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San Diego CIF football playoff brackets set

Kyle Williams has never backed away from a challenge.

So when the Poway High football coach was asked if he was OK with his 10-0 Titans joining county giants Carlsbad, Lincoln and Madison in the four-team Open Division playoffs, he was quick to answer.

“Absolutely! This is what we wanted,” Williams said Sunday afternoon after the postseason pairings were announced. “We’ve worked hard. We set goals. We won the Palomar League.

“Now we’re in with the elite, and we have a chance to win out.”

The Open Division playoffs start Nov. 11 with the championship game in San Diego State’s Snapdragon Stadium on Nov. 18.

Poway is at No. 1-seeded Carlsbad (9-1) in the semifinals with No. 3 Madison (9-1) at No. 2 Lincoln (9-1) in a rematch of last Friday’s Western League showdown, won by Lincoln 24-12.

The San Diego Section uses a Power Ranking system to determine the playoffs and Poway was tied with Mission Hills (7-3) for the final spot in the Open Division.

In the case of ties, the CIF Advisory Committee, which is made up of coaches representing each of the county’s sections — East County, North County, South Bay, City, Desert, Coastal and Southern Conference — is called on to break the tie.

The first criteria is head-to-head play. Poway didn’t play Mission Hills.

The second criteria is common opponents. Poway beat Rancho Bernardo (34-7) and Torrey Pines (35-7). Mission Hills beat RB (33-6) and Torrey Pines (24-7).

The committee discussed its options and gave the nod to Poway, citing Poway’s 10-0 record and the fact it was a league champion before putting the Titans in the Open Division.

So Mission Hills became the No. 1 seed in Division I.

“Don’t get me wrong,” Williams said. “Division I is loaded. There is no easy road in the playoffs.

“We feel we’re one of the elite teams. We feel it’s special to be in the Open Division.”

The Carlsbad-Poway game will be a contrast in styles. Carlsbad throws the ball behind quarterback Julian Sayin. Poway runs the ball behind a big offensive line and hard-charging running back Conner Rath.

“We have an experienced senior class, have 17 returning starters, so this is the season we were building toward,” Williams said. “This group was 9-1 as freshmen, unbeaten as sophomores (in the COVID-shortened season) and co-league champs last season.

“No one knows what will happen, but we’re excited. And Carlsbad will get our best effort.”

Mission Hills, Cathedral Catholic (5-5), Mater Dei Catholic (6-4) and Helix (7-3) are the top four seeds in Division I and draw first-round byes.

Granite Hills (8-2), Central Union (6-3), Ramona (6-4) and Christian (6-4) are the top four seeds in Division II.

Granite Hills is the Grossmont Valley League champion and is coming off an epic, four-overtime 46-44 win over Helix last Friday.

“We have the feeling that the only team that can beat us is us,” said Granite Hills coach Kellen Cobbs. “We’re honored to be the No. 1 seed, now we need to go out and play like we’ve played all season and show that we deserved the seed.”

University City (8-2), Point Loma (8-2), Del Norte (6-4) and Bishop’s (8-2) are the seeds in Division III. Bonita Vista (3-7) was actually the 12th playoff team, but the Barons lost a regular-season game to Patrick Henry (2-7), so Henry was able to jump over Bonita Vista and into the playoffs.

In Division IV, Fallbrook (7-3), La Jolla Country Day (7-3), Coronado (6-3) and Montgomery (8-2) are the seeds. Kearny (5-5) was the 13th team in the 12-team field, losing the last spot to Westview (1-9).

Crawford (9-1), Escondido Charter (8-2), Classical Academy (7-3) and Army-Navy (9-1) are the seeds in Division V.

“The Advisory Committee had a lot to do this season,” said San Diego Section Commissioner Joe Heinz. “There were a number of times, a lot of flip-flops where a team below jumped over a team above because they played each other.

“We try to avoid teams playing league opponents in the first round. And we had a couple of those to deal with. Overall, the committee did a great job, listened and got things right.”

Notable

All first- and second-round games are scheduled for Fridays. However, Veterans Day is Friday, Nov. 11. So some games could be moved to Thursday if both teams agree.

Of the 64 11-man playoff teams, 39 have winning records. Poway is the only unbeaten team. There are six teams with 5-5 records. There are 19 teams with losing records, including 1-9 Westview and three with two wins (Steele Canyon, Scripps Ranch and Patrick Henry). There are eight three-win teams and seven four-win teams in the playoffs.

