A referee places a football on the field. (Shutterstock)

North Coast Section details postseason football process in wake of fire delays

With the North Coast, Oakland and San Francisco Sections having been impacted the greatest, concerning the poor air quality caused by the Camp fire, the North Coast Section has issued a decision on what it will do with its championship brackets, commissioner Gil Lemon said in an email to local media on Thursday morning.

The NCS has 12-team brackets, with the authority to take up to an additional four teams — if teams apply — taking four weeks to play games. Even with the relief granted by the CIF — which permitted moving CIF Nor-Cal games back a week — the NCS, which includes Marin Catholic, will not complete their D2-D5 football brackets prior to Saturday night’s deadline of determining the teams which would have an opportunity to move to the CIF Nor-Cal Championships, which will take place the weekend of December 7-8.

The Open Championship game (De La Salle vs. Liberty) will finish, as well as Division 1 — where the champion is displaced by the Open Division runner-up — and D6, the NCS’s 8-person championship, where there is no advancement to a CIF Championship. Therefore, Division 1 will finish next weekend, the Open champion will most likely be the Open team in the CIF State Championships, and the runner-up in the Open will be placed in a high division of the CIF Nor-Cals.

The Wildcats (9-3), who face Rancho Cotate (11-1) in the NCS Division II semifinals at 7 p.m. on Friday night, will be allowed to complete the championship (weekend of Dec. 7-8) and not advance to the CIF Nor-Cals. The NCS has polled all 16 semifinal schools and asked if they would like to finish the NCS Championship, or do they wish to advance to the CIF Nor-Cals.  All schools have responded, but Lemon said that in the interest of competition this weekend, information will not be shared until after the semifinals are completed.

The decision on who would advance was previously to be decided by a coin flip. As of now, in any bracket where there is not consensus about finishing the NCS Championships, NCS staff will follow the outlined procedures adopted by the NCS Executive Committee and determine any advancing team first based on any head-to-head competition.

If there is no head-to-head competition, a determination will still be made via a coin flip. Any coin flip will be conducted at the NCS Office, on Sunday, Dec. 2 at 8:30 a.m.  Lemon will conduct any coin flip and use a NFHS coin. No different than a NCS game, the higher seeded team will call either heads or tails. Lemon will flip the coin and allow the coin to land on the office floor. The winner will be the advancing team. The loser of the coin toss will conclude their 2018 football season.

Any bracket that does not conclude with a champion determined via competition will result in a vacated championship, Lemon said via email. No awards will be presented and no school will be listed as a champion for historical purposes. The unfinished bracket will be posted on the NCS’s history page for football.  For those brackets where there is a conclusion, awards will be presented, champions declared.

For those brackets, the NCS is working with the CIF and the Central Coast, Sac-Joaquin and Northern Sections to potentially schedule one more game for the section champions. Any such games will not be labeled as CIF Nor-Cal Championship games. Instead, they will be considered bowl games, an effort to provide NCS champions with one additional competition, as typically done through the CIF Nor-Cal Championship process.

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