Jeff Smith 6 p.m., Feb. 27
(1) Mission Hills (8-2)
(8) Otay Ranch (6-4) vs. (9) Carlsbad (4-6)
(5) El Camino (6-4) vs. (12) Patrick Henry (9-1)
(4) San Pasqual (6-4)
(3) Grossmont (8-2)
(6) Chula Vista (6-4) vs. (11) Rancho Buena Vista (5-5)
(7) Escondido (5-5) vs. (10) Torrey Pines (5-5)
(2) Eastlake (7-3)
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, 7:35 p.m. at Escondido High
Favorite (1) Mission Hills
Many tabbed Mission Hills as a championship contender before the season and the Grizzlies lived up to the hype, earning the top seed in Division I while losing only to Oceanside and state-ranked Mission Viejo. The Grizzlies have the size and talent bring home the program’s first section title – can they get over the hump?
Sleeper (12) Patrick Henry
The Division I field is the section’s deepest, exhibited by one-loss Patrick Henry earning the last spot in the bracket. The Patriots are enjoying one of the best seasons in school history, and could make some noise behind a stingy defense that hasn’t allowed a point in the past three games and an experienced offense quarterbacked by senior James McCormick.
Best of the First Round (6) Chula Vista vs. (11) Rancho Buena Vista
In a first round full of intriguing matchups, the best of the openers is a South Bay-North County battle that features a pair of up-and-down teams – Chula Vista won its first four games but struggled to a 2-4 finish against quality competition while Rancho Buena Vista shook off an 0-2 start to notch its best record in five seasons. This game features a pair of dynamic senior running backs – Spartans bruiser Jevante Reed and Longhorns power back Nico Cortez.
Star Watch Aaron Baltazar, Eastlake, Sr.
Baltazar makes his presence felt on offense and defense for Eastlake, showcasing his blazing speed at running back and safety. The Boise State-bound star keys the Titans’ speed-based offense, and has the playmaking ability to lead second-seeded Eastlake deep into the postseason.
Looking Ahead Semifinals – (2) Eastlake vs. (3) Grossmont
Fans of defensive struggles will cringe at the thought of this semifinal in the bottom half of the bracket that matches up Eastlake’s speedy Wing-T attack against Grossmont’s uptempo spread offense. With a trip to the finals on the line, only a few defensive stops will be needed to win this one.
Pictured: Mission Hills in the offensive huddle