The football life of 144 high schools continued Sunday with the announcement of the Southern Section playoff pairings in Cerritos, but not for Pasadena Muir, Burbank and South Pasadena--three teams that qualified on the field but were left behind because of forfeits.
At the same time, the futures of some others, namely league champions who thought they may draw an easy third-place opponent for the first round on Friday, suddenly look questionable. Maybe even bleak.
Congratulations, Palos Verdes. For winning the Bay League, you get Antelope Valley in the Coastal Conference. Dominguez of Compton is rewarded for finishing atop the San Gabriel Valley League with a Southern Conference game against Santa Monica, which, like Antelope Valley, has a good chance to win the championship.
As expected, Fontana is No. 1 in the Big Five, and the Steelers (10-0) open at home against with St. Francis of La Canada (4-6). Bishop Amat of La Puente (10-0), the second-seeded team with an undefeated regular season for the third straight season, will play host to Lakewood (3-6). No. 4 Encino Crespi gets Riverside Poly (4-5-1).
L.A. Loyola, The Times' No. 2 team in the Southern Section with a 10-0 record, is No. 3 in the Big Five seedings and probably has the toughest road to the finals. The Cubs are the only seeded team to open with an opponent with a winning record, inconsistent Westminster (6-4). If they beat Westminster, the next step would probably be Rialto Eisenhower (8-2), which plays Long Beach Wilson (5-4) this week. The semifinals could mean a showdown with Bishop Amat, although the Lancers have failed to get that far the last two years after starting 11-0.
The Southern has the most depth of the conferences, with no less than six teams having realistic shots to win. Because of a couple Friday night results--Mission Viejo beating crosstown rival Capistrano Valley and Hawthorne defeating Santa Monica--the seedings were given a last-minute shuffling. The end result: Santa Ana (9-1) is No. 1, followed by Mission Viejo (9-1), Los Alamitos (9-1) and El Toro (8-2, including a forfeit win from Capistrano Valley).
The capsule look at the playoff pictures for the rest of the conferences:
Eastern--More depth. The first- and second-seeded teams, Montebello and Hemet, are both 10-0, while No. 3 Los Altos of Hacienda Heights is 9-1 and Northview of Covina is 8-1-1. There are several other good teams in the pack.
Central--Garden Grove Bolsa Grande (10-0), the dominant team all season, with Valencia (8-2) second, Fullerton Sunny Hills (9-1) third and Artesia (9-1) fourth.
Coastal--Canyon of Canyon Country, the same team that lost two of its first three games of the season and squeezed by Chaminade of Canoga Park in the other, came back to beat Antelope Valley and Palmdale in the tough Golden League to take the No. 1 spot with a 8-2 record. The Cowboys are in the upper bracket and the lower looks much tougher with second-seeded Ventura (9-1), third-seeded Palmdale (8-2) and Antelope Valley (7-3). Hueneme of Oxnard (8-2) is the No. 4 team.
Northwestern--It could be an All-Foothill League final. Defending champion Newhall Hart (9-1) is the No. 1 team, while Burroughs of Burbank (9-1), which lost only to Hart (19-0), is No. 2. The Foothill League rivals are followed by Serra of Gardena (9-1) and Leuzinger of Lawndale (8-1-1).
Desert-Mountain--Bloomington (10-0) leads the way, as it has all season, followed by Chaminade (8-2), Laguna Beach (9-1) and Woodbridge of Irvine (9-1).
Southeastern--Central of El Centro (10-0), which has been scoring at near-record pace this season, is the lone unbeaten team. Cajon (9-1) is No. 2, Baldwin Park (9-1) is third and Etiwanda (9-1) fourth.
Inland--Carpinteria (10-0), Tehachapi (7-2-1), Mammoth (9-1) and Bishop (7-3) are the seeded teams.
The championship games will be held Dec. 11 for the Big Five (at Anaheim Stadium), Central, Coastal, Desert-Mountain and Southeastern and Dec. 12 for the Eastern, Inland, Northwestern and Southern.
The City has one week remaining in the regular season before taking the next week off and then opening the playoffs Dec. 4.