East County Sports

Twelve qualify for postseason berths

Santana senior David Friedman against El Cajon Valley on Friday. / Ken Todd
2021 EAST COUNTY PREP FOOTBALL
By Nick Pellegrino
ECS staff writer

ROLANDO —- When it comes to higher division ballclubs, you’ll rarely find a three-loss team receiving one of the top seeds to the CIF San Diego Section football playoffs.

Fortunately for the Helix Highlanders, the Scotties were noted for their extremely difficult schedules and were awarded the top berth in the Division I playoffs, which open county-wide this Friday (Nov. 5).

Helix (7-3), the undefeated Grossmont Hills League champions at 5-0, own losses to Cathedral Catholic, the second seed to the Open Division, plus a pair of Orange County-based powers from the CIF Southern Section — Anaheim-Servite and Mission Viejo.

Thus, the Scotties earned a first-round bye. They will host the victor in the opening round contest in an all-GHL pairing between Grossmont and Steele Canyon. The Cougars gained the home game among the number 8 and 9 seeds by virtue of a 23-10, season-ending triumph over the Foothillers over the weekend.

With all three schools hailing from Grossmont Conference, the quadrant will guarantee an East County school will advance to the semifinals.

In the other half of the Division I draw, Granite Hills was tabbed as the No. 10 seed, needing to probably defeat three green-clad schools to gain a championship. The Eagles open at No. Oceanside. Should Granite Hills advance, they could face controversial No. 3 seed Lincoln and then maybe the Highlanders in later rounds.

Lincoln’s placement in the field answered a question directed to local CIF officials early last week when the Hornets ditched a season-ending showdown with Cathedral Catholic on Monday citing various social issues. However, the forfeited game was the second missed contest for the Hornets, one more than allowed according to the rulebook (making for adjustments for COVID-19 cancellations, which was the case against Mira Mesa).

In Division II, Christian missed gaining a home game by one position, as the No. 9 Patriots gain an opportunity to avenge a narrow 20-18 spring season setback to No. 8 seed San Diego. The contest will be held at Glenn Broderick Field (better known to old-timers as Balboa Stadium — it was renamed in the 1980s), where Christian has not won since 1988.

Should Christian win, they gain a meeting with top-seeded Mira Mesa, a league opponent, but the ballclubs did not meet this season due to health protocols.

Division III finds three of the four first-round games to be hosted by Grossmont Valley League schools, as none could gain a first-round bye, including one with a pretty impressive resume.

Undefeated West Hills (10-0), the GVL titlist, could only gain the No. 5 seed and will entertain Bonita Vista, the No. 12 seed. The winner will then travel up the mountain to meet No. 4 Ramona.

Meanwhile, Santana gained a No. 8 seed and will renew acquaintance with No.9 Imperial, an opponent they met eight times over a 6-year span (2007-`12), including a pair of playoff showdowns.

In the other half of the draw, No. 7 El Capitan will gain a test with No. 10 Orange Glen. The winner then will have a tough assignment with No. 2 Mater Dei Catholic.

In Division IV, Mount Miguel and Valhalla will need to travel on Friday. The No. 9 Matadors heads for the Golden Triangle to meet No 8 La Jolla Country Day, while the No. 11 Norsemen go to the South Bay to meet No. 7 Sweetwater.

In Division V, it seems like Mountain Empire and El Cajon Valley may have been flip-flopped in the pairings. The No 9 RedHawks gain a rematch at No. 8 Crawford, while the No. 10 Braves head to Carlsbad to meet No. 7 Army-Navy Academy.

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