SACRAMENTO, Calif. — The Paradise High School football team finished the season undefeated, but the Bobcats still might miss the playoffs.
Nearly a year following the Camp Fire — the deadliest and most destructive wildfire in California's history — the Paradise High School football team finished its 2019-20 season with a perfect 10-0 record, the first time the team has accomplished this feat since 2004. The Bobcats capped off their regular season with a 48-26 win over Redding's Enterprise High School.
Unfortunately for Paradise High School, finishing with a perfect 10-0 record might not be enough to keep the team playing into the playoffs.
So, why might they miss the playoffs? The Paradise Bobcats play in the Northern Section of the California Interscholastic Federation [CIF], which is the governing body for all high school sports in the state. Unlike other sections in the CIF, the Northern Section ranks its teams on a points system, rather than solely basing it on a team's record. Teams are given points for league play and strength of schedule, in addition to overall record.
In the Bobcats' case, they played in an independent league during the 2019 season, which cost them points that could have been awarded for wins over league opponents. As of Nov. 5, 2019, the Bobcats have 15.75 points in the Division 3 rankings where the top eight teams make the playoffs. Paradise is currently the ninth ranked team falling behind the eighth-ranked Orland Trojans (5-4, 17.18 points) by 1.43 points.
According to its website, the Northern Section has 40 football teams in its playoff points rankings and Paradise is one of two teams in the entire section to finish the regular season a perfect 10-0.
While the points system as it stands now would keep Paradise out of the playoffs, the Northern Section football committee will meet in Red Bluff on Saturday, Nov. 9, to make its final playoff brackets. The fate of the Bobcats' football season will be decided one day following the one-year anniversary of the devastating Camp Fire, which began on Nov. 8, 2018.
Should the undefeated Bobcats miss the 2019 Northern Section playoffs, it would be the second consecutive year the football team's season ends in heartbreaking fashion. In 2018, the third-ranked Bobcats were poised to make a run at a section championship before the Camp Fire forced their first playoff game against Red Bluff to be canceled.
Should the Bobcats make it into the playoffs, their first game would be on Friday, Nov. 15.
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