Here they are, our predictions for the five San Diego Section semifinals and one final this week. I pretty much went with the seeds, although there are a few strays from chalk. I’m not Colin Cowherd or the late “Jimmy the Greek,” so take these picks for what they’re worth.
3 SAN MARCOS (9-2) @2 HELIX (10-1).
Helix dropped a 23-6 decision to Lancaster Paraclete in what was considered a moderate upset in the opening game. The Paraclete Spirits still are winning, 11-1 with only a 30-21 loss to well-regarded Westlake Village Oaks Christian. Since that game in September the Highlanders have run off 10 straight victories, including their annual beat down of big brother Grossmont, 57-3, one month ago.
San Marcos, laboring in the shadow of the neighboring and more renown Mission Hills, is 9-2 and sent St. Augustine packing last week, 41-21. The Knights are not even the No. 1, or 2 team in the muscular Avocado League, with a 38-21 loss to Torrey Pines and 49-27 loss to Mission Hills.
The Pick: Helix.
5 TORREY PINES (7-4) @1 MISSION HILLS (11-0).
Mission Hills, 52-42 over Grossmont in the quarterfinals, has been here before and is the elephant among the Avocados, taking charge since Oceanside’s John Carroll retired and rode off with his 248 career victories. Mission Hills’ Chris Hauser is moving up the list with 153 wins. Quarterback Jack Tuttle, wideout Chris Olave, and the rest of the Grizzlies’ crew will have the home crowd behind them.
Torrey Pines, despite four losses and a 7-4 resume, emerged as one of the best teams in the San Diego Section beginning in Week 5. The Falcons were 5-2 down the stretch, losing to No. 1 Mission Hills, 24-23, and to La Costa Canyon, 27-21.
The loss to the Grizzlies was not surprising, but Torrey’s rematch seven days later with La Costa Canyon got people’s attention. The Falcons, pounding it with a flock of runners in the Wing T tradition of Ed Burke and used today by Coach Ron Gladnick, kayoed the Mavericks, 40-0, in a stunning 46-point swing.
The Pick: Torrey Pines.
5 Oceanside (6-6) @1 El Camino (6-5).
2 Carlsbad (6-5) @3 Eastlake (9-2)
The Picks: El Camino & Eastlake.
7 Steele Canyon (8-4) @6 Granite Hills (10-2).
4 Otay Ranch (8-3) @1 Ramona (11-0).
The Picks: Steele Canyon & Ramona.
4 Hilltop (7-4) @1 El Centro Southwest (11-0).
3 San Pasqual (7-4) vs. 2 Santa Fe Christian (7-4) @Torrey Pines.
The Picks: Hilltop & Santa Fe Christian.
3 El Centro Central (10-1) @2 San Diego (11-0).
4 Monte Vista (6-5) @ 1 University City (10-1).
The Picks: San Diego & University City.
2 Crawford (8-4) vs. 1 Calexico Vincent Memorial (10-2) @Southwestern College.
The Pick: Calexico Vincent Memorial.
Except for Division II, the new ratings system is working, but the real test comes in the next two weeks.
Three of the five top seeds still are in the hunt in the Open and Division I, respectively. The top 4 in III and IV are active and the top two will meet in the D-V championship. Numbers 2 and 3 went down in D-II
The Bishop’s, No. 2 in D-II and a state finalist in 2016, lost a 61-52 shootout to 7 seed Steele Canyon and 6 seed Granite Hills topped No. 3 Valley Center, 49-30.
Two fifth seeds, Torrey Pines in the Open and Oceanside in D-I, will continue making their cases.
El Centro Central has not scored on San Diego High in 100 years…not that the Spartans have had many opportunities…San Diego won at Central, 20-0, in 1987 and blanked the visitors from Imperial Valley, 28-0, in 1917 in the teams’ only meetings…San Marcos’ win over St. Augustine last week was the Knights’ fifth against no defeats versus the Saints…the teams had last met in 1984…Mission Hills remained 11th in Cal-Hi Sports’ top 50, Helix dropped from 25th to 26th, Ramona rose from 44th to 42nd, and Torrey Pines joined at 50th…San Marcos is on the bubble.