2019 CIF Southern and LA City Section football playoffs: 10 teams on ‘upset alert’

Football playoffs in both the LA City and Southern Section begin on Friday. Scorebook Live California’s Connor Morrissette breaks down 10 teams who are at risk of getting upset in round one.

Banning (Wilmington) (CIF-LACS Open Division Bracket)

With Narbonne out of the playoffs in the City Section, the Open Division playoffs are a crapshoot. Banning is the three-seed and will host Palisades, the six-seed, on Friday, Nov. 15. Pali has won nine games in a row, but has played a weaker strength of schedule compared to 5-4 Banning. This game will be a dog fight that will come down to whether Palisades’ defense can stop Jake Otto and Jakob Galloway, Banning’s star quarterback and running back.

Glendora (CIF-SS Division 5 Bracket)

Glendora is 9-1 and has a great chance to make a run in Division 5 of the Southern Section. The football seeding committee did them no favors by matching them with Lompoc in round one though. The Braves have a stout defense, which will challenge Glendora’s high-flying offense. Lompoc sophomore Deville “Joker” Dickerson does a little bit of everything for the Braves. He’ll be a key contributor to Lompoc’s upset bid.

Grace Brethren (CIF-SS Division 3 Bracket)

Two months ago it would have been laughable to suggest that Grace Brethren would be a first round playoff upset candidate in Division 3 of the Southern Section, but here we are. Grace will take on Westlake on Friday, a team they squeaked by 49-35 earlier in the year. Westlake quarterback Marco Siderman threw for 438 yards and five touchdowns in that defeat. If he can replicate that performance, the Warriors will have a great chance to win.

Grace Brethren is technically the home team on Friday, but the game is at Westlake, which gives the Warriors an even better chance.

Mission Viejo (CIF-SS Division 1 Bracket)

No. 5 Servite against No. 4 Mission Viejo is the lone appealing game in the Southern Section Division 1 playoffs. Calling a five seed over a four an upset is a stretch, but for argument’s sake Mission Viejo makes the list. The Diablos are a perfect 10-0, but they have a much weaker strength of schedule than Servite. The Friars are 1-2 against teams in the Division 1 Southern Section playoff field. Mission Viejo hasn’t played any of the eight teams. Will that matter next Friday? We’ll see.

Muir (CIF-SS Division 11 Bracket)

Muir has a very talented roster, but Brentwood is a tough draw in the Southern Section Division 11 playoffs. Brentwood has a dynamic offense led by quarterback Cole Lourd, a national recruit in the 2021 class. Muir has some great talent too (Calen Bullock, Jamier Johnson and John Humphrey are all national recruits as well), but discipline has been a problem this year. The Mustangs were flagged countless times in their win over Pasadena last week. If that continues into the playoffs, Brentwood is a team that can turn opposition penalties into points.

Roosevelt (Boyle Heights) (CIF-LACS Division 1 Bracket)

Seven-seed Roosevelt’s matchup with ten-seed Cleveland in the Division 1 LA City Section playoffs may be the quickest high school football game in history. Both teams run the double-wing and rarely throw. I can already hear the clock ticking.

The question on Friday is who will be able to run the ball more effectively? Roosevelt has a very solid defense — they allowed only 32 points in their five Eastern League wins in 2019 — but have they faced a running back like Cleveland’s Kariem Muhammad? This should be a close one on Friday.

San Pedro (CIF-LACS Open Division Bracket)

San Pedro is the top seed in the City Section Open Division playoffs, but they are at risk of being upset. The Pirates host Marine League rival Carson next Friday, a team they beat just 13-7 a week ago. The good news for San Pedro fans is that this game is at home. The regular season meeting between the two teams was at Carson.

Sierra Canyon (CIF-SS Division 2 Bracket)

Sierra Canyon is the top seed in the Division 2 Southern Section playoffs, but they got a potential tough draw in round one. They’ll be facing off against Santa Margarita on Friday, a team from the vaunted Trinity League. Santa Margarita desperately wants to win a playoff game after finishing league play 0-5 and with the new Division 1/2 playoff format in the Southern Section, they’ll have a better chance than they would have in years past.

Santa Margarita has struggled on offense all season, but has put together some solid defensive performances, led by junior defensive end Derek Wilkins. Defense is what will give the Eagles a chance to stay in the game.

Upland (CIF-SS Division 2 Bracket)

Upland has had an up and down season. They’ve won big, lost big, won close, lost close and have even had to forfeit two games. They’ll take on Oaks Christian on Friday in the Division 2 Southern Section playoffs. Oaks is a team that has had some disappointing moments in 2019 too, but has shown real progress in recent weeks. The Lions blew out every team in their league with the exception of Calabasas, who they lost to by three points. Calabasas beat Rancho Cucamonga 45-26 earlier in the year. Rancho Cucamonga beat Upland by three scores last week.

Needing to go score for score with a team is not a recipe for success for Upland. Oaks Christian can put up points. Can Upland’s offense match?

Western (CIF-SS Division 10 Bracket)

Western has won nine games in a row to finish the season 9-1. They host Simi Valley at home in the Division 10 Southern Section playoffs on Friday. While Western should take care of business, expect veteran Simi Valley coach Jim Benkert to have a trick or two up his sleeve. That may prove to be the difference in the game on Friday.

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