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Prep playoff preview, predictions

11/28/2013, 12:17am PST
By John Maffei, Craig Malveaux

San Diego Section Division III and Division IV semifinals.

San Marcos quarterback James Harwell will lead the Knights against Granite Hills.


(8) Granite Hills (7-5) at (5) San Marcos (8-4)

Kickoff: Friday, 7 p.m.

Radio: 1700-AM.

Preview: Last week, the bracket-busting Eagles scored on four of their first five possessions to upset top-seeded Francis Parker 28-16. Granite Hills advanced to the semifinals for the first time in 27 seasons while halting the Lancers’ eight-year streak. Two of the Eagles’ touchdowns came on short runs by quarterback Chris Meredith, who plays an integral part in the offense alongside running back Michael Ledesma. It may have been the ugliest victory of the season — a 3-0 win over Santa Fe Christian — but the Knights will gladly take it. Dual-threat quarterback James Harwell continues to lead San Marcos’ offense, combining for 19 touchdowns and 2,000 total yards through the air and on the ground.

Prediction: San Marcos 20, Granite Hills 14.

(3) Hilltop (10-1) vs. (2) Christian (10-1)

Site: Granite Hills High.

Kickoff: Friday, 7 p.m.

Preview: Hilltop rallied behind an interception and two Drake Madarang touchdowns to defeat Hoover 13-6 in overtime last week. The Lancers remained alive in the playoffs using their tried and true formula. Madarang, who has rushed for 1,216 yards and 11 touchdowns, eats up yards and the clock for Hilltop, whose defense has limited opponents to eight points or less seven times this season. As for Christian, the offensive juggernaut of El Cajon, the Patriots eased their way past Morse in a 42-14 quarterfinal victory that featured touchdown runs of 3, 1, 57 and 50 yards from Paris Miller, a 900-yard back. In the passing game, quarterback Michael Carrillo surgically slices defenses, throwing for 2,180 yards and 28 touchdowns to just one interception.

Prediction: Christian 14, Hilltop 10.

Next: Semifinal winners play for the Division III championship at 7 p.m. Dec. 7 at Mesa College.


(4) La Jolla (5-6) at (1) Monte Vista (6-5)

Kickoff: Friday, 7 p.m.

Preview: La Jolla used its up-tempo offense to beat Mater Dei Catholic 63-21 in the quarterfinals last week. RB Reid Martin rushed for 141 yards and three TDs in that game to push his season total to 1,002 yards. Eric Tims, who had 385 yards coming into the game, had 24 carries for 236 yards and three scores. The defense had seven sacks in the Mater Dei game, led by Justin Cook, who reached the quarterback four times. Monte Vista beat University City 41-2 in the quarterfinals, the team’s first playoff win since 2004. QB Thomas Walker had TD runs of 9 and 79 yards. Jaqui Morris rushed for a pair of scores as the Monarchs ran for 402 yards and allowed just 109 yards total offense.

Prediction: Monte Vista 27, La Jolla 24.

(3) Central (6-5) at (2) Sweetwater (7-4)

Kickoff: Friday, 7 p.m.

Preview: Central best EC Southwest 41-0 in last week’s quarterfinals, the third shutout of the season for the Spartans. The El Centro school has played three San Diego teams this season, losing to all three — West Hills (27-13), Granite Hills (51-29) and Santa Fe Christian (31-2). Sweetwater beat Clairemont 35-0 in the quarterfinals, the Red Devils’ first playoff win in more than a decade. RB Antonio Garcia has 1,182 rushing yards, including a 91-yard TD run against Clairemont. Angel Reyes has 1,106 yards, including a 74-yard TD run against the Chieftains. Sweetwater, which has thrown just 20 passes all season, averages 8.02 yards on 498 rushes.

Prediction: Sweetwater 35, Central 27.

Next: Semifinal winners play for the Division IV championship at 3:30 p.m. Dec. 7 at Mesa College.

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