This week’s top high school football playoff games: Is an upset in store?

Mater Dei quarterback Elijah Brown (12) passes against St. John Bosco on Oct. 1 in Bellflower.
Mater Dei quarterback Elijah Brown passes against St. John Bosco on Oct. 1 in Bellflower.
(Jason Armond / Los Angeles Times)

Friday’s playoff semifinals

Santa Ana Mater Dei (9-0) at Corona Centennial (11-0), 7 p.m.

Centennial is the last Southern Section team to win a Division 1 championship other than Mater Dei and St. John Bosco since 2015. The Huskies have a shot to eliminate the Monarchs if they can find a way to run the ball effectively to set up the passing game. They have the athleticism in the secondary to challenge quarterback Elijah Brown. Mater Dei‘s defense presents major challenges and will be the difference. The pick: Mater Dei.

No. 1 Mater Dei holds off No. 2 Servite 46-37 with the help of a two-point conversion pass from holder Ryan Di Dodo, who broke his wrist on the play.

Anaheim Servite (9-2) at Bellflower St. John Bosco (11-1), 7:30 p.m.


It’s year No. 4 in the Troy Thomas rebuilding plan, and Servite has its best team yet. The Friars will need their big-time players to step up like never before. St. John Bosco showed last week it can run the ball when allowed, but the defense gave up a lot of points to Los Alamitos. The pick: Servite.

St. John Bosco defeated Servite 24-10, securing second place in the Trinity League and the No. 2 seed in the CIF Southern Section Division 1 playoffs.

Lake Balboa Birmingham (6-5) at Wilmington Banning (8-1), 7 p.m.

Banning wants to run the ball. Birmingham has improved and dominated City Section competition for the last month behind linebacker Delamonte Barnes. Banning is big, physical and tough. Birmingham will try to get the ball to its versatile two-way standout Arlis Boardingham. The pick: Birmingham.

Palisades (11-0) at San Pedro (9-1), 7 p.m.

The Dolphins have passed every test behind running back Daniel Anoh (1,367 yards rushing), a strong offensive line and a talented group of receivers. San Pedro has big-play weapons that must come through. This figures to be a scoring slugfest. The pick: San Pedro.