High school football playoffs predictions for top teams in Southern and City sections

Norco quarterback Kyle Crum gets poked in the eye  by Corona Centennial defender Demarieon Young after releasing a pass
Norco quarterback Kyle Crum gets poked in the eye by Corona Centennial defender Demarieon Young after releasing a pass.
(Gina Ferazzi / Los Angeles Times)

It’s time for the big boy football playoffs to begin.

The eight-team Southern Section Division 1 playoffs have their opening games Friday. The eight-team City Section Open Division playoffs also start Friday.

The predictions

Norco (8-2) vs. Santa Ana Mater Dei (8-0) at Santa Ana Stadium: Quarterback Elijah Brown is 13-0 as a varsity starter the last two seasons. Of course, he has a lot of support. Norco, as the unlucky No. 8 seed, will get to see what it’s like to face perhaps the No. 1 team in the nation. The pick: Mater Dei.

Mission Viejo (9-1) at Corona Centennial (10-0): This is the unofficial public school championship game. Mission Viejo, loaded with underclassmen, has improved weekly and will have to make another jump to beat a Huskies team that has one of its best defenses in years. The pick: Centennial.

Santa Margarita (6-4) vs. Servite (8-2) at Orange Coast College: The Eagles’ strength is their defensive line with Hero Kanu and LeVar Talley, who had three sacks against Mater Dei. Servite quarterback Noah Fifita will need to make quick passes and allow his receivers to do the rest. The pick: Servite.


Los Alamitos (9-1) at St. John Bosco (9-1), 7 p.m. It’s final exam time for Los Alamitos. Quarterback Malachi Nelson and the team’s outstanding class of 2023 players will have to use all their talent and experience to stay with a Braves team that has top players on both sides of the ball. The pick: St. John Bosco.

Garfield (8-2) at Banning (7-1), 7 p.m. Star Banning running back Jakob Galloway is injured, but the top-seeded team in the City Section has had weeks to get the backups ready. The pick: Banning.

Birmingham (5-5) at Lincoln (10-0), 7 p.m. Lincoln is a lot better than many people think. Quarterback Ivan Plancarte is feisty and tough. Birmingham had better not overlook the Tigers. The pick: Birmingham.

South Gate (8-1) at Palisades (10-0), 7 p.m. The Dolphins haven’t been tested in beating up on one City Section opponent after another. It may not be until next week that they get their first real test of the season. The only question is how many yards rushing Daniel Anoh will pick up. The pick: Palisades.

Roosevelt (7-3) at San Pedro (8-1), 7 p.m. Roosevelt, coming off its historic win over Garfield, presents a dangerous challenge to the Pirates because of their strong rushing attack. San Pedro’s balance on offense should win out as long as Roosevelt doesn’t dominate time of possession. The pick: San Pedro.

High school football: City and Southern Section playoff schedule