noon, March 25
(1) Santa Fe Christian (7-3)
(8) Mountain Empire (7-3) vs. (9) Tri-City Christian (7-2)
(12) Calvary Christian Academy (7-2) vs. (5) La Jolla Country Day (6-3)
(4) Horizon (7-3)
(3) Christian (7-3)
(6) Army-Navy (10-0) vs. (11) Calipatria (8-2)
(7) Bishop’s (3-7) vs. (10) Holtville (8-2)
(2) Francis Parker (6-4)
First Round Friday, Nov. 9, 7 p.m. (home team listed first)
Quarterfinals Friday, Nov. 16, 7 p.m. at home site of higher seed
Semifinals Friday, Nov. 23, 7 p.m. at home site of higher seed
Finals Friday, Nov. 30, 3:35 p.m. at Escondido High
Favorite (1) Santa Fe Christian
Since Division V started in 2005 its champions have hailed exclusively from the Coastal League, and Santa Fe Christian ran the table in the competitive league after a tough non-league slate. The disciplined Eagles won their five league games by an average of 30 points, and enter the postseason eager to better a runner-up finish from last season.
Sleeper (6) Army-Navy
Army-Navy finished the regular season as one of the section’s two remaining undefeated teams, but strength of schedule – including a pair of forfeit wins – prevented the Pacific League champs from earning a first-round bye. Led by 6-foot-1-inch, 250-pound senior running back/defensive lineman Joe Naotaola, the Warriors will be out to prove they are a contender.
Best of the First Round (8) Mountain Empire vs. (9) Tri-City Christian
The most intriguing opening round matchup in Division V will be won on the ground – Mountain Empire runs the ball nearly exclusively while Tri-City Christian relies heavily on its rushing attack. Both the Red Hawks and Eagles are averaging nearly 40 points per game, and this has the makings of a shootout.
Star Watch Darren Carrington, Horizon, Sr.
Carrington has the playmaking ability to score every time he has the ball, and the Oregon-bound 6-foot-2 inch receiver is one of top talents in the section. The senior had 47 catches for 859 yards and 10 touchdowns in the regular season, and will likely see more time in the defensive backfield in the playoffs.
Looking Ahead Semifinals – (2) Francis Parker vs. (3) Christian
Defending champion Christian moved to the Central League during the offseason, in part to break away from playing the top Division V teams twice per season. Incidentally, the Patriots first Coastal League opponent in the postseason would be Francis Parker – the only former league foe they met during the regular season. The Lancers won that meeting on Sept. 21, scoring 14 unanswered points in the fourth quarter to prevail 24-20.
Pictured: Santa Fe Christian senior defensive back Nathan Ross (left) picks up Eagles junior defensive back Cole Needham after Needham returned an interception for a score against La Jolla Country Day