The top 12 teams in each division qualify for the playoffs. First-round games are scheduled Nov. 19, followed by the quarterfinal round on Nov. 26. There is a short turnaround on the semifinals (Dec. 2) and finals (Dec. 6 at Qualcomm Stadium) for teams in the largest four enrollment divisions.
Eight teams in Division I have winning records and three more teams have a chance to finish .500. One additional team has at least three wins. Both Eastlake and Torrey Pines remain undefeated — each with 9-0 records.
Torrey Pines is in line to win the Palomar League championship while Eastlake is in line to win the Metro-Pacific League title. Should the Avocado East League title go to Mission and the Avocado West League title go to Oceanside, both of which are in the Division II enrollment division, that could leave as many as 10 at-large berths to be filled among Division I teams this season.
Eastlake and sixth-ranked Vista (8-1) paired up in last year’s championship game and Torrey Pines is a legitimate contender this season. Other teams contending for Division I playoff berths include Grossmont (7-2), Poway (6-3), San Diego (5-3-1), Otay Ranch (5-4), Granite Hills (5-4), Mira Mesa (4-5), El Camino (4-5), Carlsbad (4-5) and San Pasqual (3-6).
Should Otay Ranch finish 6-4 with a season ending win over visiting Chula Vista (2-7), the Mustangs should be in line to secure a first round home game. The Spartans join Rancho Buena Vista (2-7). Fallbrook (1-7-1), Escondido (1-7-1), Calexico (1-7) and Sweetwater (1-8) as long shots to make the playoffs.
Eight teams in Division II have winning records and four more teams have a chance to finish .500. Two additional teams have at least three wins. Helix is the lone undefeated team in the division, which may be the most competitive among any this season in the section. It would seem that any of the top five ranked teams in the division — #2 Helix (9-0), #4 Oceanside (7-2), #7 Steele Canyon (8-1), #8 Mission Hills (7-2) and #11 La Costa Canyon (6-3)— could win the title.
Bonita Vista (3-7) and Hilltop (4-5) both remain playoff hopefuls but likely are contending for the bottom available spots. Potentially standing in the way, however, are Rancho Bernardo (7-2), Scripps Ranch (5-3-1), Morse (6-4), Mt. Carmel (4-5), Orange Glen (4-5), Valhalla (4-5), Hoover (3-5-1) and Westview (2-7).
Teams that appear out include Patrick Henry, San Ysidro and El Cajon Valley — all with 1-8 records.
Eleven teams in Division III have winning or .500 records and four more teams have a chance to finish .500. Two additional teams have at least three wins. It appears that 17 of the 19 teams in the division continue to relish playoff berths at this late stage of the season.
Top teams, not in any specific order, include defending champion Cathedral Catholic (5-4), St. Augustine (7-2), Mt. Miguel (7-1-1), El Capitan (4-4-1) and Ramona (4-5). Point Loma (6-3), Southwest El Centro (6-3), Central Union (5-4), Kearny (4-5), San Marcos (4-5), University City (4-5), Lincoln (3-6) and West Hills (3-6) are all bidding with four South County teams for playoff berths. It’s likely that several deserving teams will be left out of the mix.
Cathedral Catholic and St. Augustine will play for the Eastern League title while Mt. Miguel holds the playoff tie-breaker over El Capitan in the Grossmont Valley League. Mar Vista appears to have the Metro-South Bay League title in hand.
Both Monte Vista (2-7) and Serra (1-8) appear out of contention.
Nine teams in Division IV have winning records and one more has a chance to finish .500. Valley Center (9-0) remains undefeated and the top-ranked team in the division. Olympian and Madison, both at 8-1, follow the Jaguars in the rankings poll. Other contenders include Brawley (7-2), Coronado (7-2), Santa Fe Christian (6-3), Imperial (5-3-1), Santana (5-3-1), Escondido Charter (5-4) and Palo Verde (4-5).
Valley Center, (Valley League), Olympian (Pacific League), Madison (Western League) and Coronado (Central League) have all clinched at least a co-championship in their respective leagues. Brawly is currently tied for the lead in the Imperial Valley League.
Mission Bay, last year’s division champion, appears to have resurrected its playoff hopes after a 0-7 start with consecutive victories against Hoover and La Jolla (2-7, also in Division IV).
Mater Dei (1-8) is hoping its early season win against Del Norte (2-7) might be enough to get in as the last team. That remains up in the air.
Crawford, which will finish as the section’s only 0-10 team, is definitely out after forfeiting the rest of its season due to a lack of varsity players while Clairemont is 1-8.
Eleven teams in Division V have winning records and four more teams have a chance to finish .500. Bishop’s, which is led by Chula Vista resident Joey Moreno at quarterback, is 9-0 and in line to win this year’s Coastal League title. Francis Parker (4-5) was the favorite early in the season but has suffered several surprising setbacks this season, including a 20-0 loss to Horizon Christian (5-3) on Oct. 29.
Moreno is averaging 126 passing yards per game for the Knights.
The Division V semifinals are Dec. 3 and the championship game is Dec. 10 at Mesa College.
Other top teams in the division include Tri-City Christian (8-1), La Jolla Country Day (6-3), The Rock Academy (6-3), El Cajon Christian (5-4), Holtville (5-4), Mountain Empire (4-5), Army-Navy Academy (4-5) and Calipatria (4-5).
Tri-City Christian has clinched at least a co-championship in the Coastal Pacific League while Bishop’s can wrap up the Coastal League title with another win.
Foothills Christian (5-0 in league, 5-2 overall) edged Calvin Christian (4-1, 5-4), 32-20, last week to secure the Southern League championship title. That leaves few precious at-large berths among the division’s smaller schools to fight for.
