NCS Division IV playoff breakdown

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

Jimmy Durkin

Jimmy Durkin is a sports writer for the Bay Area News Group.


  1. All Day – West County played Richmond in a one time “bowl game.” If my old man memory is correct, it was ’03. It was called the Holiday Bowl. We played the Steelers at De Anza HS. It was a great Jr. Pee Wee game. We were the only team to beat the Steelers that day, who as you know, have a great tradition.

    Our team was loaded with 14 guys who played varsity level throughout the bay (from Justin Sienna – Eddie Aguayo to Deer Valley – Mark Burks). Najee Lovett was a star RB. PV stand-out WR/RB Donovan Henderson was, of all things an offensive and defensive lineman. Keenan Coogler (B-High) was a LB/RB. As I said, Keenan Coogler was unbelievable that game. He was a monster on defense (as he stil is now!) and on offense. DBR was actaully the QB on that team. All he did all day was hand off to Keenan. It was a defensive, smash-mouth battle (as much as it can be on Jr. Pee Wee level). It was a cool thing they did between the 2 programs.

    Unfortunately the Midget game broke out into a stands clearing brawl, and it was the last year we had it. Too bad, as always, crazy adults messing it up for the kids.

    Anyway, thanks for asking and thanks for the good wishes to SM in the playoffs. I am reading about Ferndale and it seems like another daunting task for us. That doesn’t even take into account ST. Pat’s and Salesian who will be tough for us to beat a second time.

    I hope SM continues to build on this year’s success. Minor is a good coach and a good man. Yo Mama is right, it’s tough to attract football talent at our school. This year’s Sr. class kinda just showed up at the school 4 years ago. They went undefeated in their sophmore years’ on jv. Hopefully they can do something special in the playoffs.

    Go Panthers!

  2. Hi Panther, I can’t believe you remember that Spartans vs Steelers bowl game.

  3. I can’t believe I remember my own name half the time. How do you remember it?

  4. Fox – Ok…now you got me curious. Were you at the Spartans/Steelers bowl game? Did you have a player in that game? 🙂

    Go Panthers!

  5. Yes, I was at the bowl games. I was really trying to wait until I saw you in person at one of the games and say “surprise”. Don’t you want to wait until playoffs?

  6. Fox – That is fine. Just tell me this…are you a Salesian parent or SM parent?

    Go Panthers!

  7. Panther Fan you right heck of a game. It was actually a youth football tournment held Thanksgiving weekend,which involved the Richmond Steelers,West County Spartans,Fairfield Indians,and the Vallejo Generals. I was part of the group that put the tournment together to this day there has not been another one in the Bay Area. West County won the Junior Peewee level,Richmond Steelers won the Midget level led by legendary coach Fred Harris, they also won the Mighty Mite and Junior Midget levels also, and the Vallejo Generals won the Pee Wee level. Some of the best youth fooball was played that weekend.

  8. All Day – That’s right! That is exactly what it was. See, I told you I’m old and forget stuff. It’s too bad that couldn’t have become an annual thing. Thank you very much for putting it together. To this day, I’ve heard D and Naj and other players from our WC team talk about that game.

    I remember our game with the Steelers being crazy physical. I couldn’t believe the hitting that was going on. Those little cats were bringin’ hat! D lost a tooth that game. He came over to the sidelines between a play on the winning drive and gave Coach Tito his tooth and ran back into the huddle. Comedy.

    Thanks for the memory!

    Go Panthers!

  9. Panther fan, I though i saw where you said you went to Washington in SF. If so,What year did you graduate?

  10. OFM Coach – Yes I did go to Washington in SF. I was class of ’87. However, I transfered to a school in LA in my senior year. I was a bit of a knucklehead and if I had stayed at Wash, I might be writing these posts from San Quentin. Lol.

    Go Panthers!

