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John Maffei's prep football playoff picks and preview

11/15/2018, 7:00pm PST
By John Maffei

Cathedral Catholic’s Zion Sorani scampers for the first touchdown of the game in the first quarter

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

OPEN DIVISION (championship — Saturday)

(2) Cathedral Catholic (10-1) vs. (1) Torrey Pines (10-0)

Kickoff: 7:30 p.m.

Where: Southwestern College

Tickets: $15 adults, $9 student/seniors (no online sales). Ticket booths open at 5 p.m.

Parking: $10 (Bonita Vista High will not be available for parking)

Radio: 97.3-FM

Online: nfhsnetwork.com

Cathedral Catholic preview: RB Shawn Poma has 110 carries for 1,235 yards and 17 TDs, including 34 carries for 374 yards in the semifinals last week against Carlsbad. QB DJ Ralph has tossed just one interception in more that 100 throws. WR Zion Sorani is averaging more than 25 yards a catch. The defense, which has given up just 102 points and has allowed 7 or fewer points in 6 games, is led by OLB Jordan Allen, who has 75 tackles and 6 sacks. MLB Ethan Smiley has 8 sacks. DE Miles McCormick is healthy and has 36 tackles and 81/2 sacks in 6 games. PK Dean Janikowski is 29 of 29 on PATs, 7 of 7 on FGs with a long of 43 and has 43 touchbacks on 59 kickoffs.

Torrey Pines preview: The Falcons, who average 408.1 yards a game on offense — 315.3 rushing — are led by TB Mac Bingham, who has 193 carries for 1,513 yards and 24 TDs. Evan Galluzzi has 86 carries for 625 yards and 7 TDs. QB Jason Heine has 1,459 yards total offense — 921 passing. WR Luke Mikolajewski has 27 catches for 463 yards. The defense, which has 4 shutouts, is led by LBs Michael Stearns and Marco Notarainni, who both have 63 tackles. PK Ted Merrifield has made 40 of 43 PATs and 6 of 9 FGs with a long of 41.

Common opponents: Both teams have played La Costa Canyon, El Camino, Olympian and Carlsbad. Torrey Pines outscored those teams 144-42. Cathedral Catholic is 3-1 against the common opponents, losing the season opener 19-7 to La Costa Canyon.

Last meeting: 2016 in the Open Division quarterfinals with Cathedral winning 45-7.

Championships: Cathedral has 11 San Diego Section titles, the last in 2016 in the Open Division. The Dons have a pair of state championships — 2016 and 2011. Torrey Pines has 4 San Diego Section titles, the last a Division I crown in 2004.

Winner plays: The winner advances to the Southern California championship in a division to be determined.

Prediction: Cathedral Catholic 28, Torrey Pines 24

DIVISION I (semifinals — Friday)

(9) Mission Hills (5-6) vs.(4) St. Augustine (8-3)

Where: San Diego Mesa College

Online: nfhsnetwork.com

Preview: The Mission Hills offense has scored more than 21 points just twice this season and is averaging 18 points a game. The Grizzlies beat Rancho Bernardo (20-13) and La Costa Canyon (14-0) in the playoffs. Defense is where the team shines. OLB McKyle So’oto has 102 tackles, SS Jason Boyle has 89 tackles and DT Isaac Anderson has 68 tackles with 3 sacks. St. Augustine averages 365 yards and 31.5 points a game on offense, led by QB Angelo Peraza, who has thrown for 2,049 yards and 22 TDs with 8 interceptions. RB Byron Cardwell has 1,222 yards total offense, 965 rushing. But the Saints also play defense, allowing just 13.2 points a game with 4 shutouts. LB JT Penick leads the way with 100 tackles while LB William Simon has 69 tackles and 9 sacks. As a team, St. Augustine has 49 sacks.

