

No. 2 seed Piedmont Hills is led by dual-threat quarterback Joshua McCain, who has rushed for 927 yards and seven touchdowns and passed for 1,938 yards and 23 touchdowns.

It’ll likely be a high scoring affair. The No. 7 seed Wildcatz are led by quarterback Jerry Alvarez, the county’s all-time, single-season passing yardage leader [2,614 yards], and Fernando Olivarez, the county’s all-time, single-season receiving yardage leader [1,354 yards].

Scotts Valley garnered the No. 8 seed and opens with top-seeded Carmel [9-0], the Mission Trail Athletic League champion, on Saturday at 1 p.m. in Carmel. It will be the teams’ third postseason meeting in five years. The Falcons have won the two previous meetings in routs.

The Padres, averaging 51.2 points and 424.6 yards, have the top-rated offense in the Monterey Bay area and have shined on defense too. They allow opponents an average of 10.3 points and 212.8 yards.

On offense, Carmel’s led by quarterback Devin Pearson, who has a stable of talented receivers to throw to, and running back Dylan Hopkins. Pearson is 109-of-155 passing for 1,648 yards with 23 touchdowns and three interceptions. Hopkins has 82 carries for 1,093 yards with 18 touchdowns.

The Falcons, making their fifth straight postseason appearance, are led on offense by quarterback Blake Jurich, running back Jake Bergman and receivers Aldin Barrett and Ryan Estrada.

No. 6 SLV, a three-time section champion, makes its 15th postseason appearance under coach Doug Morris. The Cougars travel to Atherton on Saturday at 1 p.m. to take on host Sacred Heart Prep [7-3].

The No. 3 seed Gators finished second to Terra Nova in the Peninsula Athletic League’s Bay Division.

SHP, the 2008 Small School Division finalist, likes to run the ball with its two 1,000-yard backs Chris Gaertner and Matt Walter. The tandem has a combined 2,469 yards rushing and 29 touchdowns on 290 carries.

SLV’s led by Cougars all-time, single-season rushing leader Kyle Todd. He has run for 1,609 yards and 21 touchdowns on 257 carries.

St. Francis, making its second straight postseason appearance, earned the No. 5 seed and a rematch with No. 4 The King’s Academy, the third-place finisher in the PAL Bay Division. The teams meet Saturday night at 7 in Sunnyvale.

Unlike last season, the Sharks will see junior running back Amir Carlisle, who has already verbally commited to play for Stanford. Carlisle sat out last season’s Knights win over the Sharks with an injury.

This season, Carlisle has run for 1,804 yards and 24 touchdowns on 145 carries. He also has two receiving touchdowns.

The Sharks are led by running back Jacob Miller, the school’s first 1,000-yard rusher. Defensively, the Sharks are led by linebacker Zach Scurich, who has three-straight, 100-plus tackle seasons.

Pioneer opted into the Open Division, where it joins Palo Alto as [7-1-2] as the only public schools in the 8-team field. The Mustangs garnered the top seed.

Other No. 1 seeds include San Benito [8-2] in Division I, Los Gatos [7-3] in Division II and Terra Nova [7-3] in Division III.

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3 Responses to CCS football playoffs: St. Francis in, Soquel out as pairings are announced; 4 local teams advance

  1. Observer says:

    How can St. Francis, non-league champ leapfrog Soquel, a Co-League Champ and get into CCS? I am pretty sure there is a rule that forbids this.

  2. Jim says:

    I didn’t think it was possible either, especially since Soquel won the head-to-head meeting. But St. Francis had more power points, so it got in.

  3. Marisol Hood says:

    I was wondering why there are no articles about the Santa Cruz Pop Warner Football Team, the Sea Hawks? We just won the 2009 Conference Championship and we are now moving on t0 the Regional Championship. It would be great to let everyone know how hard they have worked to get where they are. Many of the boys have been playing ball together for 5 or more years and a lot of them will be moving on to high school next year. I look forward to reading something in the near future. Thank you for your support.

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