Palo Alto, M-A, SHP and Menlo School head to postseason


A coin flip likely saved defending state champion Palo Alto from possibly making an early exit from the 2011 Central Coast Section football playoffs.

The SCVAL De Anza Division champion Vikings won a coin flip with PAL Bay Division champ Terra Nova, thus getting a No. 4 seed while the Tigers got the No. 7 seed.

So, while Terra Nova (8-2) must face No. 2 Bellarmine (9-1) in Friday's first round at San Jose City College, Palo Alto (8-2) will be hosting No. 5 Leland (9-1) at 7 p.m.

Paly's history with Bellarmine is not a good one and the Vikings dodged a big bullet by not getting the Bells in the first round. An opening victory, however, will pit Paly against either No. 8 St. Francis (5-5) or No. 1 Oak Grove (9-1) in the semifinals.

Palo Alto and Oak Grove were the only public schools to opt up to the Open Division.

Bellarmine, meanwhile, possibly awaits Palo Alto should both teams reach the final on Friday, Dec. 2.

Palo Alto and Leland haven't played any of the same teams this season. Paly's losses were to Mitty (27-21), the No. 6 seed in the Open Division, and to Los Gatos (17-14), the No. 1 seed in Division II. Leland lost only to Oak Grove (40-24).

Palo Alto, which has scored more than 40 points in five of its past six games, is averaging 40.2 points a game while giving up 17.4. Leland is averaging 37.9 points a game and allowing 23.

While Paly is hosting Leland, Menlo-Atherton will take its No. 2 seed in Division I and host No. 7 Santa Clara at 7 p.m. The Bruins (8-2) won the SCVAL El Camino Division while the Bears were second in the PAL Bay Division.

Serra (8-2) is the top seed in the division and in the bracket opposite Menlo-Atherton, which could face No. 3 Homestead (7-3) in the semifinals. The Bears and Mustangs met in the 2002 Large School Division finals wit M-A rallying for a 48-34 victory.

Sacred Heart Prep and Menlo School, meanwhile, both will play in Division IV, which may be one of the more loaded brackets. Palma (8-1-1), which normally opts up to the Open Division, decided moving up after losing the Tri-County Athletic League title to San Benito. Thus, the Chieftans are No. 1 in Division IV.

Menlo (7-3), which needed an at-large berth to get in, got the No. 7 seed and will face No. 2 Carmel (10-0) in a rematch of the 2009 Division IV finale won by Carmel, 56-35. The Knights avenged that loss with a 34-29 nonleague win in 2010.

Sacred Heart Prep, the No. 4 seed, will open defense of its division title on Saturday by hosting No. 5 Scotts Valley (8-2) at 1 p.m. The teams met earlier this season on Sept. 23 with the Gators (7-3) coming away with a 31-15 victory. Since then, however, the Gators have suffered a number of key injuries.

SHP hit a low point in the season with a 26-0 loss to Menlo last Friday night and have scored only 30 points in its past three games, two of them losses.

Should the Gators advance, they'll have to face top-seeded Palma on the road in the semifinals.



First round

All games Friday, 7 p.m.

No. 5 Leland (9-1) at No. 4 Palo Alto (8-2)

No. 8 St. Francis (5-5) at No. 1 Oak Grove (9-1)

No. 6 Mitty (6-3-1) at No. 3 San Benito (7-2-1)

No. 7 Terra Nova (8-2) vs. No. 2 Bellarmine (9-1) at San Jose City College


First round

Friday (All games 7 p.m.)

No. 7 Santa Clara (8-2) at No. 2 Menlo-Atherton (7-3)

No. 6 Salinas (6-4) at No. 3 Homestead (7-3)

No. 5 Mountain View (6-3-1) at No. 4 Milpitas (7-3)


No. 8 Wilcox (3-5-2) at No. 1 Serra (8-2), 1 p.m.


First round

Friday (All games 7 p.m.)

No. 6 Willow Glen (4-5-1) at No. 3 South San Francisco (8-2)

No. 7 El Camino (6-4) at No. 2 Pioneer (7-3)

No. 8 Leigh (6-4) at No. 1 Los Gatos (8-1-1)


No. 5 Sobrato (7-3) at No. 4 Aragon (8-2), 1 p.m.


First round

Friday (All games 7 p.m.)

No. 7 St. Ignatius (3-6-1) at No. 2 Aptos (9-1)

No. 5 Sacred Heart Cathedral (5-5) vs. No. 4 Monterey (8-2) at Monterey Peninsula College

No. 8 Del Mar vs. No. 1 Christopher (9-1) at Gilroy High


No. 6 Burlingame (5-5) at No. 3 Valley Christian (5-5), 7 p.m.


First round

Friday (All games 7 p.m.)

No. 7 Menlo School (7-3) vs. No. 2 Carmel (10-0) at Pacific Grove High

No. 6 Half Moon Bay (6-4) vs. No. 3 Monte Vista Christian (9-1) at Cabrillo College

No. 8 Soledad (6-3-1) vs. No. 1 Palma (8-1-1) at Salinas Sports Complex


No. 5 Scotts Valley (8-2) at No. 4 Sacred Heart Prep (7-3), 1 p.m.

— Palo Alto Online Sports

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