Mission Hills football coach Chris Hauser gets a shower after the Grizzlies' win over Oceanside.
Only one coach was wearing a smile when the San Diego Section eight-team Open Division football pairings were posted Saturday afternoon.
Mission Hills coach Chris Hauser was "thrilled to be the top seed."
Eastlake's John McFadden and John Carroll of Oceanside, the two and three seeds, weren't quite as enthusiastic.
Mission Hills (9-1) is ranked No. 2 in the county, but beat Oceanside (8-2), the No. 1-ranked team in San Diego. Oceanside's other loss was to 50-39 TO Serra Gardena (10-0), which is ranked No. 2 in the state and No. 7 in the nation by MaxPreps.
Eastlake (9-1) is No. 3 in the county.
"We didn't lose to a team in San Diego," said Eastlake coach John McFadden, whose only loss was in the season opener to Hamilton, the No. 6-ranked team in Arizona.
"I thought we deserved the No. 1 seed.
"But Mission Hill is deserving, too. They've had a very consistent season.
"If we're good enough, we'll face them down the road."
Mission Hills' only loss was to then No. 1-ranked San Pasqual 13-10 in double overtime.
San Pasqual (9-1) is seeded No. 1 in Division I.
Mission Hills, Eastlake and Oceanside were all under consideration for the top seed, but Oceanside's 30-6 loss to Mission Hills dropped the Pirates out of the picture.
And Carroll wasn't happy.
The difference between a two and three seed - assuming both teams win their quarterfinal games - is playing a semifinal on the road.
"In this bracket, every game you play is like a CIF championship," McFadden said. "So to get the opportunity to play at home is huge."
Hauser absolutely agrees.
"There are a bunch of good teams in this division," Hauser said. "This isn't like some years where you could look past someone, play sloppy and win.
"There are only eight teams in the Open Division. It's a short journey - two wins and you're playing for a championship in Qualcomm Stadium.
"So you better be motivated, and you better be prepared."
Mission Hills hosts Steele Canyon (4-6) on Friday, Eastlake hosts Poway (4-6) and Oceanside hosts Torrey Pines (6-4).
Helix (8-2), the No. 4 seed, beat Steele Canyon 14-13 last Friday and hosts La Costa Canyon (7-3) this week.
Asked if he was OK with the fourth seed, Helix coach Troy Starr said "it's about where I thought we'd be.
"We have a a good team, but we're up and down. It all depends on what team shows up."
The other top seeds include San Pasqual (9-1) in Division I, Madison (9-1) in Division II, Francis Parker (10-0) in Division III, Monte Vista (5-5) in Division IV and Crawford (10-0) in Division V.
"I'm thrilled we're No. 1," said San Pasqual coach Tony Corley, whose only loss was 38-36 to Rancho Buena Vista. I felt we deserved the top seed.
"I appreciate the respect we were shown, now we need to go out and play football.
"There's pressure every game you play, so the No. 1 doesn't bring extra pressure. The playoffs bring a different pressure, though."
In one of the scheduling quirks, Rancho Buena Vista - seeded No. 5 in Division II - most travel to No. 12-seeded Serra on Friday because Serra won the City League championship, RBV was tri-champion with Mission Hills and San Pasqual in the Avocado East League, but Mission Hills was designated the league champion, winning a three-way coin flip.
GIRLS VOLLEYBALLTorrey Pines (29-3) and La Costa Canyon (23-8) were the top two seeds in the Open Division.
Scripps Ranch (33-2) and West Hills (29-6) drew the top two seeds in Division I. Bishop's (21-11) and Santa Fe Christian (12-16) were the top seeds in Division II.
Calvin Christian (20-11) was seeded No. 1 in Division III with Tri-City Christian (11-20) No. 2. The top seeds in Division IV were Escondido Adventist Academy (21-1) at No. 1, followed by San Diego Jewish Academy (13-4).