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John Maffei's prep football state playoff picks and preview

11/29/2018, 6:55pm PST
By John Maffei

St. Augustine quarterback Angelo Peraza (14) rushes during the second quarter against Lincoln.

SOUTHERN CALIFORNIA REGIONAL

Tickets: $12 adults, $8 high school students, seniors (65+) and children

Next: Winners advance to state championships Dec. 14-15

DIVISION 1-AA

Harbor City Narbonne (10-3) at Cathedral Catholic (11-1)

When: Friday, 7:30 p.m.

Radio: 97.3-FM

TV: Spectrum 84 (live); Spectrum 35 and Cox 71 (delayed), Saturday, 3 p.m.

Online: myspectrumsports.com/ca/socal/schedule

Narbonne preview: The Gauchos, who have won 9 in a row, have outscored three playoff opponents 184-30, beating Garfield to won the Los Angeles City Section Division I title. Narbonne was selected for this game over Southern Section Division 2 champion Upland (12-2) and Division 3 champion Sierra Canyon (11-3). The Gauchos average 457.3 yards and 40.1 points a game and use a pair of QBs — Jake Garcia, who has thrown for 1,802 yards, and Jaylen Henderson, who has 1,281 passing yards. Eren East (51 catches, 751 yards) and Joshua Jackson (41-798) are the top receivers. Narbonne uses a trio of RBs — Marceese Yetts (673 yards), Jake Brown (639) and Jojuan Collins (590). MLB Jordon Jenkins is the beast of a defense that allows 16 points a game, with 55 tackles and 12 sacks. ILB Andrew Berrueco has 80 tackles and DB Malik Horne has 78. The team’s losses are to Hawaii St. Louis (47-7), ranked No. 5 in the nation; Corona Centennial (42-28), ranked No. 3 in California; and Long Beach Poly (26-3), ranked No. 59 in the state.

Cathedral Catholic preview: The Dons, who have won 11 in a row since an opening-week loss to a healthy La Costa Canyon team, average 344.3 yards on offense and 36.2 points. Cathedral beat Torrey Pines in the San Diego Section Open Division final to earn the right to keep playing. Attacking out of a wing-T offense, TB Shawn Poma is the main man with 1,413 yards and 17 TDs. He averages 10.2 yards a carry and has 7 catches for 188 yards and 2 TDs. QB DJ Ralph has thrown for 1,194 yards and 15 TDs with 1 interception. Caleb Price, the change-of-pace QB, has 409 yards rushing on 40 carries. The Dons have 32 rushing TDs. WR Zion Sorani is the big-play target with 22 catches for 535 yards and 8 TDs. On defense, LB Jordan Allen is the leader with 75 tackles and 6 sacks. MLB Nikulas Otinero has 60 tackles and Ethan Simley has 41 tackles and 8 sacks. The defense has allowed 7 or fewer points 6 times.

Rankings: Narbonne is ranked No. 25 in California, No. 157 in the nation. Cathedral is No. 9 in the state, 34th in the nation.

Common opponent: Narbonne beat Gardena Serra 27-26 in OT. Cathedral beat Gardena Serra 42-21.

History: The Gauchos and Dons met in this game in 2016 with Cathedral rallying for a 35-28 win with Poma rushing 26 times for 175 yards and 4 TDs. Cathedral has a pair of state titles — 2008 and 2016. Narbonne is a five-time L.A. City Section champion, is 97-20 since 2011 and won state titles in 2015 and 2017.

Prediction: Cathedral Catholic 31, Narbonne 24

DIVISION 2-AA

St. Augustine (10-3) vs. Simi Valley Grace Brethren (12-2)

When: Friday, 7:30 p.m.

Where: Cal Lutheran University

TV: Spectrum 35 and Cox 71 (delayed), Sunday, 6 a.m.

Online: myspectrumsports.com/ca/socal/schedule

St. Augustine preview: The Saints advanced by beating Helix 21-20 in overtime in the San Diego Section Division I title game. St. Augustine averages 346.1 yards and 29.5 points a game on offense, led by scrambling sophomore QB Angelo Peraza, who has thrown for 2,396 yards and 25 TDs with 10 interceptions. Sophomore RB Byron Cardwell has 1,438 yards total offense (1,081 rushing). Cole Barry has 543 rushing yards. WR Samuel Scaife has 48 catches for 807 yards and 14 TDs while Michael Ambagtsheer averages 24.8 yards on 18 catches. The defense allows 13.7 points a game with 4 shutouts. LB JT Penick leads the way with 122 tackles and 61/2 sacks while Connor Heffler has 96 tackles and 81/2 sacks, Eavan Gibbons has 94 tackles and Will Simon has 79 tackles and 12 sacks. As a team, St. Augustine has 57 sacks and 129 tackles for losses.

