The seeding panel of mostly former coaches did its job.
There were almost no upsets in any of the six rounds on the opening Friday of the San Diego Section playoffs.
None, except in the ubiquitous and maligned Division IV, where 11 seed El Centro Southwest (3-7) defeated six seed Montgomery (4-6), 10-7, and 10 seed Clairemont (4-6) upset 7 seed La Jolla Country Day (5-5), 28-14.
LOSERS THINNED OUT
Seventeen losing teams and eight with .500 records comprised 25 of the 64, opening-round qualifiers.
There are six losing teams and three .500 teams remaining as quarterfinals take place in D-II, III, and IV, and semifinals in the Open and V divisions on Nov. 21-22. Seven with non-winning records still are alive in D-IV.
The Open Division semifinals are just what the CIF San Diego Section hoped for: two big matchups, Helix at Mission Hills and Oceanside at Eastlake.
Division I is yet to shake out, but Carlsbad (4)-Grossmont (5) and Ramona (2)-Mt. Carmel (7) could be interesting.
IMPERIAL’S ROLLS ROYCE
Royce Freeman leads 10-0 Imperial against El Capitan in what could be a terrific 3-6 matchup in D-II.
The 6-1, 215-pound Freeman, headed to Oregon, is breaking all San Diego Section career scoring and rushing yardage records, but how good is his supporting cast?
The Tigers blew through the Imperial Valley League with the swirl of a Glamis sandstorm and scored routs of locals Sweetwater, Mater Dei, and Olympian.
Imperial also knocked out longtime desert bully Brawley, 29-10, in the premier matchup in that region this season.
But the Tigers are in the same division with Madison (9-1), a defending state champion, and tough St. Augustine and Mount Miguel, each 8-2.
Unless willing to make a 111-mile jaunt over the Laguna Mountains to the community north of El Centro, local cognoscenti may see Freeman only if the Tigers reach the finals in Qualcomm Stadium.
D-III has Francis Parker (10-0) and Christian (9-1), which lead their Southern California division in the Cal-Hi Sports state bowl series ratings.
Parker and Christian got first-round byes. Parker now gets 8 seed Granite Hills and Christian meets 7 seed Morse.
WHAT ABOUT HILLTOP?
Lurking in III are the Hilltop Lancers, who won their first league title in 34 years and face Hoover, which has nine wins for only the third time in the school’s 84-season history.
Hilltop, the 3 seed at 9-1, hopes to better the school record of nine wins set by Stan Canaris’ 1979 squad.
Sweetwater, which started 1-4 before coach Brian Hay’s wing-T offense got rolling with five straight wins, appears to have an unimpeded path in D-IV.
Crawford (10-0) and Holtville (8-2) are on collision course in V to a rematch of the Colts’ 21-14, regular-season victory.
EL CAJON VALLEY, CONT.
Despite a 191-7 negative point differential in the Grossmont Valley League, El Cajon Valley was in the playoffs and quickly out after a 55-7 beat-down at Marian Catholic.
Braves coach Norm Whitehead made a strong statement to U-T San Diego writer Don Norcross:
“I understand they want to reward the kids and blah, blah, blah, blah, but they should have a better system, so that not everyone goes to the playoffs,” said Whitehead.
“Rewarding the kids”?
What kind of reward is the certainty of a scoreboard slaughter?
And shouldn’t a reward be for excellence and not for mediocrity (in many cases less than mediocrity)?
McFADDEN LIKES CHALLENGE
“You have to beat North County to get respect and this year we’ll have a chance to do that,” said Eastlake’s John McFadden of next week’s tussle with top-seed and visiting Oceanside.
Eastlake will carry the pride of the South Bay against the great Oceanside Pirates’ program, but McFadden is not flinching.
“We’re excited the play the best,” said the Titans’ coach.
West Hills’ Dave McManus set a San Diego Section record with his 10th consecutive field goal, from 41 yards, and added a six-yard touchdown run…San Marcos was home for a playoff game for the first time since 1995 and took out Fallbrook 42-14…Manny Rodriguez and Rey Osuna each rushed for 112 yards in Olympian’s 35-18 win over Mira Mesa…Oceanside is in the playoff semifinals for the 20th consecutive year…the San Diego Section did not have a copywrite on first-round blowouts…there were scores of 58-0, 62-0, and 83-0 in the Los Angeles City Section’s D-I and 71-0 and 71-6 in the Southern Section…biggest wipeout outside of Southern California was Modesto Central Catholic’s 75-0, Sac-Joaquin section playoff win over Marysville…Central Catholic is the same squad which hammered Santa Fe Christian, 66-6, in a state finals mismatch in 2012….