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Breakdown of the Southwest Division playoff bracket

STAFF WRITER

OCVarsity breaks down the Southwest Division playoff bracket:

Top four seeds: 1. La Habra; 2. San Clemente; 3. Corona del Mar; 4. Valencia

Championship game: Location to be determined, Saturday, Dec. 5, 7:30 p.m.

Last year's champion: Trabuco Hills, def. San Clemente, 44-37

THE TEAMS
(in order of how they appear on the bracket)

La Habra (9-1): Since its shootout against Los Alamitos in mid-September, the Highlanders have scored at least 35 points in six straight games, while limiting opponents to 14 points or less in that same stretch. La Habra is coming off back-to-back 42-0 showings.   

Kennedy (5-5): Anthony Johar has carried the ball at least 23 times in each of Kennedy’s last four outings. He’s rushed for 785 yards and 10 touchdowns in that span.

Woodbridge (6-4): Connor McBride is one of the county’s most underrated players. The 6-foot-2, 225-pound junior back has reeled off seven straight games of at least 155 yards rushing.

Laguna Hills (7-3): Which Laguna Hills team will we see? The one that was shutout by both Valencia and San Clemente, or the team that scored 35 points in back-to-back wins to end the regular season?

Villa Park (10-0): The Spartans have the athletes to make a deep postseason run. Penalties and slow starts have hamstrung Villa Park at times this season though, and it cannot afford to dig itself in a hole against the quality of opponents it will see from here on out.

Troy (5-5): The Warriors are a different squad with a healthy Dray Shaw lined up in the backfield. The talented senior back missed the regular season finale after sustaining an ankle injury in week 9 though.

Valencia (10-0): The Tigers defense has been brilliant since day one. Valencia never surrendered more than 14 points in a ballgame this season.  

University (8-2): The Trojans won more games this year (8) than it did in the last three seasons combined (7). Uni's last playoff appearance came back in 2007.

Corona del Mar (8-2): Chase Garbers tossed only two interceptions during the regular season, both coming against Tesoro back in September. Take that game out of the equation, and the junior quarterback has thrown 25 touchdowns to zero picks.

Trabuco Hills (3-7): Sea View League teams accounted for three of the division’s four semifinalist spots a season ago. Trabuco Hills – last year’s champs – hopes to accomplish a similar feat after being awarded an at-large bid.

Buena Park (8-2): The Coyotes scored at least 31 points in their eight wins this season. Against the elite defenses on its schedule (Edison and La Habra), Buena Park was shutout and held to 14 points.

Yorba Linda (4-6): Senior wide out Zack Sowder caught a total of six touchdowns in weeks 9 and 10, posting 219- and 123-yard performances in the process.

Tustin (8-2): Four of the Tillers’ 10 regular season games were decided by a touchdown or less. This bunch is unquestionably battle-tested.

Sonora (8-2): If you’re going to knock off the Raiders, you’ll have to win the battle in the trenches. Jacob Fimbres has already rushed for 2,000-plus yards behind his veteran offensive line.

San Clemente (8-2): Jack Sears has been one of the county’s most efficient passers to this point in the season. The Tritons quarterback has tossed 25 touchdowns to just two interceptions. 

Sunny Hills (5-5): The Lancers won their first league game since 2009 on Friday night, and now find themselves back in the postseason for the first time since 2008. 


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