Winner plays: Helix-Eastlake winner

Prediction: St. Augustine 13, Mission Hills 7

(3) Helix (7-4) at (2) Eastlake (10-1)

Online: nfhsnetwork.com

Preview: With 4 losses, this has been an un-Helix-type season. The Highlanders’ last 4-loss season was 9-5 in 2009, but here they are in the semis. RB Elelyon Noa leads the offense with 153 carries for 1,887 yards and 29 TDs. QB Daniel Amon, who was at Eastlake last season, has 838 yards passing. Sophomore QB Richard Colmenero leads Eastlake with 1,895 passing yards and 21 TDs in an offense that averages 35.1 points a game. Darius De Los Reyes (35 catches, 715 yards) and Kevin Bateman (28-503) are his favorite targets. LB Joshua McCurty has 172 tackles and 9 sacks on a defense that has allowed just 99 points. On a team that has 38 sacks, Mussa Mohamed leads with 10. Eastlake’s only loss was 13-0 to Torrey Pines in the season opener. There are 3 common opponents — El Capitan, Valhalla and Grossmont. The Highlanders and Titans didn’t lose to any of them.

Winner plays: Mission Hills-St. Augustine winner

Prediction: Helix 24, Eastlake 21

DIVISION II (semifinals — Friday)

(5) Lincoln (8-4) at (1) Granite Hills (10-1)

Preview: Colorado-bound Don Chapman is Lincoln’s leader. He has 144 yards rushing, 324 receiving, 836 on kick returns and 48 tackles. RB Carlito Nothaff has 120 carries for 1,001 yards and 12 scores. WR Jamahd Monroe has 47 catches for 1,104 yards and 11 TDs. Granite Hills’ only loss is to Helix 56-21. The Eagles are led by QB Cris Ostreng, who has 2,432 yards total offense — 1,632 passing. DB Ethen Bishop leds the defense with 100 tackles. There is one common opponent with both teams beating Westview — Lincoln by 54-14 to open the playoffs and Granite Hills by 17-14 in two overtimes early in the season.

Winner plays: Mira Mesa-Valley Center winner

Prediction: Lincoln 31, Granite Hills 28

(7) Mira Mesa (9-2) at (3) Valley Center (8-3)

Preview: Mira Mesa has won 5 in a row, including victories over San Pasqual and Poway in the playoffs. QB Noah Tumblin has 2,549 yards total offense and has accounted for 31 TDs. Javelle Brown has 1,075 yards total offense, 568 rushing, 507 receiving, and has 18 tackles. Valley Center’s defense allows just 11.1 points a game, including a 26-7 win over Vista last week. QB Rikki Mazzetti has thrown for more than 1,700 yards, and WR Tuupash Turner has 49 catches for 1,024 yards. RB Mateo Sinohui has 337 carries for 1,983 yards and 33 TDs. There are 3 common opponents. Both teams have beaten Escondido, Mt. Carmel and San Pasqual — Mira Mesa by 117-65, Valley Center by 127-10.

Winner plays: Lincoln-Granite Hills winner

Prediction: Valley Center 24, Mira Mesa 21

DIVISION III (semifinals — Friday)

(5) Morse (7-4) vs. (1) Christian (10-1)

Where: El Cajon Valley High

Preview: Morse averages 34.8 points on offense, but must get it done on defense where the Tigers give up 20.4 points a contest. LB Devin Brown leads the way with 130 tackles and 6 sacks. DE Darhon Yarbrough also has 6 sacks. Christian is led by QB Owen Easley, who has 1,807 yards passing and 20 TDs. Alexander Gonzalez is his favorite target with 64 catches for 813 yards and 10 TDs. RB Javier Jimenez has 958 rushing yards. The teams played on Oct. 5 with Christian winning a defensive struggle 14-8.

Winner plays: Santa Fe Christian-Central winner

Prediction: Christian 24, Morse 22

(6) Santa Fe Christian (8-3) at (2) Central (11-0)

Preview: Santa Fe Christian must travel to El Centro after winning 5 in a row, including victories over Rancho Buena Vista and Monte Vista in the playoffs. The Eagles are led by multi-talented QB Michael Linguadoca, who has 725 yards passing, 278 rushing, 39 tackles and 4 interceptions. RB Jack Miles has 931 rushing yards and 12 TDs. Carson Drake, a top-flight lineman, has 68 tackles and 4 sacks. PK Jack Bosman has made 35 of 36 PATs, 7 of 12 FGs, averages 39.4 yards punting and has 35 touchbacks on 54 kickoffs. High-scoring Central averages 40.1 points a game, including 34 last week against a tough Imperial squad. The Spartans are led by QB Deniro Osuna, who has 2,373 passing yards and 28 TDs. RB Joseph Medina has 957 rushing yards. WR Joseph Tarango has 42 catches for 847 yards and 10 TDs. DB Thadeo Campbell has 9 interceptions.

