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MVC football goes to Gabilan in 2013

Modified: Thursday, Dec 6th, 2012


Monte Vista Christian’s Cody Washington runs with the ball during the Mustangs’ game against North Salinas earlier this year. The Mustangs’ football team will play in the Monterey Bay League’s Gabilan Division in 2013. (Glenn Cravens/Register-Pajaronian file)


WATSONVILLE — Monte Vista Christian vs. Palma.

The football matchup is going to be a reality thanks to the equity format in the Monterey Bay League.

The league’s board of managers finalized the realignment of the two divisions in the MBL on Wednesday morning, and there was plenty of movement.

The bottom three teams in the Gabilan Division, the supposed stronger of the two divisions, were sent to the Pacific Division. In return, the top three teams in the Pacific Division moved up.

Football wasn’t the only sport that had some shuffling. Cross-country, water polo and girls volleyball teams all saw some shifting among the ranks.

But those sports didn’t have a Wednesday-morning meeting to discuss the changes. Those involved in the football programs did meet for about an hour.

“The major focal point was the third team moving in football, and that was Monte Vista Christian and Christopher,” said MBL Commissioner Tim McCarthy. “I think they made some good decisions. It’s always tough when you get to the bubble teams.”

Monte Vista Christian finished 8-2 in the regular season before losing in the first round of the CCS Division IV playoffs. It was 4-2 in the Pacific Division this past season, losing to Seaside and Alisal, which finished first and second, respectively.

The Mustangs have had a winning record in the past three seasons and reached the postseason the past two seasons. Those streaks will be tested against the likes of schools that boast huge class sizes.

“It’s going to be a tougher division, without a doubt,” said Monte Vista Christian coach David Reese. “Being one of the five- or six-smallest teams in the entire CCS, it’s going to be a tough battle. We’ve had 30 guys (on the team) just once since I’ve been here.”

History doesn’t favor or go against Monte Vista Christian when it comes to the eastern teams in the Gabilan Division because the Mustangs have rarely played against Salinas-based schools.

Reese said it’s unknown which divisional games will be played at home. This includes the matchup against Palma, which could happen on Monte Vista Christian’s grass field or at the new Rabobank Arena, currently under construction next to the Salinas Sports Complex.

“They (the board of directors) will make sure we get three home and three away games,” Reese said. “I don’t know how it will pan out, but we’re going to play a lot of good teams.”

Based on last year’s records, all seven teams that will be in the Gabilan Division all had a winning record and a combined 59-23 mark.

That can’t be said for the revamped Pacific Division, which went a combined 16-54 in 2012.

North Monterey County (5-5), which is staying in the Pacific Division, is the only one of the seven teams that was at .500. The other six teams had a losing record, with only Watsonville (4-6) even coming close to the break-even mark.

In girls volleyball, only two of the 14 teams are on the move. Monte Vista Christian is being bumped from the Gabilan Division and sent to the Pacific Division. Going up in its place is Christopher of Gilroy, which won the Pacific Division title this past season.

Staying in the Gabilan Division is Watsonville, which makes coach Ron Benavente happy.

“We wanted to stay up,” Benavente said. “We only lost two seniors, and we have a lot of returning players.”

The task going into 2013 will be to get ready to show that it can hang with the Notre Dames and Salinases of the world. The Wildcatz had only three divisional wins.

“We have some big shoes to fill with Cassey (Covington) not coming back, but that’s what the offseason is for,” Benavente said. “The hard work will come in the next eight months. Being in the Gabilan definitely helped our team.”

There wasn’t much other movement involving local teams in other sports. Aptos’ boys and girls water polo teams will remain in the Gabilan Division. Watsonville’s girls tennis team will stay in the Gabilan Division.

“The whole equity concept is good for the kids,” McCarthy said. “Everyone seems to like it for the competiveness. You might have to travel further, but it’s a really good competitive experience for the kids.”

•••

AT A GLANCE

The Monterey Bay League Board of Managers voted Wednesday to approve realignment in the fall sports for 2013. Some teams moved to the stronger Gabilan Division while others were sent to the weaker Pacific Division. A look at all of the divisions in all of the fall sports:

(* — moved)

FOOTBALL

GABILAN

Alisal*

Monterey

Monte Vista Christian*

Palma

Salinas

Hollister

Seaside*

PACIFIC

Christopher*

Alvarez*

Gilroy*

North Monterey County

North Salinas

Pajaro Valley

Watsonville

GIRLS TENNIS

GABILAN

Alisal

Alvarez*

Monterey

Salinas

Hollister

Watsonville

PACIFIC

Christopher

Gilroy

Monte Vista Christian

North Salinas

Notre Dame*

Pajaro Valley

CROSS-COUNTRY

GABILAN (Both genders)

Alisal

Monterey

North Monterey County

North Salinas*

Salinas

Seaside*

Hollister

PACIFIC (Both genders)

Christopher

Alvarez

Gilroy*

Monte Vista Christian

Palma*

Notre Dame

Pajaro Valley

Watsonville

GIRLS VOLLEYBALL

GABILAN

Christopher*

North Salinas

Notre Dame

Salinas

Hollister

Seaside

Watsonville

PACIFIC

Alisal

Alvarez

Gilroy

Monterey

Monte Vista Christian*

North Monterey County

Pajaro Valley

BOYS WATER POLO

GABILAN

Aptos

Carmel

Monterey

Salinas

Hollister

Santa Cruz

Soquel

PACIFIC

Christopher

Alvarez

Gilroy

Harbor

Palma

San Lorenzo Valley

Stevenson

GIRLS WATER POLO

GABILAN

Aptos

Carmel

Hollister

San Lorenzo Valley

Santa Catalina

Santa Cruz*

Soquel

PACIFIC

Christopher

Alvarez

Gilroy

Harbor

Monterey

Salinas*

Scotts Valley

Stevenson*



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