Let’s try to make sense of some of the league standings and playoff possibilities on this all-important week of regular season finales. First, the Serra League. Alemany, with a 28-14 win over Loyola, already has at least a share of the league title. The Warriors have yet to lose a Serra League game since joining last year. They are in the Southern Section Pac-5 Division playoffs regardless of what happens Friday night. The other two teams from the Serra League that will make the playoffs is anyone’s guess. Sherman Oaks Notre Dame and Loyola actually control their destiny. If Loyola beats Crespi, the Cubs are in the playoffs and the Celts are out. If Notre Dame beats Alemany, the Knights are in and Crespi and Bishop Amat are out. “Notre Dame is a solid team,” Alemany coach Dean Herrington said after the Loyola game. “They might be playing for a playoff spot. We gotta come ready to play.” Amat is on a bye and needs a lot of help to make the playoffs. The Lancers are 1-3 in league but can still get in if Notre Dame and Crespi lose. Amat, Crespi and Notre Dame would each have 1-3 records in league and coin flips would decide which team makes the playoffs. The Pac-5 Division has no wild-card berths, which means some very good teams are going to see their seasons end prematurely.
The playoff picture in the Marmonte League is a little more clear but not by much. Westlake heads into its season finale with St. Bonaventure with an 8-0 league record and all alone in first place. St. Bonaventure is tied for second place with Oaks Christian at 7-1. Believe it or not, Oaks Christian still has a chance to win a share of the Marmonte League title if the Seraphs, at home at Ventura High School on Thursday night, can beat Westlake. Whichever team wins the Marmonte League title will most likely earn the top seeding in the Southern Section Northern Division playoffs. The last guaranteed playoff spot from the Marmonte League will go to either Moorpark or Thousand Oaks. Both teams are tied for fifth place with 4-4 records. Moorpark is home against Simi Valley, the surprise of the Marmonte League and sitting comfortably in fourth place. Thousand Oaks ends the Marmonte League schedule at home against Calabasas, a team that hasn’t won a league game all season.
Three teams are tied for first place in the Foothill League. Valencia, Saugus and Canyon head into the league finales with 3-1 records. Canyon has the easiest road to the league championship. The Cowboys play Golden Valley, a team that hasn’t won a league game since joining in 2006. Valencia and Saugus play at College of the Canyons on Friday night. The winner most likely earns a share of the league championship. The loser might be at the mercy of a coin flip to determine its playoff fate. Hart, all of a sudden in fourth place in league and fighting for a playoff spot, can move into the picture with a win over West Ranch. Hart is 2-2 in league after blowing a 10-point lead and losing to Canyon last week. The loser of the Valencia-Saugus game will be 3-2 and possibly in a tie for third place with Hart when the Foothill League season ends.
The Mission League has its own drama. Chaminade and Gardena Serra come into the Mission League finale with undefeated 4-0 records. Serra has home-field advantage, but Chaminade has been crushing Mission League teams. The Eagles have shut out two of their Mission League opponents and are coming off a 33-0 win over Cathedral. Serra, the reigning Mission League champion, dropped a season-high 70 points on Harvard-Westlake last week. Not only will the winner take the Mission League championship, but most likely earn the top seeding in the Southern Section Western Division playoffs. Chaminade is the top-ranked team in the Western Division. Serra is ranked No. 3.
Finally, out in the West Valley League, Birmingham pulled off a stunning, 48-7, win over El Camino Real to move into first place with an undefeated 4-0 record. El Camino lost its first league game of the season and saw its three-game winning streak snapped. Birmingham can wrap up the West Valley League championship with a win over Reseda Cleveland, a team that has not won a league game all season. But even with a win, Birmingham will have a tough time in the City Section Division I playoffs. The Patriots might not be seeded higher than fifth, behind San Pedro, Narbonne, Dorsey and Venice. With strong showings in their season finales, Carson or Crenshaw could jump over Birmingham in the playoff seedings. It would be nice to see some respect dished out to the West Valley.