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Huskies' state title hopes get a boost
The Sutter High football team will face West Valley on Saturday at Wayne Gadberry Field in the Northern Section Division II championship game, but a section title may not be the only thing on the line for the Huskies.
While the focus this week is on beating the Eagles and claiming the program's first section title since 2008, the Huskies are also in play to grab a coveted spot in the inaugural CIF Regional Football Championship Bowl Game.
The winner of that regional game earns a spot in the CIF State Bowl Game on Dec. 15 in Carson.
As a competitor in the Northern Section's Division II bracket, Sutter would compete for a spot in the Division III championship at the state level.
A committee comprised of the section commissioners will meet on Sunday, Dec. 2 to select teams for those regional games.
The only criteria for being selected for the regional game is winning a section title, however the field of teams to choose from in Division III consists of section champs from several sections: Central Coast Section (D-III, D-IV), North Coast Section (D-III, D-IV, D-V), Northern Section (D-II, D-III), Oakland Section and Sac-Joaquin Section (D-IV, D-V, D-VI). That means a field of 11 teams for the committee to choose from, including Sutter, and only two spots to put them in.
The committee will also use guidelines such as win-loss record, strength of schedule, head-to-head competition and common opponents.
Looking at the pool of teams to choose from, Sutter looks to be in pretty good shape at this point.
Cal-Hi Sports' latest ranking released on Wednesday went like this: 1. Marin Catholic (10-1), 2. El Cerrito (11-0), 3. Placer (11-0) and 4. Sutter (11-0). MaxPreps currently has Sutter at No. 2 behind Placer.
Placer was knocked off by Escalon on Friday night, which should open the door for Sutter to move up. Note, the rankings by Cal-Hi Sports and MaxPreps do not factor into the committee's decision.
Husky fans need not be concerned with the two teams in front at 1 and 2. Marin Catholic and El Cerrito are both playing in the North Coast Section Division III championship, meaning only one of those teams can fill the requirement of being a section champion. The same goes for other ranked teams including Analy, Cardinal Newman and Campolindo (already eliminated) — all of those teams are NCS D-III teams.
Previously unbeaten Sac-Joaquin Section Division IV teams Ripon and Argonaut were both eliminated with Placer on Friday night ruling them out as well.
The team Sutter fans need to keep their eyes on is Seaside, a Central Coast Section squad out of the Monterey area that is currently undefeated like the Huskies.
Seaside is ranked fifth by Cal-Hi Sports and has a chance to pick up huge wins over Menlo-Ahterton and either Soquel or Sacred Heart Prep during its playoff run.
At this point, the only thing the Huskies can control is beating West Valley and putting themselves in the best position possible.
After that, it's time to play the waiting game and hope for the best.