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Four local teams in state playoff picture

12/04/2013, 2:58pm PST
By John Maffei

San Diego has a chance to land multiple football teams in regional competition.

Mission Hills quarterback Connor Wynn tries to escape pressure applied by Oceanside defender Issac Dixon. Sean Haffey U-T

Waiting is the hardest part.

But that's exactly where Chris Hauser, Sean Doyle and Richard Sanchez - head coaches of San Diego Section football champions Mission Hills, Cathedral Catholic and St. Augustine - find themselves.

All three coaches are waiting for the Southern, Los Angeles and Central section playoffs to conclude this weekend to see if their teams will get a spot in the Southern California Regionals.

The California Interscholastic Federation's 10 section commissioners will meet Sunday to choose the playoff teams.

Only section champions are eligible for the SoCal Regionals.

CalPreps doesn't have an L.A. City or Central Section team in its Top 25 statewide.

Mission Hills is No. 9, Cathedral No. 14 and St. Augustine No. 19.

Mark Tennis of CalHiSports and Eric Sondheimer of the L.A. Times, two men with extensive knowledge of the state playoff system, believe San Diego could get as many as three teams in the regionals.

Tennis said the Open Division Regional will take the winner of the Bellflower St. John Bosco (13-0)-Santa Ana Mater Dei (10-2) game. They play Saturday night for the Southern Section Pac-5 championship.

The opponent would be Serra Gardena (13-0) if it beats West Hills Chaminade (11-2) in the Southern Section Western Division title game.

Should Serra lose, the door would be open for Chaminade or Corona Centennial (11-2) if it beats Vista Murrieta (12-1) in the Southern Section Inland title game.

The Open Division pairings will have a definite effect on Division I where Mission Hills and Cathedral Catholic would play.

Both Tennis and Sondheimer believe Mission Hills (12-1) - the San Diego Section Open Division champion - has a good chance of getting one of the two spots in the Division I game.

The opponent - depending on Southern Section winners - could be Vista Murrieta or Centennial.

"But Cathedral Catholic (San Diego Section Division I champion) has a chance," Tennis said. "If Mission Hills is in and it comes down to Cathedral vs. Vista Murrieta, Cathedral has a great chance because it beat Vista Murrieta (35-28 in Week 4).

"I know of at least three section commissioners who put a lot of stock in head-to-head games."

In Division II, Tennis said "St. Augustine has a good resume."

The Saints have two losses, but the losses are to respected programs - Oceanside and Eastlake.

St. Augustine has a win over Cathedral and beat one-loss Mission Bay in the San Diego Section Division II title game.

The winner of Friday's Valencia (11-2)-Newhall Hart (11-2) game for the Southern Section Northern championship would appear to be a lock for one of the Division II spots.

Norwalk (13-0) if it beats La Serna (11-2) in the Southern Section Southwest title game could knock St. Augustine out.

"And Chaminade, if it wins and drops down, could be a wild card here," Tennis said.

El Cajon's Christian High is also a wild card.

The Patriots are playing Saturday for the San Diego Section Division III title. Depending on how you interpret the criteria, Christian could be a factor in a berth for the regional Division II, III or IV game.

Christian, a school with fewer than 500 students, has filed a lawsuit to play in Division IV and not Division II.

"This is a whole new experience for us," said Mission Hills coach Chris Hauser. "We all want the chance to keep playing, play for a state title, but it's out of our hands now."

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