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VICTOR POSADAS, CONTRIBUTING PHOTOGRAPHER
Nick Drury and his Brea Olinda teammates can secure North Hills League title by beating Canyon on Friday.

League races coming down to the wire

STAFF WRITER

It was less than three weeks ago when Brea Olinda left the field having been blown out in a nonleague game by Villa Park, 69-0.

The loss was the football program’s worst in more than a decade, and it was a painful one for a team that came into the season with CIF-SS championship aspirations.

But that pain has disappeared this week, as the Wildcats – like a lot of teams around the county – get pumped up to play their biggest game of the season to date. The playoffs are on the horizon, and the final week of the regular season is about claiming playoff spots and league crowns.

“We’re winding down to Week 10, and we’re right where we want to be,” Brea Olinda coach Robb Perrance said. “We’ve been so banged up all year long. A bulk of our kids are back, and we’re kind of hitting on all cylinders.

“What a great time to do that.”

The Wildcats (5-4, 2-0) have won two in a row since their loss to Villa Park, and now they have a chance to capture the North Hills League title and lock up their ticket to the playoffs. To win the title, they have to beat Canyon (5-4, 1-1) on Friday.

The high stakes will only add to the intense rivalry. A year ago, Canyon won the teams’ meeting, 22-21, by converting a 2-point conversion in overtime.

Perrance isn’t worried about how his team handles the pressure Friday. He saw how well the players responded to the Villa Park loss.

“Adversity isn’t a negative thing,” Perrance said. “It’s only negative if you don’t learn from it. We’re trying to approach adversity as a positive marker.”

A Canyon win Friday could force a three-way tie atop the standings with El Modena (5-4, 1-1) also in the mix. If that happens, the league’s tiebreaker (the teams’ records against Crestview League opponents), would make Canyon the champion.

A loss will put Canyon in a nerve-wracking position. The Comanches are the top-ranked team in the Southern Division, but if they lose and El Modena wins Friday, the second playoff spot goes to El Modena and Canyon will need an at-large spot to get into the playoffs.

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O.C. FOOTBALL PLAYOFF PICTURE

(To get each league's full breakdown, click here.)

ACADEMY LEAGUE

Playoff division: East Valley

At stake: Top two teams are guaranteed playoff spots. The division has two at-large berths available.

Crean Lutheran (7-2, 2-0) can capture a playoff spot and the league crown with a victory over Brethren Christian on Thursday. ... St. Margaret’s (7-2, 2-1) is done with league games and will likely finish second unless Brethren Christian (8-1, 1-1) knocks off Crean Lutheran, which would force a three-way tie for first. Coin flips would determine the order of finish if that happens. The team that ends up in the No. 3 spot would need an at-large berth to get into the playoffs. ... Sage Hill (1-8, 0-3) is out of playoff contention.

CRESTVIEW LEAGUE

Playoff division: Southwest

At stake: Top two teams in league are guaranteed a playoff spot. The division has three at-large berths available.

Villa Park (9-0, 2-0) will be the league's No. 1 representative in the playoffs. ... The league’s other guaranteed playoff spot will go to the winner of Friday’s game between Foothill (6-3, 1-1) and Yorba Linda (4-5, 1-1). ... Esperanza (2-7, 0-2) will not be going to the playoffs.

EMPIRE LEAGUE

Playoff division: Southwest

At stake: Top three teams in league are guaranteed a playoff spot. The division has three at-large berths available.

Valencia (9-0, 4-0) has clinched the league’s title and top playoff seed. ... Tustin (7-2, 3-1) and Kennedy (5-4, 3-1) have claimed the other two guaranteed spots. The winner of their matchup Friday will get the league’s No. 2 seed. ... Pacifica (6-3, 2-2) could greatly bolster its chances of getting an at-large spot by defeating Valencia on Thursday. Cypress (2-7, 0-4) and Western (1-8, 0-4) will not be going to the playoffs.

FREEWAY LEAGUE

Playoff division: Southwest

At stake: Top three teams in league are guaranteed a playoff spot. The division has three at-large berths available.

La Habra (8-1, 4-0) is the league champion again, and could earn the division’s No. 1 overall seed with a win Friday. ... Buena Park (7-2, 3-1) and Sonora (8-1, 3-1) have secured the league’s other two postseason berths. The winner of their game Friday will be the league’s No. 2 representative. ... Troy (4-5, 2-2) can bolster its at-large résumé with a win over La Habra on Friday. ... Fullerton (4-5, 0-4) and Sunny Hills (4-5, 0-4) will not be going to the playoffs.

