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John Maffei's prep football playoff picks

11/01/2018, 7:46pm PDT
By John Maffei

SAN DIEGO, August 17, 2018 | Morse's Rayon Benson carries the ball as Mount Miguel's Jaheim Allen, r

All games at 7 p.m.

OPEN DIVISION (semifinals — Nov. 9)

(4) San Marcos (8-1) at (1) Torrey Pines (9-0)

(3) Carlsbad (6-3) at (2) Cathedral Catholic (9-1)

DIVISION I (first round — Friday)

(9) Mission Hills (3-6) at (8) Rancho Bernardo (7-3)

Radio: 97.3-FM

Preview: Mission Hills lost 33-7 to San Marcos last week, but beat RB 42-0 last season. Rancho Bernardo saw its five-game winning streak snapped last week, losing to Poway 28-21.

Winner plays: (1) La Costa Canyon

Prediction: Mission Hills 28, Rancho Bernardo 27

(12) El Camino (1-8) at (5) Steele Canyon (8-2)

Preview: El Camino, the defending section Division I champion, has lost 8 in a row since an opening-week win over Point Loma. The defense has allowed 40 or more points 6 times. Steele Canyon, the defending state 3A champion, has won 4 in a row, including 22-21 over Helix last week. The Cougars have scored 40-plus 4 times.

Winner plays: (4) St. Augustine

Prediction: Steele Canyon 35, El Camino 21

(11) Grossmont (3-7) at (6) Madison (6-4)

Internet: NFHS Network

Preview: Grossmont snapped a 3-game losing streak with a 49-21 win over El Capitan last week. But the Foothillers have given up 40-plus 4 times. Madison was in line to be an Open Division team until it lost the last two games of the season after a stunning fourth-quarter comeback win against St. Augustine.

Winner plays: (3) Helix

Prediction: Madison 35, Grossmont 24

(10) Otay Ranch (6-4) at (7) Oceanside (5-5)

Preview: Otay Ranch saw its 4-game winning streak snapped last week, losing 14-0 to Eastlake. The defense is tough with a pair of shutouts while allowing 2 TDs in 4 other games. Oceanside's dynamic offense has scored 40-plus in 5 games and averages 408 yards.

Winner plays: (2) Eastlake

Prediction: Oceanside 34, Otay Ranch 21

DIVISION II (first round — Friday)

(9) Olympian (3-7) at (8) Ramona (6-3)

Preview: All of Olympian’s losses are to playoff teams while the Eagles won last week, beating Bonita Vista 47-7. Ramona lost in the Division II title game last season. The Bulldogs saw a 3-game winning streak snapped last week, losing 49-10 to Valley Center.

Winner plays: (1) Granite Hills

Prediction: Ramona 28, Olympian 24

(12) Westview (1-9) at (5) Lincoln (6-4)

Preview: Eight of Westview’s losses are to playoff teams and two — Granite Hills and Del Norte — were in overtime. Two of Lincoln’s losses have been by forfeit. A healthy Hornets team beat Madison 24-14 last week.

Winner plays: (4) Point Loma

Prediction: Lincoln 35, Westview 17

(6) Vista (6-4) vs. (11) Bishop's (5-4)

Where: La Jolla High

Preview: Despite being a lower seed, Bishop’s is a league champion and will host the game. The Knights saw 3-game winning streak snapped by Zephyrhills Christian of Florida. Vista, which averages 9.10 yards on 380 rushes, lost to Rancho Bernardo and Carlsbad the last 2 weeks.

Winner plays: (3) Valley Center

Prediction: Vista 37, Bishop’s 21

(10) San Pasqual (6-4) at (7) Mira Mesa (7-2)

Preview: San Pasqual’s run-oriented offense has produced 77 points the last 2 weeks in wins over Fallbrook and Escondido. Mira Mesa has won 3 in a row, including 44-0 last week over La Jolla.

Winner plays: (2) Poway

Prediction: Mira Mesa 31, San Pasqual 28

DIVISION III (first round — Friday)

(9) El Capitan (3-7) at (8) University City (4-6)

Preview: El Capitan lost 49-21 to Grossmont last week, one of 5 times the Vaqueros have allowed 40-plus points this season. High-scoring University City has lost 5 in a row, giving up 201 points, but the Centurions have scored 40-plus 3 times.

