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Championship, Playoff Scenarios Abound as High School Football Regular Season Ends

Championship, Playoff Scenarios Abound as High School Football Regular Season Ends

Members of Capistrano Valley High School's football team walk onto the field in Aliso Viejo, Calif., on Oct. 6, 2023. (Courtesy of Monica Acosta)

Dan Wood

Dan Wood

10/26/2023

Updated: 10/26/2023

Multiple league championships and CIF Southern Section playoff berths will be on the line this weekend as the Orange County high school football regular season concludes in Southern California.
Following this week’s action, league champions and teams that are at-large candidates will await the Oct. 29 Southern Section announcement to see where, or if, they slot into the playoffs that begin in various divisions next week.
All of this week’s games are set for Oct. 27, with 7 p.m. starts, unless noted otherwise.
Among the many key games is an Oct. 26 matchup between Foothill and Yorba Linda at Tustin High.
Foothill, 6–3 overall, is the lone team with a 2–0 record in the Crestview League and can secure the outright championship with a victory.
Four-time defending champion Yorba Linda, also 6–3 overall, and Villa Park are both 1–1 in league play, leaving open the possibility of a three-way tie for the championship if Yorba Linda should beat Foothill. Should that happen, a three-way coin flip would determine the league’s playoff priority.
Yorba Linda High School varsity football team enters the field for a game on Oct. 13, 2023. (Courtesy of Emma Perron Photography)

Yorba Linda High School varsity football team enters the field for a game on Oct. 13, 2023. (Courtesy of Emma Perron Photography)

Villa Park (8–1 overall) needs a victory at Brea Olinda to have a shot at sharing the title. The team dropped a 22–21 decision to Foothill on Oct. 12, and beat Yorba Linda 34–33 in overtime on Oct. 20.
The situation is even more complex in the Garden Grove League, where Los Amigos (5–4 overall), Rancho Alamitos (6–3), and La Quinta (6–3) are all 3–1 in league play and can claim at least a share of the championship by winning this week.
Two of the three games are set for Oct. 26, with Los Amigos facing Santiago at Garden Grove, and Rancho Alamitos taking on Loara at Bolsa Grande, the latter game at 6:30 p.m. La Quinta will play the following night at Bolsa Grande.
Things are much simpler in the Sunset League, where Edison (6–3 overall) and four-time defending champion Los Alamitos (7–2) are both 4–0 in league play. They will square off for the title at Veterans Stadium in Long Beach.
Tustin, the only undefeated team in Orange County at 9–0 overall, and Cypress (6–3) are both 4–0 in Empire League play and will meet for the championship at Tustin.
“The last nine weeks, we’ve been preaching that we haven’t done anything yet,” Tustin Coach Anthony Lopez told The Epoch Times. “This week is our first opportunity to put something together and win something meaningful, that being the Empire League championship. We’ve been harping on that, not to let this opportunity slip away, really take advantage of it.”
Students play a high school game of football in Irvine, Calif., on Sept. 14, 2023. (John Fredricks/The Epoch Times)

Students play a high school game of football in Irvine, Calif., on Sept. 14, 2023. (John Fredricks/The Epoch Times)

The Orange Coast League, meanwhile, features the possibility of a three-way tie for first place. Santa Ana (7–2 overall) is the only unbeaten team in league play at 5–0 entering a game at Orange, but Orange (5–4, 4–1) could secure a share of the title with a victory. St. Margaret’s (5–4, 4–1) is also in the mix and could lay claim to a piece of the championship with a win over visiting Calvary Chapel combined with a Santa Ana loss.
Orange advanced to the CIF Southern Section Division 6 championship game last season and is eager to see where it might be slotted for this season’s playoffs.
“I think right now, where we’re placed as far as division, we have a really good shot,” Coach Robert Pedroza told The Epoch Times. “The last couple of years, we have been in high divisions that are really tough for our school, and we’ve succeeded in those divisions, but now it looks like we’re in a spot that we have a good shot, I think, to make a good run.”
A similar three-team scenario exists in the Freeway League, where Sonora (8–1 overall) is the lone unbeaten team at 4–0 entering its matchup at La Habra (5–4, 3–1). While Sonora can win the outright title with a victory, La Habra could gain a share by winning. Troy (5–4, 3–1) could also conceivably snare a co-title with a victory at Sunny Hills.
San Clemente (8–1 overall) is the lone 2–0 team in the South Coast League and can secure an outright championship by beating visiting Tesoro (5–4, 1–1). A Tesoro victory, though, would create a co-championship, possibly also including Mission Viejo (6–3, 1–1), if Mission Viejo wins at Capistrano Valley.
Trabuco Hills High School's running back Taylor Bowie (35) during a home game against San Juan Hills in Mission Viejo, Calif., on Aug. 24, 2022. (Robin Gray Photography)

Trabuco Hills High School's running back Taylor Bowie (35) during a home game against San Juan Hills in Mission Viejo, Calif., on Aug. 24, 2022. (Robin Gray Photography)

Segerstrom (6–3 overall) and Marina (5–4) are both 2–0 in Big Four League play and will square off for the league title at Segerstrom.
After beating Beckman 20–12 last week, Irvine (6–3, 2–0) can wrap up the Pacific Hills League championship by beating visiting University. A victory by University (4–5, 1–1), however, would create a co-champion scenario that could also include Beckman (7–2, 1–1), if Beckman wins at Woodbridge.
“We want to finish up league strong,” Irvine Coach Tom Ricci told The Epoch Times.
A similar situation is at play in the Pacific Coast League, where Dana Hills (7–2, 2–0) needs to win against visiting Northwood to secure the championship. Defending league champion Northwood (4–5, 1–1) could stake claim to a co-title with a victory, while Laguna Hills (8–1, 1–1) needs a win over visiting Portola and a Dana Hills loss to share the championship.
Trabuco Hills (6–3) is the lone team at 2–0 in the Sea View League and can wrap up the title with a win at El Toro. If Trabuco Hills should lose, the winner of the San Juan Hills (8–1, 1–1) at Aliso Niguel (6–3, 1–1) game would claim a co-championship.
In the Pac-4, Laguna Beach (8–1) and Westminster (7–2) are both 2–0 in league play and will meet for the title at Westminster.
Capistrano Valley Christian (7–1 overall) is the lone team with a 4–0 league record and could wrap up a second consecutive Mesquite League championship by winning its Oct. 26 game against Arrowhead Christian of Redlands at San Gorgonio High in San Bernardino.
Arrowhead Christian (8–1) and Linfield Christian (6–3) of Temecula are both 3–1, however, leaving open the possibility of a multiple-team tie for first place.
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Dan Wood

Dan Wood

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Dan Wood is a community sports reporter based in Orange County, California. He has covered sports professionally for some 43 years, spending nearly three decades in the newspaper industry and 14 years in radio. He is an avid music fan, with a strong lean toward country and classic rock.

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