Column: Southern Section playoffs seem inevitable already
Three weeks into the high school football season, the suspense is pretty much gone.
Being honest means that no team in the Southern Section is going to beat Bellflower St. John Bosco (3-0), Santa Ana Mater Dei (2-1, with loss by forfeit) or Corona Centennial (3-0) on the field during the regular season.
The only question is who wins the St. John Bosco-Mater Dei game on Oct. 12. The loser will face Centennial in the Division 1 semifinals, leading to a St. John Bosco-Mater Dei championship rematch or the Huskies crashing the Trinity League party.
Concord De La Salle is already penciled in to represent Northern California in the CIF state championship Open Division bowl game on Dec. 8 at Cerritos College by virtue of beating Folsom in the opening week of its season on Aug. 17.
Narbonne, despite being 1-2, is an even bigger cinch to win the City Section Open Division championship. The Gauchos have struggled on offense but should take a big jump when quarterback Jake Garcia becomes eligible on Sept. 21. There is intrigue as to which team will finish second to the Gauchos.
This is what happens in the transfer era. There are no rebuilding seasons for top teams with veteran coaches. The days of top teams dropping off the next season because of graduation losses are gone. Transfers are plugged in as immediate replacements, which is leading to the same teams competing for the top spot year after year in Division 1.
Yes, Westlake Village Oaks Christian (3-0), Mission Viejo (3-0), Orange Lutheran (2-1) and San Juan Capistrano JSerra (3-0) all believe they have a chance to join the party. And one of them will make the playoff semifinals. But the blunt truth is we know how this ends.
There is the Mater Dei vs. Florida IMG Academy game on Sept. 21. It will be like watching the Polynesian Bowl or All-American Bowl. The TV announcers will be talking about who’s a five-star or four-star prospect and which colleges are recruiting them.
The good thing about sports is there are surprises. Upsets happen. Just don’t blame me for telling the ending. This is life in 2018.
“It’s awesome,’’ Golden Valley coach Dan Kelley said. “He’s really a well-rounded young man. He definitely motivates everyone. He’s somebody to look up to and has shown that hard work pays off.”
Speed matters: When state 100-meter track champion Kazmeir Allen from Tulare broke off a 74-yard touchdown run for UCLA on Saturday, it wasn’t the first time a star sprinter showed he’s also a pretty good football player.
Past state 100 champions who also were very good football players include Curtis Conway (Hawthorne, USC), Napoleon Kaufman (Lompoc, Washington) and Justin Fargas (Sherman Oaks Notre Dame, USC).
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