GARDEN GROVE LEAGUE

Playoff division: Southern

At stake: Top three teams in league are guaranteed a playoff spot. The division has two at-large berths available.

Garden Grove (7-2, 4-0) has secured a playoff berth and can win the outright league championship with a win over Los Amigos on Friday. ... Rancho Alamitos (7-2, 3-1) will be the league’s No. 2 representative if it beats Bolsa Grande on Friday. ... Los Amigos (3-6, 3-1) is in the playoffs regardless of what happens this week. They can force a three-way tie for first with a win over Garden Grove. ... La Quinta (3-6, 1-3) is a longshot to receive an at-large spot. ... Santiago (1-8, 1-3) and Bolsa Grande (0-9, 0-4) will not be going to the playoffs.

GOLDEN WEST LEAGUE

Playoff division: Southern

At stake: Top three teams in league are guaranteed a playoff spot. The division has two at-large berths available.

Westminster (8-1, 4-0) has earned a playoff spot and can go in as the league’s No. 1 representative with a win over Segerstrom on Thursday. ... Segerstrom (6-2-1, 4-0) is in the playoffs regardless of Thursday’s result, and it can win the league title with a victory Thursday. ... Santa Ana (7-2, 2-2) can lock up the league’s third guaranteed playoff spot with a win over Orange on Friday. ... Ocean View (4-5, 1-3) needs to beat Loara on Friday to boost its chances for an at-large spot. ... Orange (4-5, 1-3) is a longshot for an at-large spot. ... Loara (0-9, 0-4) will not be going to the playoffs.

NORTH HILLS LEAGUE

Playoff division: Southern

At stake: Top two teams in league are guaranteed a playoff spot. The division has two at-large berths available.

Brea Olinda (5-4, 2-0) can secure the league title and a guaranteed spot by winning its game vs. Canyon on Friday. At the very least, Brea will be the league’s No. 2 representative. ... El Modena (5-4, 1-1) will get the league’s No. 2 seed by winning Friday against El Dorado and with a Brea Olinda win over Canyon. El Modena, Brea Olinda and Canyon could all finish 2-1 in league and tie for first. If that happens, the Vanguards would finish third since they own the worst record (1-3) vs. the Crestview League. El Modena is an excellent candidate for an at-large berth. ... Canyon (5-4, 1-1) can force a three-way tie for first place if it beats Brea Olinda on Friday, and would go in as the league’s No. 1 representative since it owns the best record (3-1) against the Crestview League. If they lose Friday, the Comanches have an excellent chance to earn an at-large berth. ... El Dorado (0-9, 0-2) will not be going to the playoffs.

ORANGE LEAGUE

Playoff division: Southern

At stake: Top three teams in league are guaranteed a playoff spot. The division has two at-large berths available.

Katella (9-0, 4-0) will be the league’s No. 1 seed in the playoffs. ... Santa Ana Valley (3-5-1, 3-1) will go to the playoffs and can finish as the league’s No. 2 representative with a win over Anaheim on Friday. ... Anaheim (4-5, 2-2) would ensure itself a playoff spot with a win against Santa Ana Valley. It holds the tiebreaker if it finishes tied with Magnolia for third place. ... Magnolia (3-6, 1-3) is a longshot for a postseason spot regardless if it wins Friday. ... Savanna (3-6, 1-3) needs to beat Magnolia on Friday and needs Santa Ana Valley to top Anaheim. The Rebels own the tiebreaker over Anaheim. ... Century (3-6, 1-3) is a longshot to make the playoffs.

ORANGE COAST LEAGUE

Playoff division: Southern

At stake: Top three teams in league are guaranteed a playoff spot. The division has two at-large berths available.

Calvary Chapel (6-3, 4-0) has locked up the league’s No. 1 seed. ... Godinez (5-4, 3-1) will be the league’s No. 2 representative in the postseason if it beats Laguna Beach on Friday. ... The winner of the Estancia (3-6, 2-2) vs. Saddleback (5-4, 2-2) game on Friday earns the third and final guaranteed playoff spot. ... Costa Mesa (5-4, 1-3) is an unlikely playoff contender after a loss to Saddleback in Week 9. ... Laguna Beach (2-7, 0-4) will not go to the playoffs.

