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FOOTBALL '98: VALLEY / VENTURA COUNTY

The Schedule Takes On Different Look

Pacific View: Addition of league forces Marmonte and Channel teams to deal with unwanted bye weeks.

September 03, 1998|STEVE HENSON | TIMES STAFF WRITER

The name Pacific View League conjures blissful vistas, but in reality the view is decidedly odd.

The creation of the new league of schools in the Oxnard Union High School District had a ripple effect in the neighboring Marmonte and Channel leagues. All three leagues have an odd number of teams, causing havoc in scheduling.

Football is the first sport to grapple with the oddball configuration.

A bye week became necessary in league scheduling, and teams whose bye fell late in the season found it difficult to find a nonleague opponent. Marmonte power Newbury Park never did, and will play only a nine-game schedule.

The Pacific View took two teams--Channel Islands and Camarillo--from the Marmonte League and three--Rio Mesa, Hueneme and Oxnard--from the Channel League.

The Channel went from one of the largest leagues in the Southern Section to one of the smallest with only five members. The Marmonte added Moorpark, leaving it with seven members.

Playoff groupings also changed, and the Marmonte, Channel and Pacific View leagues join with the five-team Northern League to form Division IV. The result is that the 16 playoff qualifiers will come from only 22 teams.

In the Channel, Pacific View and Northern leagues, it might only take one victory to make the postseason because four of five teams in those leagues get in.

This is a radical departure from recent years in which only three teams out of eight made it from each of the Marmonte and Channel leagues.

"More teams making the playoffs is good for the kids and good for the schools," said Rick Scott, the coach at Buena. "It's good for school spirit."

Others point out that advancing to the playoffs with only one victory and getting pummeled in the first round by a seeded league champion might turn school spirit on its tail.

"It's just embarrassing to go to the playoffs with losing records," Rio Mesa Coach George Contreras said. "It really comes down to having to win one league game."

That might be true in the Channel and Pacific leagues, but not in the Marmonte--traditionally Ventura County's strongest league. Because there are seven teams, three will be left out of the playoffs.

"Before, it was three out of eight get in because it was a five-league division," said Jim Benkert, coach at Marmonte power Westlake. "Now in a four-league division, four out of five teams make the playoffs from each of the other three leagues."

A plus is that a Southern Section champion from Ventura County becomes more likely.

While coaches wring their hands over the scheduling and playoff oddities, most of the players have more immediate concerns.

"I kind of get the impression that to the kids, it's just another football season and they are only thinking about getting ready to play," Channel Islands Coach Jack Willard said. "We haven't talked about not playing Newbury Park, Westlake and Royal. The kids just want to suit up and play."

QUICK HITTERS

Some facts you need to know about Ventura County football:

* The new Pacific View League is composed of the five high schools from the Oxnard Union High School District.

* The Marmonte, Channel, Pacific View and Northern leagues form Division IV.

* Sixteen of the 22 Division IV teams will qualify for the Southern Section playoffs.

* Buena and Ventura are the only Ventura County schools remaining in the Channel League, which also includes three Santa Barbara-area schools.

* All four Division IV leagues have an odd number of teams, making scheduling more difficult.

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