CIF-SS Open Division gives teams a better chance at postseason success
FEB 12, 2014 11:31p ET
There has been a lot of uncertainty around what to expect with the Open Division set to make its debut this postseason.
With that uncertainty has been the notion that the Open Division will be great but the rest of the divisions are set to be watered down as a result.
Downey head coach Larry Shelton is not a proponent of that school of thought.
"I think the Open Division is going to help us this year and give us a fighting chance in I-AA to make some noise," he said. "I'm a huge proponent of it. I love it. Obviously, in the situation we're in, it's the greatest thing to happen to us."
The story of Downey is a story similar to others around the Southern Section. The Vikings have accrued enough points to be assigned to the gauntlet that is Division I-AA for the postseason. Downey has won 21 of their first 26 games this season yet aren't even ranked in the I-AA poll.
Shelton will tell you success is nothing new for his program. His teams have gone 86-26 over the past four seasons but finding that same success in the postseason has been hard to come by.
“It doesn't mean we're going to win one game but at least it gives us a chance.”
"Our program's been doing quite well for some time and we just happen to be in Division I-AA where it's hard to advance in the playoffs because you get some superpowers," Shelton said.
Shelton and his program are a throwback of sorts. He's been the head coach for 26 years and all of the success over the years has been with neighborhood talent.
With Division I-AA, along with others, expected to be gutted to an extent, it opens up the door for programs like Downey to have a better chance at postseason success.
"I think sometimes change is good and in this case I would be all for it," Shelton said. "I'm the first one to admit we'd have a difficult time playing at the level the Mater Dei's and the Etiwanda's are at. We are probably a notch below that but when they take those teams out it at least gives us a chance.
"It doesn't mean we're going to win one game but at least it gives us a chance."