Friday night marks the last round of football games for the 2018 regular season, and 24 hours later, all teams will know their postseason fate.
Some teams in the Front Row Preps region have wrapped up league championships or, at least, the head-to-head tiebreaker in the event of a co-title (Merced, Sonora, Ripon Christian, Big Valley Christian). But others are still be fighting for their postseason lives.
Here's a look who's in, who's out and who still has a chance to qualify for postseason play. And remember, the section takes the top 12 teams from each divisional column (only the top six move on from Divisoin VII) of the CalPreps.com power rankings. The exception? If a team from outside the top 12 wins a league title, it automatically gets in and the lowest remaining team gets the boot. And, teams must have least four overall victories to qualify. Without four wins a ranked team would be booted and the next eligible team outside the 12 would get in. , champions of Division I leagues must play in the D-I playoffs. Same for D-II champs and on down the line.
Central California Athletic League
In: Turlock, Pitman, Downey
On the bubble: Modesto is No. 13 in the Division I column. However, No. 12 Lincoln is 3-6 this year and needs to beat powerful St. Mary's in the season finiale. That's not likely to happen and, in that case, Lincoln would fall out of the list and Modesto would get promoted and join the Divison I bracket. If the Panthers beat Downey in the season finale, they're in. Actually, they probably get in with a loss to Downey, too.
Central California Conference
In: Merced, Buhach Colony, Patterson
Out: El Capital, Central Valley, Atwater
On the bubble: Golden Valley. Rick Martinez, who led tiny Le Grand to four conseutive blue banners (2010-13), has done a fantastic job down in Merced. However, his first season at Golden Valley likely ends without a playoff appearance. Curretnly, the Cougars (6-3) are No. 11 in the Division III column. That's the good news. The bad? No. 17 Cordova likely will win the Greater Sacraemento League and push everybody down a spot. That means Golden Valley slips to No. 12 and No. 12 Del Campo drops to 13th and is on the outside looking in. But things are never that simple when it comes to the playoffs. Golden Valley probably will lose to Merced on Friday and Del Campo is likely to pulverize Bella Vista, meaning those teams could end up trading spots come Saturday afternoon. Best bet for the Cougars? Shock the world and beat Merced.
Valley Oak League
In: Central Catholic, Oakdale, Manteca, Sierra
Out: Weston Ranch, Kimball
On the bubble: East Union. Things are simple for the No. 11 Lancers (3-6). If they beat Manteca, they're in. If they lose, they don't have four victories and they're out. The big game Friday night in the VOL will be Central Catholic at Oakdale. Win or lose, Central Catholic is tied to the D-II playoffs, a loaded minefield. Oakdale, however, needs to win to create a tri-championship between itself, Central and Manteca. However, if the Mustangs win the tiebreakers, they'd be designated the No. 1 seed of the three and tied to the D-III playoffs since the VOL is rated as a D-III league. Oakdale needs to beat Central by five points or less, to grab a piece of the VOL title, but avoid being the No. 1 seed, and thus would be eligible to drop into the D-IV playoff bracket. Just food for thought.
Western Athletic Conference
In: Pacheco, Mountain House
Out: Beyer, Ceres, Davis, Johansen, Lathrop
On the bubble: Los Banos. The Tigers (6-3) hold the No. 11 ranking in the D-V column. But they're an underdog to crosstown rival Pacheco Friday night. Actually, Los Banos probably still gets in even if it loses, but that would leave LB coach Dustin Caropreso sweating it out come Saturday. Though the Tigers are more than capable of springing an upset on Pacheco, they'd actually be better served by suffering the loss. A win would make them co-champs of the Division IV-rated WAC and, with the head-to-head advantage over Pacheco, they'd be the league's No. 1 seed and linked to D-IV playoffs. If they're the runners-up, they're free to land wherever their enrollment sends them, and that likely would be Division V. Tricky.
In: Modesto Christian, Escalon, Hilmar, Ripon, Hughson
Out: Livingston, Riverbank
On the bubble: There is no bubble, per se. But here's an interesting note: If Ripon pulls the upset of Modesto Chrisitan on Friday, MC would no longer be mandated to play in the D-V playoffs as champion of a D-V league. Instead, the Crusaders would fall into the D-VI bracket, along with Hilmar. Anybody up for a repeat of last year's D-VI section final? Well, Escalon might have something to say about that rematch. And with Colfax already tied to the D-V playoffs, the D-VI bracket becomes the personal playground of the TVL.
Mother Lode League
In: Sonora, Calaveras, Argonaut, Amador
Out: Bret Harte
On the bubble: Summerville. The Bears are No. 10 in the Division VI column, but are close to being an out. With a 3-6 record they must beat Sonora to get in. And, remember, Sonora has never lost a league game since joining the MLL in 2014. That won't change Friday.
In: Ripon Christian, Denair, Orestimba, Waterford
On the bubble: Gustine, Le Grand. The Redkins (5-4) are No. 12 in the D-VI column, but are staring at a potential loss to Orestimba in the Battle for the Chief. Le Grand (3-6) is 13th, and needs to beat Mariposa for that fourth win and become eligible.
Central California Athletic Alliance
In: Big Valley Christian
Out: Brookside Christian, Millennium, Sierra Ridge Academy/ROP, Turlock Christian, Delta Charter
On the bubble: Stone Ridge Christian. Remember, only the top six advance from the D-VII column and the Knights currently sit at No. 6, but it's as good as being seventh since No. 7 Woodland Christian is going to win the Sacramento Metro and gain automatic entry, pushing down SRC. The only path for the Knights is to hope Sierra Ridge stuns Big Valley Christian, creating a co-title between BVC and SRC. That would garner the Knights an automatic berth.