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Prep playoff previews, predictions

11/20/2014, 7:23pm PST
By Kirk Kenney, John Maffei

Kirk Kenney, John Maffei make their picks

Sweetwater’s Raven Middleton, with 1,006 yards rushing, is a main cog in the Red Devils’ running game.


• All games Friday, 7 p.m.

(8) Carlsbad (5-5) at (1) Oceanside (10-0)

Preview: This is a rematch of an Oct. 24 Avocado West League game won by Oceanside 28-14. Carlsbad QB Jackson Whitteker has thrown for 1,189 yards while Dylan Rutledge has rushed for 1,313. Neither played the second half in the first meeting with Oceanside. Ryan Ligon leads the defense with 93 tackles. Oceanside attacks behind QB Matt Romero, who has thrown for 2,071 yards with 20 TDs and only four interceptions. Josh Bernard, a top defender, has 1,417 yards on offense — 1,146 rushing.

Winner plays: Eastlake-Mission Hills winner Nov. 28.

John Maffei prediction: Oceanside 35, Carlsbad 21.

(5) Eastlake (7-3) at (4) Mission Hills (8-2)

Preview: Eastlake attacks on the ground, Mission Hills through the air. Titans RB Isaiah Strayhorn has rushed 190 times for 1,445 yards. Eastlake’s defense has 45 QB sacks, including 19 by Nate Stewart. The Titans have won four in a row by a 165-61 count. Mission Hills QB Dakota Miller has three big-time targets in Dechaun Holiday, Martrel Holmes and TE Jared Cheatwood. The Grizzlies have allowed just 138 points this season while scoring 452.

Winner plays: Carlsbad-Oceanside winner Nov. 28.

Maffei prediction: Mission Hills 35, Eastlake 28.

(6) Ramona (8-2) at (3) Helix (8-2)

Preview: Helix defeated Ramona 42-0 in Week 5, beginning a string of four straight shutouts for the Highlanders defense. Injuries left the Bulldogs without QB Marco Cobian (1,486 yards, 19 TDs) and RB Brandon Gansch (1,538 yards, 22 TDs) against Helix. They’re back this time. The Highlanders have their own dynamic duo in QB Michael Austin (1,203 yards, 11 TDs passing/255 yards, four TDs rushing) and RB Nathan Stinson (1,365 yards, 18 TDs).

Winner plays: Torrey Pines-Cathedral Catholic winner Nov. 28.

Kirk Kenney prediction: Helix 24, Ramona 14.

(7) Torrey Pines (6-4) at (2) Cathedral Catholic (9-1)

Preview: Cathedral defeated Torrey Pines 8-7 in Week 3. A safety following a bad snap by Torrey Pines made the difference. The Falcons lost only one other game — to top-ranked Oceanside — thereafter. Cathedral Catholic, which lost its season opener to Folsom, is in the midst of a nine-game winning streak. The Dons averaged 50 points over the final four games, but the Torrey defense will provide a stiffer test.

Winner plays: Ramona-Helix winner Nov. 28.

Kenney prediction: Cathedral Catholic 24, Torrey Pines 21.


• All games Friday, 7 p.m.

(8) Grossmont (6-5) at (1) La Costa Canyon (5-5)

Preview: Grossmont averages 39.7 points and 506.8 yards on offense but allows 32.8 points on defense. QB Calvin Farris has thrown for 2,232 yards while Hunter Reiner has 68 catches for 813 yards. Jacob Denson has 91 tackles. La Costa Canyon has lost four in a row, going 0-4 in the Avocado West League. The Mavericks have allowed only 172 points this season but have scored just 165.

Winner plays: Point Loma-Madison winner Nov. 28.

Maffei prediction: La Costa Canyon 24, Grossmont 21.

(5) Point Loma (9-2) at (4) Madison (7-3)

Preview: These Western League teams met in the last game of the regular season with Madison winning 36-14. Madison is averaging 37.4 points and 417.7 yards. QB Kareem Coles has accounted for 2,227 yards and 33 TDs — 23 of those passing with only one interception. RB Isaiah Osborne averages 10.2 yards a carry on 110 rushing attempts. MLB RJ Valdez has 87 tackles.

Winner plays: Grossmont-La Costa Canyon winner Nov. 28.

Maffei prediction: Madison 35, Point Loma 28.

(6) Vista (6-5) vs. (3) St. Augustine (5-5)

Site: San Diego Mesa College.

Preview: Vista will be without starting QB Nate Johnson, who was ejected in last week’s win over Olympian. JT Trevino came on in relief and managed the game well. The Panthers average just 51.4 yards a game passing, relying instead on RBs Anthony Kuchinsky and Ralph Hatcher. St. Augustine averages 374.1 yards a game. QB Thomas Goodridge has thrown for 1,301 yards while Elijah Preston has rushed for 1,363 yards and 16 TDs in eight games. Frank Buncom IV has 33 receptions and 50 tackles.

Winner plays: El Camino-Steele Canyon winner Nov. 28.

