By Ray Hamill — The North Coast Section recently adopted a new look for the football playoffs for 2019, expanding to seven divisions while reducing the overall number of playoff teams.
The new format was approved by the section’s Board of Managers on March 29 by a vote of 25-16-1, although NCS commissioner Gil Lemmon told Bay Area media the model is still tentative for now.
The changes would see seven eight-team playoff brackets, instead of the recent 16-team brackets, which would eliminate many of the lopsided first-round games and byes for some higher seeds.
The overall number of playoff teams would be reduced from 69 in 2018 to 56 in 2019.
The NCS would also keep the eight-person football bracket, which South Fork competes in.
Interestingly, the new format would see Eureka drop to Division 5 and in the mix with Del Norte, Fortuna and St. Bernard’s, leaving all four Big 4 schools in the same playoff bracket.
Arcata would be included in Division 6, with McKinleyville, Ferndale and Hoopa Valley all in Division 7.
The new format would also see the Open Division eliminated.
The divisions are based both on school size and competitive equity over the past three seasons.
Eureka, while dominating in the regular season, has not actually played for an NCS championship in either of the past two seasons, which would in part explain why the Loggers are not in a higher division.
The Loggers lost in the second round of their 16-team bracket twice in the past three seasons.
Each bracket would have three rounds of games, with the winner advancing to the NorCal regional championships and a potential place in a state bowl game.
The new divisions can be viewed at the NCS website.