Another view: The good, the bad and the ugly from Sac-Joaquin Section's realignment proposals
The first meeting for proposed realignments of Sac-Joaquin Section schools and their athletic leagues is drawing various opinions. Nothing is set in stone at this point, and more meetings will be held before changes actually happen.
In the meantime, here’s a look at the good, the bad and the ugly when considering the possible changes to the landscape of local sports in the foothills.
The Sierra Foothill League, considered by most to be the best football league in the Sac-Joaquin Section, could be getting even better.
Adding Folsom and Oak Ridge to the six-team SFL and forming an eight-team league is drawing comparisons to a superconference to the likes of college football’s SEC, which has produced the national champion for as long as most people care to remember.
Also seeming to benefit from proposed realignment would be Colfax High, which apparently doesn’t want to stay in the Pioneer Valley League if rival Placer High stays in the league. Colfax claims Placer, which has a larger enrollment, is winning league titles in all sports at a high clip.
Proposals from the first meeting have Placer on the move to the Capital Athletic League, which some believe will provide stronger competition for the Hillmen when facing Casa Roble, Christian Brothers, El Camino, Oakmont, Sacramento High and Vista del Lago.
“I believe that in many sports we can compete highly in a bigger division with better competition,” tweeted Zack Madrigal, a Placer High sophomore. “We have VERY Good up and coming kids in the sports program and future hillmen too.”
While Colfax reportedly wants to relocate to the Golden Empire League, Richard T. Estrada of Black Hat Football tweets that the GEL would likely not want the Falcons to be a part of their league. The thought behind that is Colfax would dominate against smaller-sized schools.
With an ever increasingly shrinking enrollment, Colfax, which currently has 715 students, projects to have 550 kids by 2014.
Another bad aspect of the proposed realignment would be that Placer High will likely not pull in as much money from gate sales in a new-look CAL. None of those schools are geographical rivals — or even close in proximity. And by the time rivalries are created, another realignment process four years from now could send the schools elsewhere.
Placer High would no longer get to play against local rivals in league games, which area athletes look forward to all-season long. Sure, they could always matchup in less meaningful preseason contests. But those simply would not be played with the same intensity or draw the same interest.
“Football is about getting better to play your rival #comeonnow,” tweeted Placer High running back Todd Valliere, who will be a senior and one of the top players to watch during the PVL season next year.
Placer players’ eyes tend to light up when they’re asked if they’re excited for their upcoming contests against the Bruins or Falcons. The students, both boys and girls, consider these showdowns to be “the biggest game of the year” in every sport.
Also, more fans tend to flock to these games, whether they’re home or away. And statistics show that Auburn Journal stories are read more often when the locals go head-to-head — proof that there’s more interest in local matchups than ones against schools from the Sacramento area.
Bowman Wachob, a Placer High assistant football coach asked me on Twitter, “Who would our rival be?”
If he doesn’t know, how am I supposed to know?
Only time will tell the answer to his question, because there’s no clear-cut choice. In a way, it’d be like taking the Oakland Raiders out of the AFC West, where they play against all rivals, and moving them to the AFC South, where they have no rivals.
Wachob brought up another interesting point.
“What game would the fans come to watch in the rain? None,” he tweeted. “Colfax/bear River. The entire town... Make that towns!”
Steve Montoya, executive editor of MaxPreps and brother of Placer football coach Joey Montoya, doesn’t appear to be a fan of the plan either.
“One of the best parts of HS sports is playing against the guys you grew up hating,” he tweeted. “You don't get that 50 miles away.”
And this isn’t the first time a Placer rivalry would be broken up because of realignment. Placer used to be in the Sierra Foothill League and compete against Del Oro of Loomis.
“First we lose DO from our days....now Colfax and BR. It's sad,” tweeted Erik Egan, a Placer football supporter. “Neighborhood rivalries are what this gm is about.”
Another downfall to Placer playing in the proposed CAL is traveling. A potential loss on gate sales and added expenses for traveling in the pay-to-play era sure doesn’t sound so great.
Simple calculations via Google maps show the Hillmen would be traveling much more for league games than they currently do now. Of course, the CAL would have six opponents compared to the PVL’s five. But the numbers don’t lie.
Placer’s furthest current league foe in distance is Center (26 miles one way). If you added up the miles Placer travels to and from it’s PVL opponents, the number comes out to 184.6 miles.
In the CAL, the distance from Agard Street to each of the six schools and back adds up to 311.2 miles. Christian Brothers (35.2 miles one way), Sacramento High (33.9) and El Camino (28.4) are the furthest.
Oakmont (17.5 miles) would be the closet.
Anybody out there have a potential 2014 meeting of the Vikings vs. the Hillmen circled on their calendar, rain or shine?
Reach Matthew Kimel at firstname.lastname@example.org. Follow him on Twitter @matthewkimel