The 2019 CIF San Diego Section high school football playoffs kick off on Friday with matchups across Divisions 1 through 5. The Open Division playoffs start on Friday, Nov. 15.
Here’s a look at the Top 5 first-round games to watch this Friday.
(7) Rancho Bernardo vs. (10) Torrey Pines
Despite not playing each other since 2013, the Broncos and Falcons are not strangers as the two teams have scrimmaged four seasons in a row. After an 0-2 start the Broncos rattled off six straight wins before getting tripped up by Vista, whose wing-t offense closely replicates what the Broncos will see against Torrey Pines. Rancho Bernardo’s offense is as balanced as you can get with 227 passing attempts and 230 rushing attempts. Torrey Pines opened with a big win against Los Alamitos but struggled as they worked through Avocado League play. The Falcons run heavy attack is led by Cael Helfich, who went over 1,000 rushing yards in the regular season finale against La Costa Canyon, but have had sixteen different players carry the ball this season. Linebackers Marco Notarainni and Grant Anderson will play a big role in determining how far the Falcons can advance.
(8) Eastlake vs. (9) Oceanside
Just last season the Titans eliminated Oceanside in the D1 playoffs, holding the Pirates to negative fifty-five rushing yards, something that is sure to be on the mind of the returning Oceanside players. The 2013 playoff battle between the two was one of the best in county history, when the Pirates erased a 30-7 halftime deficit scoring twenty-six unanswered in the pouring rain to advance to the CIF Championship. After a 1-5 start this season and a coaching change, the Titans rolled through league play undefeated and earned a home playoff game. Senior Max Susi will have his work cut out trying to slow down Pirates running back Kavika Tua. Susi has been a force on the Titans defense this season sixty-four tackles, four sacks, and three forced fumbles. Tua is averaging 152 yards per game and has scored fifteen touchdowns.
(8) Monte Vista vs. (9) Poway
A matchup that hasn’t happened since 1974, Monte Vista was able to finish off the season strong and grab a home game in the 1st round of the playoffs. The Monarchs started off 1-4 but were able to turn their season around after the bye week and reel off five straight wins that earned them a Grossmont – Valley League title. Poway has faced strong competition throughout the year but didn’t seem to be at the top of their game later in the year. The Titans offense revolves around the rushing attack of Jared Butler and his seventeen touchdowns on the season. Poway’s defense has been very inconsistent, allowing twenty-eight points or more in four games while also allowing ten points or less in four other games.
(5) Morse vs. (12) Mira Mesa
Two weeks ago, Mira Mesa traveled to league foe Morse and took down the Tigers, 28-6. The Marauders, who appear to be severely under-seeded, will have to travel to Morse again hoping for the same result. Mira Mesa, who is one of the youngest teams in the section, faced an extremely tough schedule and mostly held their own against older, more experienced teams. They won two of three games to finish the season including their previous win against Morse. In that game Elijah Thomas ran for three touchdowns to help Mira Mesa to a three-touchdown victory despite only completing one pass. Morse finished the season with a win against University City but has been without star Micheal Cunningham since week nine and will have to regroup going against Mira Mesa for the second time in three weeks.
(8) Valhalla vs. (9) West Hills
A rematch of the week two contest that saw Valhalla prevail 24-14. Kegan Baker was dominant in that game rushing for 203 yards and three touchdowns to lead the Norsemen. Despite losing six of eight games to end the season Valhalla had to face several top teams in open and division one that should prepare them for a possible run in the division three playoffs. Seniors Kole and Kip Klingerman have been huge for the Wolfpack this season combining for fifteen receiving touchdowns on offense and each have three interceptions on defense.
All CIF San Diego Section brackets: