Daniel Powell 9:36 a.m., Jan. 31
First Round High Five
First Round High Five
All games Friday at 7 p.m. unless noted
Game of the Week
(9) Otay Ranch (6-4) at (8) El Camino (5-5) (Division I)
It would be hard to imagine a pair of teams playing better headed into the playoffs than El Camino and Otay Ranch – the Wildcats are fresh off a 24-14 upset win over rival Oceanside and the Mustangs have beaten their last two opponents a combined 118-0, including a 76-0 win over Chula Vista last week. Both teams have balanced offensive attacks that prefer the run and steady defenses. Which team can stay hot when North County meets the South Bay?
Best of the Rest
(9) Mt. Carmel (5-5) at (8) Valhalla (5-5) (Division II)
A battle of contrasting styles highlights the best first round matchup Division II has to offer. Standout quarterbacks lead both teams offensively – Valhalla will look to spread the ball around through the air with quarterback Frank Foster and Mt. Carmel will lean on Matt Rochelle to make plays with his legs. For two teams that haven’t yet notched a marquee win this year, a victory will provide a shot at top-seed Helix in the quarterfinals.
(10) Point Loma (7-3) at (7) Mar Vista (7-3) (Division III)
Mar Vista is enjoying their finest season in more than a decade, finishing with their highest win total since the mid 1990s and winning the Metro South Bay League. The Mariners, however, don’t get an easy first round draw against Point Loma. Mar Vista will look to establish the run with Rommel Cooper (1,631 yards, 17 TDs), making the line of scrimmage battle key in this one. The Pointers have appeared in the Division III finals four of the past five seasons and once again have the athletes to make a playoff run. This should be a high scoring, entertaining game.
(10) San Pasqual (4-6) at (7) Carlsbad (5-5) (Division I)
After finishing winless in 2009 San Pasqual has enjoyed a resurgence in 2010, finishing the season with a 4-2 mark. The Golden Eagles face Carlsbad, who will host the first playoff game in a new stadium that has helped them rebound from a disappointing 2009. Expect a physical game that comes down to the wire.
(12) San Diego (6-3-1) at (5) Grossmont (8-2) (Division I)
San Diego is making its first playoff appearance since 2001, and their “reward” is a Grossmont team likely out to prove they deserved a top-four playoff seed. Though decisive, the Hilltoppers’ only two losses came to Helix and Steele Canyon on their way to third place in the competitive Grossmont Hills League. Dual threat quarterback Desean Waters leads the Grossmont offense, averaging 26 points per game. San Diego slowed down after a 3-0 start, but the Cavers have the weapons surrounding quarterback Khari Kimbrough to be dangerous. After first round upsets the past two years as the 12-seed, will Grossmont win as the higher seed?