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Are changes coming for PAL football?
November 22, 2012, 05:00 AM By Nathan Mollat, Daily Journal Staff

Although the football season is not officially over for the Peninsula Athletic League — four teams are still in the playoff mix — the PAL still held their end-of-the-season coaches meeting to discuss the future of the league.

Some interesting information came out of that meeting, according to Aragon coach and athletic director Steve Sell.

First, the mundane. As is the case with the post-season meeting, the league decided on the restructuring of its three divisions. 2012 Ocean Division champion South City, and second-place finishers Menlo School and Sequoia, will be moving up to the Bay Division for the 2013 season, while Aragon, Burlingame and Half Moon Bay will move down to the Ocean.

It is the second time in three seasons the Dons will not be playing in the PAL’s top division and Sell has no problem with that. He said his frosh-soph team was outscored 205-24 this season.

"On paper, we deserved to go down,” Sell said.

For South City and Menlo, they return to the Bay Division for the first time since 2008, while Sequoia completed its rise from Lake Division champion in 2010 to the top division in the PAL for the first time.

Lake Division champion Capuchino and runner-up San Mateo will move up to the Ocean Division, while King’s Academy and Jefferson will move down into the Lake.

And now for the juicy portion of the meeting. Sell said the rumblings and grumblings about CCS may lead the PAL to look at alternatives to the CCS playoffs. The way CCS is currently set up, it’s an exception, rather than rule, that a PAL team wins a CCS championship.

"I think there is a growing sense of frustration,” Sell said. "Unless you’re a really small school, like Menlo or Sacred Heart Prep in Division IV … the chances of winning a section title are slim and none.”

It’s to the point that Sell and others are contemplating declining bids to CCS and just having their season finish with their rivalry games.

It’s not unprecedented. Currently, Lincoln-San Jose and San Jose Academy bypass CCS and instead face each other every Thanksgiving Day in the annual Big Bone Game. The San Francisco public schools are its own section and thus hold a league playoff to determine its "section” champion.

"If 7-3 doesn’t get into the playoffs and we finish with a win over Hillsdale (it’s OK),” Sell said. "Playing for a CCS title is becoming a holy grail.”

There is an even more extreme plan Sell said the PAL may begin looking into. Instead of playing in CCS, there would be a PAL playoff, with the championship game scheduled for Thanksgiving Day.

Again, there is precedent. For many years, the Little Big Game was played on Thanksgiving, well before the advent of CCS. When CCS became incorporated, the Mid-Peninsula League, among others, did not participate in the CCS playoffs. It wasn’t until 1978 that all the leagues that encompass CCS participated in the playoffs. From 1982 to 1992, the PAL played in what was called the CCS North, which was essentially a PAL tournament. There is now talk about going back to that type of system.

"It was a county football tournament (back them). Those games were exciting. It was a big community event,” Sell said. "Last week, we went down San Jose (to play Leland) and no one was there.”


A couple of former county basketball standouts are excelling on college courts. Former Serra star Decensae White, who plays for San Francisco State University, was named to the all-tournament team of the Ron Logsdon Classic in Rohnert Park. White averaged 20.5 points in two games, shooting 53 percent from the field.

In a 115-110 triple overtime loss to Dominican University, White filled the stat sheet. He finished with 24 points, going 7 for 15 from the field, including 3 for 3 from behind the 3-point arc. He hit on 7 of 10 from the free throw line, dished five assists and came up with three steals.

He had a similar line in a 86-78 loss to Minnesota State. He scored 17 points on 7 for 11 shooting, had two assists, one blocked shot and one steal.

Peter Pappageorge, who starred at Burlingame and Cañada College, is in his senior year at Long Beach State. After seeing limited action last year as a junior, Pappageorge was named team captain for the 2012-13 season. He has appeared in all four games for the 1-3 49ers. He started the season opener, a 75-65 win over North Alabama, he came off the bench to score six points against North Carolina and had three against USC. He returned to the starting lineup against Arizona, scoring 16 points in 33 minutes in a 94-72 loss.

For the season, Pappageorge is averaging 7.5 points per game, while playing 23 minutes.

Nathan Mollat can be reached by email: or by phone: 344-5200 ext. 117. He can also be followed on Twitter @CheckkThissOutt.

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