Friday, October 26, 2018

Prep Football Games to Watch (Week 11): Bitter Rivals and League Titles

The Eastlake Titans will host the Otay Ranch Mustangs for the Metro-Mesa League Championship & much more.

League championships, postseason implications, and bragging rights between familiar adversaries will all be on the line during the final week of the 2018 regular-season.

Beach Bowl
#1 Torrey Pines Falcons (8-0) at #7 La Costa Canyon Mavericks (6-2)
Torrey Pines leads all-time series 16-11

Despite the result of this game, top-ranked Torrey Pines should be a lock for the Open Division playoffs, but if the Falcons want a shot at the No. 1 seed and the Avocado League title for themselves, they will have to accomplish what current No. 1 Cathedral Catholic couldn't, a win at La Costa Canyon.

The Mavericks may be out of the league title hunt, but their currently holding on to the No. 3 seed in the Open. With several worthy contenders inching closer towards a spot in the prestiges four-team tournament, a loss could knock LCC down to Division I.

Led by fullback Mac Bingham, who ranks among the section's best rushers with 1213 yards (6th) and 22 touchdowns (T-2nd), the Falcons possess one of the most dangerous ground attacks in the San Diego Section.

In last week's high scoring affair against Oceanside, Bingham rushed for 303 yards while tying CIF section single-game records with eight touchdowns and 50 points.

The Maverick's run game isn't far behind with track star Karson Lippert carrying the load. On the other side of the ball, junior linebacker Austin “Ozzie” Nicholas is a strong candidate for Defensive Player of the Year.

Publisher's Pick: Torrey Pines

Discovery Bowl
Mission Hills Grizzlies (3-5) at #5 San Marcos Knights (7-1)
Mission Hills leads all-time series 12-2

San Marcos can only hope to share the Avocado League title with Torrey Pines, a team they led 10-7 before the game was called at halftime due to lighting, resulting in a no-contest. Even if the Knights do defeat their cross-town nemesis, they will still need the Falcons to suffer their first loss.

Unfortunately for Mission Hills, they will miss out on the Open Division Playoffs for the first time since the San Diego Section incorporated it in 2013. They are also guaranteed to finish the regular season with a losing record for the first time since 2005.

Despite the setbacks, the Grizzlies are still primed for a strong run in Division I's postseason.

Publisher's Pick: San Marcos

City Championship
Oceanside Pirates (4-5) at El Camino Wildcats (1-7)
Oceanside leads all-time series 24-21

For one of these traditional powerhouses, winning the 46th annual battle for the city of Oceanside will be the consolation for an undesirable regular-season.

El Camino hopes to break out of their seven-game funk as they get set to defend their Division I title. The previous meeting between these teams took place in last year's D-I semifinal with the Wildcats eliminating Oceanside 49-42.

Duel-threat Kyrin Beachem does nearly everything for the Pirates, leading the team in passing, rushing, and total yards, but explosive sophomore Kavika Tua commands the scoring effort after last week's four-touchdown performance against Torrey Pines, bringing his total to 10 on the season.

Publisher's Pick: Oceanside

Metro-Mesa League Championship
Otay Ranch Mustangs (6-3, 3-0) at #4 Eastlake Titans (8-1, 3-0)
Eastlake leads all-time series 11-2

If Eastlake has any shot at landing in the Open Division, they will need to beat Otay Ranch for the first time since the 2015 season. 

The Titans have strung together eight straight wins after opening the year with a 13-0 loss to Torrey Pines.

The Mustangs have won four straight and are looking to secure back-to-back league titles for the first time in school history.

Eastlake's Josh McCurty, another Defensive Player of the Year contender, has six sacks and leads in the county in total tackles with 147. He'll be tasked with helping the Titans slow down a Mustangs offense led by quarterback Puka Stewart, who is totaling 1515 yards and 14 touchdowns this season.

Publisher's Pick: Eastlake

Grossmont Valley League Championship
West Hills Wolf Pack (8-1, 3-0) at Monte Vista Monarchs (8-1, 3-0)
Monte Vista leads all-time series 13-6

Monte Vista's Jahmon McClendon may be the most dominate running back the East County has seen since Reggie Bush. The UCLA commit is climbing up the San Diego Section's all-time leading rushers list with 6,124 career yards, enough to rank fourth.

With an opportunity to earn back-to-back section titles looming ahead, the Monarchs will also have a chance to end their 13-year league title drought.

West Hills will visit Spring Valley on a four-game winning streak, as well as winners of the previous three games in this series. A Wolf Pack victory would give the program its 12th league championship and a higher seed in the D-III playoffs, where a possibly rematch could occur.

Publisher's Pick: Monte Vista

Palomar League Championship / Rotary Cup
Rancho Bernardo Broncos (7-2, 4-0) at Poway Titans (7-2, 4-0)
 Rancho Bernardo leads all-time series 18-9

After a rough 2017 campaign that ended with a 3-8 finish, second-year head coach Scott Coats has Poway playing for its first league title since 2012 before heading into the Division II Playoffs as one of the top seeds.

Rancho Bernardo have racked up five straight wins following their previous defeat, including last week's last-second win over Vista.

Josh Butler is averaging 130.5 yards per game for Poway and is ranked among the best in the county in rushing yards (1044) and touchdowns (15).

While Broncos' senior Jonny Tanner stands out on both sides of the ball, he leads his team in tackles and is tied for second in the county with five interceptions. Luke Manos is also having an outstanding season, tying the section lead with 13 sacks.

Publisher's Pick: Rancho Bernardo

Valley League Championship
Ramona Bulldogs (6-2, 3-0) at Valley Center Jaguars (6-3, 4-0)
Valley Center leads all-time series 9-6

Winners of four straight Valley League titles, Valley Center will likely face its biggest threat to the throne when Ramona comes to town.

A win could boost the current No. 5 Jaguars to a top four seed in Division II, while a win for Ramona would spark an upgrade from their No. 7 spot.

Meteo Sinohui rushed for 117 yards and three touchdowns in a 42-0 rout over Escondido, giving the Jags' senior his ninth 100-yard game of the year.

Quarterback Derek Diamond leads the Bulldogs' offense with 1036 total yards, while Sean McDonald gets the bulk of the carries in the run game.

Publisher's Pick: Ramona

Imperial Valley League Championship / Bell Game
Central Union Spartans (9-0, 4-0) at Brawley Wildcats (8-1, 4-0)
Brawley leads all-time series 19-4

If the stakes weren't high enough already, the biggest rivalry in Imperial County will also have some seeding effects on the Division IV Playoffs. Central currently holds the No. 2 seed, while Brawley sits at No. 4.

The Wildcats' only loss was a 14-13 setback to Steele Canyon. They've won seven straight since then.

Spartans junior quarterback Deniro Osuna ranks third among San Diego Section passers with 1,873 yards. His 23 touchdown strikes ties for second.

Brawley signal-caller Casey Kline is a highly sought-after recruit who is currently committed to Boise State. Senior Michael Moreno has racked up 1338 yards and 13 touchdowns on the ground this season.

Publisher's Pick: Central Union

Central League Championship
Serra Conquistadors (6-3, 3-0) at Coronado Islanders (6-2, 3-0)
Coronado leads all-time series 2-0

To earn its sixth title in program history, Serra must leave "The Island" with its first-ever victory over Coronado. The Islanders will look to end the Q-Dawg's six-game winning streak and enter the Division IV Playoffs with their second league championship in three seasons.

Publisher's Pick: Coronado


Helmets Designed By: California Helmet Project

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