As I did for Division III and will soon post for Division V, here’s my look at the Division IV playoffs. I’ll hold off on giving projected seeding until next week, but here’s a look as who I think will get in.
In this division, it’s guaranteed that eligible teams will be left out as there are already nine teams eligible for the eight playoff spots. Alphabetically, those eligible teams are: Berean Christian, Cloverdale, Ferndale, Fort Bragg, Harker, Middletown, St. Mary’s, St. Patrick/St. Vincent and Salesian.
I have the following six teams considered locks:
CLOVERDALE 6-1, 2-0 NCL-I South, 5-1 Div. IV — League title will likely come down to season finale with Div. V St. Vincent, but should earn a berth regardless
FERNDALE 8-0, 2-0 HDNL Little 5, 4-0 Div. IV — The likely HDNL-Little 5 champions will contend for that top seed and may get it with an unbeaten mark, although I think an 8-2 St. Mary’s squad would be more deserving with its strength of schedule
FORT BRAGG 6-1, 1-1 NCL-I North, 2-1 Div. IV — Lost its NCL-I North showdown to Middletown, which will likely cost it an auto berth and home game, but not a spot in the playoffs
MIDDLETOWN 6-1, 1-0 NCL-I North, 3-1 Div. IV — Friday’s 49-41 win over Fort Bragg makes them a likely league champion
ST. MARY’S 5-2, 3-1 BSAL, 2-0 Div. IV — Wins over traditional Div. IV powerhouses Salesian and St. Pat’s are huge and I think make them the favorite in this division
SALESIAN 6-1, 3-0 BFL, 4-1 Div. IV — They’ll take the automatic berth for the BFL
Now I have two teams I consider probables at the moment. Things could change, but as it is, I would place these two teams with my six locks and call that your eight-team field.
ST. PATRICK/ST. VINCENT 5-2, 3-1 BSAL, 2-2 Div. IV — It would be hard to imagine a postseason without these guys, but if they dropped their final three to Encinal, Moreau and Piedmont — or even if they dropped two of those three — they’d go into Selection Sunday feeling a little uneasy.
BEREAN CHRISTIAN 6-2, 3-1 BFL, 2-2 Div. IV — The importance of the blowout win over Valley Christian cannot be understated. It was probably a knockout blow for the Vikings and the game that propels the Eagles. Also, Berean should pick up a win over a Division I team on Nov. 7 when they play Mission San Jose. Even those MSJ is one of the Bay Area’s worst program’s, Berean can say they beat a D-1 team. Also, the BFL finale with Harker could loom large.
Now I present my three bubble teams:
HARKER 5-2, 1-2 BFL, 0-2 Div. IV — Have clinched eligibility, but have no guarantees of getting in. If it wins its next two against 0-7 Potter Valley and 2-5 St. Elizabeth, it would set up a showdown with Berean Christian that could likely be for that final playoff berth. If Harker were to beat Berean, I’d swap their spots.
JUSTIN-SIENA 3-5, 3-2 MCAL, 0-1 Div. IV; Fair chance they could win their final two games and finish 5-5 overall and 5-2 in a pretty good league, with the only losses being to Div. III powers Marin Catholic and Novato. If that’s the case, I think they’ll earn strong consideration. They need to win one of the final two to be eligible (above .500 in league), but I think they need both to have a chance to get in.
MCKINLEYVILLE 4-3, 2-0 HDNL Little 5, 1-1 Div. IV — They get credit for a Division IV win because McClymonds is within the Division IV enrollment size. If they can beat Hoopa Valley and Ferndale in their final two games, throw them in there with the automatic berth as a league champ. But I wouldn’t expect them to beat Ferndale.
And here are the longshots, which realistically are probably no shots but I’ll include them because they have a chance to be eligible:
CLEAR LAKE 3-4, 0-2 NCL-I South, 2-3 Div. IV
ST. HELENA 3-4, 0-1 NCL-I South, 1-4 Div. IV
VALLEY CHRISTIAN 4-3, 2-1 BFL, 1-3 Div. IV