|OCVarsity Gridiron: Semifinals preview|
Carlos Arias, Steve Fryer, and Dan Albano travel to Woodbridge high school to preview the semifinals. Is there a field controversy at Tustin? Can Mater Dei beat St. Bonaventure? Video by Jonathan Khamis, OCVarsity.com
|OCVarsity Gridiron Extra: League and division realignment|
Steve Fryer, Carlos Arias, and Dan Albano travel to Woodbridge to tackle the tough issues of league and division realignment. Should La Habra move out of the Freeway League? Can El Toro compete in the Pac-5 next year? Video by Jonathan Khamis
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Fryer: Intriguing storylines amid playoff matchups
Steve Fryer column.
Taking a look around Orange County high school sports:
•They have worked together, and now they will work against each other. Foothill quarterback Jack Gilchrist and Edison quarterback Aleksander Torgersen are in the group tutored by former Mater Dei quarterback Nick Stremick in the "Stremick Quarterback Training" program. Villa Park quarterback Dylan Osborne is also part of the group.
•Villa Park thought about doing so, but it did not approach Tustin with the idea of moving tonight's Southwest semifinal football playoff game away from Tustin's on-campus Northrup Field to another site. Maybe Northrup, capacity 3,700, will be large enough to accommodate the crowd, and one can't blame Tustin for not wanting to give up what is a significant home-field advantage. But great games like that are better at better venues.
•Tustin made its 2012 debut in the state top 25. CalHiSports.com placed the Tillers at No. 24 in this week's California rankings. Other county teams in the state top 25: No. 6 Mater Dei; No. 15 Edison; No. 20 Mission Viejo (down from No. 4 last week); and No. 21 Santa Margarita (No. 12 last week).
•CIF-SS football playoff kickoff times are first scheduled for 7:30 p.m. With each passing year, more kickoffs are changed to 7 p.m. The CIF-SS office some season soon will assign a 7 p.m. starting time to all games.
A 7:30 p.m. kickoff on a Friday is superior to a 7 p.m. kickoff. We have so many working mothers these days, there are the complications of getting other siblings to and from their after-school activities, and Friday evening can bring the worst traffic of the week. Keep the Thursday and Saturday football games at 7 p.m., but move the Friday games to 7:30 so that no parents miss a second of their sons' games.
•There will be county teams playing in CIF-SS football championship games at Angel Stadium. The Southwest Division, an all-county division, plays its final at Angel Stadium on Nov. 30 at 7:30 p.m. The all-county Southern Division final is Dec. 1 at 2 p.m., with the Pac-5 Division game at Angel Stadium at 7:30 p.m.
•The football season continues after the section finals with two rounds of state playoff games. The Southern California Regionals are Dec. 7 and 8, followed by the CIF State Championship Bowl Games on Dec. 14 and 15. The announcement of teams that qualify for the regionals will happen on the afternoon of Dec. 2, and game sites will be predicated upon which teams are selected.
•Three of the four teams in the Pac-5 football semifinals are from private schools. All five boys basketball state championship teams and all five girls basketball state championship teams were from private schools last season. That information could lead to a proposal that would place private and public schools into separate playoff divisions for at least some sports.
•The county's leading touchdown scorers are unrelated Martinezes. Laguna Beach's Drake Martinez and Tustin's Terence Martinez have scored 33 touchdowns each.
•Four of Servite's seven losses were to teams in the state top 25: No. 4 St. John Bosco of Bellflower, Mater Dei, Edison and Santa Margarita. A fifth loss was to Bishop Gorman of Las Vegas, which is No. 16 in ESPN's national rankings. One of the Friars' three victories was over Rancho Cucamonga, which is 10-2 and playing state No. 3 Vista Murrieta in the Inland Division semifinals.
•A 12-game basketball event is at Ocean View on Saturday — Coaches for a Cause, from which proceeds will benefit the National MS Society. The event, for which the full schedule is at ocvarsity.com, concludes with these three games: Troy vs. Capistrano Valley, 5 p.m.; Westminster vs. Mission Viejo, 6:30 p.m.; and Ocean View vs. Dana Hills, 8 p.m.
•Mater Dei is No. 6 in CalHiSports.com's boys state basketball preseason top 25 rankings. Long Beach Poly is No. 1, and Trinity League member St. John Bosco of Bellflower is No. 5. The state basketball rankings include an additional group that has Foothill at No. 32, and county "on the bubble" teams are JSerra, Mission Viejo and Orange Lutheran.
•The national letter-of-intent early signing period ended Wednesday. Among the county's signees in the latter days of the one-week period were Tustin basketball player Nick Hornsby with Sacramento State; Capistrano baseball catcher Aaron Barnett with Pepperdine; Cypress baseball infielder Steven Lohr with Cal Baptist; Segerstrom baseball pitcher David May with Azusa Pacific; and Orange Lutheran catcher Matt Stumme with Westmont.
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