San Diego Section 2021 high school football preview: Top 10 teams, players to watch, top new coaches, new playoff format

The fall 2021 CIF San Diego Section high school football season kicks off on Friday, and there are multiple storylines to follow. From new coaches to a new playoff format to players and teams to watch, here’s everything you need to know about San Diego Section football heading into the season.

(Lead photo by Josh DaFoe)

MORE: PRESEASON ALL-SECTION TEAM | TOP 50 TEAM PREVIEWS | TOP 10 CIFSDS RANKINGS | SAN DIEGO SECTION SCOREBOARD

NEW PLAYOFF FORMAT

The San Diego Section Football Advisory committee voted to use the CIF Power Rankings system to seed the teams this postseason. The chart below illustrates how teams will collect points throughout the season. The number of “power ranking” points achieved is then divided by the amount of games played to create an average.

REIGNING CHAMPIONS

Here are the seven reigning CIF San Diego Section football champions from 2019.

  • 2019 Open Division champion: Helix
  • 2019 Division 1 champion: Oceanside
  • 2019 Division 2 champion: El Camino
  • 2019 Division 3 champion: La Jolla
  • 2019 Division 4 champion: Serra
  • 2019 Division 5 champion: Francis Parker
  • 2019 Division 6 (8-man) champion: Foothills Christian

TOP 10 TEAMS

SBLive’s preseason San Diego Section Top 10 was released on Monday, Aug. 16. Cathedral Catholic enters the year at No. 1.

Five other teams to watch: Helix, Poway, Steele Canyon, Otay Ranch, La Costa Canyon

PLAYERS TO WATCH

We recently released our SBLive preseason All-San Diego Section team. Cathedral Catholic has the most players on the team with four.

NEW COACHES

Neil Breight is the new head coach at Tri-City Christian after previously serving as the offensive coordinator at St. Augustine.

Former NFL linebacker Stephen Cooper has taken over as the head coach at Francis Parker School.

Paul Lawrence was named the head coach at University City,

Chris Holmes takes over as the head coach at Grossmont after previously coaching at Granite Hills.

Mt. Carmel hired Drew Westling as head coach after previous stops at Hilltop and Eastlake.

Jimmy Clark was named head coach at Olympian. He was previously an assistant at Chula Vista.

Mitch Donnelly was promoted to head coach at Westview after the resignation of Jason French.

Orange Glen hired assistant coach Tito Smith as head coach following Jason Patterson’s resignation.

Charles Bussey is the new head coach at Valhalla after previously coaching at La Jolla.

Brandon Harris is the new head coach at Canyon Hills. He previously coached in Arizona.

TOP REGULAR SEASON GAMES

FULL 2021 SAN DIEGO SECTION FOOTBALL SCHEDULE

Aug. 20: St. Augustine vs. El Camino

Aug. 20: Eastlake vs. Steele Canyon

Aug. 27: Cathedral Catholic vs. Corona Centennial

Aug. 27: Ramona vs. Rancho Bernardo

Aug. 27: Lincoln vs. Los Alamitos

Aug. 27: Eastlake vs. Poway

Aug. 27: Torrey Pines vs. San Clemente

Sep. 3: Helix vs. Mater Dei Catholic

Sep. 3: Lincoln vs. Mission Hills

Sep. 3: St. Augustine vs. Santa Margarita

Sep. 3: Steele Canyon vs. San Marcos

Sep. 10: El Camino vs. Carlsbad

Sep. 17: La Jolla vs. Mater Dei Catholic

Sep. 17: St. Augustine vs. Helix

Sep. 17: Carlsbad vs. Mission Hills

Sep. 17: Cathedral Catholic vs. De La Salle

Sep. 24: Helix vs. Servite

Sep. 24: St. Augustine vs. Mater Dei Catholic

Oct. 1: St. Augustine vs. Lincoln

Oct. 1: Torrey Pines vs. Carlsbad

Oct. 8: Otay Ranch vs. Mater Dei Catholic

Oct. 8: Helix vs. Mission Viejo

Oct. 8: Torrey Pines vs. El Camino

Oct. 8: Lincoln vs. La Jolla

Oct. 15: Eastlake vs. Mater Dei Catholic

Oct. 15: Granite Hills vs. Grossmont

Oct. 15: St. Augustine vs. Cathedral Catholic

Oct. 22: El Camino vs. Mission Hills

Oct. 29: La Costa Canyon vs. Torrey Pines

Oct. 29: Poway vs. Rancho Bernardo

Oct. 29: Lincoln vs. Cathedral Catholic

Thank you for joining the discussion on SBLive!

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