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Central Section Football Playoff Projections (UPDATED 9/24)

The Torres Toros, sporting red jerseys and silver helmets, were among the biggest movers of the weekend.

By Gabe Camarillo

With several teams halfway through the high school football season and entering league play, it’s a good time to take a snapshot of what Central Section football playoffs look like right now.

The actual brackets come out on Saturday, October 29. Before we dive into projected brackets, here are some things to know:

1. These are NOT my rankings or brackets. These were pulled from, and I applied the head-to-head and common opponent tiebreakers like the Central Section will do on 10/29.

2. Speaking of tiebreakers, here are the rules for them. If two teams are within two rating points of each other on, the first tiebreaker is head-to-head result between them. The next tiebreaker, if both teams are in the same league, is finish in league standings. The final tiebreaker is record vs. common opponents. 

3. Every team has a base division. They can either play one division higher or lower than their base, depending on where they are ranked by CalPreps’ computers. No higher and no lower.

4. I highlighted select teams in BOLD and ITALICSBOLD teams are ranked in a division they cannot play because it’s two or more lower than their base. Teams with ITALICS are winless; the minimum winning percentage to compete in playoffs is .300, or a record of 3-7.

5. One more interesting twist, something I learned last season — the CalPreps predicted score plays a factor into ratings, especially if the predicted winner loses.


Updated as of 9/24/2022, 5:30 P.M. PST

Division 1:

1 Buchanan 

2 San Joaquin Memorial

3 Liberty-Bakersfield

4 Clovis West

5 Central

6 Clovis

7 Centennial

8 St Joseph

9 Clovis North

10 Hanford

11 Garces

12 Clovis East

Notes: The computers flip-flopped SJM and Liberty after the Patriots lost to Carlsbad, 27-0. The Pats were predicted by CalPreps to beat Carlsbad, so that impacted their ratings drop. However, Liberty will face Centennial, Garces and Frontier in league play, all rated higher that SJM’s highest-rated remaining opponent Bullard. Strength of schedule could help boost Liberty’s rating… Clovis East jumped into the D1 playoff picture, meaning the entire TRAC is currently projected to play in the top division. 


Division 2:

1 Central Valley Christian 

2 Kingsburg

3 Redwood

4 Frontier

5 Lemoore 

6 Bullard

7 Paso Robles

8 Bakersfield

9 Bakersfield Christian

10 Lompoc

11 Washington Union

12 Dinuba

13 Golden West

14 Tehachapi

15 Edison

16 Ridgeview

Notes: The bottom portion of the bracket is wacky. Here is the breakdown using the tiebreakers: Dinuba beat Golden West, which beat Tehachapi. Therefore, Edison — which sits right behind Tehachapi in the computers — falls two seed lines. I expect the lower seeds to shuffle around week-by-week throughout league play… Redwood dropped from D1 during its bye week… Paso Robles and Lompoc essentially swapped spots after the Bearcats won, 34-33.


Division 3:

1 Mission Oak

2 Mission Prep

3 Santa Ynez

4 Kerman

5 Porterville

6 Sanger

7 Arroyo Grande

8 Tulare Western

9 Righetti

10 Independence

11 San Luis Obispo

12 Wasco

13 Mt Whitney

14 Kennedy 

15 Chavez

16 Sunnyside

Notes: Santa Ynez is ranked slightly higher than Mission Prep in the computers, but the Royals beat the Pirates in Week 5, 32-27. Therefore, Mission Prep earned the higher seed… Sanger benefitted from the bye week the most; the Apaches climbed four spots without playing a snap… The computers predicted SLO to beat Atascadero by 28 points, but the Tigers lost, 28-24. That bumped SLO down from D2… On the flip side, Mt. Whitney was predicted to lose but defeated Reedley, 20-13. The Pioneers jumped from D4 to D3, and the Pirates did the opposite. 


Division 4:

1 Liberty (Madera)

2 Torres

3 Reedley

4 Caruthers

5 Garza

6 Atascadero

7 Highland

8 Taft

9 Fowler

10 Strathmore

11 North

12 Coalinga

13 Madera

14 Corcoran

15 Morro Bay

16 Monache

Tulare Union – D2 base

Notes: This division experienced the most change through Week 6… Torres jumped to the No. 2 seed with a 34-7 win over McLane. The Toros are based in D5… Highland beat Kennedy, which beat Taft… Atascadero leaped from D5 to D4 after an upset win over SLO. The Greyhounds lost to the North Stars, but since the teams are separated by more than two rating points, the tiebreaker does not come into effect. Same goes for Corcoran, which beat Fowler…. Monache, Morro Bay, and Corcoran moved up from D5 to D4. Corcoran beat Woodlake, but Monache lost 41-6 to Washington Union and still moved up. Morro Bay didn’t even play… Tulare Union would be the No. 5 seed in D4, but the Tribe are based in D2. They are four spots out from the playoffs. 


Division 5:

1 Bishop

2 Templeton

3 Shafter

4 Pioneer Valley

5 Dos Palos

6 McLane

7 Mendota

8 Delano

9 Exeter

10 Arvin

11 Immanuel


13 Woodlake

14 Madera South

15 Santa Maria

16 Hanford West

Stockdale – D2 base

El Diamante – D2 base

Notes: Templeton, Shafter and McLane dropped down to D5. Templeton was the lone Week 6 winner among the trio… Because McLane beat Mendota in Week 2, 20-14 in 2OT, the Highlanders are seeded higher than the Aztecs… Immanuel is more than two rating points below Mendota according to CalPreps, so the Eagles’ head-to-head win does not come into effect. They are seeded above Roosevelt, which lost to Mendota… Madera South went from D6 to D5 following a win over Sanger West, 30-6.


Division 6:

1 Golden Valley

2 Sierra Pacific


4 Firebaugh

5 Cabrillo

6 Boron

7 Avenal

8 Chowchilla

9 Kern Valley

10 Foothill

11 Orosi

12 Orange Cove

13 Farmersville

14 Mira Monte

15 Lindsay 

16 McFarland

First team out: Tranquility (1-4)

South Bakersfield – D3 base

Selma – D4 base

Nipomo – D4 base

West Bakersfield – D4 base

Fresno – D4 base

East Bakersfield – D4 base

Hoover – D4 base

Notes: Although Farmersville beat Orosi in Week 5, 28-26, they are separated by more than two rating points in CalPreps. Orosi jumped in front of Farmersville after its first win of the season, 49-21 over Lindsay… McFarland joined D6, and Tranquility moved to the doorstep of playoff football. 

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