By Bill Tamburrino
The North County Conference has re-leagued for the 2012-13 and 2013-14 school years. Ramona High School gets the old good news/bad news gig. Ramona is in two different leagues.
The NCC basically has formed two sets of leagues — one set for football and another set of leagues for the rest of the sports. This year the NCC had three teams that don’t field football teams and in the near future Carlsbad and Vista will add schools that don’t field football. That makes scheduling tough.
Ramona will return to the Valley League in all sports but football and will remain in the Palomar League for two more seasons in football.
As previously stated in this column, the main motivating factor in forming leagues in the North County Conference is football gate. So the league wields a strong hand in football scheduling not only in league games but in cross league games and in “rivals week” games.
Ramona’s pig skinners will face league foes Poway, Rancho Bernardo, Torrey Pines and Westview in Palomar League action. The Bulldogs will have mandated cross league football games with El Camino and Orange Glen.
“The North County Conference used a formula based on wins and losses to determine the cross league games,” explained Coach and Athletic Director Damon Baldwin. “The three schools had similar records in football the last two seasons. That was a factor in determining the cross league games,”
Ramona’s week seven “rivalry” is Oceanside High School.
“We can opt out of that game if both schools can find another opponent,” said Baldwin. “We have played Oceanside closely recently. I have talked to Coach Carroll and he would like to get a different opponent for several reasons — travel being one of them. We would like to play a different team in the middle of league than Oceanside.”
Oceanside is in a unique position. The Pirate football team is a powerhouse that has won two state title games. However, the majority of its other sports struggle. Oceanside will be in the Avocado West in football and the rest of their teams will compete in the Valley League.
Ramona’s record against Oceanside High School is 1 win, 1 tie and 24 losses in 26 meetings. That is hardly a rivalry game. Both teams play a very physical brand of football, and having a non-league game in the middle of league action is not beneficial for either team.
Ramona’s Valley League foes will be Orange Glen, Valley Center, Oceanside, Del Norte and Mission Vista.
“As the athletic director, I think that it is a good fit for the majority of our teams in the Valley League,” said Baldwin. “San Dieguito Academy was supposed to be in the league but Del Norte switched with them at the final meeting. As football coach, I am happy to stay in the Palomar League. We faced a lot of adversity on the varsity last season but our frosh and junior varsity competed well in the Palomar League.”
In this writer’s opinion, Ramona should also be in the Valley League in football and Mt. Carmel should be in the Palomar League in all sports. The Mount is in the Valley League in football.
Ramona only has one vote. Many of the schools in the NCC benefit from block voting.
Poway Unified School District has five schools in the NCC and they tend to take care of one another. Ramona doesn’t have an academy. Any school district that has an academy (NCC speak for a school that does not field a football team) benefits from some very special recruiting advantages. Student/athletes in the San Dieguito and Vista districts can choose any school in the district to attend. Poway has similar rules. Del Norte has no rules.
Here is an idea. When we get to five schools that do not field a football team, make them a league. I even have a name: The Academy League.
Another idea: Put all of the schools that have academies or open enrollment agreements in the same league and invite Cathedral Catholic to join that league. If gate is so important, that league would fill up some stadiums on Friday nights.
The San Diego Section of the CIF is a flawed system when it comes to competitive equity in the regular season. The North County Conference is a big part of that flaw.