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Esperanza Rewarded in Pairings for Playoffs

TIMES STAFF WRITER

A victory over Los Alamitos during the regular season proved to be an advantage for Anaheim Esperanza, which received a favorable draw in next week’s Southern Section Division I playoffs despite an 8-2 record.

In pairings released Sunday, the Aztecs were seeded No. 3 in the section’s highest division and put in a bracket opposite Fontana, Santa Ana Mater Dei and Los Alamitos, which all have better records.

Despite losses to Chino Hills Ayala and Long Beach Poly, Esperanza fared well with the playoff committee because of its 21-17 victory over the highly regarded Griffins in a Sunset League showdown last month.

“They won the Sunset League and were ranked high in our poll,” Bill Clark, the section’s associate commissioner, said of Esperanza. “Obviously, Los Alamitos was still considered a top team, so that is why the bracket unfolded the way it did.”

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Bishop Amat, which won the Del Rey League with an 8-1-1 record, was not seeded.

First-round games in the section’s 11 divisions will be played Friday and Saturday. The playoffs conclude with championship games Dec. 8-9.

In the rest of Division I, Fontana (10-0) was seeded No. 1, Long Beach Poly (10-0) No. 2 and Los Alamitos (9-1) No. 4.

The other top-seeded teams include: Antelope Valley (9-1) in Division II, Sherman Oaks Notre Dame (10-0) in III, Riverside North (10-0) in IV, Anaheim Servite (8-2) in V, El Monte Arroyo (10-0) in VI, Covina (10-0) in VII, Baldwin Park Sierra Vista (9-0-1) in VIII, Atascadero (10-0) in IX, Cerritos Valley Christian (9-1) in X and Morro Bay (10-0) in XI.

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Because the at-large field didn’t meet the qualifying criteria in Divisions VI and XI, Arroyo and Morro Bay have rare first-round byes.

“We may have to look at our rules so we don’t have byes next season,” Clark said.


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