Sunday, November 13, 2011
CIF-SS playoffs: Northeast Division
By Blair Angulo
Defending division champion Bishop received the top seeding Sunday, fulfilling the preseason projections of the CIF-Southern Section poll. Here’s a breakdown of the division:
The seeds: No. 1 Bishop, No. 2 Rio Hondo Prep, No. 3 Boron, No. 4 Salesian.
Best first-round matchup: Kern Valley (8-2) at Saddleback Valley Christian (9-1) -- Both teams will try to run the ball. Valley Christian, which averages more than 300 rushing yards per game, will have the advantage.
Toughest road: No. 3 Boron (7-2) -- The lower bracket appears lethal, with six of the eight teams having at least seven wins to their name. Boron has a chance, but it will be tough.
Potential shocker: Salesian vs. Bishop, semifinal round -- Salesian quarterback Jihad Vercher passes for more than 200 yards per game for an offense that averages 42.8 points. Bishop scores 44.2 on average behind dual-threat signal caller Chance Callahan.
Darkhorse: No. 4 Salesian (8-2) -- The Mustangs put up 78 points in the finale. A team capable of such an output is considered dangerous.
Final analysis: Given the distance between competing schools, long road trips might make for stiff legs and high-scoring games. Teams playing at home will have the advantage, but it will be the defenses that will decide this division.
Championship prediction: Bishop vs. Rio Hondo Prep -- They say defense wins championships and these two have the best units in the bracket. That will go out the window in the title game. Final score: Bishop 42, Rio Hondo Prep 38.