Football: How Palm Desert forfeit affects DVL race

Now that Palm Desert has to forfeit its game Friday against Cathedral City, how will that affect the race for the Desert Valley League football title?

First, let’s consider how the DVL race has played out recently. Since I started working at The Desert Sun in September 2008, the DVL season has followed the same script. Here’s what has happened:

  • Palm Springs, except for its second-place finish in 2009, finished first at 5-0;
  • La Quinta, except for its DVL title in ’09, placed second at 4-1;
  • Palm Desert came in third at 3-2;
  • and Cathedral City, Coachella Valley and Indio finished fourth at 2-3, fifth at 1-4 and sixth at 0-5 in some order.

There has been perfect symmetry with one team apiece at 5-0, 4-1, 3-2, 2-3, 1-4 and 0-5. The hierarchy is clear-cut.

In fact, since ’04, teams have aligned in perfect symmetry in the standings all but once. That happened in ’07 when Cathedral City defeated Palm Springs 45-40 in the final week of the regular season. Those two teams and Indio finished in a three-way tie for third at 2-3 in the DVL. Palm Springs ended up earning the third and final automatic playoff berth because of tiebreakers.

The DVL standings could end up muddled again this season. To ensure it secures a playoff berth, Palm Desert will now have to win the rest of its league games. It hasn’t defeated Palm Springs since ’07 and La Quinta since ’05. It still could make the playoffs if it loses to one of those two teams, but it would need some help. I don’t want to get a headache, so let’s skip those scenarios until some actual games are contested.

Here’s the full statement that the CIF Southern Section released Wednesday afternoon: “After having two area liaisons review last Friday night’s football contest between Palm Desert and San Bernardino High Schools and meet with both schools, this office has determined that due to the number of players that violated Bluebook Rule 1927 (Player Conduct) that neither school will have enough players to field a team for this week’s contests and therefore will forfeit those games. The schools scheduled for this week’s games will be notified about the forfeited games and the forfeited contests will serve as the next game suspensions for all ejected players and all players who left the team bench area.”

I understand the player conduct rule doesn’t have any leeway. It states, in part, “Any player who leaves the confines of the bench or team area during a fight that has broken out or may break out will be ineligible for the team’s next contest.”

But I wish that rule took into consideration players’ intent. In my opinion, it looked like many of the Aztecs were trying to protect their teammates when they left the bench and went on the field, specifically one player who was surrounded by about a dozen San Bernardino players. Those Palm Desert players weren’t doing anything wrong, and they shouldn’t be punished because of that.