CIF-SS FOOTBALL PLAYOFFS: SOUTHERN DIVISION
ANAHEIM (5-5) VS. CORONA DEL MAR (8-2)
Where, when: Newport Harbor High, Thursday, 7 p.m.
Outlook: The Colonists are in the playoffs for the seventh consecutive year, but they get the Sea Kings, the top seed and defending Southern Division champion in the first round. CdM quarterback Cayman Carter is one of the most dynamic players in the division. He has passed for 1,536 yards and 14 TDs and has rushed for 790 yards and 10 TDs. Anaheim running back Josh Tafoya closed out the season with three consecutive 100-yard rushing games, including 292 yards and two TDs in the victory over Magnolia.
LOS AMIGOS (7-3) VS. ESTANCIA (7-3)
Where, when: Estancia High, Friday, 7 p.m.
Outlook: The Lobos reached the quarterfinals last season, but they will be underdogs against the Eagles, who reached the semifinals last season, in this opening-round matchup. This game features two of the county’s top running backs with Los Amigos’ Jerry Saldivar going toe-to-toe against Estancia’s Robert Murtha. Saldivar is in the hunt for the county rushing title with 1,899 yards and 23 TDs on 227 carries. Murtha hasn’t put up the same numbers as he did as a junior, but he still has 1,156 yards and 11 TDs on 173 carries.
WOODBRIDGE (5-5) VS. WESTMINSTER (6-4)
Where, when: Westminster High, Friday, 7:30 p.m.
Outlook: The Lions closed out the regular season with five consecutive victories to take the Golden West League title, so they have momentum. But they probably have the toughest first-round game of any team in the division, going up against the Warriors, the third-place team from the Pacific Coast League, which is arguably the strongest league in the division. Westminster quarterback Steven Anderson has come on strong down the stretch. Woodbridge running back Austin DeFreitas is among the county rushing leaders with 1,835 yards and 18 TDs on 257 carries.
GODINEZ (4-6) VS. KATELLA (8-2)
Where, when: Glover Stadium, Friday, 7 p.m.
Outlook: The Grizzlies are in their fifth varsity season and this is their third consecutive trip to the postseason, but they have yet to win a playoff game. That task will be very hard against the fourth-seeded Knights, who are in the playoffs for the first time since 2002 after winning their first Orange League title since 1967. Katella running back T.J. Ashmeade is one of the hottest running backs in the county. He has been averaging 224.6 rushing yards per game in the past five games and he has scored 11 TDs during that span.
BECKMAN (3-7) VS. GARDEN GROVE (8-2)
Where, when: Garden Grove High, Friday, 7:30 p.m.
Outlook: CdM and Laguna Beach look like the favorites to reach the finals, but the third-seeded Argos might be the sleeper pick. Garden Grove, which won the Southern Division championship in 2010, has victories over league champions Westminster and Katella, while its losses came against Woodbridge and El Toro. It won five consecutive games to win the Garden Grove League title. The Patriots received the Southern Division’s lone at-large berth, probably based on its back-to-back appearances in the finals the past two seasons and because it comes from the Pacific Coast league, which is considered the strongest league in the division.
SANTA ANA VALLEY (7-3) VS. SEGERSTROM (8-2)
Where, when: Segerstrom High, Friday, 7:30 p.m.
Outlook: The Jaguars were ranked No. 1 in the division for much of the season before two late-season losses to Orange and Westminster cost them the Golden West League title and one of the top four seeds. Segerstrom still has one of the top rushing attacks in the county. The Jaguars’ wing-T offense, led by running back David Perkins (138 carries, 1,444 yards, 22 TDs), is averaging 356.6 rushing yards per game. The Falcons have a solid running back in Alex Hernandez, who has rushed for 1,420 yards and 13 TDs.
RANCHO ALAMITOS (7-3) VS. NORTHWOOD (4-6)
Where, when: Irvine High, Friday, 7 p.m.
Outlook: The Vaqueros had a 9-1 record heading into the playoffs last season before getting knocked off by Woodbridge, 43-21. Rancho Alamitos gets another Pacific Coast League team, Northwood, in the opening round this season. Northwood’s 4-6 overall record doesn’t seem impressive, but three of those victories came in the Pacific Coast league to help the Timberwolves take second place. Northwood’s Kevin Norman is the kind of QB who can win games with his legs and his arm, giving Northwood a shot to make a run.
LOARA (3-7) VS. LAGUNA BEACH (9-0-1)
Where, when: Laguna Beach High, Friday, 7 p.m.
Oulook: The second-seeded Breakers, the lone unbeaten team in the division, reached the semifinals last season, so this could be the year they break through and go all the way. Laguna Beach running back/safety Drake Martinez, who leads the county with 29 TDs, is a threat to score whenever he touches the ball and he is extremely dangerous on kick and punt returns. The Saxons are in the playoffs for the first time since 2010.
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