Division 12 Southern Section football playoff bracket preview: JT Thompson and Harvard-Westlake primed for title push

The Southern Section released its 2021 high school football playoff brackets for all 14 divisions on Sunday. Ahead of the first round games on Nov. 5, we’re previewing every playoff division from D1 to D14. Since Division 1 won’t begin until next week, we started with Division 2 and have now moved to Division 12.

Here’s everything you need to know about the D12 bracket:

DIVISION 12 BRACKET | ALL CIF-SS FOOTBALL BRACKETS

MATCHUPS

BEST FIRST ROUND MATCHUP

Santiago vs. Walnut should be a great game. Both teams have strong rushing attacks (more on that below.)

The pick: Walnut 28, Santiago 21

PLAYERS TO WATCH

  • Compton’s Deon Johnson is the name to know for the top seeded Tarbabes. Compton runs the double wing and Johnson is featured heavily.
  • Walnut senior running back Ruben Rivera has carried the ball 117 times this season for 914 yards and 15 touchdowns.
  • Santiago running back Isaac Hernandez has rushed for 957 yards and 13 touchdowns this season.
  • Harvard-Westlake senior JT Thompson is the top player in the Division. He’s caught 47 passes for 884 yards and 12 TD’s this season.
  • Diamond Bar running back Mike Gorbea has rushed for 1,698 yards and 22 touchdowns this season.
  • Pasadena Poly’s running back duo of Jason Mayo and Alex Xie combined for 289 rushing yards in the Panthers’ 34-24 win La Cañada this season.
  • Westminster junior defensive tackle Rafael Maldonado has made 66 tackles this season with 11 coming for loss.
  • Lakeside junior Desean Norwood has rushed for 1,084 yards and 11 touchdowns this year.
  • Rosemead QB Damian Martinez has some of the best numbers of any QB in the division. He’s completed 47 of 70 passes for 914 yards and 12 touchdowns compared to only three picks.
  • Norwalk’s Jonathan Goodloe has rushed for 1,311 yards and 14 TD’s this season.

WHO WILL WIN D12?

Harvard-Westlake. The Wolverines have the best player in the Division in Thompson and playing a tough regular season schedule will help catapult them to a title.

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