June 15, 2024

OC Sports Zone: Community First

It’s official! names and teams finalized for new OC football leagues beginning next season

(Photo: Fernando M. Donado, For OC Sports Zone).

A drastic overhaul for Orange County high school football has been finalized and will be in effect for the 2024 and 2025 seasons, according to Ray Elliott, athletic director at El Dorado who was one of the members of the committee that came up with the plan.

League names such as the South Coast, Sunset, Empire, Pacific Coast, Orange Coast will no longer be used.

“In regards to the league names, we used the Greek Alphabet to create the names of the leagues,” Elliott said Thursday. “We did have to adjust a few league names. The list is final. We as a committee finalized everything in regards to the leagues.”

OC schools opted to come up with the new plan which will have a two-year cycle and based on power ratings from CalPreps.com from the last two seasons. There are 12 leagues with teams placed in leagues based on their ratings from one to 69.

Mission Viejo, San Clemente, Los Alamitos and Edison are in the top league, the Alpha League, and teams are subsequently placed in other leagues based on their ratings. Most of the teams are six-team leagues. The Alpha League squads will have three league games.

The opening league games are Mission Viejo at San Clemente and Los Alamitos at Edison.

The Zeta League, the last of the 12 leagues, will consist of five teams: Saddleback, Godinez, Savanna, Magnolia and Century. One team will have a bye each week. All the teams have struggled in their previous leagues. Saddleback will play Godinez in week one at Santa Ana Valley.

The Trinity League remains the same and is not part of the new plan.

Those in favor of the plan indicated the plan is fair because it places teams in leagues based on their previous seasons’ records and gives their squads chances at reaching the CIF playoffs.

Concerns were also expressed that the plan will end league traditional league match-ups in a number of cases. Santa Ana and Orange, teams that have developed a big rivalry over the years, are placed in different leagues.

Northwood, which has been part of the Pacific Coast Conference, won’t play any other Irvine teams in the Foxtrot League, which consists of Laguna Beach, Northwood, Orange, Fountain Valley, Aliso Niguel, Dana Hills. In addition, Pacific Coast Conference members Irvine and Woodbridge, who used to be in the same league, are in different leagues under the plan.

Irvine’s opening league game will be in week six vs. Santa Ana at Santa Ana Stadium. Irvine will not play any other Irvine schools in its league either.

Some rivalry games remain, including the annual game between Sunset League members Corona del Mar and Newport Harbor, who will be in the Bravo League.

Members of the organizing committee have already finalized league schedules and some coaches have already released their full 2024 schedules.

The past year’s record will account for 65 percent and the previous year’s record 35 percent to determine teams that go into a league in the following season.

“The very top division will be in a four team league,” said Mark Cunningham, Irvine Unified Athletic School District Athletic Director explained in an OC Sports Zone article in June 2023. “After that it’s all six team leagues except for the very bottom which will be a five-team league. This is basically to help out the teams that are in the lower quadrant to get more teams into the (CIF) playoffs.”

THE LEAGUES:

Alpha League

Mission Viejo, San Clemente, Los Alamitos and Edison.

Bravo League

Villa Park, Yorba Linda, Corona del Mar, San Juan Hills, Tesoro, Newport Harbor.

Delta League

Western, Cypress, Capistrano Valley, Trabuco Hills, Tustin, El Modena.

Epsilon League

Huntington Beach, Laguna Hills, El Dorado, La Habra, Foothill, Crean Lutheran

Foxtrot League

Laguna Beach, Northwood, Orange, Fountain Valley, Aliso Niguel, Dana Hills

Iota League

El Toro, Canyon, Troy, Sonora, Irvine, Santa Ana

Kappa League

St. Margaret’s, Segerstrom, Westminster, Brea Olinda, Esperanza, Garden Grove

Lambda League

Beckman, Fullerton, Marina, Sunny Hills, Valencia, Kennedy

Omicron League

Pacifica, University, Portola, Woodbridge, Buena Park, Katella

Sigma League

Estancia, Rancho Alamitos, Santa Ana Valley, Calvary Chapel, Los Amigos, Ocean View

Tango League

Santiago, Costa Mesa, Bolsa Grande, La Quinta, Anaheim, Loara

Zeta League

Saddleback, Godinez, Savanna, Magnolia, Century

COACHES REACTION:

(Published July 2023)

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