A new season begins for Los Banos, Pacheco and Dos Palos football tonight in the opening round of the playoffs.
The three local teams enter three separate brackets -- Pacheco in Sac-Joaquin Section Division III against Oakdale, Los Banos in SJS Division IV against Summerville, and Dos Palos in the Central Section's Division IV against Fowler. Only Los Banos, seeded No. 5 in Division IV with a 9-1 record, plays at home.
"We don't know a whole lot about them," Los Banos coach Dustin Caropreso said about Summerville. "They're 8-2 for a reason. You're not 8-2 just because. They play smashmouth football, and they're going to come at you. We'll have to respond to the way they play football."
The Los Banos team that enters the playoffs looks almost the opposite of the team at the beginning of the season, with a defense gelling at the right time and an offense that has looked shaky the last two games.
"We're getting back to getting an identity. Right now we have no identity on offense," Caropreso said.
Pacheco (5-5), in just its second year of varsity play, was one of five teams with .500 records in the first four divisions to earn a playoff berth, taking a No. 16 seed on the strength of its schedule. The Panthers were rewarded with a trip to top-seeded Oakdale (9-1), historically one of the section's football powerhouses.
Dos Palos (4-6) will travel to Fowler (8-2). The Central Section allows all schools, regardless of record, to enter the playoffs.
All games are at 7 p.m. For details from Friday's Crosstown Clash, see Page B1.