Winner plays: (1) Christian

Prediction: University City 42, El Capitan 35

(5) Morse (6-4) at (12) Hilltop (5-5)

Preview: Morse suffered a 47-6 loss to St. Augustine last week, but the Tigers have scored 40-plus 5 times this season. Hilltop, the lower seed, is a league champion and earned the right to host the game. The Lancers have won 5 in a row, outscoring those teams 128-59.

Winner plays: (4) Brawley

Prediction: Morse 42, Hilltop 28

(11) Rancho Buena Vista (4-6) vs. (6) Santa Fe Christian (6-3)

Where: Carlsbad High

Preview: RBV features one of the top RBs in the county in Dorian Richardson, who has 2,401 yards and 29 TDs. Santa Fe Christian has won 3 in a row, including 24-19 last week against Division V top seed Orange Glen.

Winner plays: (3) Monte Vista

Prediction: Rancho Buena Vista 31, Santa Fe Christian 27

(10) West Hills (8-2) at (7) Imperial (6-4)

Preview: The West Hills defense has allowed 2 TDs or fewer 5 times. Imperial has scored 40-plus in 5 games, including a 2-game winning streak in which the Tigers have outscored opponents 110-7.

Winner plays: (2) Central

Prediction: Imperial 31, West Hills 21

DIVISION IV (first round — Friday)

(9) Chula Vista (2-8) at (8) Coronado (7-3)

Preview: Chula Vista won its first two games, but has lost 8 in a row and has been shut out 4 times. Coronado has had a nice season, but lost 54-0 last week to Serra.

Winner plays: (1) San Diego

Prediction: Coronado 21, Chula Vista 12

(12) LJ Country Day (2-7) at (5) Santana (5-4)

Preview: La Jolla Country Day has lost 4 in a row by a count of 140-71. Santana snapped a 4-game losing streak last week with a 40-7 win over El Cajon Valley.

Winner plays: (4) Mar Vista

Prediction: Santana 35, La Jolla Country Day 21

(11) Sweetwater (3-7) at (6) Serra (7-3)

Preview: All 3 of Sweetwater’s wins have been by shutout. But the Red Devils, who lost 40-13 to Mar Vista last week, have been blanked twice. Serra has won 7 in a row since losses to Scripps Ranch, Santana and Del Norte to open the season. The Conquistadors have allowed just 13 points with 5 shutouts in that streak.

Winner plays: (3) Del Norte

Prediction: Serra 38, Sweetwater 21

(10) Calexico (3-7) vs. (7) Classical (6-4)

Where: Orange Glen High

Preview: Calexico has lost 5 in a row, being outscored 134-26 in that span. Classical has scored 30-plus 5 times, and the defense has 4 shutouts.

Winner plays: (2) Kearny

Prediction: Classical 27, Calexico 13

DIVISION V (first round — Friday)

(9) Maranatha Christian (5-5) vs. (8) Castle Park (6-4)

Where: Otay Ranch High

Preview: Maranatha lost 41-13 to Parker last week. Castle Park’s record is deceiving with 2 of the losses coming by forfeit. The Trojans have won 4 in a row and are 5-1 since losing to Crawford in overtime.

Winner plays: (1) Orange Glen

Prediction: Castle Park 28, Maranatha Christian 14

(12) Army-Navy (3-7) at (5) Mountain Empire (7-3)

Preview: Army-Navy’s offense has scored 30 or more just 3 times this season. The Warriors lost 44-3 to Tri-City Christian last week. Mountain Empire has won 4 in a row by a combined score of 154-43, including 45-16 over Vincent Memorial last week.

Winner plays: (4) Holtville

Prediction: Mountain Empire 25, Army-Navy 10

(11) S.D. Southwest (4-6) vs. (6) Vincent Memorial (7-3)

Where: Calexico High

Preview: Southwest enters the playoffs with a 2-game losing streak. Vincent Memorial is the defending Division V champion, losing to San Francisco Galileo in the state 6A title game. The Scots got off to a 7-1 start, but have lost their last 2.

Winner plays: (3) Francis Parker

Prediction: Vincent Memorial 41, S.D. Southwest 21

(10) Calipatria (3-7) at (7) Palo Verde Valley (4-6)

Preview: Calipatria has lost 3 in a row by a count of 112-20. Palo Verde has lost 2 in a row by a count of 105-6, but those losses are to Central and Imperial.

Winner plays: (2) Tri-City Christian

Prediction: Palo Verde Valley 35, Calipatria 14

Last week: 6-4. Season: 83-25.

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