Vista and Lincoln, defending 3-A and 2-A San Diego Section football champions, received the top seeds in their divisions Saturday as playoff pairings were announced.
Eighteen teams qualified by their league records, and an advisory committee headed by Section Commissioner Kendall Webb selected six at-large teams--Hoover, Christian and El Camino in 2-A, Granite Hills, Morse and Fallbrook in 3-A. Coaches hoping for at-large berths were allowed to make statements to the committee Saturday.
"I wanted to give every school a chance to be heard," Webb said. "I asked them (the coaches) to state why you think your team should be considered."
After Palomar League champion Vista (10-0), the 3-A seeded teams are: Sweetwater (9-1), the Metro Mesa League champion is second; Mount Miguel (8-2), which won the Grossmont League, is third, and Mira Mesa (7-3), the City Eastern League champion, is fourth. The four top-seeded teams in each division receive first-round byes.
Top-seeded 2-A teams are: City Central League champion Lincoln (9-1); Avacado League winner Oceanside (8-2) is second; City Western League champion La Jolla (8-2) third, and Grossmont League winner Grossmont (6-3-1) fourth.
Castle Park (4-6), winner of the Metro-South Bay league and No. 5 seeded, plays No. 12 Christian (5-5) in the first round with the winner meeting Grossmont Nov. 28.
The other 2-A first-round matchups are: No. 9 El Camino (4-6) at No. 8 USDHS (9-1), with the winner meeting Lincoln Nov. 29; No. 11 Crawford (6-4) at No. 6 San Marcos (6-3-1), with the winner playing La Jolla Nov. 29, and No. 10 University City (7-2) against No. 7 Hoover (7-3) at Mesa, the winner playing Oceanside Nov. 28.
First-round 3-A games are: No. 9 Montgomery (7-2-1) at No. 8 Helix (7-2-1), the winner meeting Vista Nov.; No. 12 Granite Hills (7-3) at No. 5 Chula Vista (9-1), the winner meeting Mira Mesa Nov. 28; No. 11 Morse (6-3-1) at No. 6 San Dieguito (8-2), the winner playing Mount Miguel Nov. 29, and No. 10 Madison (7-3) at No. 7 Fallbrook (7-2-1), the winner going on to meet Sweetwater Nov. 28.
First-round games start Friday at 7:30 p.m. with the host school being the top-seeded team.
Webb defended seeding Fallbrook, which finished third in the Palomar League, ahead of Madison, the runner-up from the City Eastern League and Helix, the Grossmont League runner-up.
"Once we get the 12 teams in and seed the four champions, there are no more criteria that limit us," Webb said. "The committee felt that Fallbrook, being in what they felt was a stronger league, was a stronger team."
Some of the teams may have a feeling of deja vu in their first-round pairings and possible second-round opponents.
If Fallbrook gets past Madison it will meet Sweetwater, which has knocked the Warriors out of the playoffs the past two years. Granite Hills, meanwhile, was a first-round winner over Chula Vista last year and the same two teams will meet again.
Should Helix defeat Montgomery, it then will play Vista in a rematch of last year's 3-A championship game, which Vista won, 35-7. A victory by El Camino over USDHS puts it against Lincoln, a rematch of the game Lincoln won last year. Crawford and San Marcos will play a rematch of last year's 2-A semifinal game, which Crawford won in the game's final minute.