Manteca High’s football team is the only one representing seven area schools to have clinched a Sac-Joaquin Section playoff berth so far.
Ripon is likely a win away and three others are on the bubble.
The SJS released its Week-7 win totals Monday, and according to the Bulletin’s projected seedings Sierra is team No. 64 in the Division-I-IV pool.
By season’s end, 64 teams qualify out of 20 leagues in the four largest enrollment-based divisions in the section. The 16 largest qualifying teams make up Division I, and the Division-IV bracket will be comprised of the 16 smallest. There are exceptions, however. For example, Laguna Creek and St. Mary’s cannot play below Division II in the postseason, even through their enrollments — 1,690 and 1,035, respectively — would fit lower divisions.
The top 12 teams in Divisions V and VI advance, with the six largest forming the Division-V bracket.
League champions and runners-up earn automatic berths in all divisions, and at-large qualifiers make it based on number of wins.
Seeds are determined by win total, head-to-head results, league standing and combined wins of all opponents and CalPreps rankings in that order. The tiebreaking criteria for teams vying for the final postseason berth are as follow: head-to-head, combined wins of all opponents, combined wins of all defeated opponents, CalPreps rankings.
In Division III, Valley Oak League rivals Oakdale and Manteca are 1 and 2, but defending champion Del Oro (6-1) — the No. 2 overall-ranked team in the section by MaxPreps — looms as the No. 3 seed. Oakdale and Manteca, both 7-0, will meet Oct. 28 at The Corral.
Sierra (3-4) is currently the 16th seed in Division III and will likely have to win its final three contests to qualify. The magic number is 6, though that does not guarantee a playoff berth. The Timberwolves were in the same predicament last season, starting out 2-4 before winning their final four to earn the No. 15 seed in Division III.
On Friday, Sierra heads to Sonora (5-2), which is No. 10 in Division IV. Also on the bubble is Weston Ranch (3-4), which is No. 67 overall in Divisions I-IV. The Cougars have a tough road ahead, however, with Oakdale, Kimball and Sierra remaining on their schedule.
Ripon (5-2) has a good chance of improving its position in the Division-IV bracket. Currently 11th, there are some winnable games ahead in Trans-Valley League play for the Indians.
Ripon Christian (3-4) is two spots shy of the final qualifying spot in Division V/VI, but like Ripon the Knights have a realistic shot of making a jump because their last three opponents are beatable. Delhi, which hosts RC on Friday, stands in the way and is No. 10 overall.