"Who'd you get?"
That was the most frequent question Southern Section coaches had for one another last Sunday as they crowded into the CIF office in Cerritos for the posting of high school football playoff pairings.
Some coaches cringed, others smiled broadly when they scanned the draw sheets.
"I'm afraid to look," said Ken Davis of Schurr High. When told his team had drawn powerful Mission Viejo in the first round, he cursed and said: "That'll be a massacre."
After the coaches received the good (or bad) news concerning whom they would play, they picked up tickets and adjourned to the parking lot where they exchanged game films and congratulations, and swapped stories of past glories.
Here is a look at the games involving the 18 Southeast/Long Beach area teams that made the playoffs. All games will be at 7:30 p.m. Friday unless otherwise indicated.
Poly vs. St. Paul at Wilson High: Poly, second-seeded behind Fontana, has won eight consecutive games since an opening 21-7 loss to Banning.
The Moore League champions have their usual impenetrable defense, one that has posted four shutouts and allowed opponents less than 6 points a game.
Team sack leader Willie McGinest and Lawrence Calhoun are outstanding outside linebackers, Don Sasa is a leader on the line and Jason Jones is an All-CIF cornerback.
The Jackrabbits' main offensive threat is Andre Green, who has run for 840 yards. Quarterback Chris Tupulola likes to pass to tight end Chris Love or split end David Jackson, both of whom have 13 receptions.
The Swordsmen, coached by Miguel Olmedo, have a 4-6 record but own an impressive victory over Servite and have averaged 26 points in their last three games.
Quarterback Albert Borunda, a 5-foot-9, 145-pound junior, has passed for more than 1,200 yards for St. Paul, but was sacked four times and threw four interceptions last week in a 38-21 loss to Bishop Amat. Steve Corpus has 40 catches.
Defense is the Swordsmen's weakness--they have given up 30 or more points in three games.
Lakewood vs. Loyola at Glendale High: In its brightest season since 1983, Lakewood was 4-6 overall but finished third in the Moore League with a 3-2 record. "We've steadily improved every game," said first-year coach Mark Rose. "We did far better than anyone thought."
Lancer quarterback Robert Fonseca has thrown for 1,200 yards. Other top players are wide receiver and cornerback Theo Wright (three interceptions), strong safety Jamual Johnson (50 tackles) and two-way lineman Chris Trimble.
All will have to be at their best for the Lancers to have a chance against third-seeded Loyola, 8-1, champion of the Del Rey League.
The Cubs, coached by Steve Grady, have given up 8 points and 60 yards rushing a game. The defense is sparked by inside linebacker Kevin Dell'Amico. Quarterback Brian Dennis runs an option offense.
Wilson at Alemany of Mission Hills: The Wilson Bruins (5-5) lost five of their first six games, then won four in a row to finish second in the Moore League.
The Bruins are a young team that suddenly has come together, Coach John Brennan said. Their strong ground game is led by Mike Steward, who has gained 600 yards, and fullback Ben Polk. They run behind 6-6, 275-pound tackle DeMario Vaughn and veteran center Buster Layton.
The defense, which allowed 18 points in the last four games, features linebacker David Arias, tackle Jermaine Busby and back Curtis Douglas.
Alemany (6-4), which finished second in the Del Rey League, is a team with 2,205 passing yards.
El Modena at Paramount: Paramount, 9-1, begins defense of its Division III title against 3-6-1 El Modena of Orange.
The Pirates won the San Gabriel Valley League championship last week, edging Dominguez, 29-28, when fullback Daniel Godfrey ran for a 2-point conversion. Quarterback Jack Manu has thrown for more than 800 yards and 14 TDs, and tailback Leon Neal averages 12.5 yards a carry.
"I feel like physically we're in good shape, and our attitude is real good," Paramount Coach Ken Sutch said.
El Modena is a run-oriented team that finished third in the Century League. Adam Garcia, who was moved from quarterback to running back two weeks ago, threw two touchdown passes on option plays for the Vanguards in a 35-21 win over Foothill last week.
Gahr vs. El Toro at Irvine High: Gahr High of Cerritos, in the playoffs for the first time in 13 years, takes a 7-3 record into its game against 9-1 El Toro, the No. 2 seed.
"Our defense has to stop their passing game; they're real explosive," Gahr Coach Steve Silberman said.
El Toro lost its first game last week, 22-21, to Capistrano Valley in a game that decided the South Coast League title. Steve Stenstrom of the Chargers, the top-rated quarterback in Orange County, has completed 65% of his passes for 2,074 yards and 18 TDs.
Gahr's stars warmed up for the playoffs last week in a 21-6 win over Downey. Quarterback Randy Donisthorpe threw for 154 yards and three touchdowns and Donn Cunnigan ran for 102 yards and caught five passes for 135 yards.