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Olympian’s defensive front awaits the snap

Bracket Breakdown: Division IV

The Field

(1) Valley Center (10-0)

(8) Palo Verde (5-5) vs (9) Mission Bay (2-8)

(5) Coronado (8-2) vs (12) Escondido Charter (5-5)

(4) Santa Fe Christian (6-4)

(3) Madison (9-1)

(6) Santana (6-3-1) vs (11) Imperial (5-4-1)

(7) Brawley (8-2) vs (10) La Jolla (2-8)

(2) Olympian (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 10 a.m. at Qualcomm Stadium

Favorite (1) Valley Center

Undefeated Valley Center (10-0) enters the section playoffs with the inside track to the Division III State Bowl game, the first shot the Jaguars have had at a state title. Valley Center has outscored its last five opponents by a combined score of 269-15 and no one this season has held Jaguars running back Travis Bernard (2,131 yards, 27 TDs) to less than 160 yards in a game.

Sleeper (6) Santana

Santana (6-3-1) went unbeaten in their first five games and are winners of two straight headed into the postseason. The Sultans finished the regular season with a winning record for the first time since 2006 and likely won’t want their success to end quickly in the playoffs. Santana already played their potential quarterfinal opponent Madison this season, losing by a narrow 23-21 margin.

First Round Upset (9) Mission Bay over (8) Palo Verde

Depsite a 28-14 loss at Serra on Friday, Mission Bay (2-8) is playing their best football entering the playoffs. If the Buccaneers aren’t too tired from the four-hour drive to Blythe, they should give the up and down Yellowjackets (5-5) all they can handle.

Star Watch RB/DB De’Saan Hardwick, Madison, Sr.

The San Diego State verbal commit has highlight reel potential every time he touches the ball, with a combination of speed and moves making him one of the best athletes in the section. Hardwick also stars at defensive back for the Warhawks.

Potential Matchup to See Semifinals – (2) Olympian vs (3) Madison

Madison and Olympian met Oct. 1, with the Eagles prevailing 28-17 in Chula Vista. But this matchup would have Olympian one win away from their first finals appearance in their program’s brief history. The Warhawks would also be itching to return to Qualcomm Stadium for the first time since 2008.

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