CIF-SS playoffs: Southern Division

CIF-SS playoffs

Southern Division

A preview of the championship game may have occurred over the weekend when top-ranked Corona del Mar was beaten by second-ranked Beckman, 42-37, in the finale of the Pacific Coast League. Last year three of the semifinalists were from the PCL, and it wouldn't be a surprise if that happened again.

The seeds: 1. Beckman (8-2), 2. Corona del Mar (8-2), 3. Segerstrom (8-2), 4. Estancia (8-2).

Best first-round matchup: Woodbridge (5-5) vs. Rancho Alamitos (9-1) at Bolsa Grande HS -- Rancho had to beat the second-best team from its own Garden Grove League, Los Amigos (8-2), last week to win the title, and now have to open with the third-place team from the best league in the division. Woodbridge has a win over third-seeded Segerstrom and a one-point loss to second-seeded Corona del Mar. That's not normal for a third-place team with a .500 record.

Toughest road: Rancho Alamitos has it pretty tough for a league champion; if the Vaqueros get past Woodbridge, they likely play fourth-seeded Estancia, which had a 56-point margin of victory over Bolsa Grande, a team that Rancho defeated in league, 33-6, and lost by only two points to top-seeded Beckman.

Potential shocker: Laguna Beach (8-2) vs. Segerstrom (8-2) -- Assuming that both teams advance to this second round game, third-seeded Segerstrom -- which plays the defending champion, Garden Grove (4-6) in the first round -- has to stop a Breakers team led by Drake Martinez (134 yards/game, 23 TDs) that has scored 42 points or more eight times, and scored 55 or more five times. Segerstrom hasn't played a team that has a winning record.

Darkhorse: Woodbridge (5-5) -- The Warriors have performed well against two seeded opponents, defeating third-seeded Segerstrom, 21-14, and losing to second-seeded Corona del Mar, 31-30. It also hung with Beckman for a while before losing, 28-13. The Warriors, led by Derek Calderon (136 yards/game, 13 TDs), have seen the best the division has to offer and will be coming through the No. 4 quarter bracket.

Final analysis: There are some intriguing longshots such as Woodbridge, Laguna Beach, Rancho Alamitos and Los Amigos (8-2), but most of the time football is a reality sport, and the reality is that the PCL is the dominant league, and Beckman and Corona del Mar are best teams from that league.

Championship prediction: They will be hard-pressed to put on a better show than last year's final, a 31-30 victory by Garden Grove over Beckman. Still, Beckman's 42-37 win over Corona del Mar last week to determine the PCL champion makes for an attractive rematch with lots of potential for down-to-the-wire dramatics. Beckman's Jeff Kim (132 yards/game, 16 TDs) and CdM's Erik Fisher (111 yards/game, 10 TDs) are worthy adversaries. Still, CdM needed 27 points in the fourth quarter last week to make it close. Beckman 35, Corona del Mar 28.

Link to the Southern Division playoff bracket on CalPreps.com