Don Bauder 7:30 a.m., Aug. 31
Bracket Breakdown: Division I
Top-seed Eastlake in the offensive huddle
(1) Eastlake (10-0)
(8) El Camino (5-5) vs (9) Otay Ranch (6-4)
(5) Grossmont (8-2) vs (12) San Diego (6-3-1)
(4) Mira Mesa (5-5)
(3) Vista (9-1)
(6) Poway (6-4) vs (11) Granite Hills (5-5)
(7) Carlsbad (5-5) vs (10) San Pasqual (4-6)
(2) Torrey Pines (9-1)
First Round Nov. 19 7 p.m. (top four seeds receive byes)
Quarterfinals Nov. 26 7 p.m.
Semifinals Dec. 2 7 p.m.
Finals Dec. 6 7:30 p.m. at Qualcomm Stadium
Favorite (1) Eastlake
The defending Division I champs head into the playoffs with the section’s longest active winning streak – 21 games. Eastlake (10-0) rolled to the Metro Mesa League title and enter the playoffs scoring 37 points per game. The Titans have speed all over the field and the Division I crown is theirs to give up.
Sleeper (5) Grossmont
The team most deserving of a first round bye that didn’t get one, Grossmont will be playing with a chip on their shoulder in the first round. If the Hilltoppers beat San Diego, they will get a shot at four-seed Mira Mesa in the quarterfinals.
First Round Upset (9) Otay Ranch over (8) El Camino
El Camino is coming off an upset win against rival Oceanside, but it is hard to pick against a team that has won its last two games by a combined score of 118-0, including a 76-0 win over Chula Vista last week. The Mustangs have won four of their last five game.
Star Watch WR/DB Stefan McClure, Vista, Sr.
A Division I talent with gamebreaking speed, McClure is a must-see player in the San Diego Section. Whether at defensive back, receiver or returning punts, the Vista senior always seems to have his hand in a big play.
Potential Matchup to See Semifinals (2) Torrey Pines vs (3) Vista
Torrey Pines’ loss to La Costa Canyon bumped them into the same half of the bracket with Vista and if both teams make it to the semifinals, this will be one of the best games of the season. The Falcons and Panthers have been among the best teams in North County all season and this championship caliber game would come a round before Qualcomm Stadium.
Carlsbad coach not happy with pairings
Not everyone was happy with the Division I bracket. Carlsbad offensive coordinator Miguel Perez said the draw was unfair to North County schools by placing five of the six teams in the bottom half of the bracket.
“It’s pretty disgracing,” Perez said. “It’s worse than politics when you have five North County teams in one half of the bracket and one in the other half.”
North County teams Torrey Pines (2-seed), Vista (3), Poway (6), Carlsbad (7) and San Pasqual (10) are in the bottom half of the bracket along with Granite Hills while El Camino, an 8-seed is the lone North County team in the top half with top-seed Eastlake.
“We’re going to end up playing all the same teams we already played,” Perez said.
Perez also said that Grossmont (8-2) should have received the 4-seed and a first round bye instead of Mira Mesa. The Marauders played a tougher schedule than the Foothillers and finished the season 5-5.
“There’s no way a 5-5 team should have a bye compared to some of the other teams,” Perez said. “Grossmont was 8-2 and they’re not the 4-seed? It’s pretty unfair.”