City and CIF high school football playoffs begin Friday with 14 South Bay schools involved. Carson (8-1), the top-ranked 4-A team in the City, opens defense of its City title against El Camino Real (1-8) at Gardena High. Kickoff is 7 p.m. All other games are scheduled for 7:30.
Second-ranked Banning (6-3) plays host to Kennedy at Long Beach Veterans Stadium. The Pilots beat Kennedy earlier this year, 49-6. In the other 4-A match-up, Gardena (4-5) is at San Fernando (7-2), which won the Valley 4-A League.
In City 3-A games, Freeway League champion San Pedro (8-1) plays Hamilton (3-6) at Daniels Field and defending champion Locke (5-4) is at Canoga Park (7-2). High-scoring Westchester (8-1) is host to Verdugo Hills (3-6) in a 2-A game.
CIF Northwestern Conference playoffs are heavily populated with South Bay teams, the unluckiest of which is Serra. The Cavaliers (5-5), who qualified as an at-large team, drew top seed and defending champion Canyon (10-0), which has won 34 straight games. However, Canyon quarterback John Watkins is out of the playoffs with a broken wrist. The game is at Canyon. In the same bracket St. Bernard (7-3) is at home against Santa Maria (5-5) and Cabrillo (9-1) is at North Torrance (6-4). In the lower bracket, Ocean League champ Hawthorne (9-0-1) is at home against at-large qualifier Righetti (6-4). Hawthorne is third behind Canyon and Verbum Dei.