East County is well represented in the soon-to-unfold San Diego Section football playoffs with 10 teams qualifying in 11-man play and one additional team in the eight-man field.
First-round play kicks off this Friday in most divisions, followed by quarterfinal-round play and semifinal-round play leading up to the respective divisional championship games.
San Diego State’s new Snapdragon Stadium will serve as the finals site for the Open Division while Southwestern College will host the Division I and Division III finals. Escondido High School will host the Division II, Division IV, Division V and 8-Man championship games.
Grossmont Hills League champion Granite Hills (8-2) received the No. 1 seed in the section’s Division II field while Grossmont Hills League runner-up Helix Charter (7-3) is seeded fourth in the Division II field.
Granite Hills outlasted host Helix, 46-44 in four overtimes last Friday to claim this year’s Grossmont Hills League championship. Both teams look exceptionally strong heading into the single-elimination playoffs.
Granite Hills will host the winner of Friday’s opening round clash between eighth-seeded La Jolla (5-5) and ninth-seeded Santa Fe Christian (8-2) in next week’s quarterfinals while Helix will host the winner between fifth-seeded El Camino (7-3) and 12th-seeded Scripps Ranch (2-8).
Christian (6-4) received the No. 4 seed in the Division II field and also gets a first-round round bye.
The City Eastern League champions will host either fifth-seeded Mira Mesa (7-3) or 12th-seeded Otay Ranch (3-6) in the quarterfinals.
The Patriots wrapped up regular season play with a 34-10 victory at San Diego to finish 4-0 in league play. Senior Jake Davila passed for three touchdowns — all to senior Hunter Provience (five catches, 40 yards) — while senior Aidan Hypes (16 carries, 103 yards) and senior Brady Bingham (eight carries, 41 yards) both scored rushing touchdowns.
The remaining seven Grossmont Conference qualifiers will kick off play in Friday’s opening round.
The Grossmont Hills League will be represented by three teams in postseason play after the Steele Canyon Cougars received the No. 11 seed in the Division I field. The Cougars (2-8) will play at sixth-seeded La Costa Canyon (6-4), with the winner advancing to meet third-seeded Mater Dei Catholic (6-4) in the quarterfinals.
Steele Canyon defeated the host Grossmont Foothillers, 31-10, last Friday to bring some momentum into the playoffs after navigating through an eight game losing streak while playing one of the strongest schedules in the section this season.
Senior Major Givens set a new school career rushing record with 454 yards and three touchdowns on 31 carries in the game. Givens scored on runs of two, 70 and 79 yards as the Cougars amassed 575 rushing yards.
Mater Dei Catholic, which also saw its record suffer because of early season strong scheduling, is playing its best football as the postseason dawns with a six game winning streak and 281-0 shutout streak.
The Crusaders received 242 passing yards and two touchdowns from senior quarterback Dominic Nankil – both to senior Jerry McClure (four catches, 151 yards) — in posting their sixth consecutive shutout win. The reigning Metro-Mesa League champions racked up 587 total offensive yards in the contest, including 365 passing yards.
The Grossmont Valley League will be represented in the playoffs by five of its seven teams: the El Capitan Vaqueros (No. 7 seed in Division III), Santana Sultans (No. 9 seed in Division III), West Hills Wolf Pack (No. 11 seed in Division III), Mt. Miguel Matadors (No. 10 seed in Division IV) and El Cajon Valley Braves (No. 7 seed in Division V).
El Capitan (8-2, 6-0 in league) enters the playoffs as the Grossmont Valley League champion after defeating visiting West Hills (6-4, 4-2 in league) by a score of 42-13 last Friday.
Santana (5-5, 5-1 in league) improved its playoff seed after finishing regular season play with a 26-6 win over visiting El Cajon Valley (4-6, 3-3).
El Capitan will host 10th seeded Morse Tigers (6-4) in Friday’s opening round. The winner advances to meet second-seeded Point Loma (8-2) in the quarterfinals.
Santana and West Hills both will have road assignments in the first round – Santana at eighth-seeded Rancho Buena Vista (5-5) and West Hills at sixth-seeded San Pasqual (7-3), this year’s Valley League North County champion. The Santana-RBV winner will tackle top-seeded University City (8-2) in the next round while the West Hills-San Pasqual winner will meet third-seeded Del Norte (6-4) in the quarterfinals.
Mt. Miguel, which finished 2-4 in league play, 4-6 overall, will open the playoffs at seventh-seeded Palo Verde Valley (9-1, 4-0 in Desert League play), with the winner advancing to face second-seeded La Jolla Country Day (7-3).
El Cajon Valley will host 10th-seeded Clairemont (3-7-1) in Friday’s playoff opener. The winner advances to play at second-seeded Escondido Charter (8-2).
The Mountain Empire Red Hawks (3-7, 0-3 in Pacific League) join the Braves in the Division V playoff field as the No. 11 seed and will play at sixth-seeded Vincent Memorial (6-3) in Friday’s opening round. The winner advances to face third-seeded Classical Academy (7-3).
Foothills Christian (7-3, 2-2 in Ocean League play) received the No. 6 seed in the six-team 8-Man playoffs and will kick off postseason play at the third-seeded Rock Academy (8-1) on Saturday, Nov. 5, at 6:30 p.m. at Francis Parker.
The winner gets Ocean League runner-up St. Joseph Academy, the No. 2 seed, in the semifinals.
Open Division qualifiers include No. 1 seed Carlsbad (9-1), No. 2 seed Lincoln (9-1), No. 3 seed Madison (9-1) and No. 4 seed Poway (10-0).
Lincoln defeated previously undefeated Madison, 24-12, to win last Friday’s City Western League championship.
The Division I playoff field appears just as stacked with Avocado North County League runner-up Mission Hills (7-3) earning the No. 1 seed in the 12-team field and defending 1-AA state champion Cathedral Catholic (5-5) receiving the No. 2 seed.
Other top-seeded teams include Valley North County League cochampion Fallbrook (7-3) in Division IV and City Central League champion Crawford (9-1) in Division V.
The Division I and Division III championship games are scheduled Nov. 25 at Southwestern College in Chula Vista while Escondido High School will host the Division II and Division IV and Division V finals on Nov. 26.
San Diego Section Playoff schedule
Friday, Nov. 4
All games 7 p.m.
(4) Helix Charter (bye) (11) Steele Canyon (2-8) at (6) La Costa Canyon (6-4)
(1) Granite Hills (bye) (4) Christian (bye)
(10) Morse (6-4) at (7) El Capitan (8-2) (9) Santana (5-5) at (8) Rancho Buena Vista (5-5) (11) West Hills (6-4) at (6) San Pasqual (7-3)
(10) Mt. Miguel (4-6) at (7) Palo Verde Valley (9-1)
(10) Clairemont (3-7) at (7) El Cajon Valley (4-6) (11) Mountain Empire (3-7) at (6) Vincent Memorial (6-3)