NCS Division V playoff breakdown

Here’s the last of the breakdowns that I’ll be providing this week. I’ll update this again next week based on what happens.

There are 11 teams still mathematically within contention for a NCS DIvision V playoff berth. Seven teams have clinched eligibility, although one of those is a 1-6 Upper Lake team that I consider a longshot. Here’s the full list of teams clinching eligibility, keeping in mind this does not mean they’ve clinched a playoff spot: Anderson Valley, Hoopa Valley, Point Arena, St. Elizabeth, St. Vincent, Tomales, Upper Lake.

I consider four teams to be locks.

HOOPA VALLEY 6-1, 1-1 HDNL Little 5, 3-0 Div. V; suffered first loss Friday to Div. IV power Ferndale. Season-finale Nov. 14 vs. Point Arena will have seeding implications
POINT ARENA 5-2, 4-1 NCL-II, 5-2 Div. V; Showdown Saturday with Tomales will determine NCL-II’s automatic berth
ST. VINCENT 5-2, 2-0 NCL-I South, 2-0 Div. V; Defending champs will battle Div. IV Cloverdale in season-finale Nov. 14 for league title and automatic berth
TOMALES 5-2, 5-0 NCL-II, 5-2 Div. V; Can clinch league title with a win over Point Arena on Saturday

I only list one team as a probable, because of the next four teams, only St. Elizabeth has clinched eligibility and if they lost there final two to finish 2-7, they might not get in if there’s enough eligible teams

ANDERSON VALLEY 3-3, 3-1 NCL-II, 3-1 Div. V; A bye this week, then final two opponents are a combined 1-12

And here are my four teams on the bubble. Only St. Elizabeth has clinched eligibiilty.

LAYTONVILLE 2-3, 1-3 NCL-II, 2-3 Div. V; Needs to win two of their final three, which would get them to .500 overall and above .500 against Div. V teams. Huge game Nov. 6 against South Fork since South Fork must win out to become eligible. Final three are against 1-4 Round Valley, 3-5 South Fork and 0-7 Potter Valley (already beat 21-13 this year)
ST. BERNARD 3-4, 0-1 HDNL Little 5, 3-3 Div. V; Needs to either win two of final three overall to get to above .500 overall OR beat either Hoopa Valley or South Fork to remain at .500 in Div. V. Final three are vs. Hoopa, at Ferndale and vs. South Fork. They figure to be underdogs against Hoopa and Ferndale, so it could come down to needed to beat South Fork in the finale to become eligible
ST. ELIZABETH 2-5, 0-3 BFL, 1-0 Div. V; Only their overall record lands them here as a bubble team since they are already eligible. I would expect that at least one of the other three bubble teams will not become eligible and that the Mustangs get in. A win this week over CSD would certainly help solify their spot, as would a win over Harker in their finale on Nov. 6
SOUTH FORK 3-5, 0-3 HDNL Little 5, 2-3 Div. V; If I were projecting the field today, this is the team I would pick to miss out. They have a tough road ahead, neeed to beat playoff contenders Laytonville and St. Bernard to become eligible. Luckily it really is that simple. If they win their final two games, they’ll be eligible and certainly get in by beating a pair of other bubble teams, particularly since that might help keep those other teams ineligible.

So there you go. As you can see, the last couple of weeks should be very exciting as several of the contending teams meet up against each other. The Laytonville-South Fork game on Nov. 6 and St. Bernard-South Fork on Nov. 14 will be huge games and it should be fun to see what happens down the stretch. I figure that by the time the season is done, it will probably be pretty cut and dry regarding who makes the field since the team’s battling will actually play it out on the field.

Jimmy Durkin

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