Now off to the Eastern Division, where the game is “Catch Kaiser if you can.”
Apple Valley at No. 1 Kaiser
If I’m the Sun Devils, I’m pretty bitter right about now. While Apple Valley’s 5-5 record wasn’t ground-breaking, the Sun Devils are hardly the worst team and shouldn’t be the sacrificial lamb to the undefeated Cats. But that’s precisely what they are. Apple Valley is intriguing on offense, but Kaiser has murdered people all year and will do the same tomorrow.
Kaiser 45, Apple Valley 6
Granite Hills at Beaumont
Granite Hills, which lost to Apple Valley in the regular season and had the exact same league record and finish in league as the Sun Devils, got a winnable draw, at least for the first round, as Beaumont isn’t exactly a dominating opponents. But the Mountain Pass League champs are good and will win a low-scoring, hard-hitting duel.
Beaumont 14, Granite Hills 12
Norte Vista at Victor Valley
This is a rough draw for the Jackrabbits, as Norte Vista’s grind-it-out, ball-control style netted it a trip to the semifinals a year ago. You can bet that the Braves will rely on Ryan Ruiz to play keep away from Victor’s potent offense. However, the Jackrabbits took a huge step in beating Burroughs for the Desert Sky League title last week and that confidence will carry over.
Victor Valley 24, Norte Vista 16
Oak Hills at No. 4 Elsinore
The continuation of the Bulldogs’ building process has Oak Hills in a tough spot, as the Bulldogs didn’t get much respect for being the No. 2 team in their league. Elsinore held it own in recent years in the Central Division, advancing to the finals in 2006, and will be a tough go of it. Marshaun Coprich and Jeremiah Armstead will have success, but not quite enough.
Elsinore 26, Oak Hills 17
Silverado at No. 3 Heritage
If there was any proof necessary to validate the theory that tough nonleague schedules mean something, it came with the selection of 5-4-1 Silverado to the playoffs over 7-3 San Jacinto. The Hawks’ philosophy of taking on all comers worked once again, albeit in a different way than normal. However, a 10-0 Heritage team is a tough draw for the Hawks, who just don’t have the guns this year for a long run.
Heritage 34, Silverado 20
West Valley at Summit
West Valley has been a playoff underachiever recently, getting bounced in the first round as a higher seed in each of the last three years. They don’t have to worry about that, as they’ll be the clear underdogs against a Summit team with the best skill-position talent in the division. Summit is prone to lapses, but if the SkyHawks are on, this will get ugly quick.
Summit 38, West Valley 6
Ridgecrest Burroughs 35, Citrus Hill 30
Temescal Canyon at No. 2 Serrano
Kaiser is getting the hype in this division, and for good reason, but seasonal progression indicates that it’s the year of the Diamondback. Serrano has gone from losing in the first round (2006) to the quarters (2007) to the semis (2008) to the championship game last year (2009). So the logical progression is a title. While that may not happen, a comfortable win over Temescal Canyon will.
Serrano 28, Temescal Canyon 7