Friday, November 24, 2006

Thanks for showing up

When both remaining San Luis Obispo County schools got eliminated from the CIF-Southern Section playoffs Friday, it guaranteed that none of the nine 11-man football teams within The Tribune's coverage area — and, heck, none on the Central Coast — would get further than the second round.

It's been five years since a county team has won a section title, something there was no shortage of in the 1990s, and you can count on one hand how many have been past the second round in the 2000s. It's a topic we breached on opening night, wondering if the idea of a section championship has become antiquated.

I put that question to local coaches before the season, and most of them were confident that, although against some heavy odds, Central Coast teams can still compete in the playoffs.

What do you think? They say pink is the new black. Is the second round the new finals for county teams? Is that good enough? It's certainly no slight against the local schools. Teams like Oaks Christian and Canyon Country are gunning for the first state title games. They'd beat 95 percent of the teams in the country.

Will SLO County get back in the championship mix? What will it take? Or does it even need to?

Friday, November 17, 2006

We've all done it

The end-of-the-season cry.

I saw it once again Friday night. Atascadero fell in the first round of the playoffs and on came the sprinklers.

Now, I'm not pointing this out to belittle the Greyhounds. I did it, too, back in the day. You didn't even want to see the red rings around my eyes after my last high school basketball game - and we weren't even that good (Sorry coach Sharp).

Who didn't cry after their final intersholastic sporting event? They're the weird ones.

But in the midst of that Atascadero agony, it hit me.

Consider this: With so many high school football playoff games going on this Friday, how many hundreds of kids bawled together in the throes of defeat in California alone? Or is it thousands?

Nationwide, we're certainly talking about a lot of losses, a lot of kids and a lot of salt. This past Friday might mark the biggest mass cry of any day this year.

And I'm all for it.

High school boys aren't known for sharing feelings or hugging or making themselves vulnerable. This is their one day a year where they can do it in front of thousands of people. And it's cool.

It wasn't fun to see. And an early exit wasn't the way the Greyhounds were hoping to finish off their best season in close to a decade.

But in a few years, all people will remember is that Atascadero went 9-2, won the PAC 7 title, blew out its two biggest rivals and made it to the playoffs.

The Greyhounds have far better things to cry about than most.

Saturday, November 11, 2006

The All-Bloggin' Team

In a conversation with Mission Prep football coach Joe Silveira this week, the topic quickly turned to Tribune County Football Player of the Year and who the best nominees would be.

"That's who I'd go with," Silveira said after saying who he'd go with.

Not that the conversation with Joe has much to do with this blog, but it sparked an idea. People like giving input on things like Player of the Year debates and All-County teams.

Think about it. What if I asked blog readers to give out thoughts on who should be regarded as All-County performers? Could you resist from clicking that "add comments" link?

I'm guessing maybe.

But if you choose to leave some nominees, I'll read every one. When the sports department gets together in the next few weeks, we'll take everything into account.

So have at it. Who should be the All-County first-team quarterback, left tackle and safety? Or second-team punter? (Honestly, that's the toughest one to pick.)

Wednesday, November 08, 2006

Sorting through the scenarios

Wondering who's got the best chance to make the CIF-Southern Section football playoffs but wary of the impending Excedrin headache that goes along with dissecting the standings?

No worries. Your friendly neighborhood preps writer has done it all for you.

I spent more than a few minutes talking with athletic directors and football coaches Wednesday, trying to get a handle on the playoff scenarios.

Three teams from the PAC 7 are going and four from the Los Padres League. We won't know them all until Friday. But here's a quick guide to help you figure it out before you head to games this week.

Who's in: No matter what happens, Atascadero and San Luis Obispo have guaranteed spots in the playoffs in the PAC 7. In the LPL, Morro Bay, St. Joseph and Pioneer Valley are in. It's also official, Atascadero and St. Joseph have clinched league titles and No. 1 seeds (though San Luis Obispo can get a share of the PAC 7 crown if Paso Robles upsets Atascadero).

The final spot in the PAC 7 will go to Arroyo Grande as long as the Eagles beat San Luis Obispo on Friday. If Arroyo Grande loses and Paso Robles wins, the Bearcats will get the berth. If both teams lose, there will be a three-way tie between Arroyo Grande, Paso Robles and Righetti, and according to Lucia Mar athletic director Dwight MacDonald, Paso Robles would be in based on a low number draw at the beginning of the season.

Templeton will get an LPL spot with a win over Santa Maria, but the berth could go to Templeton even if it loses to Santa Maria today. In order for Nipomo to get in, the Titans need a Templeton loss and must beat St. Joseph, who's 6-0 in LPL play. Nipomo can also get in with a loss if Templeton falls and Morro Bay loses at Santa Ynez.

There. Hopefully, reading that was quick and painless. I'm going to go stick my head in the freezer.