Winner plays: Morse-Christian winner

Prediction: Central 31, Santa Fe Christian 28

DIVISION IV (semifinals — Friday)

(5) Santana (7-5) at (1) San Diego (8-2)

Preview: Santana has won 3 in a row, including a recording-setting 76-55 victory over La Jolla Country Day and a 23-6 triumph over Mar Vista last week in the playoffs. The Sultans are led by QB Nathan Temple, RB Brooks Moutaw and WR Randall Smith. San Diego has won 8 in a row since a 20-13 overtime loss to Lincoln. The Cavers attack on the ground behind RBs Raiden Hunter (858 yards), Mo Jackson (746) and Jayden Wickware (505).

Winner plays: Serra-Kearny winner

Prediction: San Diego 35, Santana 21

(6) Serra (9-3) at (2) Kearny (10-1)

Preview: Serra has run off 9 straight wins after opening the season 0-3. QB Timmy Zebroski has 2,179 yards total offense, 1,831 passing, and has accounted for 26 TDs. RB Dustin Ellison has 1,424 yards and 23 TDs. WR Mark Genevich has 1,019 yards receiving and on returns. MLB Allen Scott has 93 tackles while DE Aren Cobb has 9 sacks. Kearny has bounced back from its only loss with wins over Scripps Ranch and Classical. QB Kenyon Williams has thrown for 2,196 yards and 29 TDs. RB Duce Reynolds has 1,117 yards and 20 TDs, WR Devon Jones has 34 catches for 843 yards, along with 6 INTs. Demeiko Hill has 28 receptions for 735 yards and 6 INTs. There are 4 common opponents. Serra is 3-1 against Scripps Ranch, El Cajon Valley, Hoover and Henry. Kearny is 4-0.

Winner plays: Santana-San Diego winner

Prediction: Kearny 38, Serra 21

DIVISION V (semifinals — Friday)

(4) Holtville (9-2) at (1) Orange Glen (7-3)

Preview: Holtville has won 3 in a row behind QB Noah Jungeward and RB Jose Devon, who has more than 1,500 yards and 22 TDs. Orange Glen bounced back from a loss to Santa Fe Christian to beat Maranatha Christian 48-7 last week. The Patriots are led by RB Cael Patterson, who has 2,298 yards rushing, receiving and on returns with 1,837 yards and 24 of his 26 TDs rushing. MLB Julien Lesa has 82 tackles while DB Tristen Smith has 5 INTs.

Winner plays: Francis Parker-Tri-City Christian winner

Prediction: Orange Glen 28, Holtville 24

(3) Francis Parker (10-1) at (2) Tri-City Christian (9-2)

Preview: Parker’s only loss is 27-12 to Tri-City Christian on Oct. 12. Do-everything Lancers QB Ryan Sanborn has 2,315 yards total offense, 1,758 passing. He has accounted for 36 TDs, 67 tackles and 3 INTs. Sanborn has missed just one of 55 PATs and averages 40.9 yards punting. WR Jonathan Gordon has 1,224 yards receiving and on returns while RB Sam Camposeco has 603 yards and 107 tackles. Tri-City’s only losses are to Central and Orange Glen. TCC is led by RB Christian Salibo, who has 1,345 yards and 18 TDs. QB Kiah Reed has thrown for 1,092 yards. Landon Navarro has 788 yards rushing, receiving and on returns and has 27 tackles.

Winner plays: Holtville-Orange Glen winner.

Prediction: Tri-City Christian 28, Parker 24

Last week: 17-4. Season: 115-34.

john.maffei@sduniontribune.com

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