PACIFIC COAST LEAGUE

Playoff division: Southwest

At stake: Top three teams in league are guaranteed a playoff spot. The division has three at-large berths available.

Corona del Mar (7-2, 4-0) has locked up the league’s top playoff seed. ... Woodbridge (5-4, 3-1) and University (8-1, 3-1) meet Friday to determine the league’s Nos. 2 and 3 seeds in the playoffs. ... Northwood (2-7, 1-3) is a longshot to receive an at-large berth. ... Beckman (3-6, 1-3) and Irvine (2-7, 0-4) will not go to the playoffs.

SAN JOAQUIN LEAGUE

Playoff division: East Valley

At stake: Top three teams in league are guaranteed a playoff spot. The division has two at-large berths available.

Saddleback Valley Christian (9-0, 4-0) has locked up the league’s top playoff seed. ... Capistrano Valley Christian (4-5, 3-1) can secure a playoff spot by beating Southlands Christian of Walnut on Friday. ... Santa Clarita Christian (6-3, 2-2) will be in the playoffs with a win over Fairmont Prep on Thursday. ... Southlands Christian (6-3, 2-2) can potentially force a three-way tie for second place if it beats Capistrano Valley Christian on Friday. Coin flips would determine the order of finish in that circumstance. ... Webb Schools (5-4, 1-3) and Fairmont Prep (2-7, 0-4) will not go to the playoffs.

SEA VIEW LEAGUE

Playoff division: Southwest

At stake: Top two teams in league are guaranteed a playoff spot. The division has three at-large berths available.

San Clemente (7-2, 3-0) has locked up the league’s No. 1 playoff seed. ... The league’s No. 2 seed will go to the winner of Friday’s game between Trabuco Hills (3-6, 2-1) and Laguna Hills (6-3, 1-2). ... Aliso Niguel (3-6, 1-2) and Capistrano Valley (5-5, 1-3) are longshots to receive an at-large bid.

SOUTH COAST LEAGUE

Playoff division: West Valley

At stake: Top two teams in league are guaranteed a playoff spot. The division has two at-large berths available.

Mission Viejo (10-0, 4-0) is the league’s No. 1 seed and will likely be the division’s top overall seed. ... San Juan Hills (8-1, 2-1) and Tesoro (7-2, 2-1) meet on Friday to determine who gets the league’s No. 2 spot in the playoffs. The loser of the game is nearly a lock to receive an at-large spot. ... El Toro (4-5, 0-3) could boost its at-large chances with a win over Dana Hills on Friday. ... Dana Hills (0-9, 0-3) will not go to the playoffs.

SUNSET LEAGUE

Playoff division: West Valley

At stake: Top three teams in league are guaranteed a playoff spot. The division has two at-large berths available.

Edison (6-3, 4-0) grabbed the league’s title and top seed with a win over Fountain Valley in Week 9. ... Fountain Valley (6-3, 3-1) can earn the league’s No. 2 playoff spot with a victory over Huntington Beach on Friday. ... Los Alamitos (4-5, 2-2) will be the league’s No. 3 seed with a victory over Marina on Friday. ... Newport Harbor (4-5, 2-2) needs to upset Edison on Friday in order to boost its chances of receiving an at-large spot. ... Huntington Beach (3-6, 1-3) is a longshot to get an at-large berth. ... Marina (1-8, 0-4) will not go to the playoffs.

TRINITY LEAGUE

Playoff division: Pac-5

At stake: Top three teams in league are guaranteed a playoff spot. The division has two at-large berths available.

St. John Bosco (9-0, 4-0) is the league champion and will be league’s No. 1 seed. ... Mater Dei (7-2, 2-2) can go to the playoffs as the league’s No. 2 representative with a win against Santa Margarita on Friday. ... Orange Lutheran (5-4, 2-2) can secure the league’s third playoff spot with a win over JSerra on Friday. ... Servite (4-5, 2-2) closes out the regular season against St. John Bosco. Servite earned an at-large bid with a record of 4-6, 1-4 in 2014. ... Santa Margarita (5-4, 1-3) and JSerra (6-3, 1-3) could force a five-way tie for second place by winning their games Friday and a Servite loss. If that happens, the league is expected to do coin flips to determine the order of finish for the playoffs. The Nos. 2 and 3 teams would get guaranteed spots, the Nos. 4 and 5 teams would be strong candidates for at-large berths, and the No. 6 team would not go to the playoffs.

Contact the writer: kconnolly@ocregister.com


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