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Playoff game previews, predictions

11/14/2013, 8:18pm PST
By John Maffei, Craig Malveaux

Postseason gets under way in six divisions Friday.


Mt. Carmel's Tobe Ezeokoli just gets a hold of San Marcos' Isiah Hennie after a long reception in their Valley League game this season. Both teams begin the playoffs Friday night.

OPEN DIVISION (quarterfinals)

(8) Steele Canyon (3-7) at (1) Mission Hills (9-1)

Preview: Steele Canyon has a losing record, but the Cougars have outscored opponents 177-172. The team has lost five of its last six games, including 14-13 last week to Helix on a missed PAT. Steele Canyon has lost one game by a point, two games by two, two by three and another by eight. Top-seeded Mission Hills has outscored opponents 350-96. The Grizzlies have won three games in a row since a double-overtime loss to San Pasqual.

Next: Winner plays La Costa Canyon-Helix winner.

Prediction: Mission Hills 35, Steele Canyon 14.

(5) La Costa Canyon (7-3) at (4) Helix (8-2)

Radio: 1090-AM.

Preview: La Costa Canyon has won five of its last six games, including 27-0 over Torrey Pines last week. Those 27 points are the most in a game this season for the Mavericks. Helix has won five games in a row. The Highlanders have allowed just 134 points in 10 games. Running back Nathan Stinson has been making big plays for Helix on offense and special teams.

Next: Winner plays Steele Canyon-Mission Hills winner.

Prediction: Helix 21, La Costa Canyon 17.

(6) Torrey Pines (6-4) at (3) Oceanside (8-2)

Preview: Torrey Pines lost its last two games of the regular season — 24-21 to Ramona on a last-minute field goal and 27-0 to La Costa Canyon. Oceanside has won five in a row, outscoring those teams 188-33 with three shutouts. QB Matt Romero has thrown 23 touchdown passes and Thai Cottrell has 1,474 total yards and 17 TDs for the Pirates.

Next: Winner plays Poway-Eastlake winner.

Prediction: Oceanside 31, Torrey Pines 17.

(7) Poway (4-6) at (2) Eastlake (9-1)

Preview: An up-and-down Poway team beat Rancho Bernardo 35-31 last week. The Titans have been outscored 329-183. Eastlake has won nine in a row after a 28-17 loss to Chandler (Ariz.) Hamilton in the season opener. The Titans have allowed only 98 points this season with four shutouts, including the last three games in a row. Eastlake has thrown for just 616 yards this season while rushing for 3,083. Isaiah Strayhorn leads the way with 973 yards while Traylon Reed has 810 on just 61 carries.

Next: Winner plays Torrey Pines-Oceanside winner.

Prediction: Eastlake 32, Poway 14.

John Maffei

DIVISION I (first round)

(9) Point Loma (5-5) at (8) El Camino (4-6)

Preview: The Wildcats backed into the playoffs, losing four of their last five games in the brutal Avocado West League to finish the regular season under .500. The Pointers are on a skid, too. They live and die by their fly sweep, running offense, which fluctuates weekly.

Next: Winner plays (1) San Pasqual (9-1).

Prediction: Point Loma 24, El Camino 17.

(12) Otay Ranch (3-7) at (5) Grossmont (8-2)

Preview: In two losses this season, Grossmont has rushed for 50 yards or less on 3 yards per attempt or less. In eight victories, the Foothillers averaged 195 rushing yards while scoring 27 touchdowns. Despite a rocky start, the Mustangs finished the season winning two of their last three. Otay Ranch lost to Grossmont 42-7 in Week 4.

Next: Winner plays (4) Carlsbad (8-2).

Prediction: Grossmont 35, Otay Ranch 13.

(11) Mira Mesa (5-5) at (6) Olympian (7-3)

Preview: In three of their last four games, the Marauders have surrendered 41 points or more, resulting in defeats. Olympian has been anchored by a strong defense, giving up 14 points or less in four of their last five games.

Next: Winner plays (3) Cathedral Catholic (8-2).

Prediction: Olympian 27, Mira Mesa 10.