Grace Brethren preview: The Lancers have won nine in a row, including a 24-14 victory over Corona del Mar in the Southern Section Division 4 championship game. The team averages 35.0 points a game and has scored 40 or more six times. Grace Brethren attacks on the ground, averaging 416.3 yards a game (304.4 rushing). RB Lontrelle Diggs has rushed 332 times for 2,262 yards and 33 TDs, while Josh Henderson has 100 carries for 708 yards and has 131 tackles from the MLB spot. QB Mikey Zele has 2,233 total yards (1,637 passing) and has accounted for 18 TDs. The defense is led by OLBs Justin Skidmore, who has 151 tackles and 4 interceptions, and Payton Gourley, who has 100 tackles. PK Kevin Aranda has made 56 of 58 PATs and 13 of 17 FGs with a long of 42.

Rankings: St. Augustine is No. 32 in the state, No. 204 in the nation. Grace Brethren is No. 16 in the state, No. 81 nationally.

History: The Saints won San Diego Section titles in 2013, 2014 and 2018, but have never been to a Southern California Regional. Since 2012, St. Augustine is 66-21. Grace Brethren, which is 59-9 since 2014, beat Aquinas to win the Southern California 2A title last year before losing to Mountain View St. Francis in the state final.

Prediction: St. Augustine 21, Grace Brethren 20

DIVISION 3-AA

Lincoln (10-4) at Culver City (12-2)

When: Friday, 7:30 p.m.

Online: nfhsnetwork.com

Lincoln preview: The Hornets have won five in a row, including beating Mira Mesa 23-3 in the San Diego Section Division II title game. QB Raymond Spriggs has thrown for 1,866 yards and 18 TDs while Chris Davila has 795 passing yards and 11 TDs. RB Carlito Nothaft has 167 carries for 1,201 yards and 15 scores. WR Jamahd Monroe has 54 catches for 1,204 yards and 13 TDs while Keyshawn Smith has 38 catches for 765 yards and 11 TDs. Don Chapman has 1,513 yards rushing, receiving and on returns. Plus, he has 50 tackles and 2 interceptions as the anchor of the defense. Linebackers Kenneth Stevenson has 73 tackles and T’ray Kirkland 67 tackles. DE Akili Butler has played in only 6 games, but has 28 tackles and 6 sacks.

Culver City preview: The high-powered Centaurs average 464.2 yards (298.9 passing) and 48.2 points a game. They have scored 40 or more points 10 times and have won seven in a row, including a 61-21 win over San Jacinto in the Southern Section Division 7 title game. QB Zevi Eckhaus has completed 186-of-302 passes for 3,122 yards and 46 TDs with only 7 interceptions. RB Joshua Ford has 1,528 yards total offense. WR Kevin McGuire has 62 catches for 1,062 yards and 18 TDs while Jamal Glaspie has 12 TDs catches and Chris Miller 13. MLB Cortez Wright has 124 tackles and 7 sacks while DB Dominic Tatum has 88 tackles and a pair of interceptions.

Common opponent: Culver City beat L.A. Dorsey 42-0 while Lincoln beat Dorsey 55-26.

History: Lincoln was the San Diego Section champ in 2012, but the Hornets have never been to the Southern California Regional. Culver City also has never been to the regional.

Rankings: Lincoln is ranked No. 68 in the state, 594 in the nation. Culver City is No. 44 in the state, 340 nationally.

Prediction: Culver City 35, Lincoln 31

DIVISION 4-AA

Morse (10-4) at Visalia Central Valley Christian (11-2)

When: Friday, 7:30 p.m.

Online: nfhsnetwork.com

Morse preview: The Tigers have won four in a row, including 22-16 over Central Union in the San Diego Section Division III championship game. The Tigers average 33.2 points on offense behind RBs Shamar Martin, Isaiah Thompson, Jaycob Hicks and Rayvon Benson. Morse plays without a QB with one of the RBs taking a direct snap. Passing is an afterthought. LB Devin Brown is strong on defense with 150 tackles and 7 sacks. DB Michael Wright has 77 tackles and 6 interceptions. Two of Morse’s losses are to Southern California Regional playoff teams St. Augustine and Lincoln.

