SAN MARCOS (11-06-2018) – With Fullerton officially having forfeited all its 2017 and 2018 wins as per denial of its appeal of its sanctions this past Sunday night, Palomar is the only one of the four county teams that has a chance to qualify for the four-team Southern California playoffs that will determine the SoCal champion and a spot in the state championship game in Sacramento against the Northern California champion.
Champions of the Northern League, Central League and Southern League automatically receive the first three seeds in order of power ranking and a fourth seed to be determined from among the three National Division second-place finishers.
Palomar, which picked up forfeit wins over the Hornets both in 2017 and this season, is now 6-3 on the season (3-1 in the Central League) and enters the weekend with the best power ranking in the league. Palomar ends the regular season Saturday night at San Diego Mesa (5-4 overall, 1-3 in the Central League with its only league win being its forfeit vs. Fullerton).
"It's definitely a trap game for us," Palomar coach Joe Early said. "Despite its league record, Mesa is a very good team, which is pretty obvious on film. They've played everyone tough, with the exception of Fullerton which used ineligible players. We'd better be ready to play."
If Palomar beats Mesa and Cerritos defeats El Camino, also on Saturday, Palomar will become the Central League champion and will receive one of the three automatic SoCal playoff berths because of it has the best power ranking among the Central teams.
If there is a three-way tie for first among Palomar, Cerritos and El Camino , Palomar also would receive the Central's automatic berth if it defeats Cerritos. (If El Camino beats Cerritos it will receive the automatic playoff seeding, but Cerritos is favored vs. EC).
If Palomar does not qualify for the playoffs, it will still go to a bowl game. The best Mesa can do is to receive a bowl bid.
Riverside, which is now 9-0 after Fullerton forfeited its 34-33 victory over the Tigers, and Saddleback, who play each other Saturday, are both undefeated in league after their forfeit wins over Fullerton. The RCC-Saddleback winner will receive the Southern League's automatic playoff berth and the loser will be the only team in the league with a chance to receive the No. 4 playoff seeding.
Southwestern is 6-3 with its forfeit win vs. Fullerton, but is 1-3 in the Southern League. Southwestern is bowl eligible, but can't become playoff eligible. Southwestern, which plays last-place Orange Coast on Saturday, is in fourth place in the league, trailing Riverside, Southwestern and Golden West.
Grossmont, which finishes its season vs. Golden West on Saturday, is 1-8 and 1-3 in the Southern League and its season will end Saturday, no matter what.