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John Maffei's prep football playoff picks

11/08/2018, 6:50pm PST
By John Maffei

Eastlake running back Parker Merrifield tries to evade tackles on a rush in the first quarter against Grossmont.

John Maffei's prep football playoff picks:


All games at 7 p.m. (unless noted)

OPEN DIVISION (semifinals — Friday)

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

Online: nfhsnetwork.com

Preview: The first meeting between these Avocado League foes was halted by lightning with San Marcos leading 10-7 at the half. San Marcos, which averages 378.5 yards total offense and 34.2 points, has won 5 in a row. Torrey Pines averages 411.4 yards total offense and 35.8 points a game. San Marcos is ranked No. 41 in the state by MaxPreps while Torrey Pines is No. 12. Three of the 4 teams in the Open Division and the top seed in Division I are from the Avo.

Winner plays: Carlsbad-Cathedral winner at 7 p.m. Nov. 17 at Southwestern College

Prediction: Torrey Pines 28, San Marcos 24

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

Radio: 97.3-FM

Online: nfhsnetwork.com

Preview: Carlsbad, which has won 3 in a row, averages 364.3 yards and 21.4 points a game. The Lancers’ last loss was 35-28 in overtime to Torrey Pines. Cathedral, which has won 9 in a row, averages 360.5 yards and 33.6 points. The Dons defense allows just 10.2 points. There is one common opponent, Cathedal lost to La Costa Canyon 19-7 in Week 1, while Carlsbad beat LCC 24-7.

Winner plays: San Marcos-Torrey Pines winner at 7 p.m. Nov. 17 at Southwestern College

Prediction: Cathedral Catholic 31, Carlsbad 24

DIVISION I (quarterfinals — Friday)

(9) Mission Hills (4-6) at (1) La Costa Canyon (6-3)

Preview: The Avocado League meeting between these teams was wiped out by lightning with LCC ahead 7-0 before the half. Mission Hills beat Rancho Bernardo last week to advance. La Costa Canyon, which has been hit hard by injuries, has lost 2 in a row — 24-7 to Carlsbad and 38-0 to Torrey Pines.

Winner plays: Steele Canyon-St. Augustine winner

Prediction: Mission Hills 24, La Costa Canyon 21

(5) Steele Canyon (9-2) vs. (4) St. Augustine (7-3)

Where: San Diego Mesa College (7:30 kickoff)

Online: nfhsnetwork.com

Preview: Steele Canyon has won 5 in a row, including 49-17 over El Camino last week. St. Augustine has won 2 in a row. The teams have 3 common opponents. Steele Canyon has beaten Bonita Vista, Otay Ranch and Helix while the Saints lost to Helix.

Winner plays: Mission Hills-La Costa Canyon winner

Prediction: St. Augustine 31, Steele Canyon 28

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

Online: nfhsnetwork.com

Preview: The lowest seed still alive in any division, Grossmont stunned Madison 44-42 last week to advance. Helix lost its last game, 22-21 to Steele Canyon. The Foothillers and Highlanders met in a Grossmont Hills League game that was called by lightning with Helix leading 27-0.

Winner plays: Oceanside-Eastlake winner

Prediction: Helix 35, Grossmont 24

(7) Oceanside (6-5) at (2) Eastlake (9-1)

Preview: Oceanside, which has won 2 in a row, got a pair of interceptions for TDs last week to beat Otay Ranch 27-15. Eastlake with a defense that allows just 9.2 points a game, has won 9 in a row since a 13-0 loss to Torrey Pines. There are 4 common opponents. Both teams have beaten El Camino, Otay Ranch and Mater Dei Catholic and lost to Torrey Pines.

Winner plays: Grossmont-Helix winner

Prediction: Eastlake 27, Oceanside 24

DIVISION II (quarterfinals — Friday)

(8) Ramona (7-3) at (1) Granite Hills (9-1)

Preview: Ramona bounced back from a horrible loss to Valley Center to beat Olympian last week and advance. Granite Hills won 9 in row before losing to Helix 56-21. There are 2 common opponents with both teams beating Poway and Mt. Carmel.

