Southern Section football playoff championship predictions: Mater Dei and who else?
It’s time to predict which teams will win championships in the 14 divisions in the Southern Section football playoffs. Come December, the predictor will either be wearing a dunce cap or a genius cap.
Division 1: Santa Ana Mater Dei. The only surprise is which team Mater Dei will beat in the championship game. Will it be a St. John Bosco-Mater Dei final for the fifth consecutive year? Will Servite make it to the final? Will Corona Centennial offer a challenge? The Monarchs have too much strength up front on the offensive and defensive lines, too much balance on offense and are improving too much in the secondary to be denied this season. And, if the game is close, they have the best field goal kicker, too, in Chase Meyer. In the end, you have to place your trust in sophomore quarterback Elijah Brown. He’s unbeaten in two years of high school football.
Division 2: Edison. You could probably flip a coin and have a chance to be right in this division, the toughest, most balanced of all. As good as No. 4-seeded Edison is, the Chargers could easily lose in the first round to Murrieta Valley. Edison is the pick because the Chargers have done well all season against top competition and have the offensive firepower to win four straight games.
Division 3: Oak Hills. Yes, I’m picking the No. 15 seed. It’s another division where the lower seeds can shock the higher seeds, and it won’t be shocking. This team lost by two points to the top seed, Citrus Valley, and has been rolling. Facing No. 2 seed Etiwanda in the opening round will be a difficult test, but beware if the upset occurs.
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Division 4: Long Beach Poly. Yes, the top-seeded Jackrabbits have been forever considered a Division 1 program, so this rare opportunity to win a Division 4 championship must not be wasted. The Jackrabbits’ size on the line, experience at quarterback and speed in the secondary should lead to a championship.
Division 5: Chino Hills. At 5-5 and seeded No. 4, Chino Hills might not even get past 9-0 St. Genevieve in the opener. But the Huskies don’t need LaMelo Ball to win this division. They played a challenging schedule that included games against Ayala, Yorba Linda, Upland, Rancho Cucamonga, Etiwanda and Damien.
Division 6: Norte Vista. There are four unbeaten teams in this division, none of which drew a top seed. Norte Vista is seeded No. 12 and has to go on the road to face 10-0 Monrovia in the opener. This team loves to run the football and has been playing good defense. How can you not win it all with those two qualities?
Division 7: Aquinas. The No. 4-seeded Falcons were competitive against some good opponents. They can run the ball effectively, which is a plus considering passing has become almost everyone’s favorite thing to do.
Division 8: Serrano. Seeded No. 13, Serrano has shown enough potential against top opponents that it’s capable of putting together four consecutive wins. Junior running back Payton Cornell will need to provide some big plays.
Division 9: Lompoc. The No. 3-seeded Braves have never been put so low in a playoff division since 2003 and have some terrific offensive players, including running back Sheldon Canley and defensive back Deville Dickerson, who has returned 11 punts and kickoffs for touchdowns in his career.
Inglewood principal Debbie Tate issued a statement on behalf of herself and football coach Mil’Von James following Friday’s 106-0 football win over Morningside.
Division 10: Salesian. The No. 16 seed has no business being No. 16 with consecutive wins over Harvard-Westlake, St. Anthony, Mary Star of the Sea and La Salle. Watch out if Salesian upsets Segerstrom in the opener.
Division 11: Village Christian. No. 1-seeded Village Christian winning a championship will bring attention to promising sophomore quarterback Nate Bennett, who has passed for nearly 2,500 yards.
Division 12: Norwalk. The No. 2-seeded Lancers like to run and run behind David Herrera and Jonathan Goodloe.
Division 13: South Pasadena. In running back Jack Riffle the top-seeded Tigers will trust.
Division 14: Garey. It’s about time a team from Pomona wins a section title, so why not the No. 4-seeded Vikings.
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