The CIF-Southern Section playoffs get under way Friday, with three San Luis Obispo County teams and three others from the PAC 7 and Los Padres leagues hoping to open with wins, as well.
Here’s the schedule for this week:
San Luis Obispo (7-3) at Camarillo (7-3), 7 p.m.
Downey (5-5) at Righetti (7-3), 7 p.m.
Watts Verbum Dei (5-5) at Lompoc (10-0), 7 p.m. (Saturday)
Oak Park (4-6) at Cabrillo (8-2), 7 p.m.
Santa Ynez (5-5) at Torrance (6-4), 7 p.m. (at Zamperini Stadium)
Obviously, regardless of how this postseason plays out for Arroyo Grande, it will start with somewhat different outside expectations. A year after making a memorable Western Division championship-game run as a wild-card team that surprised a lot of people throughout the Los Angeles area, the Eagles, seeded second (behind a familiar foe, 8-2 Gardena Serra), have plenty of eyes on them already.
Their first challenge, the Chargers, had four common opponents this season. They lost to Righetti 27-7, San Luis Obispo 36-23, Cabrillo 28-7 and Lompoc 23-0. Dos Pueblos, though, has won three straight games, and two of their defeats came by a combined 10 points.
The Tigers, meanwhile, have the task of slowing down one of the highest-powered passing games in the state, featuring 6-foot-7, 190-pound senior Jake Maulhardt, a likely Division I recruit who set the all-time single-game state record for catches earlier this season, with 28 against Canyon Country.
The Scorpions are putting up an eye-popping 58 points per game over the past four weeks. They lost to Righetti 35-21 on Sept. 16, but that was before they made a quarterback change. The two schools have one other common opponent: Oxnard, which San Luis Obispo beat 28-7 on Sept. 16 and Camarillo beat 63-50 two weeks ago.
Templeton, which is looking to bounce back from a 12-0 loss at Nipomo, will again be looking to exceed its draw after making it to the Northwest Division semifinals a year ago.
Carpinteria opened the year with back-to-back wins over Morro Bay (by a score of 22-8) and Nipomo (24-13) before losing to Santa Ynez (21-0). Senior star running back Alex Rodriguez, who rushed for more than 120 yards in each of those first two wins, though, hasn’t played in a month because of an injury.
On a final note, it’s with some sadness that I should inform you all that I’m leaving The Tribune to go to grad school, and today is my last day. I came here as an intern four-and-a-half years ago, and in the time since, I’ve enjoyed telling local student athletes’ stories. In the next few days, you’ll begin to see stories written by Chhun Sun, my successor, starting Friday with the Arroyo Grande game, at which he’s planning to be. He brings an award-winning background to the Central Coast.
I look forward to watching, listening to, and reading about the games and players from afar in the future. This area has meant a lot to me, and I’ll always continue to follow all of the local teams and athletes with great interest.
Thanks for reading, and enjoy the playoffs!
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