Maffei prediction: St. Augustine 24, Vista 15.

(7) El Camino (6-5) at (2) Steele Canyon (7-3)

Preview: El Camino attacks behind QB Sergio Lopez, who has 1,705 total yards — 1,246 passing — and RB Nick Donalson. LB Spencer Katoanga leads the defense with 94 tackles. Steele Canyon is tough on defense. The teams have two common opponents — Valhalla lost to El Camino 31-17 and beat Steele Canyon 25-24; Vista beat El Camino 31-14 and lost to Steele Canyon 25-7.

Winner plays: Vista-St. Augustine winner Nov. 28.

Maffei prediction: El Camino 21, Steele Canyon 20.


• All games Friday, 7 p.m.

(8) Mt. Carmel (6-5) at (1) El Capitan (10-0)

Preview: Mt. Carmel defeated Del Norte 39-33 in overtime last week. The Sundevils are led by QB Lucas Johnson (1,390 yards, 12 TDs passing/632 yards, 12 TDs rushing). El Capitan is in the midst of the best season in school history, with an undefeated regular season capped by a 24-17 win over Helix. Vaqueros QB Brad Cagle (1,848 yards, 22 TDs) leads the offense. RB DJ Smith (977 yards, 15 TDs) is on the verge of 1,000 yards for the season and 2,500 yards for his career.

Winner plays: West Hills-Brawley winner Nov. 28.

Kenney prediction: El Capitan 42, Mt. Carmel 14.

(5) West Hills (9-2) at (4) Brawley (9-1)

Preview: West Hills has won eight straight games. Wolf Pack QB Spencer Moyer (1,716 yards, 17 TDs) has one of the county’s top targets in WR Raphy Carr (993 yards, nine TDs). RB Jacob Shaw (1,094 yards, 12 TDs) balances the offense. Brawley has won nine in a row since a 7-0 season-opening loss to Hoover. The Wildcats defense has five shutouts to its credit. Brawley’s offense is dominated by the run, though QB Ross Rubio keeps defenses honest.

Winner plays: Mt. Carmel-El Capitan winner Nov. 28.

Kenney prediction: Brawley 21, West Hills 17.

(11) Scripps Ranch (5-6) at (3) Rancho Bernardo (8-2)

Preview: Scripps Ranch had the most amazing comeback of last week’s first round, doing all its scoring in the final nine minutes of its 27-20 victory over Valley Center. QB Zach Podraza keyed the victory with two touchdown passes and a TD run. Rancho Bernardo has enjoyed a reversal of fortune after going 2-19 over the previous two seasons. The Broncos arrive with a five-game winning streak. QB Tucker Reed (1,483 yards, 12 TDs) guides the offense. An injury to Tyree Range (1,140 yards, 18 TDs) has forced RB to share the ball among its other backs.

Winner plays: Lincoln-San Marcos winner Nov. 28.

Kenney prediction: Rancho Bernardo 31, Scripps Ranch 14.

(7) Lincoln (6-5) at (2) San Marcos (9-1)

Preview: Lincoln’s strength is its running game, which is led by Donell Pleasant (1,077 yards, seven TDs) and Micah Edwards (731 yards, six TDs). San Marcos saw its nine-game winning streak end with a loss to Mission Hills in the final week of the regular season, but the Knights are still bidding to return to the section finals for the second straight season (they lost 19-7 to Christian in last year’s Division III final).

Winner plays: Scripps Ranch-Rancho Bernardo winner Nov. 28.

Kenney prediction: San Marcos 27, Lincoln 12.


• All games today, 7 p.m.

(9) Francis Parker (6-5) at (1) Hoover (8-2)

Preview: Francis Parker lost to Hoover 26-0 on Sept. 5. Lancers QB Khaleel Jenkins has 2,141 yards — 1,048 passing and 1,093 rushing — with 19 TDs. LB David Traganza has 115 tackles. Hoover has won six games in a row by a 217-69 count. The Cardinals average 277.6 yards on the ground and only 53.2 passing. RB George Jones has 1,174 yards, averaging 8.3 yards a carry. On defense, Hoover has allowed just 69 points with five shutouts. Austin Brown has 177 tackles and Jaquille Bradford has 17 sacks.

Winner plays: Granite Hills-Fallbrook winner Nov. 28.

Maffei prediction: Hoover 28, Francis Parker 12.

(5) Granite Hills (8-3) at (4) Fallbrook (7-3)

Preview: Granite Hills QB Seth Collins has accounted for 1,765 yards and 28 TDs — 17 of those rushing. RB Michael Ledesma has 98 touches — rushing and receiving — with 1,060 yards and 21 TDs. DB Riley Reyes has 124 tackles and four interceptions. The Eagles allow just 18.7 points a game. Fallbrook, the Valley League champion, averages 32.3 points on offense. The Warriors have scored 50 or more three times.

Winner plays: Parker-Hoover winner Nov. 28.

Maffei prediction: Granite Hills 35, Fallbrook 31.