Central Valley Christian preview: The Cavaliers have won six in a row, including a 49-14 victory over Golden West in the Central Section Division 4 title game. The team averages 43.5 points a game behind QB Eric Dragt, who has 1,638 passing yards and 23 TDs with 4 interceptions. RB Jaalen Rening has 1,889 yards rushing and receiving. WR Simon Tevelde has 28 catches for 554 yards and 10 TDs and leads the defense with 92 tackles. LB Noah Nyenhuis also has 92 tackles while Logan Jacobi has 91.

History: Since 2010, Morse was 34-37 before this breakout season. The Tigers have never been to a Southern California Regional. Central Valley Christian is 53-21 since 2013, including 10-4 last season. The Cavaliers have never been to a regional.

Rankings: Morse is ranked No. 108 in the state. Central Valley Christian is 112.

Prediction: Central Valley Christian 34, Morse 31

DIVISION 5-A

Temecula Linfield Christian (13-1) at San Diego (10-2)

When: Saturday, 6 p.m.

Online: nfhsnetwork.com

Linfield Christian preview: The Lions, who have won six in a row, including a 70-32 victory over Artesia in the Southern Section Division 12 game, are an offensive machine under offensive coordinator Akili Smith, the former Lincoln High and NFL standout. The team averages 468.4 yards a game (309.8 rushing) and a state-leading 56.3 points. The Lions have scored 40 or more points in 10 games. QB Kaleb Maresh has thrown for 2,151 yards and 32 TDs with only 3 interceptions. RB Kenric Jameison has rushed for 2,011 yards, averaging 12.3 yards a carry, and 28 TDs. WR Travion Brown, a Washington State commit, has caught 38 passes, 20 of those for TDs, and has 109 tackles and 11 sacks. Guard Ben Coleman has committed to Cal. OLB Cooper Whitworth has 105 tackles and Miles Wiess has 121/2 sacks for a defense that has 9 shutouts and allows just 8 points.

San Diego preview: The Cavers won the San Diego Section Division IV title, beating Kearny 42-14. San Diego, which averages 373.3 yards and 41.8 points on offense, will test Linfield Christian’s defense. QB Quinn O’Connor has thrown for 956 yards and 16 TDs with only 3 interceptions. San Diego, though, does the bulk of its damage on the ground behind RBs Raiden Hunter (1,063 yards on 115 carries), Mo Jackson (986 yards on 86 carries) and Jayden Wickware (631 on 87 carries). The team averages 8.7 yards a rush with 44 TDs. The Cavers defense, led by Hunter, Wickware, Eric Orfanos, Daniel Thomas and Jaliel Jackson, allows just 10.5 points a game.

History: San Diego has won 10 in a row since its only loss on the field — 20-13 in overtime to Lincoln, another regional playoff team. The Cavers, who have never been to a regional playoff, were 7-43 over five seasons before going 12-1 last season. Linfield was 9-11-1 the last two seasons and has never been to a regional.

Rankings: San Diego is No. 137 in the state. Linfield is 165.

Prediction: Linfield Christian 31, San Diego 27

DIVISION 6-A

Los Angeles Locke (10-4) at Orange Glen (9-3)

When: Saturday, 6 p.m.

Online: nfhsnetwork.com

Locke preview: The Saints beat Roosevelt 22-20 to win the Los Angeles City Section Division II title and run their winning streak to five games. Locke averages 29.9 points a game behind QB Mikel Beime and RB Trayvon Ford. The defense gives up an average of 19.2 points.

Orange Glen preview: The Patriots won their first San Diego Section title since 1967 with a 35-14 win over Francis Parker last week in the Division V title game. RB Cael Patterson has 2,402 yards rushing and 2,588 yards total offense with 30 TDs. QB Ethan Villalobos has thrown for 746 yards and 8 TDs. MLB Julien Lesa has 108 tackles while LB Carlos Galan has 77 tackles and 3 sacks. Dylan Ewing-Villalobos has 79 tackles and returned an interception for a TD against Parker as did Christian Gonzalez-Torres. Tristen Smith has 7 interceptions.

History: Locke was 8-20 in three seasons before going 10-3 last season. This is the first regional for the Saints. Orange Glen was 9-23 before this breakout season. The Patriots have never been to a regional.

Rankings: Locke is No. 441 in the state. Orange Glen is No. 397.

Prediction: Orange Glen 31, Locke 24

Last week: 3-2. Season: 125-40.

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