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Sierra misses cut for 4th straight playoff appearance
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Wide receiver Eric Ceja and the Manteca High Buffaloes are rolling into the Sac-Joaquin Section Division-III playoffs with a Manteca-area best 9-1 record. They host Cosumnes Oaks of Elk Grove Friday. - photo by HIME ROMERO

Eleven 5-5 teams qualified for the Sac-Joaquin Section playoffs in the Division I-IV brackets.

Sierra wasn’t one of them.

The 76 postseason teams — 12 in Divisions V and VI — were revealed after the final four Week-10 contests in the section concluded Saturday night.

As expected, the Manteca area’s top two squads, Manteca (9-1) and Ripon (8-2), were awarded high seeds and first-round home games. Also expected was Ripon Christian’s berth in Division VI after its emphatic 62-9 win at Gustine.

Manteca is the area’s highest-seeded squad at No. 3 and opens with No. 14 Cosumnes Oaks (7-3) next Friday. The Buffaloes have been upset in the first round the last two years.

Ripon was No. 5 in Division IV, but to avoid matchups between league rivals in the first round the Indians were switched with Central Catholic. So instead of kicking off the postseason against fellow Trans-Valley League member Modesto Christian, they will take on No. 11 Livingston (5-5). Central and Livingston are both of the Western Athletic Conference. The TVL has five teams in the Division-IV bracket.

Ripon Christian is No. 4 in the lowest division and faces No. 5 Rite of Passage/Sierra Ridge (5-5) at Stouffer Field Saturday. It’s the second postseason appearance for RC and the first time that both Ripon schools qualify.

Sierra’s regular-season finale with Weston Ranch had playoff implications for both squads, and Sierra prevailed 49-19 to even its record and give itself a chance. A lot had to happen for the Timberwolves to get in however, and it appears that not enough went their way.

Center earned the final available at-large berth in the 64-team pool and is seeded 16th in Division III. The difference was strength of schedule -- the 50 wins tallied by its opponents were five better than Sierra’s.

This is the third year of the section’s current format, and the first time that 5-5 teams advance with at-large berths.

Two 4-6 finishers got in with automatic berths, both from the Golden Empire League. Dixon earned the outright title in the GEL, while Marysville stunned Mesa Verde to prevent a co-championship and force a three-way tie for second. Dixon is No. 15 in Division IV, and Marysville is 16.

Teams are playoff eligible by winning at least two league games and can earn automatic bids by placing in the top two in their league. Total wins, head-to-head results, total wins of opponents and rankings are used to help determine seeds, and brackets are set up according to enrollments.