The third and final leg of the 2011 prep football season starts this week for four local teams that have moved on to compete for CIF Southern Section championships.
Edison, Huntington Beach, Ocean View and Brethren Christian are all part of the postseason party and each began preparations Monday for first-round games. Both Edison and Ocean View will play at home, while Huntington Beach and Brethren Christian open on the road.
"We're really excited to be where we are," said Eric Lo, who is taking the Oilers to the playoffs for the second time in his fifth year as head coach. "The kids have had a great season so far and we are focused now on the playoffs. We can't wait."
Below is a capsule look at the four games.
Tesoro (6-4) vs. Edison (8-2), 7 p.m., Friday, Orange Coast College: An intriguing first-round game pits teams coming from rugged leagues against each other in the first meeting between the schools.
Tesoro is the No. 3 team from the formidable South Coast League and the Titans enter postseason play on a two-game losing streak. Those losses, came against second-ranked Mission Viejo and sixth-ranked San Clemente. Their other two losses are to No. 4 Santa Margarita and Chaparral (No. 10, Inland Division).
Running back Nate Tago is just eight yards shy of reaching 1,000 rushing yards for the season and leads a solid run game. Quarterback Matt Adams has thrown for 779 yards and has seven touchdowns with five interceptions.
"I think the teams are similar in that both are real hard-working programs that are balanced on offense and stingy on defense and both get the most out of their players," Edison Coach Dave White said. "They (Tesoro) come from a really tough league and played Mission Viejo close (14-7 loss). It should be a good game."
By contrast, Edison takes a Sunset League championship and five-game win streak into Friday's opener. The Chargers' two losses are to top-ranked and two-time defending Pac-5 champion Servite and a Mater Dei team that, on a rare occasion, failed to make the postseason.
The Chargers clinched an outright Sunset League title last week by routing host Newport Harbor, 35-7. Senior quarterback Chase Favreau ran for a pair of scores and threw for 267 yards and had touchdown passes to Curren Provost and Sedric Hill. Favreau has put up 1,690 yards and 15 touchdowns, with just five interceptions through the air.
Edison's defense has given up 14 or fewer points in seven of 10 games. On three occasions it has given up a touchdown or less. The Chargers shut out Newport Harbor last week, with the Sailors' lone score coming on a 90-yard kickoff return by Titus Hasson. Chargers senior defensive back Connor
"It was probably the best our offense and defense has played together in a game this year," White said of last week's win. "Our defense has done a great job all year and is real good against the run. I think Tesoro is probably more of a running team, so this will be another test for our defense."
Huntington Beach (8-2) vs. Loyola (8-2), 7 p.m., Friday, L.A. Valley College: Huntington Beach ventures into postseason play for the first time since 2008 and is riding high coming into its game against a playoff veteran Loyola program.
"It's a tough draw, but we knew any draw would be tough in this division," Lo said. "But I think we match up well with Loyola. They have some athletic kids and we have some pretty good athletes, too. We're excited to be in the playoffs and playing a big-name school."
Loyola's résumé is impressive. In winning eight of 10 games, the Cubs have defeated ranked teams Bishop Amat (14-3) and St. John Bosco (28-14), as well as Newport Harbor (27-0) in nonleague play. Their two losses are to Alemany (28-14), a team it finished second to in the Serra League and is the No. 4-seed in the Pac-5 playoffs, and undefeated Upland (38-23), which is the No. 3-seed in the Inland Division.
Quarterback Nicolas Cotton and running back Wyatt Bradford are two main figures in the Cubs' balanced offensive attack. Cotton, a senior, has thrown for 1,238 yards and 12 touchdowns. Bradford, a junior, has rushed for 891 yards and 12 touchdowns.
"They have a very good secondary and on offense are really balanced," Lo said. "They're pretty explosive offensively and we will need to move the ball to keep their offense off the field. Defensively, we will need to stop their run game."
Huntington Beach finished second to Edison in a tight Sunset League race. Its eight-win regular-season is the best by an Oiler team since 1993's squad won 13 games and played in a Southern Section championship game.
