La Mirada head coach Mike Moschetti not concerned about first-round jinx: “Whether you get beat in the first round or the third round, what difference does it make? Are you going to have a parade for going to the quarterfinals or the semifinals?”


One would think that the La Mirada High School football team has been breathing fire all week as it prepares for Friday’s Southeast Division first-round playoff game against Santa Fe.

After all, the Matadores have been booted from the postseason in the first round in each of the past two seasons, with last year’s exit as the No. 2 overall seed a particularly painful moment. But atonement for the recent past, surprisingly, isn’t an issue, according to head coach Mike Moschetti.

“Different team, different kids,” Moschetti said. “It’s football. The whole goal is to win the championship. Whether you get beat in the first round or the third round, what difference does it make? Are you going to have a parade for going to the quarterfinals or the semifinals?

“I don’t understand people. To be honest with you, I don’t care what anybody thinks. I think we do a great job here. Our kids are working their butts off. I’m not going to dwell about things that happened in the past.”

La Mirada is the No. 2 seed in the Southeast Division for the second straight year. The Matadores did it by going 7-3 and sweeping the Suburban League for the second consecutive season. Last year, La Mirada drew a rough first-round assignment in Salesian, which was an at-large berth out of the rugged Angelus League.

In that game, the Matadores had 15 penalties and three touchdowns called back because of penalties and ultimately suffered a 24-18 loss. This year’s first-round assignment is Santa Fe, which went 4-6 overall but was third place in the Del Rio League.

“Santa Fe doesn’t like us and we don’t like them,” Moschetti said. “We’ve got a lot of respect for Coach (Dave) Pierson, but the programs don’t like each other.”

One big reason why there may be animosity between the two schools centers around the transfer around of former La Mirada quarterback Christian Lara, who spent his first three seasons at Santa Fe before transferring to La Mirada in the 2014 offseason.

PLAYOFFS DISCUSSION: Did San Marino (10-0) get disrespected just a little bit in the Central Division with No. 3 seed?


CENTRAL DIVISION: Kinda thought San Marino (10-0) would be the No. 2 seed in here. But you gotta remember (I guess) that the Rio Hondo League is likely viewed as the division’s weakest league. But still, wanted a scenario where San Marino played Glendora in the semis (if both made it). That won’t happen now. Got no problem with Charter Oak (9-1) as the top seed. Chargers played the toughest strength of schedule of any team and that win over Glendora (9-1) carries a lot of weight. EARLY PREDICTION: Charter Oak over San Marino in championship.

MID-VALLEY DIVISION: The draw that jumps off the page for me is Arroyo-Covina. The Knights (8-2) got a doable first-round game followed by a second-round game (if they win) against likely Montebello (9-1). Arroyo played Montebello earlier this season and lost 36-27 … but that’s when the Oilers had stud running back Isaac Mendibles. They don’t anymore. He’s lost for the season due to injury. Conversely, Covina (6-4), as an at-large, has to love that it doesn’t have to play a top-four seed. Instead, the Colts get an Arroyo team that isn’t that far off from themselves in terms of talent. Most people say this is Sierra Canyon and/or Paraclete’s division to lose. We’ll see. Northview has the skill players to beat anyone. Pomona may catch fire at any time. San Dimas is still dangerous. This is one deep division. EARLY PREDICTION: Sierra Canyon over Paraclete in championship.

SOUTHEAST DIVISION: After the first round, ALL bets are off. You could even make that case about the 3/4s of the firstr ound. What a beautiful division. Last year, rankings and seedings meant NOTHING. This year it could degenerate into another free-for-all. Personally, La Mirada is the favorite but if the Mats lost in the second round I wouldn’t be shocked. La Serna is always good for a deep run, but the Lancers have to watch out against Paramount. I’m just not sure about the SGV League. It’s not our coverage area and I don’t know the teams. EARLY PREDICTION: La Mirada over St. Francis.

PAC-5 DIVISION: The brackets played out exactly how most people figured. For Bishop Amat, things couldn’t have gone better. Doesn’t mean it will be easy (the first round will). But the upper bracket is clearly tougher than the lower (where Amat is). Serra, Centennial, O-Lu, Mater Dei, YIKES! After Norco, Amat has to get past an Oaks Christian team that looks good on paper, but this isn’t the same type of Oaks Christian juggnernaut of, say, the Jimmy Clausen days. Very obviously, Amat appears on a collision course with St. John Bosco in the semis. In that regard, I’d have rather played Centennial. But they’re both rough. EARLY PREDICTION: Centennial over St. John Bosco.

All-Encompassing SGV(N) Top 25

1. La Habra (8-1) — Best LH team in years.
2. Bishop Amat (7-2) — Loyola game has big meaning.
3. Charter Oak (8-1) — Still lots at stake vs. West Covina.
4. Glendora (8-1) — Wrapped up Palomares with time to spare.
5. La Serna (7-2) — Sewed up Del Rio with win over Santa Fe.
6. La Mirada (7-2) — So much for that Mayfair challenge.
7. San Marino (9-0) — Looking top-two seed in Central.
8. St. Francis (6-3) — Playoff outlook is still unclear.
9. Montebello (8-1) — Can Oilers keep winning sans Isaac?
10. Northview (8-1) — Ready to send message to Covina.
11. Bonita (7-2) — Beat Ayala, rest takes care of itself.
12. Monrovia (6-3) — Sent clear message to South Pas.
13. Los Altos (5-4) — Just keep feeding Nevens.
14. San Dimas (6-3) — Showed Covina who’s boss.
15. Diamond Ranch (6-3) — Chino loss really stings.
16. St. Paul (5-4) — A few parts shy from being real good.
17. South Pasadena (7-2) — Reality checked vs. SM and M-Town.
18. West Covina (4-5) — In must-win spot vs. CO.
19. Arcadia (5-4) — CV game is for playoff spot.
20. Baldwin Park (6-3) — What will playoffs bring?
21. Arroyo (7-2) — Rolling into Rosemead showdown.
22. Rosemead (5-4) — And still Mission Valley League champion?
23. Covina (6-3) — Not quite ready for prime time.
24. Pasadena Poly (6-3) — Huge game looms vs. RHP.
25. Santa Fe (4-5) — Lots at stake now vs. Whittier.