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Mission Hills deserved No. 1 seed

11/10/2013, 11:00am PST
By John Maffei

No system is flawless, but Grizzlies' lopsided win over Oceanside was decisive.

Mission Hills players savor their win over Oceanside in September.

There is no perfect system.

Leave it to the computers, and the San Diego Section Open Division football playoff pairings would have been drastically different.

Instead of Mission Hills, Eastlake, Oceanside and Helix as the top four seeds as voted on by the seven-man seeding committee of former and current coaches, athletic directors and school officials, the MaxPreps computers liked Oceanside, Helix, Eastlake and Mission Hills.

That would have been wrong.

The computer doesn’t measure head-to-head matchups. Human beings do.

San Diego Section Commissioner Jerry Schniepp chooses the committee. It covers all areas of San Diego and Imperial counties, as well as all divisions. I wouldn’t change a man there.

I may not always agree with their selections, but all vote with honesty and integrity.

The committee nominated Mission Hills, Oceanside and Eastlake for the top seed. It was generally agreed that Helix was No. 4.

Based on Mission Hills’ 30-6 win over Oceanside in the fifth week of the season, the Pirates were eliminated for the No. 1 spot.

So now it was between Mission Hills and Eastlake. Both schools played a game against Arizona schools, the Grizzlies winning and the Titans losing.

Eastlake, which had a 50.7 power rating and a 26.1 schedule rating by MaxPreps, defeated three teams that didn’t make the playoffs — Vista, Escondido and Chula Vista. The Titans also beat Madison (seeded No. 1 in Division II), St. Augustine (No. 2 in Division II), Sweetwater (No. 2 in Division IV), Otay Ranch (No. 12 in Division I), Olympian (No. 6 in Division I) and Bonita Vista (No. 9 in Division III).

Mission Hills, with a 44.8 power ranking and a 25.0 strength of schedule by MaxPreps, also defeated three non-playoff teams — Rancho Bernardo, Valley Center and Escondido.

The Grizzlies beat Oceanside (No. 3 in the Open Division), Rancho Buena Vista (No. 5 in Division II), San Marcos (No. 5 in Division III), Bonita Vista (No. 9 in Division III) and Fallbrook (No. 12 in Division III). Mission Hills lost 13-10 in double overtime to San Pasqual (No. 1 in Division I).

There were two common opponents. Eastlake beat Escondido 55-14 and Bonita Vista 27-0. Mission Hills beat Escondido 42-0 and Bonita Vista 48-7.

In this era of running clocks, the committee called those games a push for seeding purposes.

Despite the computer readouts, the seeding committee believed Mission Hills’ win over Oceanside and a double-overtime loss to San Pasqual was worthy of a No. 1 seed.

What’s the big deal between the 1-2-3 seeds?

Mission Hills hosts No. 8 Steele Canyon on Friday, no easy task despite Steele Canyon’s 3-7 record.

Eastlake hosts a 4-6, up-and-down Poway team.

Let’s say Mission Hills and Eastlake survive the first round, Mission Hills gets the winner of La Costa Canyon-Helix in the semifinals while Eastlake would get the winner of Oceanside-Torrey Pines.

Honestly, it’s a pick-your-poison deal there.

Who would I have seeded No. 1?

I predicted it would be Mission Hills, and I’ll stick with that.

Elsewhere, only one team in Division IV — Sweetwater at 6-4 — has a winning record. Because of the parity, the committee struggled here. The entire six-division process took a tick over three hours.

The 12-team Division IV took more than 60 minutes of that. And you ended up with two three-win teams in Mater Dei Catholic and University City and two two-win teams in EC Southwest and El Cajon Valley making the playoffs.

It’s really time to look at the divisions and at how many teams make the playoffs.

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