Monte Vista of Danville will secure a top 10 final overall state ranking and the top spot for schools placed in this division with a win on Saturday over San Ramon Valley of Danville.
If the Mustangs falter, Helix of La Mesa, which was No. 1 in this division a year ago, would step up into the favorite's role. The Highlanders would not end their season until December 14 in the CIF San Diego Section Div. II final.
Mira Costa of Manhattan Beach and Skyline of Oakland are in position if Helix were to lose. Notre Dame of Sherman Oaks, which was thought to be Div. I most of the season, could be a factor as well, but it would need to probably beat Mira Costa in a convincing way to have a chance at overtaking Skyline.
Kaiser of Fontana actually has a Division I type enrollment, but the Cats get to be Division III because they're in the CIF Southern Section Div. VIII playoffs. It's still a new school and the program will be placed in a higher playoff division soon.
Last week, coach Dick Bruich's squad maintained its No. 1 state ranking with a 27-10 triumph over Palm Desert. Senior running back Marcus McCliman led the way with 15 carries for 195 yds and two TDs. Allen Wade added 23 carries for 148 yds and one TD.
If Kaiser were to lose either this weekend or next, the No. 1 ranking would boil down to a close call between Garces of Bakersfield, Marian Catholic of San Diego or Lassen of Susanville.
Garces has already ended its season with a CIF Central Section title, but its 42-39 win over San Joaquin Memorial left room for doubt. The Rams, it should also be noted, are a school with a state CIF Div. IV enrollment but they play in a Div. III league.
If we went strictly by enrollment for the state rankings, which we don't because most the sections in the state still break their playoff divisions by league strength, it would be easy to say Garces would be No. 1 in Div. IV, but anybody who says that hasn't seen Carpinteria play.
Lassen also has ended its season and did so impressively with a 28-7 win over previously unbeaten Enterprise of Redding for the CIF Northern Section Div. I title.
For Lassen to get much higher in the rankings, though, playing some teams outside of the Northern Section would help. A logical step might be for the Grizzlies to play a top team in the Reno area. McQueen would be too much, but how about Bishop Manogue? It was said this year's Bishop Manogue team was the best Class 3A team possibly ever from Nevada.
No. 1 Carpinteria got out to a 14-0 lead in its CIFSS Div. XI playoff game vs. Montclair Prep of Van Nuys and went on to a 28-14 win. Luis Soto had 141 yards and two TDs for the Warriors, who once again had no turnovers.
No. 2 Escalon plays its final game this week against Calaveras of San Andreas for the CIF Sac-Joaquin Section Div. IV title. The Cougars won last week 38-22 over an Amador of Sutter Creek squad they defeated by just 14-7 earlier in the season. Mr. Outside, Jesse Miguel, chalked up 152 yards on 18 carries and scored two touchdowns. Mr. Inside, Tony Reis, finished with 30 carries for 140 yards and one touchdown.
The intriguing aspect of this division's final ranking, should Carpinteria get upset, is its relationship with the Division V rankings. Escalon has been No. 2 in the Modesto Bee's small school rankings all year behind Central Catholic of Modesto, which also has been No. 1 all year in our Div. V state rankings.
It would be very tough to rank a Div. IV No. 1 team for the state that isn't No. 1 in its own area, although Bee prep editor Will DeBoard has hinted that if both Central Catholic and Escalon win section titles the paper may go with Escalon at No. 1.
Another possibility, of course, is that if Carpinteria loses, it probably would be to No. 3 Valley Christian, which at times has been as impressive as any small school team in the state. We could always choose to hop Valley Christian to No. 1 and leave Escalon at No. 2. Oh, the possibilities.
This one will boil down to a matchup on Friday night for the CIF Sac-Joaquin Section Div. V championship as No. 1 Central Catholic (12-0) takes on No. 2 Gustine (12-0).
Despite the records and the rankings, Central Catholic is a solid favorite. The Raiders should be Div. IV and in fact would be in the top four and contending for the top ranking in that division if that's the playoff division they were playing in. Recent losses by Fresno Christian, Santa Fe Christian and Mammoth helped set up this week's No. 1 vs. No. 2 meeting.