High School Football

Notebook: Davis’ Garcia frustrated by his 8-2 Spartans missing playoffs.

Davis head coach Tim Garcia calls a play from the sideline during a game between Davis and Johansen at Johansen High School in Modesto, CA on October 25, 2019.
Davis head coach Tim Garcia calls a play from the sideline during a game between Davis and Johansen at Johansen High School in Modesto, CA on October 25, 2019. jwestberg@modbee.com

Less than 24 hours after discovering his Davis High football team would not make postseason despite an 8-2 record, coach Tim Garcia expressed his frustration with the Sac-Joaquin Section’s approach to selecting playoff teams.

“The section needs to look at competitive equity and not putting schools in divisions based on enrollment,” Garcia said. “Enrollment doesn’t matter. An 8-2 team deserves to get in over a team that’s 4-6.”

He expressed his disappointment after Monday’s weekly Quarterback Club meeting, where he stood before his fellow Modesto coaches talking about his team’s best season since 2001.

“We had the best record in the city of Modesto,” Garcia said.

But that didn’t matter when it came to computer rankings by CalPreps.com, which the section uses to complete its field with at-large teams, those that don’t win or tie for a conference title.

Davis finished tied for second in the Western Athletic Conference with Johansen and Los Banos, behind champion Beyer (7-3), which opens postseason on Friday at Merced (6-4).

Davis, with an enrollment of 1,901 students, is a Division III team. Los Banos, with an enrollment of 1,411, is in Division V. Davis finished ranked 13th in CalPreps, while Los Banos, which finished 5-5, including a victory over Davis, took the Division V’s final No. 12 seed.

The over-riding factors behind Davis’ exclusion were tied to the strength of its non-conference schedule, which included two teams that finished a combined 1-19, and a conference not regarded as particularly deep.

Davis did open the season with a win over Division VI Ripon Christian (9-1). Howver, its other two non-league wins were over Division I Franklin (0-10) and Division IV El Capitan (1-9). Franklin and El Capitan finished ranked No. 22 and No. 19, respectively, in their respective divisions.

Garcia said the school will look at strengthening its future non-league schedule but wouldn’t comment on potential opponents.

Johansen (7-3), which finished second along with Davis, finished ranked No. 15 in Division IV and missed the playoffs.

“It hurts to be that close,” Vikings coach Scott Sacuskie said at the lunch time meeting. “We had our best season since 2008 and there are no rewards.”

Beyer (7-3) coach Greg Bockman, who’s team will play at Merced (6-4) on Friday, said both Davis and Johansen were the two toughest teams they faced all year. Despite its playoff-clinching WAC title, Beyer, which lost by 21 to Davis, finished ranked No. 15 in Division IV.

Among the conferences, CalPreps’ computer has the WAC ranked No. 19 out of 23 leagues, just ahead of the Southern League.

“It’s tragic,” Bockman said. “There is no respect for the WAC.”

Modesto High honors athletes: Modesto High coach Dylan Miller brought five athletes to the meeting on Monday.

The athletes were: Senior fullback and linebacker Reyes Flores, senior offensive and defensive lineman Nicholas Panyanouvong, senior offensive and defensive lineman Gerardo Sandoval, sophomore linebacker and running back Henry McGrath, and sophomore offensive lineman Jesse Pulido.

Modesto Junior College will bring its athletes to the QB Club meeting next Tuesday. The club is meeting on Tuesday because Monday is Veterans Day.

Notes:

  • Big Valley Christian coach Brian Berkefeld said his team has improved since losing to Le Grand, 41-28, on Sept. 6. The Lions open the Division VII playoffs at the Bulldogs. Senior running back Javyn Drobnick suffered a season-ending injury in the second quarter of the Lions’ loss and junior running back Andrew Contreras hadn’t played running back until that game. He has 837 rushing yards and 16 touchdowns since.
  • Downey coach Jeremy Plaa said he was disappointed with the Knights’ No. 10 seed but happy to be in the playoffs. Downey, which is at No. 7 Granite Bay, beat Grant in the first round of the Division II playoffs last year. “We need to consistently beat Sacramento teams to get higher seeds,” Plaa said.
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Julian A. Lopez has been covering local sports for The Modesto Bee since August 2018. He graduated from Arizona State in 2016 with a BA in Journalism.
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