Every team with a winning record made the playoffs, but 5-5 Kearny and 5-5 Maranatha Christian did not. That fact was a topic of discussion among the Advisory Committee.

All the 2021 champions — Cathedral Catholic, Helix, Scripps Ranch, Mater Dei Catholic, Patrick Henry and Palo Verde Valley — are in the 2022 playoffs. Cathedral Catholic, Scripps Ranch and Mater Dei Catholic went on to win state titles.

Unlike other sports, only the division winners advance to the Southern California Regionals.

The 8-man playoffs start Friday and are a six-team affair. Victory Christian is the top seed. The San Diego Jewish Academy, last year’s champion, didn’t make the playoffs.

OPEN DIVISION

Semifinals

Friday, Nov. 11

All Games at 7 p.m.

(4) Poway at (1) Carlsbad

(3) Madison at (2) Lincoln

Championship

Friday, Nov. 18

At Snapdragon Stadium, 7 p.m.

DIVISION I

First Round

Friday, Nov. 4

No. 1 Mission Hills bye

(9) St. Augustine at (8) Eastlake

(12) Scripps Ranch at (5) El Camino

(4) Helix bye

(11) Steele Canyon at (6) La Costa Canyon

(3) Mater Dei Catholic bye

(10) Rancho Bernardo at (7) Torrey Pines

(2) Cathedral Catholic bye

Quarterfinals

Friday, Nov. 11

At higher seeds

Semifinals

Friday, Nov. 18

At higher seeds

Championship

Friday, Nov. 25

At Southwestern College, 7:30 p.m.

DIVISION II

First Round

Friday, Nov. 4

No. 1 Granite Hills bye

(9) Santa Fe Christian at (8) La Jolla

(12) Olympian at (5) Mira Mesa

(4) Christian bye

(11) Valley Center at (6) San Marcos

(3) Ramona bye

(10) Mt. Carmel at (7) Brawley

(2) Central Union bye

Quarterfinals

Friday, Nov. 11

At higher seeds

Semifinals

Friday, Nov. 18

At higher seeds

Championship

Saturday, Nov. 26

At Escondido HS, 7:30 p.m.

DIVISION III

First Round

Friday, Nov. 4

No. 1 University City bye

(9) Santana at (8) Rancho Buena Vista

(12) Patrick Henry at (5) Imperial

(4) Bishop’s bye

(11) West Hills at (6) San Pasqual

(3) Del Norte bye

(10) Morse at (7) El Capitan

(2) Point Loma bye

Quarterfinals

Friday, Nov. 11

At higher seeds

Semifinals

Friday, Nov. 18

At higher seeds

Championship

Friday, Nov. 25

At Southwestern College, 2 p.m.

DIVISION IV

First Round

Friday, Nov. 4

(1) Fallbrook bye

(9) Francis Parker at (8) Hilltop

(12) Westview at (5) Mission Bay

(4) Montgomery bye

(6) Calexico at (11) Chula Vista

(3) Coronado bye

(10) Mount Miguel at (7) Palo Verde Valley

(2) La Jolla Country Day bye

Quarterfinals

Friday, Nov. 11

At higher seeds

Semifinals

Friday, Nov. 18

At higher seeds

Championship

Saturday, Nov. 26

At Escondido HS, 7:30 p.m.

DIVISION V

First Round

Friday, Nov. 4

(1) Crawford bye

(9) Southwest-El Centro at (8) Castle Park

(12) Hoover at (5) Mar Vista

(4) Army-Navy bye

(11) Mountain Empire at (6) Vincent Memorial

(3) Classical Academy bye

(10) Clairemont at (7) El Cajon Valley

(2) Escondido Charter bye

Quarterfinals

Friday, Nov. 11

At higher seeds

Semifinals

Friday, Nov. 18

At higher seeds

Championship

Saturday, Nov. 26

At Escondido HS, 2 p.m.

8-MAN

Quarterfinals

Friday, Nov. 4

(1) Victory Christian bye

(5) Coastal Academy at San Pasqual Academy

(6) Foothills Christian at (3) The Rock Academy

(2) St. Joseph’s Academy bye

Semifinals

Friday, Nov. 11

At higher seeds

Championship

Saturday, Nov. 18

At Escondido HS, 7:30 p.m.