June 15, 2024

OC Sports Zone: Community First

Final standings for Pacific Coast Conference football leagues and CIF playoffs still undecided

Northwood’s Cole Hidalgo is congratulated by teammates including Nicholas Keith (No. 14) Friday night following the Timberwolves first TD in the game vs. Laguna Hills. (Photo: Fernando M. Donado, For OC Sports Zone).

It’s most likely the last year of the Pacific Coast Conference and other Orange County leagues in football as the county moves toward a re-organization plan next year.

The conference, which is divided into two four-team leagues, the Pacific Coast League and the Pacific Hills League, is wrapping up with some suspense going into the final week.

Coach Tom Ricci’s Irvine team (6-3, 2-0) wrapped up a share of the Pacific Coast Hills League title Thursday defeating Beckman 20-12. The Vaqueros can win the outright title Friday at home on senior night vs. University. But University (4-5, 1-1) could share the title with Irvine if it can upset the Vaqueros at Irvine Stadium.

The Trojans last appearance in the CIF playoffs was 2015, according to former coach Mark Cunningham, now athletic director for Irvine Unified School District.

Beckman (7-2, 1-1) could also earn a share of the title if University wins and the Patriots defeat Wooodbridge (1-8, 0-2) in a game at Uni, Woodbridge’s home stadium.

There could also be a three-way tie for second place.

“With two teams (who have) the same record, if they played each other, then the winner of that game (gets the edge),” said Cunningham. “Otherwise, it would be a coin flip.”

In the Pacific Coast League, Dana Hills (7-2, 2-0) has already clinched a share of the league title. But Northwood (4-5, 1-1) and Laguna Hills (8-1, 1-1) also have a shot at a share of the crown.

Northwood plays at Dana Hills Friday and Laguna Hills hosts Portola (4-5, 0-2) Friday. Portola could possibly have a shot at the CIF playoffs as an at-large team if its pulls off the upset and finishes .500 overall.

“Our chances of making the playoffs are much better after winning tonight,” said Laguna Hills Coach John Lester after the Hawks 31-28 victory over Northwood Friday. “If Northwood beats Dana Hills and we beat Portola it would be a three-way tie for first.”

Northwood Coach JC Clarke indicated he was looking forward to the final regular season game.

“That makes it really kind of neat, we will be tri-champions if we win that one,” Clarke said. “We got a chance against them.”

Two teams in each league advance to the CIF playoffs but at-large spots will also be awarded. Teams with at least .500 records get first invitations, CIF officials noted in the playoff bulletin. If there aren’t enough teams to fill out the bracket, then teams with below .500 overall records are considered.

Northwood is the defending PCL champion and has won two CIF titles in a row.

CIF playoff pairings will be announced Sunday. Final league games are scheduled Friday.

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—Tim Burt, OC Sports Zone; timburt@ocsportszone.com