The Oilers last week downed Fountain Valley, 30-12. Senior quarterback Michael Chislock threw for 176 yards with a pair of 64-yard touchdown passes to senior receivers Ramon Vargas and Chris Ogilvie. Senior running back Fisher Chavira rushed for a score and senior defensive end recovered a Fountain Valley fumble in the end zone.
Chislock now has thrown for 1,952 yards, with 20 touchdowns and just five interceptions.
Huntington's defense has also keyed this year's success. The Oilers have given up 14 or less points in seven games and four times have held the opponent to a touchdown or less.
Santa Ana Valley (7-3) vs. Ocean View (5-5), 7 p.m., Friday, Ocean View High: Ocean View is returning to the CIF playoffs for the second straight year and Friday's game is historic for the Seahawks: offensive coordinator Eli Atol said it's the first postseason game the program has hosted.
"The kids are really excited about our opportunity," said the former Ocean View all-league player. "This is a really special group and they are starting to learn how to play as a team."
Ocean View finished second in the Golden West League behind third-ranked Segerstrom. It marked the first time since 2000 that an Ocean View team has finished second in league, Atol said. In a game that determined the outright league champion last week, Ocean View put up a huge third-quarter rally to tie the score but host Segerstrom used two late touchdowns to pull out a 52-38 win to repeat as league champ.
The Seahawks fell behind, 31-10, at the half but scored 21-unaswered points in the third quarter to tie the score. The score was again tied at 38 late in the fourth quarter but the Jaguars scored the winning touchdown with just one minute to play, and scored on a 45-yard interception return in the closing seconds to clinch the victory.
Seahawks senior quarterback Timmy Robinson rushed for two touchdowns, threw a touchdown pass to Tua Falelaulii and finished with 263 yards (146 passing) of total offense. Eric Hernandez ran for a score, Travis Sparks scored on a fumble return and Christian Negrete kicked a 40-yard field goal.
"It was an unbelievable game, one of the most exciting games I've ever been a part of," Atol said.
Santa Ana Valley is the No. 2 team from the Orange League and went 6-1 the final seven weeks of the regular season. The Falcons' only loss was a 6-0 setback two weeks ago to an Anaheim team that went on to win the Orange League championship. During that 6-1 run, they averaged 32 points per game.
"Santa Ana Valley is a tough physical team and they know how to win," Atol said. "I think we match up well against them. We are looking forward to another exciting game."
East Valley Division
Brethren Christian (5-5) vs. Ontario Christian (7-2-1), 7:30 p.m., Friday, at Ontario Christian High: Brethren Christian claimed the second and final playoff berth from the Academy League last week by knocking off Sage Hill on the final night of the regular season. Now, the Warriors travel to face Ontario Christian.
The Knights won the Ambassador League title and are on a five-game win streak. They have scored 33 more points in eight of their 10 games and outscored their last two league opponents, Western Christian and Calvary Murietta, by a combined 110-7.
Craig Bruinsma is a key two-way player for the Knights. At quarterback, he has thrown for 1,060 yards with 12 touchdowns and three interceptions. The junior also starts at defensive back. Senior running back/defensive back Mike Salas is averaging 106 yards per game and has 12 touchdowns to lead a run game that has amassed 2,240 yards in 10 games.
Brethren Christian posted back-to-back league wins to earn second place behind third-ranked and league-champion St. Margaret's. In last week's 48-7 victory of Sage Hill, the Warriors amassed 452 yards on the ground, led by senior back Brandon White, who ran for 160 and two touchdowns and junior back Luke Carbonella, who rushed for 129 and three touchdowns. Senior quarterback Sam Franklin ran for two other scores and sophomore quarterback Jack McInally scored once.
The 2011 season ended last week for Fountain Valley and Marina.
Fountain Valley fell, 30-12, to Huntington Beach. Senior running back Chris Calvillo rushed for a touchdown and junior receiver Wyatt Christensen scored on a pass from junior quarterback Chris d'Entremont. The Barons finished the year 4-6 and 1-4 in league.
Marina dropped a 31-13 decision to Los Alamitos. Senior back Alex Waked rushed for two touchdowns and 137 yards for the Vikings, who went 1-8-1 and 0-5 in Sunset League play.