(10) Westview (3-7) at (7) Mt. Carmel (6-4)

Preview: When the Wolverines and Sundevils met in Week 6, Westview comfortably handled Mt. Carmel in a 45-13 rout. The Sundevils rushed for 136 yards and passed for 64 yards, their second-lowest total of the season.

Next: Winner plays (2) Ramona (9-1).

Prediction: Westview 28, Mt. Carmel 15.

Craig Malveaux

DIVISION II (first round)

(9) Brawley (8-2) vs. (8) Mission Bay (9-1)

Site: Clairemont High.

Preview: Brawley has won its last three won in a row. The Wildcats’ best win this season is 18-0 over Hoover in Week 1. Mission Bay has won four in a row. The Bucs have scored 40 or more points in a game six times this season.

Next: Winner plays (1) Madison (9-1).

Prediction: Mission Bay 35, Brawley 24.

(5) Rancho Buena Vista (7-3) at (12) Serra (7-3)

Preview: Rancho Buena Vista has won four of its last five games with the only loss in that stretch to Mission Hills. The Longhorns finished tied for first in the Avocado East League with Mission Hills and San Pasqual but lost a coin flip to be the designated champion in playoff seeding. Though a lower seed, Serra gets to host the game because the Conquistadors are City League champions. Serra had a five-game win streak snapped last week, losing 37-13 to Cathedral Catholic.

Next: Winner plays (4) Mount Miguel (8-2).

Prediction: Rancho Buena Vista 27, Serra 21.

(11) Del Norte (5-5) at (6) El Capitan (9-1)

Preview: Del Norte won its last two games. The Nighthawks used a last-second hook-and-lateral to edge Mt. Carmel last week. QB Parker Lappin has thrown for 1,684 yards while Marc Gallant has rushed for 811. El Capitan’s only loss is to Mount Miguel. The Vaqueros attack through the air behind QB Brad Cagle, who has thrown for 2,218 yards and 26 TDs. RB Dennis Smith has rushed for 802 yards, and WR Scott Root has 31 catches for 799. El Cap’s defense has pitched four shutouts.

Next: Winner plays (3) Imperial (10-0).

Prediction: El Capitan 31, Del Norte 13.

(10) Scripps Ranch (6-4) at (7) West Hills (7-3)

Preview: Scripps Ranch lost its last two games to St. Augustine and Mira Mesa. The Falcons have been outscored 196-220 despite their winning record. West Hills went 3-3 after a 4-0 start to the season, losing 48-6 to Grossmont last week.

Next: Winner plays (2) St. Augustine (8-2).

Prediction: Scripps Ranch 24, West Hills 21.

John Maffei

DIVISION III (first round)

(9) Bonita Vista (4-6) at (8) Granite Hills (5-5)

Preview: A tough schedule for Bonita Vista, including two matchups with section Top 10 teams this season, has resulted in a 1-5 record against teams with winning records. The Eagles have scored 45 points or more four times in the regular season.

Next: Winner plays (1) Francis Parker (10-0).

Prediction: Granite Hills 17, Bonita Vista 13.

(12) Fallbrook (3-7) at (5) San Marcos (6-4)

Preview: In four losses, the Knights surrendered 31 points or more and rushed for 128 or less, including just 32 yards on the ground against Mission Hills, which resulted in a 42-14 defeat. Fallbrook has had a tough season, allowing 35 or more points in six of the Warriors’ seven defeats.

Next: Winner plays (4) Santa Fe Christian (6-4).

Prediction: San Marcos 24, Fallbrook 13.

(11) Calexico (4-6) vs. (6) Hoover (7-3)

Site: Patrick Henry High.

Preview: With the exception of Week 1 against Brawley, when the Wildcats posted 18 points in a shutout, the Cardinals’ stingy defense hasn’t allowed more than 12 points in any game throughout the regular season. Calexico capped the season in a rough patch, losing five of the Bulldogs’ last six matchups.

Next: Winner plays (3) Hilltop (9-1).

Prediction: Hoover 30, Calexico 13.

(10) Bishop’s (7-3) at (7) Morse (4-6)

Preview: The Tigers were three seconds away from beating Serra and winning four of their last five to cap the regular season. In those three victories, Morse scored 41 points or more each time. Bishop’s found its offensive stride in the last two games of the schedule, tallying 96 points in consecutive wins while only allowing 34.

