Tesoro (6-4) vs. Edison (8-2) at Orange Coast College, Friday, 7 p.m.
If the team that showed up two weeks ago against Mission Viejo shows up against Edison, then Tesoro might deliver one of the upsets of the night against the Sunset League champion. If the team that showed up last week against San Clemente shows up against Edison, it could be a long night for the South Coast League's third-place team. Running back Nate Tago (12 TDs, 110 yards/game) and quarterback Matt Adam (7 TDs, 5 int.) have to find a way against an Edison defense that doesn't get the recognition it deserves: it has allowed more than 14 points only twice this season, a 22-20 loss to Mater Dei on the last play of the game, and a 27-14 setback to top-seeded Servite. The offense is led by quarterback Chase Favreau (15 TDs, 5 int., 169 yards/game), who is a serious running threat; he averaged 81 yards against four of Edison's five best opponents, Mater Dei, Huntington Beach, Newport Harbor and Los Alamitos. But he gained only one yard against Servite. That might be the kind of effort necessary for Tesoro, which has 16 underclassmen in the starting lineup, to advance past the first round of the Pac-5 Division.
Huntington Beach (8-2) vs. Loyola (8-2) at L.A. Valley College, Friday, 7 p.m.
Huntington Beach hasn't had a football team this formidable since Tony Gonzalez was an Oiler in the early 1990s. The question is, in this battle of second-place teams, can the public school knock out the private one? Michael Chislock (23 TDs, 5 int., 195 yards/game) will have something to say about it. Chislock leads an HB offense that's averaging 35 points, and the defense held opponents to two touchdowns or less six times. No matter how good Chislock is, he will likely need significant support from running back Nolan Biegel in order to keep Loyola's defense honest. Even though Loyola is averaging nine points fewer, the Cubs have played a significantly tougher schedule heading into the Pac-5 playoffs. They beat Newport Harbor by 27 points while HB won by 28. Also Loyola has a 28-14 victory over St. John Bosco, the kind of signature victory that Huntington Beach is hoping to pick up.
Lakewood (7-3) at San Clemente (9-1), Friday, 7:30 p.m.
Can Lakewood go deep into Orange County and emerge victorious? Any team that can hang with St. John Bosco -- as the Lancers did in a 35-31 loss -- should be able to represent in the Pac-5. Brock Dale (26 TDs, 5 int.) has averaged 189 yards passing and the offense has scored fewer than 31 points only once, a 38-21 loss to fourth-seeded Long Beach Poly (9-1). This may be San Clemente's best team ever, which means this is the year to make some playoff noise. They have the quarterback in Utah-bound Travis Wilson (16 TDs, 6 int., 159 yards/game), running back in Mike Elespuru (12 TDs, 120 yards/game), and a first-rate offensive line led by one of the nation's top prospects, Kyle Murphy. The defense is allowing less than two touchdowns per game. Both teams have a common opponent in Long Beach Cabrillo; San Clemente won its opener, 35-6, and Lakewood won three weeks ago, 31-6. One of Lakewood's losses was a forfeit to Compton (3-7), a team that it beat 54-0.
Esperanza (7-3) vs. El Toro (9-1) at Trabuco Hills HS, Friday, 7 p.m.
Only three players in Orange County have rushed for more yardage than Troy Poole's 1,584 -- which he did in only nine games. That's what makes this the game of the night in the Southwest Division, the clash of styles. Esperanza's running game against El Toro's passing game led by Conner Manning (26 TDs, 4 int.), whose 271.1 yards per game is second to Northwood's Ricky Bautista (283.5). Jacob Funari has also rushed for 1,002 yards and 15 TDs. Esperanza has its own passing threat in Mike Tumlinson (21 TDs, 11 int., 191.1 yards/game), who is completing 66 percent of his passes during the regular season. Espy averages 36 points and El Toro 41; this has shootout written all over it.
Laguna Hills (7-2) vs. Cypress (8-2) at Western HS, Friday, 7 p.m.
Laguna Hills was undefeated before losing its last two games heading into the Southwest Division playoffs. The Hawks -- selected as an at-large team -- have something to prove. Wanting to do it, and doing it, are different things and Vincent "Bug" Rivera may have something to say about it. The running back for fourth-seeded Cypress is a difference maker; his 31 touchdowns are second only to Saddleback Valley Christian's John Curran (38), and Rivera is averaging 9.0 yards per carry. Believe it or not, both teams have only one victory over an opponent with a winning record.
Woodbridge (5-5) vs. Rancho Alamitos (9-1) at Bolsa Grande HS, Friday, 7 p.m.
For winning the Garden Grove League, Rancho Alamitos was rewarded with the third-place team from the Southern Division's best league, one that lost to second-seeded Corona del Mar, 31-30, three weeks ago. Derek Calderon (13 TDs) leads Woodbridge with 136.6 yards/game, while Brett Hurley (21 TDs) paces Rancho Alamitos at 131.9. This could go to the wire, which would be familiar territory for Woodbridge: two of its last three games have been decided by one point.