Darrin DuFord 3:30 p.m., Dec. 26
Game of the Week
#9 La Costa Canyon (5-2, 2-0 Avocado West) at #4 Oceanside (5-1-1, 1-0) Friday 7 p.m.
La Costa Canyon and Oceanside are a pair of legitimate section title contenders in a stacked Division II, but before the playoffs they will battle for the Avocado West League title. Oceanside hasn’t suffered a defeat since losing its season opener to Servite but the Pirates have been less than convincing recently, tying Mission Hills three weeks ago and climbing out of a 17-point hole against one-win Ramona last week. Oceanside has enough talent to defend their seven straight section titles, but haven’t yet looked like the dominant Pirates of years past. La Costa Canyon heads to Pirate country playing its best football of the season; after a 1-2 start the Mavericks have won four in a row by an average of 28 points. La Costa Canyon has skilled playmakers on both sides of the ball and is capable of running with any team in the section, but the Mavericks lack a marquee win this season. The Mavericks and Pirates met twice last season and Oceanside won both meetings – including a 35-10 win in the Division II quarterfinals.
Best of the Rest
#8 Mount Miguel (6-1, 2-0 Grossmont Valley) at Santana (8-0, 2-0) Friday 7 p.m.
Santana has been one of the quietest unbeatens in the section this season but that hasn’t slowed the Sultans, who have beaten their last five opponents by a staggering 261-12 margin. Santana’s best win of the season came against Kearny, and Mount Miguel will be the best team the Sultans face in the regular season. Santana is led on offense by the duo of quarterback Kyle Gasner (1,292 yards, 16 TDs) and receiver Landon Lozoya (611 yards, 9 TDs), and the Sultans have shut out three of their last four opponents. Mount Miguel bounced back from its blowout loss to Helix with lopsided victories over Monte Vista and El Cajon Valley, and the Matadors are looking to defend their league title. Something has to give in this game with the winner likely winning the Grossmont Valley League.
Christian (5-2, 2-0 Coastal) at Santa Fe Christian (6-1, 2-0) Saturday 1 p.m.
For the past seven seasons the team that wins the Coastal League has also won a section title. Through two rounds of league play this season Christian and Santa Fe Christian are atop the standings, and the winner of this Saturday matinee will take a big step towards the league crown. This is an interesting matchup of contrasting offenses – the Eagles like to pound the ball in the Wing-T with a group of solid backs while the Patriots prefer to air it out in the spread with quarterback Shane Dillon and receiver Kyle Harris. This should be one of the best small school games of the season, and is likely a preview of the Division V playoffs.
Mission Hills (3-3-1, 2-0 Avocado East) at Vista (3-4, 2-0) Friday 7 p.m.
When Avocado East League play started, Mission Hills and Vista had two combined wins and it didn’t seem like either team would factor into the league title equation. Two weeks later, and the winner of this matchup will have the inside track to hanging a banner. Both teams have turned their seasons around with defense – Mission Hills has allowed less than seven points per game during its four-game unbeaten streak and Vista has allowed 11.3 points per game in three straight wins. Which team will keep streaking?
La Jolla Country Day (6-1, 1-1 Coastal) vs. Bishop’s (4-3, 0-2) Saturday 7 p.m. at La Jolla High
Private school rivals La Jolla Country Day and Bishop’s have met each of the past five seasons but the rivalry has been one-sided, with the Knights winning four of those meetings. Now that La Jolla Country Day has stepped up to the Coastal League, can the Torreys break through against Bishop’s? Both teams have offensive stars that can break the game open – La Jolla Country Day junior running back Sage Burmeister and Bishop’s senior receiver Dominique Love.
In the Red Zone
Mission Bay (3-3-1, 1-1 Western) at Point Loma (5-2, 2-0) Friday 3 p.m.
Pictured: Oceanside in the offensive huddle