High School Football: It's time for playoffs

Four local prep football teams have made their way into the postseason.

The four teams — Edison, Fountain Valley, Huntington Beach and Brethren Christian — will start the third leg of their season's journey with first-round games Friday in the CIF Southern Section Football Championships.

Edison, Fountain Valley and Huntington Beach are all part of the Southwest Division field. The Chargers, the division's defending champion, will play at home for their opening game. The Barons and Oilers, are on the road for their openers.

Brethren Christian also is on the road for its East Valley Division opener.

Friday

Cypress (6-4) vs. Edison (7-3)

(7 p.m, Orange Coast College)

Edison begins defense of its 2012 Southwest Division championship when it takes on a Cypress team that finished in third place in the Empire League.

The Chargers went into the final week of the regular season last week, looking to earn at least a share of the Sunset League title. Instead, the defending league champs won the title outright when both Newport Harbor and Los Alamitos dropped their regular-season finales.

Edison enters the playoffs as the division's No. 3 seed.

"Our goal was to be league champs, and we got that, even outright," Edison Coach Dave White said. "I think we are playing really well heading into the playoffs. We're excited to play Cypress."

Senior running back Tyler Warren has 715 yards and heads an Edison run game that has gained 2,026 total yards. Junior Matt Gane (347 rushing yards, 356 passing yards) will quarterback the Chargers who had used a two-man rotation at the position until senior Christian Heffelman was lost to a shoulder injury in the Nov. 2 Fountain Valley game.

Cypress finished third in the Empire League behind teams, Yorba Linda and Placentia Valencia, that are the No. 2 and 4 seeds in the division. Leading the Centurions offense is junior quarterback Nick Buras who has thrown for 1,385 yards with 14 touchdowns (four interceptions) and has rushed for an additional 485 yards.

Cypress started the season 5-1, but heads into the postseason having lost its last two regular-season games.

The Cypress-Edison Winner moves on to a quarterfinal game Nov. 22 against either Villa Park (8-2, Century No. 2) or Buena Park (8-2, Freeway League No. 2).

Edison defeated Villa Park in last year's Southwest Division championship game.

Fountain Valley (7-3) vs. San Juan Hills (9-1)

(7:30 p.m. San Juan Hills High)

Fountain Valley made the Southwest Division playoffs in Ray Fenton's first year as head coach, and goes up against a solid San Juan Hills unit.

"They're a good football team that does not make mistakes," Fenton said. "They are very sound, very disciplined, and they don't beat themselves. They have a really good quarterback, a couple of good running backs, and use three or four receivers. They also play great team defense."

The Barons worked their way into a second-place tie with Newport Harbor in the Sunset League last week by upending third-ranked Los Alamitos, 10-7, and in the process, denied the Griffins a share of the league title.

"It was a huge win and to finished tied for second in the Sunset League, is just great," Fenton said. "We didn't want to be invited to the playoffs, we wanted to earn our spot. It's a great compliment to our kids, and our seniors who stuck with this program, to be going to CIF."

San Juan Hills is champion of the Sea View League. The Stallions have won their last five games and come into Friday's game averaging 37 points on offense. They have scored 40 or more points in five of their 10 games.

Quarterback Jacob Gibson has had a great senior season to date. In his first 10 games, he has thrown for 1,846 yards with 23 touchdown passes to only two interceptions. Senior running back Brad Kremer is the team's leading rusher with 756 yards and six touchdowns in nine games. Senior Matthew Mucerino tops the receiving corps with 628 yards and 12 TDs on 38 receptions.

Following first-round action Friday, a potential all-Sunset League quarterfinal game could loom Nov. 22: the winner of this game advances to face the winner of Friday's Huntington Beach-Yorba Linda first-round game.

Huntington Beach (5-5) vs. Yorba Linda (10-0)

(7 p.m., Yorba Linda High)

Huntington Beach survived the tough Sunset League race, and now takes on the only undefeated team in the Southwest Division.

The Oilers go up against a Yorba Linda team that won the Empire League championship and turned in a 10-0 regular season. The Mustangs are the No. 4 seed in the division.

Huntington is an at-large entry to the playoffs, and fellow Sunset League member Los Alamitos received the other division at-large bid. The Oilers made a strong case for postseason inclusion by pulling away to roll past Newport Harbor, 40-14, in a regular-season finale Friday.

The loss cost Newport Harbor a share of the league title.

"Last week at this time, we didn't know if we'd be playing this week, but we got a great team effort against Newport and got the at-large berth," said Huntington Coach Eric Lo whose team learned Saturday that it had, indeed, landed an at-large bid.

"I figured we'd get Yorba Linda or Foothill for the first round, but it doesn't matter who we would be playing," he said. "We're happy to be in the playoffs, and we'll be ready Friday.

"I think Yorba Linda is a very good team. They're a big team, and being 10-0, tells you something about them, right there. Their offense (option) will be different than anything we've seen this year. We're working this week on getting our guys adjusted to the option."

Senior Ian Eldridge heads a Yorba Linda rushing game that includes four Mustangs who have rushed for 360 or more yards. Eldridge has 724 yards and seven touchdowns on 88 carries. Junior quarterback Jake Gigliotti has rushed for 368 yards with 14 touchdowns, and has thrown for 1,075 and eight scores.

Huntington's offense runs under senior quarterback Kai Ross, who has thrown for 1,694 yards (125 of 227) with 18 touchdowns and five interceptions. Ross also has rushed for 601 yards and eight touchdowns, plus, as a starter at cornerback, has a team-high five interceptions.

The Oilers' rushing attack is led by a pair of sophomores, Hunter Simmons (720 yards, five TDs) and Travis Heer (544 yards, seven TDs). At receiver, senior Maurice Barber leads the ranks with 681 yards and seven TDs on 38 receptions, and junior Nolan Thompson has 469 yards and five scores.

Senior linebacker Matt Tavakoli is Huntington's tackle leader at 97.

Brethren Christian (8-2) vs. Shadow Hills (6-4)

(7 p.m., Shadow Hills High)

Brethren Christian Coach Pat McInally said one of the program's two goals this season is to win a CIF playoff game. The Warriors will go after that goal when they travel to Indio to face the Knights in an East Valley Division contest.

BC qualified for the playoffs as the No. 2 seed in the Academy League, a race won by St. Margaret's, which is the No. 2 seed in the East Valley playoffs. The Warriors closed out the regular season on a three-game win streak.

Shadow Hills is the second-place team from the De Anza League. Sophomore quarterback Alex Lopez is a key for a Knights team that McInally calls "big and athletic."

"They have some really good athletes on their team, and have a lot of speed," he said. "They play in a tough league and it should be a good game. We have to be prepared."

Entering postseason play, BC senior quarterback Jack McInally has completed 53% of his passes (107-199) for a school-record 2,359 yards, and has 25 touchdown passes with 10 interceptions in nine games played. His passing yards and TDs rank third in Orange County.

Senior receiver Austin Gorrell is one of the county's top leaders in receptions with 34 catches for 720 yards (21.2 average) with 11 touchdowns. Senior running back Jared Fuga has rushed for 600 yards, and senior Anthony Moore is a leading receiver/running back, has two kickoff returns for touchdowns and averages more than 65 yards on returns, plus, at defensive back, is the team's third-leading tackler. Another senior, two-way player Will Martin, has 88 tackles and owns a school-record 16 sacks this year.

The five Warriors serve as team captains.

BC played nine games during the preseason. The Warriors were awarded a forfeit victory from Inglewood Animo Leadership in their second game of the season on Sept. 7.

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