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October 26, 2012The Favorite
The only blemish on the record is a loss to Open Division contender Oaks Christian, making Chaminade the favorite right now for a Southern California Division II state title berth. The Eagles boast an explosive offense and a playmaking defense. Playing in a league as competitive as the Mission League also helps, as does the team's head-to-head win over Division II contender Gardena Serra. If the Eagles win out, they'll likely be representing SoCal in a bowl game.
The San Diego Section usually is treated as the little brother of the Southern Section, but the area boasts a pair of Division II state contenders in Oceanside and Helix. Both the Pirates and the Highlanders have recent state championship wins under their belts, so they're used to playing on a big stage. Oceanside and Helix have dominated San Diego opponents again this season, and boast college-ready athletes. At this juncture, the Pirates have a slightly better case for a bowl game, as Helix lost a tightly contested game to fellow Division II hopeful Cathedral Catholic.
Most people tend to just look at overall record without digging much deeper, and that's what will hurt Lompoc come selection time. The Braves sport a spotless 8-0 record, and have only played one close game all season long. That came in the second game of the season, when Lompoc barely escaped against Frontier, a mediocre team from the Central Section. That game embodies the weaknesses that are apparent on the Braves' football team, as there isn't much playmaking ability on either side of the football. Expect possible Western Division opponents Chaminade and Gardena Serra to expose Lompoc come divisional playoff time.
Not many people have heard of the Olympian Eagles, but the budding program inside the San Diego Section is one of the most exciting up-and-coming programs in Southern California. Head coach Gil Warren has built a tough, physical defense, and an efficient offense that avoids mistakes. Those are two key ingredients come playoff time, and two things that could lead Olympian to surprise some people in November (or even December). The Eagles will get a chance to open people's eyes tonight, when they take on Eastlake.
After being dropped from the Pac 5, teams inside the Sunset League have been playing with a chip on their shoulders all season long. Huntington Beach's Edison is the best of the bunch. Head coach Dave White has led some very successful teams in the recent years, and this year's squad is on the same level. The defense, in particular, is nasty. The Chargers' defense has recorded 28 sacks this season, which has helped create 20 turnovers. Wins over Servite and San Clemente help the cause, and a near-victory over perennial power Mater Dei shows just how good this team is. It's also worth noting that Edison's path through the playoffs is easier than every other team highlighted here, so a little help could go a long way to getting the Chargers in an elusive state title game.
Edison has the easiest path to winning its division, while Helix and Oceanside will again likely play for a San Diego Section title. If the Pirates win that game (and Chaminade loses), they'll likely get the nod. But if Oceanside and Chaminade lose between now and then, the Chargers could very well be packing their bags for Carson. We'll wager on the latter outcome, and predict Edison will be playing for its first state championship.
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