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Fryer's predictions: from the first round to the finals

STAFF COLUMNIST

It was a bold prediction.

In September, yours truly picked Orange Lutheran to beat De La Salle of Concord

Decades of experience covering high school football enables one to sense the potential upsets like an Orange Lutheran win over De La Salle.

Final score: De La Salle 41, Orange Lutheran 3.

OK, so I missed by a little.

Yet people still ask, “Who do you think is going to win?”

Maybe they are interested. Or maybe they are just being polite.

For those of you interested, politely or not, here are the predictions for the CIF-Southern Section football playoffs for divisions in which Orange County has teams.

PAC-5 DIVISION

First round: Centennial of Corona (10-0) over Chaminade of West Hills (7-3); Orange Lutheran (5-5) over St. Bonaventure of Ventura (7-3); Mater Dei (8-2) over Lakewood (4-6); Serra of Gardena (7-3) over Westlake of Westlake Village (7-3); Oaks Christian of Westlake Village (10-0) over Long Beach Jordan (3-7); Bishop Amat of La Puente (8-2) over Norco (8-2); Loyola of Los Angeles (8-2) over Long Beach Wilson (9-1); St. John Bosco (10-0) over Corona.

Second round: Centennial over Orange Lutheran; Serra over Mater Dei; Bishop Amat over Oaks Christian; St. John Bosco over Loyola.

Semifinals: Centennial over Serra; St. John Bosco over Bishop Amat.

Championship game: St. John Bosco over Centennial.

Analysis: Other than a couple of coaches of other Pac-5 teams, everyone is expecting a St. John Bosco-Centennial final. Bosco’s athleticism and the way the Braves stomped through the Trinity League, plus Bosco coach Jason Negro’s statement that his players “are playing with a chip on their shoulder” are why Bosco is the pick here.

WEST VALLEY DIVISION

First round: Mission Viejo (10-0) over Hart of Newhall (7-3); Murrieta Valley (8-2) over Fountain Valley (7-3); San Juan Hills (8-2) over Valencia of Valencia (7-3); Chino Hills (8-2) over Los Alamitos (5-5); Tesoro (8-2) over Great Oak of Temecula (5-5); Edison (7-3) over Rancho Cucamonga (7-3); Upland (7-3) over Saugus (6-4); Vista Murrieta (9-1) over El Toro (5-5).

Second round: Mission Viejo over Murrieta Valley; San Juan Hills over Chino Hills; Tesoro over Edison; Vista Murrieta over Upland.

Semifinals: Mission Viejo over San Juan Hills; Vista Murrieta over Tesoro.

Championship game: Mission Viejo over Vista Murrieta.

Analysis: Yes, three South Coast League teams – Mission Viejo, San Juan Hills and Tesoro – in the semifinals because that’s how good the league is. Mission Viejo, No. 1 in the Orange County top 10, might win by large margins in the first three rounds to get to the finals. Vista Murrieta is known as a mistake-free team, but Mission Viejo is a such a complete team the Diablos get the nod here.

SOUTHWEST DIVISION

First round: La Habra (9-1) over Kennedy (5-5); Laguna Hills (7-3) over Woodbridge (6-4); Villa Park (10-0) over Troy (5-5); Valencia (10-0) over University (8-2); Corona del Mar (8-2) over Trabuco Hills (3-7); Tustin (8-2) over Sonora (8-2); San Clemente (8-2) over Sunny Hills (5-5).

Second round: La Habra over Laguna Hills; Villa Park over Valencia; Corona del Mar over Buena Park; San Clemente over Tustin.

Semifinals: La Habra over Villa Park; San Clemente over Corona del Mar.

Championship game: La Habra over San Clemente.

Analysis: This division has some interesting first-round games like Sonora-Tustin and Laguna Hills-Woodbridge. And a Villa Park-Valencia second-round game, which would be a Villa Park home game, would match two 11-0 teams. La Habra and San Clemente have the most offensive firepower; La Habra gets the edge defensively.

SOUTHERN DIVISION

First round: Garden Grove (8-2) over El Dorado (1-9); Santa Ana (8-2) over Santa Ana Valley (4-5-1); Westminster (8-2) over Godinez (6-4); Brea Olinda (5-5) over Anaheim (4-6); Segerstrom (7-2-1) over Saddleback (6-4); El Modena (6-4) over Rancho Alamitos (8-2); Canyon (5-5) over Calvary Chapel (7-3); Katella (10-0) over Los Amigos (3-7).

Second round: Garden Grove over Santa Ana; Westminster over Brea Olinda; El Modena over Segerstrom; Katella over Canyon.

Semifinals: Garden Grove over Westminster; Katella over El Modena.

Championship game: Katella over Garden Grove.

Analysis: Quite a few viable championship candidates here. Westminster beat Garden Grove in August, but Garden Grove seems a superior team now. Canyon is tough when its offense is in rhythm, and El Modena and Katella seem to have that familial togetherness that can carry a team a long ways. Katella’s team speed on defense is impressive.

EAST VALLEY DIVISION

First round: Grace Brethren of Simi Valley (10-0) over Mary Star of the Sea of San Pedro (6-4); Desert of Edwards Air Force Base (7-3) over Santa Clarita Christian (7-3); St. Monica of Santa Monica (9-1) over Rancho Christian of Temecula (7-3); Brethren Christian (9-1) over Sherman Indian of Riverside (2-7); Calvary Murrieta of Murrieta (10-0) over Vasquez of Acton (8-2); Crean Lutheran (7-3) over St. Anthony of Long Beach (6-4); St. Margaret’s (8-2) over Hamilton of Anza (6-4); Saddleback Valley Christian (10-0) over Santa Paula (5-5).

Second round: Grace Brethren over Desert; Brethren Christian over St. Monica; Crean Lutheran over Calvary Murrieta; Saddleback Valley Christian over St. Margaret’s.

Semifinals: Grace Brethren over Brethren Christian; Saddleback Valley Christian over Crean Lutheran.

Championship game: Grace Brethren over Saddleback Valley Christian.

Analysis: This has been the best season for Orange County small-schools football, with an unprecedented number of high-quality players and teams. Brethren, Crean, SVC and St. Margaret’s are viable candidates for the championship. Grace Brethren might be better than any of them.

Contact the writer: sfryer@ocregister.com


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