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Fryer: Playoffs will be gripping from the start

STAFF WRITER

When CIF-Southern Section assistant commissioner Glenn Martinez, in charge of the section’s management of football, said the new playoff format created great first-round matchups, he wasn’t kidding.

The best of them in Orange County is Los Alamitos vs. Villa Park, a Division 3 game Friday at El Modena High. Los Alamitos is 7-3 and ranked No. 12 in Orange County. No. 9 Villa Park is 9-1.

The brackets released Sunday also gave us these games Friday: Division 3, San Juan Hills (7-3, No. 13 in O.C.) at Buena Park (9-1, No. 11); Division 1, Servite (4-6, No. 6) at Mission Viejo (10-0, No. 2); and Division 5, Foothill (5-5, No. 25) at Capistrano Valley (9-1, No. 14).

NOTES

• Santa Margarita has improved a great deal from Week 0, in which the Eagles were overwhelmed by Mission Viejo, 48-21, to Weeks 9 and 10 when they got back-to-back wins over Orange Lutheran and Servite. The Eagles now have a heck of a running game. Junior Chad Magyar rushed for 264 yards and two touchdowns in the 49-24 win over Servite.

• All six Trinity League teams made the playoffs in Division 1. Last year, three Trinity teams qualified for the playoffs in the Pac-5 Division, the equivalent of what is Division 1 now. All three – Mater Dei, Orange Lutheran and Mater Dei – won their first-round games, Mater Dei advanced to the semifinals and St. John Bosco reached the final.

• Sage Hill, which left the Academy League to become an 8-man program this year, lost to Avalon, 43-7, in the 8-man Division 1 first-round.

• The CIF-SS schedules first-round playoff games for Friday at 7:30 p.m. Stadium availability can change a game’s date and the mutual desire of the two participating teams can change the starting time.

• Fred Kelly Stadium at El Modena High is the home field for a few teams, including El Modena and Villa Park. Those two teams have first-round home games. El Modena will play there Thursday at 7 p.m. against Sunny Hills. Villa Park is there for its game against Los Alamitos on Friday at 7.

• Laguna Hills at Garden Grove was moved to Thursday and a 7 p.m. kickoff at Garden Grove High. Both schools are closed Friday in observance of Veterans’ Day, thus the change.

• These games also been changed to 7 p.m. kickoffs Friday: Newbury Park vs. Edison at Huntington Beach High; Huntington Beach at Tustin; Cypress vs. Woodbridge at University High; Santa Fe at Beckman; Santa Ana Valley at Segerstrom; and Kaiser of Fontana at Yorba Linda.

• When two teams meet after the first round of the playoffs, the team with the fewest number of playoff home games at that point of the playoffs is the home team. If the two teams have had the same number of playoff home games, a coin flip determines the home team. Coin flips for potential second-round matchups were completed Sunday and are available at cifss.org.

• The changes in playoff structure did not change this: Segerstrom again opens the playoffs against another Santa Ana school. Last year, the Jaguars played a first-round home game against Saddleback and won, 35-20. This year, they play a first-round home game against Valley.

• Orange County’s top three leaders in regular-season rushing were KC Carr of Tustin, 2,320 yards; Cole Kinder, Newport Harbor, 1,853; and Steven Hernandez, Los Amigos, 1,705.

• The top three passing leaders: Quinn Commans, Whittier Christian, 3,777 yards; JT Daniels, Mater Dei, 3,540 yards; and Cade Henjum, Saddleback Valley Christian, 3,115 yards.

• The top three receiving leaders: Jack De Avila, Saddleback Valley Christian, 71 receptions; Tyler Jones, Aliso Niguel, 70; and Austin Derrico, El Toro, 63.

• Whittier Christian’s Cade McGee led O.C. in regular-season receiving yardage, with 1,166.

• Carr was the county’s regular-season scoring leader, with 200 points – 32 touchdowns and four two-point conversions.

• Servite’s Asa Fullerton led O.C. in field goals, with 12. He kicked one for 47 yards against Santa Margarita last week.

Chase McGrath of Mater Dei had a county-high 59 extra-point kicks. He made a 51-yard field goal last week against JSerra. His teammate Ryan Stonehouse averaged 45 yards a punt for his 20 punts, nine of which were downed inside the opponent’s 20-yard line.

Rob Thompson announced Monday that he has resigned as coach at Saddleback after five seasons at the position. Thompson will continue to serve as the school’s athletic director.

Contact the writer: sfryer@scng.com


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