Winless California HS football team makes postseason

November 11, 2015 / Football
A California high school football team that lost every game during the regular season has advanced to the playoffs, a result of the state athletic association’s controversial playoff formula.

El Dorado High School Golden Hawks
El Dorado High School Golden Hawks

El Dorado High School finished its regular season schedule with an 0-10 record, losing by an average of 26 points per game. However, one of its opponents was forced to forfeit a game for using an ineligible player, pushing the Golden Hawks’ record to 1-9. Based on the California Interscholastic Federation’s system for selecting at-large playoffs teams, that was all they needed.

Other teams that finished the season with four or five wins were left out.

From Yahoo!’s Prep Rally:

Those teams can blame El Dorado’s surprise inclusion on the rigidity of the CIF’s formula for comparing at-large hopefuls head-to-head in each division. The CIF awards two points for playing a stronger schedule and one apiece for hailing from a stronger league, boasting a superior overall record and possessing a better record head-to-head or against common opponents.

That formula favored the Golden Hawks over fellow at-large candidates because it emphasizes strength of schedule more than wins and losses. El Dorado gained three points for playing in their division’s toughest league and scheduling teams that went a combined 56-44 this season yet only surrendered one point because of their inferior record.

The team’s head coach, Zach LaMonda, said he understands that other programs might be upset with the decision, but he feels like his players have earned a spot because of how they battled through adversity. The team has dealt with a sharp decline in participation, yet a number of seniors continued to show commitment by giving their best effort on and off the field.

This isn’t the first time a winless team has made the postseason. Last year, Houston Scarborough (Texas) finished the season 0-10 — with a 57-game losing streak — yet qualified for the postseason based on the state’s peculiar system for selecting teams. Houston Scarborough lost 64-0 in the first round.

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