Before getting to this week’s power rankings, let’s take a look at the CIF Central Division, which is composed of the Desert Valley League and four other leagues. Three teams from each league earn automatic playoff spots, with one at-large berth up for grabs.
Ranked teams: No. 5 Arlington, No. 7. J.W. North, No. 10 Rancho Verde
Outlook: Rancho Verde, the defending Central Division champion, was upset by Poly (Riverside) 21-14 on Friday. Although Poly’s victory has shaken up the league, Rancho Verde would be in the running for an at-large berth if it finishes fourth. The Mustangs still haven’t played Arlington or J.W. North.
Ranked teams: No. 2 Heritage, No. 4 Elsinore, No. 6 Paloma Valley
Outlook: Heritage hasn’t played Elsinore or Paloma Valley yet; Elsinore beat Paloma Valley 31-28 on Friday. If these three teams remain ranked, it might shake up the playoff seeding. Could the league’s third-place team host a first-round game?
Ranked teams: No. 1 Summit, No. 3 Kaiser
Outlook: After beating Kaiser 29-7 on Friday, Summit will likely go on to win the league title. The third-place team will have a losing record. Colton, Fontana and Grand Terrace are all 1-5, and Bloomington is 0-6.
Ranked teams: No. 9 Chino
Outlook: The DVL and Mt. Baldy League both have only one team ranked. Last year, Colony beat Chino to win the league title and advanced to the Central Division semifinals. Chino hosts Colony on Oct. 26.
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What are the Desert Valley League’s postseason chances this year? With four games remaining in the regular season, it’s still too early to tell, but the league’s relative weakness might hurt it when the CIF determines the playoff pairings. With five leagues in the division, not every second-place team is guaranteed a home playoff game. There are eight first-round games, and 10 teams will finish either first or second.
If the pairings were determined by the current rankings, the second-place DVL team would likely have to go on the road. With at least two ranked teams apiece, the Inland Valley, Sunbelt and Sunkist leagues would likely each be given two home playoff games, and the DVL and Mt. Baldy League would probably get one apiece.
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Here are the power rankings:
1. Palm Springs (4-2, last week No. 1): The Indians will try to keep the top spot when they take on Palm Desert on Friday.
2. Palm Desert (1-5, 2): The Aztecs are eager to take the field after they were forced to forfeit Friday’s game against Cathedral City.
3. La Quinta (1-5, 3): The Blackhawks will get their shot to climb the rankings when they travel to Palm Springs next week.
4. Desert Hot Springs (4-3, 4): The Golden Eagles are off this week as they prepare for a big game against Twentynine Palms.
5. Cathedral City (4-2, 6): A victory over Indio on Friday would help the Lions’ playoff chances.
6. Indio (1-5, 7): The Rajahs jump ahead of Shadow Hills because they have beaten Yucca Valley.
7. Shadow Hills (3-3, 5): The Knights drop two spots after their loss to Yucca Valley on Friday.
8. Coachella Valley (1-5, 8): The Arabs’ three-game road swing begins Friday in La Quinta.
9. Xavier Prep (1-6, 10): The Saints climb one spot after their victory over Firebaugh on Friday.
10. Desert Mirage (0-6, 9): Injuries have hurt the Rams this year.
1. Desert Christian Academy (5-1, last week No. 1): Ranked third in Division I, the Conquerors open Victory League play against Bloomington Christian on Friday.
2. Desert Chapel (6-0, 2): The Eagles, ranked second in Division II, face Division II No. 1 Joshua Springs on the road Friday.
3. Marywood-Palm Valley (2-3, 3): The Firebirds are aiming to win their second consecutive game Saturday as they face Calvary Baptist.