PREP FOOTBALL PLAYOFF CAPSULES : DIVISION V
Defending champion: Newport Harbor, a 20-15 winner over Servite.
Seeded teams: 1. Servite (8-2); 2. Western (10-0); 3. El Toro (8-2); 4. Kennedy (9-1).
Dark horse: Brea Olinda (6-4). When the Wildcats are hot, like they were in a 40-34 victory over Savanna, they are hot. But the Wildcats were awful in a 28-6 loss to Western. And Jerome Owens, one of the most punishing runners in the division, needs to get into the end zone more. He ran for 170 yards against Western, but when push came to shove, Western shoved the Brea Olinda offensive line away from the end zone.
Notes: Servite is the logical favorite since the defending champion is not here. But the top-seeded team was a mild surprise, since the Friars weren’t really challenged in the Golden West League . . . Western comes in unbeaten. Said Pioneer Coach Jim Howell: “You’d like to think that if we were 10-0 that we would get the No. 1 seed, but they say Servite played a more difficult schedule than us and they have been ahead of us all year in the polls.” . . . Western, which plays host to Canyon (6-3-1) doesn’t really have one big standout. It’s a team of no-names that plays well together. A big factor is Howell, who has said he will most likely retire at the end of the season. The Pioneers would love to send the 17-year veteran off with the big prize . . . Loara (4-6), which got into the playoffs when Empire League principals voted Cypress out for using an ineligible player, will play Servite . . . Kennedy’s grind-it-out offense, with pounding running back Darin Martineau, hasn’t consistently scored a lot of points compared to some of the other teams in the division, but the Fighting Irish (9-1) haven’t given up many, either. Kennedy plays Westminster (6-4) at Glover Stadium . . . El Toro Coach Mike Milner calls the playoffs “very competitive . . . the same teams have been rated high--three, four or five--all year long.” El Toro plays Savanna (7-3) at Trabuco Hills . . . Santa Ana Valley (7-3) enters the playoffs for the first time since 1978 on the heels of a 28-19 loss to Canyon, which forced a two-way tie with Villa Park for the Century League title. Valley got one of the toughest draws, Irvine (6-4), which got an at-large berth on the strength of finishing in a three-way tie for second in the Sea View League . . . Santa Margarita (7-3) gave up only 10 points per game, but somehow wound up with three losses. When quarterback Chris Collins is hot, the Eagles can be unstoppable.