Winner plays: Lincoln-Point Loma winner

Prediction: Granite Hills 28, Ramona 24

(5) Lincoln (7-4) at (4) Point Loma (5-5)

Preview: Lincoln has bounced back from a forfeit loss to beat Madison and eliminate Westview last week 54-14. Point Loma has lost 2 in a row to St. Augustine and Cathedral Catholic. The Pointers beat the Hornets 33-20 on Oct. 12 in a Western League game.

Winner plays: Ramona-Granite Hills winner

Prediction: Lincoln 31, Point Loma 27

(6) Vista (7-4) at (3) Valley Center (7-3)

Preview: Vista, which has won 2 in a row, attacks behind a run-oriented offense that averages 36.0 points. Valley Center’s defense allows just 11.6 points and the Jaguars have won 3 in a row, allowing just 17 points. There are 4 common opponents. Both teams lost to La Costa Canyon and Rancho Bernardo. Both beat Rancho Buena Vista and Mt. Carmel.

Winner plays: Mira Mesa-Poway winner

Prediction: Valley Center 24, Vista 21

(7) Mira Mesa (8-2) at (2) Poway (8-2)

Preview: Mira Mesa has won 4 in a row, including 42-21 last week to eliminate San Pasqual. The Marauders average 35.4 points on offense. Poway has won 7 in a row since a loss to Ramona. Defensively, the Titans allow 12.0 points. There are 2 common opponents with both teams posting convincing wins over Escondido and Mt. Carmel.

Winner plays: Vista-Valley Center winner

Prediction: Poway 28, Mira Mesa 24

DIVISION III (quarterfinals — Friday)

(8) University City (5-6) vs. (1) Christian (9-1)

Where: El Cajon Valley High

Preview: High-scoring University City snapped a 5-game losing streak with a 47-30 win over El Capitan last week. Christian has won 2 in a row since its only loss of the season, 21-0 to Cathedral Catholic in a game that was called early by lightning. Christian averages 33.3 points on offense while University City allows 28.4. The Eastern League teams met on Oct. 26 with Christian winning 49-28.

Winner plays: Morse-Brawley winner

Prediction: Christian 42, University City 32

(5) Morse (7-4) at (4) Brawley (8-2)

Preview: Morse bounced back from a loss to St. Augustine and knocked Hilltop out of the playoffs 42-14 last week. The Tigers average 34.9 points a game. Brawley saw its 6-game winning streak snapped with a 14-10 loss to Central to end the regular season. The Brawley defense allows just 11.5 points a game.

Winner plays: University City-Christian winner

Prediction: Morse 24, Brawley 21

(6) Santa Fe Christian (7-3) at (3) Monte Vista (9-1)

Preview: Santa Fe Christian has won 4 in a row, including 49-27 last week against Rancho Buena Vista. Monte Vista, which averages 38.6 points on offense and allows just 11.0, has won 6 in a row. There are 2 common opponents with both beating Mount Miguel and losing to Christian.

Winner plays: Imperial-Central winner

Prediction: Monte Vista 31, Santa Fe Christian 21

(7) Imperial (7-4) at (2) Central (10-0)

Preview: Imperial has won 3 in a row by a count of 135-7, including 25-0 last week over West Hills. High-scoring Central averages 40.8 points a game. These teams met in an Imperial Valley League contest on Oct. 12 with Central winning 28-23.

Winner plays: Santa Fe Christian-Monte Vista winner

Prediction: Central 31, Imperial 27

DIVISION IV (quarterfinals — Friday)

(9) Chula Vista (3-8) at (1) San Diego (7-2)

Preview: Chula Vista snapped an 8-game losing streak with a convincing 31-7 win over Coronado last week. San Diego has won 7 in a row since a 20-13 overtime loss to Lincoln. There is one common opponent with both beating Coronado.

