Expect Fierceness in Spartans, Tigers Rivalry Game

The final games of the 2017 prep football season will be played on Friday, Nov. 3, with some Senior Nights and other potential pomp and circumstance thrown in as well. There’s still a league title or two to be decided.

But perhaps the most burning question regarding City Section football — how did all 24 Division I teams best use the 10 weeks to prepare knowing they have a playoff game regardless of record — starts to get answered.

There are two playoff brackets in City Division I this season. The top eight teams will be placed in the Open Division, and the remaining 16 teams go into the Division I. Those playoff pairings, as well as those for Divisions II and III, will be revealed on Saturday, Nov. 4.

Conventional wisdom suggests Division I is the easier championship to win. But doesn’t guarantee anything for Valley area teams like Arleta, Birmingham, El Camino Real, San Fernando, Grant, Sylmar, Canoga Park and Taft.

Reseda, Cleveland, Chavez, and Granada Hills are expected to have a say in who wins Division II, while Verdugo Hills and North Hollywood could make some noise in Division III. 

The top tier of Southern Section Division I football seemingly begins and ends with Orange County powers Mater Dei of Santa Ana and Mission Viejo, and Bellflower behemoth St. John Bosco. But Chaminade should be a strong entry, especially if the Eagles win the Mission League title this week.

For the other Valley teams sprinkled throughout the 13 different Southern Section divisions, much will depend on where they are seeded on Sunday, Nov. 5.

Here are brief looks at how things stand in this final week:

CITY SECTION

East Valley League

Arleta (6-3, 5-0) is guaranteed a share of the league title but must beat Verdugo Hills (5-4, 3-2) at home on Friday to win the championship outright. Grant (7-2, 4-1) could get a share of the title with a road win at North Hollywood (5-4, 2-3) and an Arleta loss. The Mustangs won the head-to-head matchup between the teams, and should be seeded higher than Grant in the City Division I playoffs. 

Valley Mission League

Both Reseda (8-1, 4-1) and Sylmar (5-4, 4-1) are chasing San Fernando (7-2, 5-0). If Sylmar beats San Fernando, and Reseda defeats Van Nuys, the league ends up in a three-way tie. The Tigers-Spartans rivalry game on Friday is more crucial for playoff positioning in Division I, and those fates will be determined by the final maxpreps.com rankings after the game. Reseda is battling the Eagle Rock and Huntington Park high schools for the top seed in Division II.

West Valley League

El Camino Real controls its destiny. If the Conquistadors (4-5, 4-0) beat Taft (2-7, 1-3) at home, they are the outright league champion. Birmingham (5-4, 3-1) can still have a share of the title with a road win at Chatsworth (2-7, 0-4) and an ECR loss. Again, the Division I playoff seedings are the bigger prize; El Camino Real won the head-to-head meeting against Birmingham.

SOUTHERN SECTION

Angelus League

A lopsided loss to St. Francis of La Canada last week has put Harvard-Westlake (7-2, 2-2) in danger of not hosting a section first round Division V playoff game. A victory against La Salle of Pasadena (3-6, 1-3) would lock up third place outright in league for the Warriors.

Gold Coast League

Sierra Canyon (8-1, 2-0) has won the league’s Ocean Division and will play Paraclete of Lancaster (8-1, 2-0), the league Valley Division winner, for the Gold Coast title at Antelope Valley College on Friday. The Trailblazers are also expecting one of the top four seeds in the section’s Division III playoffs. Campbell Hall (6-3, 0-2), a Division 13 team in the Ocean Division, would in all probability open the playoffs on the road.

Mission League

The league champion is the only remaining question. Both Chaminade (8-1, 5-0) and Bishop Amat of La Puente (5-4, 5-0) are unbeaten in league play, and meet Friday at Chaminade. Serra of Gardena (5-4, 4-2) has clinched third and has a slot berth in the approaching section Division I playoffs. Notre Dame (5-4, 1-4) could land a slot in the Division II playoffs. Loyola of Los Angeles (5-4, 2-3) could still get an at-large Division I berth with a victory against Alemany (2-7, 1-4).

Olympic League

Heritage Christian (8-0, 2-0) and Valley Christian of Cerritos (7-2, 2-0) will decide the league title on Friday. Heritage Christian is a section Division XI team (Valley Christian plays in Division VIII), and the Warriors are still battling for a first round home game. The question is where and what day the game is played since Heritage Christian’s home field doesn’t have lights; both Sierra Canyon and Heritage Christian have used Granada Hills Charter High as a home field.

Santa Fe League

St. Genevieve (6-2, 1-1) can still finish as a co-league champion if the Valiants defeat host Mary Star of the Sea High of San Pedro (6-3, 1-1), and St. Anthony High of Long Beach loses to St. Monica High of Santa Monica. St. Anthony would still be the No.1 team from the league because the Saints beat St. Genevieve head-to-head. Regarding the playoffs, the Valiants are in the section’s Division XI. Like Heritage Christian, they still have an outside shot at a first round home game.

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