Ocean View Christian Academy and Chula Vista Calvary Christian Academy are the two South County teams looking to gain a foothold in the division.
Ocean View looked to have a spot locked up as an independent after rolling to a 6-0 start. But losses to the San Diego Jewish Academy (2-4-1) and San Pasqual Academy (2-6) have since placed the Patriots’ post-season hopes in jeopardy.
OVCA put its name back in the proverbial hat with a key 22-20 non-league victory against visiting Borrego Springs last Friday. But so did the Chula Vista Calvary Christian Academy Royal Knights after blowing out the SDJA, 43-0, on Saturday.
The Royal Knights (2-4 in Southern League play, 5-4 overall) have lost to Julian (2-6-1) and Borrego Springs (2-7-1) in league play as well as to Foothills Christian and Calvin Christian.
As a fitting regular season finale, both the Patriots and Royal Knights meet in a non-league game on Friday, with the winner perhaps securing the final playoff berth in the division. Both teams being admitted would be a bonus to the South Bay.
Jesse Johnson caught a 10-yard scoring pass from Andres Perez and also caught a 65-yard scoring pass from Zack Balich to help OVCA, playing with just 12 players suited up, snap a two-game losing streak. Raul Rodriguez scored on a 29-yard run to knot the score against the Rams at 14-14 at halftime.
The Royal Knights scored in every quarter against the Lions (1-3-1 in league play), led by Alex Howard with two rushing touchdowns, single TDs by Nick Seydel, Tony Madrid, Oscar Gonzales and Justin Harrison and a 35-yard field goal by Hector Martinez.
Harrison rushed for 172 yards, Howard gained 163 yards and Gonzales powered to 120 yards to control the ball on the ground as the Royal Knight racked up 474 rushing yards. Trace Scheckel passed for 93 yards as Calvary Christian amassed 567 total offensive yards.
The Royal Knights stymied SDJA with six picks, including two by Collin Angeles and Howard and one each by Jose-Noel Rocha and Harrison.
As many as half a dozen to a dozen South County teams could be included in this year’s playoff pool. Suffice it to say, local prep coaches will be keeping their fingers crossed heading into Saturday’s playoff selection meeting.
Kuyper Prep of National City improved to 5-1 in eight-man play after ripping Vista Calvary Christian, 50-0, in a Citrus League playoff game on Nov. 6. Warner Springs topped Maranatha Christian, 52-6, in the other semifinal to advance to the championship game on Nov. 12.
Kuyper Prep previously defeated Warner Spring, 22-16, in league play on Oct. 8.
Note: This story originally appeared on SDPrepSports.com.
Torrey Pines 9-0-0
San Diego 5-3-1
Otay Ranch 5-4
Granite Hills 5-4
Mira Mesa 4-5
El Camino 4-5
San Pasqual 3-6
Chula Vista 2-7
Rancho Buena 2-7
Notes: Otay Ranch has won two straight games, RBV has lost five straight games, Calexico has lost six straight games.
Steele Canyon 8-1
Mission Hills 7-2
Rancho Bernardo 7-2
La Costa Canyon 6-3
Scripps Ranch 5-3-1
Mt. Carmel 4-5
Orange Glen 4-5
Bonita Vista 3-7
Patrick Henry 1-8
San Ysidro 1-8
El Cajon Valley 1-9
Notes: Steele Canyon and Oceanside have won five straight games, Mission Hills has won four straight games, Rancho Bernardo and Scripps Ranch have won two straight games, Westview has lost five straight games, Hoover has lost four straight games, Patrick Henry and San Ysidro have lost six straight games.
Mount Miguel 7-1-1
St. Augustine 7-2
Mar Vista 6-3
Southwest (El Centro) 6-3
Point Loma 6-3
Castle Park 6-3
Cathedral Catholic 5-4
Central Union 5-4
Southwest (San Diego) 5-4
El Capitan 4-4-1
San Marcos 4-5
University City 4-5
West Hills 3-6
Monte Vista 2-7
Notes: Mar Vista has won five straight games, Cathedral Catholic has won four straight games, Kearny and San Marcos have won three straight games, Southwest El Centro has won two straight games, Serra has lost three straight games, West Hills has lost four straight games, Ramona has lost five straight games.
Valley Center 9-0
Santa Fe Christian 6-3
Escondido Charter 5-4
Palo Verde Valley 4-5
La Jolla 2-7
Mission Bay 2-7
Del Norte 2-7
Mater Dei 1-8
Notes: Olympian has won seven straight games, Coronado has won six straight games, Madison has won five straight games, Escondido Charter has won three straight games, Mission Bay and Santa Fe Christian have won two straight games, Del Norte has lost three straight games, Mater Dei Catholic has lost four straight games.
Tri-City Christian 8-1
Ocean View Christian 7-2
Foothills Christian 5-2
La Jolla Country Day 6-3
Rock Academy 6-3
Calvin Christian 5-4
Calvary Christian Academy 5-4
Mountain Empire 4-5
Francis Parker 4-5
San Diego Jewish Academy 2-4-1
Borrego Springs 2-7-1
San Pasqual Academy 2-6
Vincent Memorial 1-8-1
St. Joseph Academy 1-8
Notes: Tri-City Christian has won seven straight games, Foothills Christian has won five straight games, Rock Academy and Army-Navy Academy have won two straight games, Holtville and San Diego Jewish Academy have lost two straight games, Francis Parker and Calipatria have lost three straight games, Vincent Memorial and St. Joseph Academy have lost six straight games.