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Sunday, November 13, 2011
CIF-SS playoffs: Northwest Division

By Blair Angulo

Undefeated Lompoc received the top seeding, in large part because of its impressive season-opening victory against Arroyo Grande. The Braves breezed through the Los Padres League, surrendering an average of just 7.3 points per game. Lavon Coleman and Taylor Cornejo form an effective running combination that has Lompoc thinking championship. Here’s a breakdown of the division:

The seeds: No. 1 Lompoc, No. 2 St. Bernard, No. 3 Lompoc Cabrillo, No. 4 Nordhoff.

Best first-round matchup: Bosco Tech (7-3) at No. 4 Nordhoff (6-4) -- The Bosco Tech Tigers score a lot of points (30.8 per game) and so do the Nordhoff Rangers (35.7). Buckle your seat belts.

Toughest road: No. 3 Lompoc Cabrillo (8-2) -- Forget the fact Cabrillo was blown out by rival and top-seeded Lompoc, 42-7, in the Los Padres League championship game. Not only would they likely have to go through them again in this bracket, but would probably have to beat undefeated St. Bernard in the semifinal.

Potential shocker: Santa Inez (5-5) at Torrance (6-4), first round -- Yes, the Santa Inez Pirates have five losses this season, but they played Lompoc tough, losing by only eight. Plus, Torrance was 2-3 in nonleague play.

Darkhorse: Bishop Montgomery (6-4) -- Del Rey League runner-up Bishop Montgomery hanged with champion and No. 2-seeded St. Bernard in the finale and has a tough running back in workhorse Michael Turner. Don't count out the Knights.

Final analysis: Don't expect many upsets here, given that teams will be busing from the L.A. area to the Lompoc area and vice versa. The top seeds, Lompoc and St. Bernard, shouldn't encounter many problems. All signs point to those two meeting in the title game.

Championship prediction: St. Bernard vs. Lompoc -- Will Lompoc be able to stop -- or even contain -- St. Bernard quarterback Christian Smith, the senior who has passed for 36 touchdowns 3,140 yards this season? Our guess is no. St. Bernard takes the crown in a thriller, 38-35.

Link to the Northwest Division playoff bracket on CalPreps.com