(11) Morse (5-6) at (3) Sweetwater (10-0)

Preview: Morse upset sixth-seeded Bonita Vista 14-7 to advance. The Tigers, who allow just 13.9 points a game, have won three in a row. Sweetwater, the defending Division IV champion, has won 18 games in a row. The Red Devils have thrown just 21 passes this season but have rushed 431 times, averaging 370.4 yards a game on the ground. Antonio Garcia leads the way with 1,154 yards on 110 carries, while Raven Middleton has 1,006 yards and 17 TDs on 102 rushes.

Winner plays: La Jolla-Christian winner Nov. 28.

Maffei prediction: Sweetwater 34, Morse 13.

(10) La Jolla (6-5) vs. (2) Christian (10-0)

Site: Granite Hills High.

Preview: La Jolla QB Collin Rugg has completed 65.7 percent of his 39 passes for 3,359 yards. WR Brandon Bonham has 59 catches for 1,155 yards and 20 TDs. Christian, the defending Division III champion, averages 52.5 points and 469.5 yards a game. QB David Jeremiah has thrown for 2,146 yards with 25 TDs and one interception. RB Adrian Petty averages 15.5 yards on 104 carries with 22 TDs.

Winner plays: Morse-Sweetwater winner Nov. 28.

Maffei prediction: Christian 38, La Jolla 35.


• All games Friday, 7 p.m.

(8) El Cajon Valley (3-8) vs. (1) Bishop’s (10-0)

Site: La Jolla High.

Preview: El Cajon Valley posted its first playoff victory in nine years in last week’s 49-34 win over Horizon. The Knights have one of the county’s most productive offenses (44.9 points a game) and stingiest defenses (8.5 points a game). Bishop’s RBs Bulla Graft (1,397 yards, 21 TDs) and A.J. Britanico (956 yards, seven TDs) each average more than 10 yards a carry.

Winner plays: University City-Castle Park winner Nov. 28.

Kenney prediction: Bishop’s 42, El Cajon Valley 14.

(5) University City (7-4) at (4) Castle Park (7-3)

Preview: University City RB Dominic Lewis (1,268 yards, 16 TDs) established a single-season school rushing record with his efforts in last week’s 45-13 win over Calexico. The Castle Park defense allowed just seven points over the team’s last three regular-season games. QB Jordan Danielson (1,391 yards, 14 TDs passing/447 yards, seven TDs rushing) is approaching 2,000 yards in total offense for the Trojans.

Winner plays: El Cajon Valley-Bishop’s winner Nov. 28.

Kenney prediction: Castle Park 28, University City 27.

(11) Coronado (4-7) at (3) Central (5-5)

Preview: Coronado averaged just seven points a game during a seven-game losing streak before an offensive outburst in last week’s 24-20 upset of Orange Glen. QB Jaeger Bull has accounted for 1,580 yards of offense and 17 TDs for the Islanders. Central is attempting to reach the semifinals for the second straight season. The Spartans are led by QB Pete Sanchez (1,029 yards, 11 TDs) and RB Angel Ramirez (667 yards, seven TDs).

Winner plays: Clairemont-Mater Dei Catholic winner Nov. 28.

Kenney prediction: Central 21, Coronado 17.

(7) Clairemont (5-6) at (2) Mater Dei Catholic (5-5)

Preview: Clairemont’s biggest challenge is sustaining an offense that has averaged just 17 points a game. Mater Dei has been most successful when it has been able to balance the offense between the pass and run. Success may be predicated on pressuring the opposing quarterback, which helped the Crusaders to two straight league wins before a loss to undefeated Sweetwater.

Winner plays: Coronado-Central winner Nov. 28.

Kenney prediction: Mater Dei Catholic 21, Clairemont 14.


All games Friday, 7 p.m.

(5) La Jolla Country Day (5-6) at (1) Holtville (8-3)

Preview: LJCD QB Braxton Burmeister has 2,938 yards — 2,364 passing. He has accounted for 33 TDs — 22 passing. RB Brennan Goring has 1,021 yards on 69 carries and 125 tackles. The Torreys had lost four in a row before beating Maranatha Christian 61-21 last week. Holtville is led by QB Esteban Munoz, who has 1,612 total yards. DB Joseph Flores has 74 tackles, Braden Abatti 72.

Winner plays: Vincent Memorial-Classical winner for title at 7 p.m. Nov. 28 at Southwestern College.

Maffei prediction: La Jolla Country Day 28, Holtville 24.

(3) Classical (9-1) vs. (2) Vincent Memorial (9-1)

Site: El Centro Southwest High.

Preview: Classical has reached the semifinals for the first time. The Classical defense is allowing only 10.1 points a game and will be tested by a Vincent Memorial offense averaging 30.6 points. Most of the Scots’ success is due to a running game that has averaged eight yards a carry and has totaled 2,188 yards and 26 TDs.

Winner plays: Holtville-La Jolla Country Day winner.

Kenney prediction: Vincent Memorial 24, Classical 14.

Kenney last week: 5-5. Season: 67-20.

Maffei last week: 7-3. Season: 65-22.

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