The Southern Section named the 16 teams on Friday for its new Open Division playoffs. The final seedings and pairings won't be announced until Sunday.
Nervous coaches waited around their computers until the selections were posted at 1 p.m. on Friday. There were coaches who preferred not to be selected for a division that features unbeaten Santa Ana Mater Dei (27-0), the reigning Open Division state champion.
The teams: Torrance Bishop Montgomery, Cantwell-Sacred Heart, Cathedral, Corona Centennial, West Hills Chaminade, Chino Hills, Compton, Etiwanda, Riverside North, Loyola, Mater Dei, Lakewood Mayfair, Redondo, Gardena Serra, Chatsworth Sierra Canyon and Bellflower St. John Bosco.
Under the rules, first-round winners will be given an automatic berth to the state tournament. The first-round losers will continue playing in a consolation bracket, with the eventual champion also getting an automatic berth to the state tournament. And teams that lose twice still are eligibile to be chosen for the state tournament.
Since the Southern Section only sends a maximum of four teams to the state Open Division Southern California Regionals, most of the teams participating who qualify for the state tournament will get put back into the divisions they were in prior to Friday's announcement.
The criteria for selection includes: Strength of schedule; overall record; Freeman/MaxPreps rankings; strength at the end of the season; head to head vs. Open Division entries; overall record vs. Open Division entries; victory vs. quality opponents; quality loss; unexpected loss.
The biggest surprise was Moore League champion Long Beach Poly not being selected and Moore League runner-up Compton getting selected. The two teams split in league play. Compton was apparently judged as more worthy based on a tougher schedule. South Coast League champion El Toro (24-2) also was passed over. Compton beat El Toro.
"I feel the committee got it right," El Toro Coach Todd Dixon said. "The 16 teams they picked are really good teams and it's going to be fun to watch."
Five teams come out of 1AA, and Poly gets to stay in that division.
The first-round games ought to be outstanding. They're set for Friday, Feb. 21. The quarterfinals will be Feb. 28.