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THE HIGH SCHOOLS / STEVE HENSON

For Some, End Is Near--Maybe

November 06, 1994|STEVE HENSON

Nothing is more melancholy for a senior football player than to know he is suiting up for the last time. Avoiding this feeling requires playoff hopes, a mathematical possibility that victory in the regular-season finale will extend the season.

Otherwise, there is nothing on the line, nothing to play for but memories triggered by knee pain when the weather dampens.

With one week to play in the regular season, teams can be grouped in three categories:

The Merry--those who have qualified for the playoffs.

The Maybes--those who are playing for entry this week.

The Melancholy.

Most interesting are the Maybes. Some control their own destiny. Others must win and hope for help.

A look at the Maybes in area Southern Section Division II and Division III leagues:

GOLDEN LEAGUE: By eschewing a short field-goal attempt in the waning seconds and losing to Ridgecrest Burroughs, 23-20, Friday night, Quartz Hill (2-1-1 in league play) is in danger of missing the playoffs. The Rebels must upset first-place Antelope Valley or hope Burroughs defeats Highland (2-2) to be assured of a berth.

Highland gets in by coupling a victory over Burroughs with an Antelope Valley victory over Quartz Hill.

Prediction: Quartz Hill and Highland both lose, enabling Quartz Hill to back into third place.

CHANNEL LEAGUE: Only league champion Buena (4-0-2) is Merry so far. Oxnard, San Marcos and Ventura are 4-2 and Santa Barbara is 3-2-1. That's a lot of Maybes. Oxnard plays Ventura, with the winner making the playoffs.

Prediction: Santa Barbara qualifies by coupling a victory over Rio Mesa with a San Marcos loss to Buena.

MARMONTE LEAGUE: By defeating Simi Valley on Friday night, Newbury Park (4- 2) is almost assured of qualifying along with league champion Westlake (6-0) and second-place Royal (5-1). Agoura (4-2), which lost to Newbury Park earlier, must defeat Westlake and hope for Thousand Oaks to upset Newbury Park.

Prediction: Westlake beats Agoura, making the game between Newbury Park and Thousand Oaks interesting mostly for the matchup of rapidly improving sophomore quarterbacks Chris Czernek and Scott McEwan. On Friday, Newbury Park's Czernek passed for 236 yards and Thousand Oaks' McEwan passed for 163.

MISSION LEAGUE: Four 1-3 teams, including St. Francis, are vying for the third playoff berth behind Notre Dame (4-0) and Chaminade (4-0).

Prediction: St. Francis uses its fourth fumblerooski of the season to defeat fading St. Bernard and qualify for the playoffs when Serra knocks off Bishop Montgomery. St. Francis has beaten Serra.

The ultimate Maybe is finishing fourth, which delays a Merry or Melancholy feeling until wild-card berths are chosen and playoff pairings are announced next Sunday.

*

Swarm of Maybes: The City Section, in its vast wisdom, created a playoff structure this season that ensures 49 Maybes among its 49 teams. Not a single school is certain its season will end next week.

A committee will determine Nov. 11 who qualifies for the 16-team 4-A and 16-team 3-A brackets. Only conference champions are assured of making the 4-A, but their seeding will be determined by the committee. League champions and second-place conference finishers are in the playoffs but could be either 4-A or 3-A.

Criteria for selection include strength of league, overall record and league record, in that order.

"Go over all this stuff and it will drive you nuts," Sylmar Coach Jeff Engilman said. Sylmar and Taft are the only Valley schools assured of 4-A berths.

Prediction: Kennedy and the winners of this week's San Fernando-Granada Hills and Reseda-Monroe games also will make the 4-A. The loser of the San Fernando-Granada Hills game might squeeze in.

Van Nuys, Chatsworth and Cleveland will make the 3-A.

Oddity: The loser of the Reseda-Monroe game probably will be dropped to the 3-A bracket, greatly enhancing its chance of winning a City championship.

*

Face-to-face: The most exciting pair of games this week won't involve Maybes. At Notre Dame High and at College of the Canyons, teams unbeaten in league play will face off for championships.

Notre Dame (8-1, 4-0) plays host to Chaminade (7-2, 4-0) in a Mission League matchup.

And Hart (9-0, 3-0), the area's No. 1-ranked team, puts its unbeaten record on the line in a Foothill League game against Saugus (5-2-1, 3-0), which has overcome a midseason slump to win three in a row.

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