Orange County: Southern Section playoff rundown for OC teams

Southwest Division

Seeded teams: 1. Tustin (9-1), 2. Laguna Hills (10-0), 3. La Habra (7-3), 4. Villa Park (7-3)

At large selections: Placentia Valencia (5-5), Buena Park (6-4)

Dark horse: Garden Grove Pacifica (7-3), the fourth-place team from the Empire League, lost to the division's fourth-ranked team, Cypress, 10-9, last week and stands a legit chance to beat fourth-seeded Villa Park, which was ranked ninth in the final Southern Section poll but moved up because teams 5-8 lost over the weekend. The Mariners could face La Palma Kennedy in the second round and that would be a winnable game, too: Kennedy won the first meeting, 7-2.When Pacifica played Tustin, the Mariners lost by only a touchdown, 35-28. It's doable.

Best first-round game: Cypress (9-1) vs. San Juan Hills (7-3) – The Centurions are lamenting the fact that they are likely matched against La Habra in the second round, but they have to get there first, and San Juan Hills – with playmakers such as Michael Perryman and Will Acromite – is a high-scoring team that could easily spoil that party.

Best potential second-round game: La Habra (7-3) vs. Cypress (9-1) – They met in last year's semifinals, and the winner of this meeting will likely be the favorite to reach the finals. Cypress will be the home team, but the versatility of La Habra led by QB Cody Clements would seem to be too much to overcome.

Prediction: La Habra is trying to win a fourth consecutive championship -- a third consecutive Southwest title after winning the Southeast title in 2007 -- and having been to Angel Stadium in the past, the Highlanders will have a distinct advantage over Tustin. They won't stop the Tillers running game led by Tyler Siudzinski, they only have to outscore it, and that is possible.

Southern Division

Seeded teams: 1. Garden Grove (9-1), 2. Corona del Mar (8-1-1), 3. Loara (9-1), 4. Northwood (6-3-1)

At large selections: Beckman (5-5)

Dark horse: Woodbridge (5-4-1) has one of the outstanding players in the division in running back Jalen Craver. In an early game against top-seeded Garden Grove, they lost a close one, 22-19.

Best first-round game: Woodbridge (5-4-1) vs. Magnolia (5-5) – Magnolia lost all its nonleague games and then ran the table to win the Orange League title. Whether they can hold off Woodbridge is questionable, but in a division in which there appear to be few competitive first-round games, this seems to be the one most likely.

Best potential second-round game: Garden Grove (9-1) vs. Woodbridge – They played earlier in the season and Garden Grove won, 22-19. A rematch figures to be very attractive.

Prediction: Garden Grove fell short in the finals last season during an emotional run in honor of the late Kevin Telles. Led by Josh Webb and the experience of making a deep title run, it won't be easy but they should complete the job this season against the Pacific Coast League powers.