Next: Winner plays (2) Christian (9-1).

Prediction: Morse 31, Bishop’s 30.

Craig Malveaux

DIVISION IV (first round)

(9) Castle Park (5-5) at (8) University City (3-6)

Preview: Castle Park beat Mater Dei Catholic last week to finish the regular season at .500. Junior quarterback Jordan Danielson leads the Trojans. University City beat Clairemont 10-9 last week to earn the No. 8 seed and a home game. Dominic Lewis has come on strong at running back for the Centurions.

Next: Winner plays (1) Monte Vista (5-5).

Prediction: Castle Park 31, University City 17.

(12) El Cajon Valley (2-8) at (5) Mater Dei Catholic (3-7)

Preview: El Cajon Valley has lost four in a row and has been outscored 191-7 in those games. The Braves are hoping top running back Matthew Shearin can bounce back from injuries. Mater Dei Catholic has lost three of its last four games, yet coach John Joyner’s Crusaders still grabbed the fifth seed in this division.

Next: Winner plays (4) La Jolla (4-6).

Prediction: Mater Dei Catholic 21, El Cajon Valley 13.

(11) EC Southwest (2-7) at (6) Montgomery (4-6)

Preview: Southwest beat Calexico last week to snap a four-game losing streak. The Eagles have given up 40-plus points in four games. Montgomery lost its final two regular-season games to Mater Dei Catholic and Sweetwater by a combined score of 77-21.

Next: Winner plays (3) Central (5-5).

Prediction: Montgomery 31, EC Southwest 24.

(10) Clairemont (4-6) at (7) La Jolla Country Day (5-5)

Preview: Clairemont has thrown for just 354 yards this season. Alex Beaubien has rushed for 564 yards and Alessandro Baldassarre 505. After a strong start, La Jolla Country Day has lost three in a row and four of the last five. The Torreys are led by freshman QB Braxton Burmeister and junior RB Cole Goldklang.

Next: Winner plays (2) Sweetwater (6-4).

Prediction: La Jolla Country Day 28, Clairemont 17.

John Maffei

DIVISION V (quarterfinals)

(8) SD Calvary Christian (8-2) vs. (1) Crawford (10-0)

Site: San Diego High.

Preview: The Royal Knights dominated the Citrus League and ended the regular season on a six-game win streak, averaging 364 rushing yards per contest, including two 540-yard games. Like Calvary Christian, Crawford’s offense is predicated on the rushing attack. However, the Colts’ defense has been just as impressive, shutting out six opponents.

Next: Winner plays Army-Navy-Palo Verde winner.

Prediction: Crawford 42, SD Calvary Christian 34.

(5) Army-Navy (6-4) at Palo Verde (4-6)

Preview: To cap the regular season, Army Navy rushed for 1,108 yards on 8.85 yards per attempt the last four games, which produced scores of 36, 56, 47 and 34. Quarterback Chris Salisbury leads the Warriors. Palo Verde’s defense fell apart in the latter part of the season, allowing 54 or more points four times.

Next: Winner plays SD Calvary Christian-Crawford winner.

Prediction: Army-Navy 28, Palo Verde 17.

(6) Escondido Charter (4-6) at (3) Mountain Empire (6-4)

Preview: The two football programs met in Week 6 and the Redhawks routed Escondido Charter 40-0 at home. It was Mountain Empire’s fourth game of the season scoring 40 points or more and Escondido Charter’s fourth defeat of the season in which it lost by 40 points or more.

Next: Winner plays Vincent Memorial-Holtville winner.

Prediction: Mountain Empire 35, Escondido Charter 7.

(7) Vincent Memorial (5-5) at (2) Holtville (8-2)

Preview: In Week 9 of the season, Holtville dominated Vincent Memorial 54-0, bulldozing the Scots for 327 yards and six touchdowns on 12.11 yards per carry. The Vikings added 87 yards and two touchdowns through the air, too.

Next: Winner plays Escondido Charter-Mountain Empire winner.

Prediction: Holtville 45, Vincent Memorial 10.

Craig Malveaux

Maffei season record: 60-17.

Malveaux season record: 61-16.

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