Winner plays: Santana-Mar Vista winner

Prediction: San Diego 35, Chula Vista 17

(5) Santana (6-5) at (4) Mar Vista (7-3)

Preview: Santana has won 2 in a row, including a 76-55 record-setting victory over La Jolla Country Day last week. Mar Vista won its regular-season finale, beating Sweetwater 40-13. The Mariners and Sultans played on Sept. 21 with Santana winning 27-13.

Winner plays: Chula Vista-San Diego winner

Prediction: Mar Vista 24, Santana 21

(6) Serra (8-3) at (3) Del Norte (6-4)

Preview: Del Norte edged Serra 35-32 in Week 3. Since then, Serra has run off 8 straight wins, including 52-14 last week to knock Sweetwater out. Del Norte is having a bounce-back season and has won 2 in a row, scoring 77 points.

Winner plays: Classical-Kearny winner

Prediction: Del Norte 35, Serra 32

(7) Classical (7-4) at (2) Kearny (9-1)

Preview: Classical has won straight, including last week’s 42-7 victory over Calexico. Kearny was having a magical season until the Komets saw a 9-game winning streak snapped by San Diego. There is a common opponent with both teams beating Calexico.

Winner plays: Serra-Del Norte winner

Prediction: Kearny 35, Classical 21

DIVISION V (quarterfinals — Friday)

(9) Maranatha Christian (6-5) at (1) Orange Glen (6-3)

Preview: Maranatha scored once last week and it was good enough because its defense pitched a shutout in beating Castle Park 7-0. Orange Glen lost its last regular-season game 24-19 to Santa Fe Christian. There are 4 common opponents with OG sweeping Clairemont, Escondido Charter, Army-Navy and Tri-City Christian. Maranatha went 3-1, losing to Tri-City.

Winner plays: Mountain Empire-Holtville winner

Prediction: Orange Glen 28, Maranatha Christian 14

(5) Mountain Empire (8-3) at (4) Holtville (8-2)

Preview: Mountain Empire has won 5 in a row, including 28-7 last week over Army-Navy. Holtville has won 2 in a row. The Vikings’ last loss was 20-14 to Mountain Empire on Oct. 12.

Winner plays: Maranatha Christian-Orange Glen winner

Prediction: Holtville 20, Mountain Empire 14

(11) S.D. Southwest (5-6) at (3) Francis Parker (9-1)

Preview: Southwest snapped a 2-game losing streak with a 34-26 win over Vincent Memorial. Parker has won 2 in a row since its only loss, 27-12 to Tri-City Christian. The teams have 5 common opponents. Parker swept Clairemont, Montgomery, San Ysidro, Maranatha and Escondido Charter while Southwest went 3-2, losing to Maranatha and Montgomery.

Winner plays: Calipatria-Tri-City Christian winner

Prediction: Francis Parker 41, S.D. Southwest 27

(10) Calipatria (4-7) at (2) Tri-City Christian (8-2)

Preview: Calipatria snapped a 3-game losing streak with a 28-3 win over Palo Verde. Tri-City, which averages 35.2 points, has lost to only Central and Orange Glen. Calipatria and TCC met in Week 1 with TCC winning 40-14.

Winner plays: S.D. Southwest-Francis Parker winner

Prediction: Tri-City Christian 35, Calipatria 14

EIGHT MAN (championship — Saturday)

(3) S.D. Jewish (6-2) vs. (1) Foothills Christian (8-2)

Where: Mission Bay High

Tickets: $15 adults, $9 student/seniors

Online: nfhsnetwork.com

Preview: San Diego Jewish comes into the game on a 4-game winning streak, including 36-30 over Calvin Christian last week in the semifinals. Foothills has won 5 in a row, including 46-8 over Borrego Springs in the semis. The Lions and Knights played Oct. 5 with Foothills winning 53-14.

Prediction: Foothills Christian 35, San Diego Jewish 27

Last week: 15-5. Season: 98-30.

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