The new Central Coast 11-man football leagues for the area's Central Section members have been revealed.

The new leagues consist of three four-team leagues.

I do not like that format.

Three league games in a 10-game regular schedule are simply not enough, I think. League games should always be the focus of any regular-season campaign.

Under the 2019 format, 30 percent of Central Coast Central Section regular season games will consist of league contests. That's not nearly enough focus on league games.

After winning the Central Section 8-man championship in 2018 (congratulations, Royals), Mission Prep moved back to an 11-man program for 2019.

With Mission Prep back in the 11-man fold, the 2019 Ocean League consists of Mission Prep, Morro Bay, Santa Maria and Templeton.

The Mountain League consists of Arroyo Grande, Paso Robles, Righetti and St. Joseph. The new PAC 4 League consists of Atascadero, Nipomo, Pioneer Valley and San Luis Obispo.

At first glance, as far as league competitive equity, that might have been the best whoever established the leagues could do. Still, I think three league games in a 10-game regular season schedule are not enough.

Atascadero and San Luis Obispo competed in the same league as Arroyo Grande, Paso Robles and Righetti for years. I think they could have been placed in the Mountain League along with those schools plus St. Joseph, which played in the Los Padres League before the breakup of the LPL thanks to the move to the Central Section on the part of most of the area schools.

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Nipomo and Pioneer Valley in the Ocean League could have made for, I think, a pretty competitive league. Nipomo edged Pioneer Valley for the Ocean League title last year.

Santa Maria and Nipomo were each in the running for a Northern League championship in 2016 and 2017, with Nipomo winning in 2016 and Santa Maria winning in 2017, the year the Saints made it to the Division 12 title game in their farewell season in the Southern Section.   

Two six-team leagues instead of three four-team leagues would not have affected anyone's playoff prospects since, in the Central Section, any squad in a team sport that does not win a league championship can petition for an at-large berth into the playoffs.

Five league games in a 10-game regular season is not bad. Three? That number is too few.

Puppy power

Jeff McNeil and his wife are now proud owners of a puppy.

A clip on ESPN recently featured Central Coast native McNeil, now a MLB All-Star who is having a banner season for the New York Mets.

Friday night, McNeil homered during the Mets' 6-3 win as part of his campaign to convince his wife to agree to adopt a puppy who had caught his eye when the North Shore Animal League reportedly brought a group of incredibly cute dogs looking for a home to the Mets' park.

It didn't take long for Jeff McNeil to win his case. Saturday, the McNeils were reportedly proud owners of a new puppy.

If I was in Jeff McNeil's position, I would have lobbied to adopt that awesome puppy, too. Here's to happy endings.

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Sports Reporter

Kenny Cress, sportswriter for the Santa Maria Times since September of 2000. BA in political science from Cal Poly Pomona. BA in journalism from Cal State Northridge.