CIF Southern Section football playoff overview, EPJ’s predictions
The CIF Southern Section 11-man football playoffs begin with first-round games Thursday and Friday.
Last season, eight teams from Riverside or San Bernardino counties advanced to section title games, and San Gorgonio, Valley View and Rancho Christian each claimed their program’s first championship.
The Inland area will be looking to bring home more championship hardware this season, as 14 teams from the two-county area received a seed for the playoffs.
Staff writer Eric-Paul Johnson gives a brief overview of each of the 13 playoffs division, chooses some the best first-round games involving local teams and makes his prediction for the playoffs.
Murrieta Valley’s Marquis Spiker caught the 66th touchdown pass of his career last week, tying the state record. He’ll look to break the record Friday against Santa Margarita. (Terry Pierson, The Press-Enterprise/SCNG)
Last year’s championship game
St. John Bosco 42, Mater Dei 28
This year’s seeded teams
1. Mater Dei (10-0)
2. Centennial (8-1)
3. St. John Bosco (8-2)
4. Chaminade (9-1)
Other Inland teams in the bracket
Rancho Cucamonga (9-1)
Murrieta Valley (8-2)
Vista Murrieta (4-6)
Best first-round game involving an Inland team
Despite having a home game, Murrieta Valley has a challenge awaiting for its Division 1 debut. Santa Margarita finished third in the Trinity League, the toughest league in the nation, and the Eagles nearly took down St. John Bosco and Mission Viejo this season. There should be plenty of scoring, with Santa Margarita averaging 42.2 points per game and Murrieta Valley 40.7 per game. Murrieta Valley’s Marquis Spiker needs one touchdown catch to break the state’s career record.
EPJ’s prediction for the quarterfinals
Mater Dei def. JSerra
Mission Viejo def. Chaminade
St. John Bosco def. Rancho Cucamonga
Centennial def. Santa Maragarita
EPJ’s prediction for the semifinals
Mater Dei def. Mission Viejo
Centennial def. St. John Bosco
EPJ’s prediction for the championship
Mater Dei def. Centennial