The CIF Southern Section released its football playoff pairings on Sunday, and the Edison, Corona del Mar, Laguna Beach and Fountain Valley high school programs appeared in the draws.
Three of those local teams — CdM, Edison and Laguna Beach — are looking to build off the substantial playoff success they had last year.
All four schools play in the first round on Friday.
Edison won a section title in Division 3 last year, but repeating is never easy, especially with a move up to Division 2 this year. The Chargers (7-3), the second-place team from the Sunset League, will play at Freeway League champion La Habra (7-3) in the first round at 7:30 p.m.
“This is a very tough matchup against a very good opponent,” Edison coach Jeff Grady said. “They play fast and physical on both sides of the ball.”
Grady, in his first year in charge of his alma mater, said he hopes to have senior running back Jack Carmichael and senior wide receiver and cornerback McCade Barrett for the opener. Carmichael hasn’t played since injuring his ankle on Sept. 15 and Barrett has been out since hurting his collarbone on Oct. 13.
If the Chargers advance, they could run into some familiar opponents. Fourth-seeded Oaks Christian is a potential second-round foe, and the Chargers could face Tesoro in the semifinals.
Edison opened the season with games against those two teams. The contests were decided by a combined six points, as the Chargers beat the Titans 48-47 on Aug. 25 and lost to the Lions 24-19 on Sept. 1.
CdM looks to return to the Division 4 finals. The last three contests of 2016 for the Sea Kings were all one-point games, and the finale was decided in double overtime.
CdM, the Pacific Coast League champion for the sixth straight year, earned the No. 4 seed in its division. The Sea Kings (9-1) will play host to Eastvale Roosevelt (6-4), an at-large entry from the Big VIII League, in the first round at Newport Harbor High at 7 p.m.
The Sea Kings will get J.T. Murphy back for the playoffs. The senior running back sat out last Friday’s league championship game against Woodbridge due to a calf strain.
Sea Kings coach Dan O’Shea called Murphy’s inactive status “precautionary.” Murphy has scored 13 touchdowns (11 rushing) this year.
Laguna Beach made a semifinal appearance in Division 13 last year. That playoff success was noted, and the Breakers were bumped up to Division 12 this year.
The Breakers’ 37-14 victory against Calvary Chapel in the regular-season finale proved crucial, as they clinched second place in the Orange Coast League and a postseason berth.
The Breakers (5-5) will travel in the first round to take on Temecula Rancho Christian (7-3), the South Valley League champion, at 7:30 p.m. Rancho Christian won the Division 13 title last year.
Breakers coach John Shanahan says that his team’s playoff run began four weeks ago.
“For four weeks in a row, we’ve talked with the kids about being one-and-done,” Shanahan said. “This is very much like our fifth playoff game.”
Laguna Beach won four straight games to end the season after going 1-4 in nonleague games.
“Offensively, we’re doing some different things,” said Shanahan, noting junior Shane Lythgoe’s development as the starting running back. “We’re going under center. We’re running our power game a lot better.”
Fountain Valley, which went 1-9 a year ago, is back in the playoffs.
Coach Jimmy Nolan turned things around in his second year. His Barons were also the beneficiary of a favorable coin flip, as Newport Harbor’s 21-7 win over Huntington Beach last Friday night forged a three-way tie for third place in the Sunset League.
Fountain Valley won the coin flip and the league’s No. 3 designation, while the Sailors and Oilers did not earn at-large entries in their respective divisions.
The Barons (6-4) will host Wildomar Elsinore (6-4), an at-large entry from the Sunbelt League, in the first round of the Division 6 playoffs at Huntington Beach High at 7:30 p.m.
“Regardless of a coin flip, we anticipated going to the playoffs, and we didn’t care where we went, whether it was on the road or staying home,” Nolan said.
“We did draw a tough team. We got Elsinore, and [its option] style of offense is different than any team we’ve played against. It kind of takes me back to my college days at the University of Utah. We all knew that the Air Force game each year was tough. You kind of had to change everything you do on defense, and that’s tough when you only have a week to prepare. You also have to bring a different mental mindset into that type of game on defense.”
Friday’s first-round games
Edison (7-3) at La Habra (7-3), 7:30 p.m.
Corona del Mar (9-1) vs. Eastvale Roosevelt (6-4) at Newport Harbor High, 7 p.m.
Fountain Valley (6-4) vs. Wildomar Elsinore (6-4) at Huntington Beach High, 7:30 p.m.
Laguna Beach (5-5) at Temecula Rancho Christian (7-3), 7:30 p.m.