  11. Might try on doing another tournment Thanksgiving weekend in 2010 but it is pretty tough getting all of the youth football associations together and agree to play except for the Richmond Steelers.That organization loves to have their young men play the game of football. Deer Valley youth football said they will participate along with the Oakland Dynamites but we are still in the planning stages.

  12. All Day – If there is anything I can do to assist you, I would be honored. I guess I have done a poor job of keeping my identity from being known on this thing, so if you need to reach me, I’m sure you can get a hold of me. Lol

    Keep doing that good work. Our children are our future. Unfortunately, in this society we do not honor that philosophy. A great historian once said the test of a great civilization is measured in how it treats the young and elderly. Taking care of our children assures the quality of our future and taking care of the elderly is a gesture of appreciation to those who have paved the way for all of us. If that historian was correct, as a society we are not doing so well.

    But it is the reason I get on here and defend the coaches who commit so much of their time to be a part of all of our young men’s lives. Working with kids turned my life around. It’s all about “each one – teach one.” As they say – “the revolution will not be televised.” It happens behind the scenes. You alter one person’s life and you’ve done an amazing thing.

    Thank you for your efforts All Day. Sorry for getting preachy, but I get pumped up when talking about our young, future leaders.

    Go Panthers!

  13. Preach on Panther! Great Post!!!!

    Go Ps! HA! That’s my new signature, Panther. You still don’t know if I mean Panthers or Pride!!LOL

  14. Panther Fan who was the young man that worked out with Najee Lovett at Contra Costa College and Kennedy HS this summer? Was it DBR?

  15. All Day – You know I’m not sure. They did a lot of different stuff this summer and I don’t know about that specifically. I will ask D tonight.

    Was there a reason you ask?

  16. Fox – Thanks for the compliment. You gonna keep me guessing.

  17. The man was their trainer Is a good friend of mine so I was at a lot of the sessions and I never got the other young mans name. Naji’s father and i go back a long way. The guy that conducted the sessions very good, he played ball at Utah St., then Seattle Seahawks, S.F Niners, and he went to the World Football League for about 4 years. Excellent WR,RB,and DB coach.

  18. All Day – I’m not sure. It might have been Henry Organ. He and Naj and Najee’s dad spent a lot of time together this off season.

  19. All Day – No, unfortunately I am not. I got a bit frustrated with a lot of the drama. They have had a lot of leadership changes. I had a hard time dealing with the mentality that was, in my opinion, taking the focus off the kids.

    I’m just a working stiff now and a dad. I got 3 kids, so they keep me busy. I still work with young people, but not through sports. I have a lot of kids that are “under my wing,” who I try to help navigate throught the currents of chaos we all call life.

    I will tell you this, though. My time at West County was tremendously rewarding. To this day, I may be walking through Hilltop mall or somewhere in our community and I will hear a voice yell, “Coach!” I turn around and often do not recognize the face, because it is some grown-ass looking young man who I last saw when they were 9 or 10. A closer look reveals who they are and we spend a minute talking. Usually they are doing well. It makes my heart proud to see so many of them doing well. Hopefully, there experience playing football helped them in some way. It is those moments I cherish and appreciate. I am sure it is the same for other coaches.

    Go Panthers!

  20. Looking forward to meeting you at one of St.Mary’s games in the near future.

  21. To All,
    Justin Siena is having a down year compared to last year – when they won the championship over several higher seeded teams – but remember their strength of schedule is very high. Almost all of their games are against Division III schools. If they played the schools that the Division IV schools played, their record would be much more impressive. Therefore Justin always gets a lower seed than deserved because people get impressed with W-L records of teams that play many very poor Division IV teams.
    I guarantee you that no Division IV school wants Justin as their first play-off game. Ask Ferndale and St. Vincent.

  22. Justin is way down this year. Ferndale would run up 40 points against them. They have been shut out 83-00 against MC and Novato. SPSV even though a down year would beat them also. The other Div 4 teams play Div 3 and even Div 2 teams also.

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