Whiffed on a couple of the games featuring local teams last week, so I have some explaining to do to the likes of Aquinas and Ontario Christian, respectively.
Aquinas at No. 1 San Juan Capistrano St. Margaret’s
Note for next year – don’t pick against Aquinas at home in the playoffs. The Falcons dusted Sierra Canyon, making me look pretty dumb. And for good reason. However, they are on the road against the defending CIF and small-school state champions. I have to pick against Aquinas again here. Sorry fellas.
St. Margaret’s 27, Aquinas 13
Fillmore 34, Bishop 18
Simi Valley Grace Brethren at Oak Hills
The Bulldogs redeemed my trust last week, ekeing past No. 3 seeded Kern Valley 21-19 to continue their historic run as a first-year school. Now they get another first – their inaugural home playoff game. Oak Hills is straight rolling and I’m not a huge believer in Grace Brethren. Plus, gotta keep my sleeper alive.
Oak Hills 38, Grace Brethren 27
No. 2 Pasadena Maranatha at Ontario Christian
All of a sudden, the Knights have become a tough out. They took Aquinas to the wire in the regular season finale two weeks ago and pulled the upset against a hot Twentynine Palms team on the road in the first round last week. However, OC is at home and they have a very explosive Maranatha team to face. I see the Knights’ recent run of spunk coming to an end.
Maranatha 35, Ontario Christian 21
The fourth and final goes to the smallest division, the East Valley. I’ll be honest, I haven’t had a chance to see these teams play, so there will be some more speculation in here than normal. I’m sure you guys can handle it.
Santa Paula (6-4) at No. 1 St. Margaret’s (9-1)
Sierra Canyon (8-2) at Aquinas (6-3)
Bishop (5-4) at Brentwood (8-2)
Yucca Valley (3-7) at No. 4 Fillmore (7-3)
Oak Hills (8-2) at No. 3 Kern Valley (9-1)
Grace Brethren (5-5) at Sage Hill (7-3)
Ontario Christian (4-6) at Twentynine Palms (6-4)
Frazier Mountain (7-3) at No. 2 Pasadena Maranatha (8-2)
My initial impression is that St. Margaret’s should have this division on tilt. They rolled to a CIF and state title a year ago and have a good draw to do the same thing. Aquinas could give them a test in round two, but the Falcons haven’t done so well against the upper-level teams in the division, losing to teams like Oak Hills and Twentynine Palms. I see St. Margaret’s rolling until the final.
I also see Oak Hills being a bracket buster. Being a brand-new school without a league, the Bulldogs weren’t given much slack by the selection committee, having to face No. 9 Kern Valley. But Oak Hills has sparkled all year and has proven it can play with playoff-caliber teams, already having defeated Aquinas and Laguna Beach this year. Oak Hills has one of the more talented squads in this bracket – it’s whether it can overcome its youth that will tell the tale.
I also like Twentynine Palms in the bottom half of the bracket. The Wildcats made it to the championship game last year and have won six straight games after starting out 0-4 against a nonleague schedule made of primarily larger schools. It wouldn’t surprise me in the least if Twentynine Palms took out Maranatha in the second round.