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There are nearly 40 high school football games that will be played on Friday night in the first round of the CIF Southern and City section playoffs.
Here are the best games to watch Friday night. It’s win or come home – the game continues.
All games at 7 p.m., unless otherwise specified.
Bishop Diego in Alemany (Division 2)
” If it is not broke, do not fix it. ”
Alemany has racked up 1,357 yards and 19 touchdowns in his last three games. Quarterback Dylan Gebbia has only attempted 19 passes during that span, but has shown he’s quite the athlete with his legs. Although Floyd Chalk and Jaylen Thompson carry most of the running load, Gebbia himself has racked up over 200 yards in those three games.
The closest thing to Alemany Bishop Diego (8-1) has seen this season is when he lost to St. Bonaventure, who doesn’t have such a powerful running game as Alemany’s.
JSerra vs. Sierra Canyon, 7:30 p.m. at Pierce College (Division 2)
The Trailblazers (5-4) beat JSerra (3-7) in Week 1 40-14, but a lot of football has been played since then. Most coaches would tell you that playing the same team a second time can bring challenges, which can be true, but no challenge is going to be too big for Sierra Canyon on Friday night.
Sierra Canyon’s ongoing defense and offense are his best weapons, if quarterback Daniel Duran can build some confidence in a win over JSerra on Friday night it will help the Trailblazers in subsequent laps.
Prediction: Sierra Canyon
Simi Valley at Orange Lutheran, 7:30 p.m. at Orange Coast College
The CIF Southern Section playoff announcement on Sunday morning revealed that the Pioneers (10-0) are not only in Division 2, but have drawn on the road against a Trinity League side at Orange Lutheran ( 6-4). At first glance, the pairing seemed unfair, especially after Simi Valley competed in Division 10 in the Section’s final playoffs (2019).
Instead, coach Jim Benkert kisses her.
It’s honorable, but on Friday the Pioneers will be a newcomer when they face a team that fights for their proverbial life every weekend in arguably the toughest high school football league in the country. Despite all the tools Simi Valley has, it’s nothing compared to what O-Lu is used to seeing from Mater Dei, St. John Bosco, and Servite.
Prediction: Lutheran orange
Rancho Cucamonga in Saugus, College of Canyons (Division 3)
The Centurions (8-1) could be the most complete team in the region. They can pass, run, stop the run and chase the quarterback. Saugus is also well rested after his last Foothill League game against Valencia was canceled due to COVID-19 protocols.
Saugus has the tools to win Division 3.
Rancho Cucamonga (5-5) is talented, but young.
Chaminade in Gardena Serra (Division 3)
Another rematch, but this one is between teams from the same league. Serra (5-4) beat Chaminade (5-4) on October 8, 16-12, meaning anything can happen Friday night.
The Eagles were challenged offensively in the second half of the season, regardless of who plays the quarterback – Amari Powell, Indiana Wijay or Jake Macias.
If Chaminade is to win the game, someone has to have a breakout game offensively.
West Ranch at Lawndale (Division 4)
It’s a tough draw for West Ranch (8-2). Lawndale (7-3) are a tough team who always challenge themselves by scheduling intensive games during non-league games, like this year’s games against 10-0 Cajon and League champion Mission Alemany – both coaching losses.
West Ranch has big playing potential with quarterback Ryan Staub and running back Dylan Roof, but when the season opener is in the playoffs, that can be a problem.
Granada Hills Charter to Reseda (Town Section, Division I)
The big question for Granada Hills each week is the availability of game-changing star running back Dijon Stanley. But even though he does play, Reseda proved last week against Canoga Park that he is capable of containing some high caliber players.
The Regents have multiple weapons, discipline and playoff experience in the 2019 Division I title race.
Oxnard Pacifica at Oaks Christian (Division 5)
Yes, it is not a typo. Oaks Christian is in Division 5 after years of competing in Division 2, and even 1. The Lions roster is one of the most talented in SoCal, and arguably the most talented in the division. The question is: can they put it together?
In Division 5, opposing teams will not be loaded with NCAA Division I talent, but there will be strong, disciplined and well-trained teams.
Oaks Christian survives the first round.
Prediction: Christian oaks
Irvine to St. Francis (Division 4)
Too much Max Garrison for Irvine to deal with.
Prediction: Saint Francis
Sainte Geneviève in Chino Hills (Division 5)
The Valiants have the power to feature Camdan McWright and 17 seniors who have been in the program since they were freshmen.
Santa Barbara at Campbell Hall, at Birmingham Charter (Division 6)
Friday will mark Campbell Hall (10-0) for the first time in the playoffs since 2008. The Vikings will trust dynamic quarterback Isaiah Sepand.
If Campbell Hall is all about winning, instead of relishing the thrill of finally making the playoffs, it will be a fun night. But sometimes programs have a “just happy to be here” approach that can trip them up.
I don’t think that will be the case for Campbell Hall.
Prediction: Campbell Room
Highland to Muir (Division 8)
This match is one of the biggest puzzles of the new CalPreps.com era. Muir (5-0) was the No. 1 seed in the division by Calpreps, but is expected to lose to No. 16 Highland (8-2) Friday night 20-14.
Any team coached by Richard Lear has a chance of winning, and I love the Bulldogs’ chances.