The top three teams in the Sunset League for football last season now share the same CIF Southern Section division.
The section released the 2019 fall sports playoff divisions Friday night, and Edison, Corona del Mar and Los Alamitos all find themselves in Division 3 for football.
Edison, which finished third in the Sunset League last season, moves down from Division 2. So does Los Alamitos, which shared the league title with Corona del Mar. The Sea Kings, Division 4 runner-up last year, moved up one division.
“I know this, [the CIF Southern Section] has a tough job to do trying to figure it out,” said Edison coach Jeff Grady, who will be entering his third season in charge this fall. “There’s no way they’re going to make everybody happy. I’m sure they did what they felt was best, and we’ll just go from there. We’ve been in D2, which has been a tough division.”
The section has 24 teams in a combined Division 1 and 2 for 2019. The top eight will be taken for Division 1, which means each of the 16 Division 2 teams makes the 16-team playoff bracket, so the Chargers missed out on staying in that division and receiving an automatic berth into the playoffs.
CdM has had success in Division 4, reaching the title game in 2016 and 2018. The Sea Kings are expected to return 10 of 11 starters on offense, including Daily Pilot Dream Team Player of the Year John Humphreys, a Stanford commit, at receiver, along with Washington commits Ethan Garbers and Mark Redman at quarterback and tight end, respectively.
“Division 3, if you look at all 18 of those teams, whoever’s your round one [CIF] opponent in Division 3 is a team that can beat you,” CdM coach Dan O’Shea said. “It isn’t the old days of 45-0 in round one of the playoffs … everybody is really good and I think it’s incredibly competitive.”
O’Shea added that he did think the Sea Kings were placed properly in Division 3.
“At the moment, on that CIF division ranking by playoff groupings, we’re listed as the 40th team in the Southern Section,” he said. “I think we consider ourselves in the top 40 teams in the Southern Section, or at least would like to be able to compete at that level. I think we’re appropriately placed, and I think the other teams in the division, Tesoro and Edison and Los Al and [last year’s Division 4 champion Simi Valley] Grace Brethren are all teams that we enjoy playing. They’re competitive as heck.”
The other Sunset League teams also moved divisions in football. Huntington Beach moved down from Division 6 to 7, while Fountain Valley moved up from Division 8 to 7. Newport Harbor, winless in league a year ago, moved down one division to Division 9.
Marina moved down two divisions to Division 11, while Ocean View moved down one division to Division 12. Laguna Beach, a Division 12 semifinalist last year, stays in that division, while Estancia stays in Division 13.
Los Amigos and Costa Mesa will both be in the newly created Division 14, the lowest division. The Lobos and Mustangs were previously in Division 13.
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