Playoff pairings, at-large berths to be revealed Sunday


Sunday is who-plays-who day in high school football.

The CIF-Southern Section on Sunday releases playoff brackets for its 13 11-man football divisions.

Orange County will have teams in five of divisions – the East Valley, Pac-5, Southern, Southwest and West Valley divisions. Brackets will be available at upon release.

The announcement of at-large teams begins the day. At-large teams are teams that did not finish high enough in their leagues’ final standings to automatically qualify for playoff berths. A committee selects at-large teams from pools of applicants.

This past week, the final week of the regular season, was an intriguing one as brackets day approached.

First came the announcement that Long Beach Poly, on its way to the Moore League championship, forfeited four wins, including three league wins. Poly was submitted by the Moore League as its No. 5 playoff representative. That almost certainly eliminates the Jackrabbits, No. 5 in the Pac-5 Division rankings, from one of the two Pac-5 at-large berths.

On Friday, Canyon forfeited the previous week’s win over El Dorado. That put the Comanches’ playoff hopes in great jeopardy, but their chances for a Southern Division at-large berth became excellent when the North Hills League decided to make Canyon its No. 3 team when the league submitted its order of playoff teams.

According to the CIF-SS constitution, leagues have the authority to identify the order of their playoff representatives.

The playoffs begin with first-round games Friday. One or more games could be played Thursday because of stadium availability.

Second-round games are Nov. 20. Semifinals are Nov. 27. Championship games are Dec. 4 for the Southern and West Valley Divisions, and Dec. 5 for the East Valley, Pac-5 and West Valley divisions. The Pac-5 final is at Angel Stadium.

Orange County teams that won CIF-SS championships last year are Mission Viejo, in the West Valley Division; Trabuco Hills, in the Southwest Division; Garden Grove, in the Southern Division; and St. Margaret’s in the East Valley Division.

Mission Viejo and Garden Grove won their league championships this season and will get first-round home games. Trabuco Hills and St. Margaret’s are among the teams in the at-large candidate pools in their divisions.

After CIF-SS finals, the football season continues with CIF State Regional Games, Dec. 11 and 12, and CIF State Championship Bowl Games Dec. 18 and 19 at Sacramento State.

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