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HIGH SCHOOL FOOTBALL NOTES

Three simply won't go into one

November 16, 2008|Ben Bolch and Eric Sondheimer | Bolch and Sondheimer are Times staff writers.

Three quality high school teams are vying for one at-large spot in the Pac-5 Division playoffs, meaning two are going to feel left out today when the bracket is released.

Consider these facts, which could seem especially cold and hard for those who miss the postseason:

La Puente Bishop Amat (7-3) defeated Orange Lutheran, which finished in a three-way tie for the Trinity League title.

Huntington Beach Edison (7-3) defeated another Trinity co-champion, Santa Ana Mater Dei, and finished in a five-way tie for first place in the Sunset League.

Bellflower St. John Bosco (7-3) defeated Los Angeles Loyola, which made the playoffs out of the competitive Serra League.

"I think we all have a legitimate hope," said Edison Coach Dave White, whose team lost out Friday night when Anaheim Esperanza, Fountain Valley and Los Alamitos secured the Sunset League's automatic playoff entries by virtue of having their names picked first out of a bowl. "The two that don't go can't really complain too much because we all had it in our hands to do something and lost our last game."

The at-large selection committee uses five criteria for teams under consideration: head-to-head records, strength of league, overall record, strength against common opponents and strength of schedule.

Edison, Bishop Amat and St. John Bosco finished with identical overall records, but Edison's victory over Mater Dei could give it an edge over St. John Bosco, which lost to the Monarchs, 35-6. The Braves also lost three of their last four regular-season games.

Bishop Amat played arguably the toughest schedule, with nonleague games against Lutheran (a 47-39 victory) and Los Osos (a 24-20 loss) in addition to its league slate. Lancers opponents went a combined 61-39 this season, comparing favorably with Edison's (57-42) and St. John Bosco's (50-52).

Another team with a legitimate gripe is Newport Harbor (7-3), which won its last three games, , including victories over playoff-bound Esperanza and Los Alamitos. But the Sailors finished fifth in the Sunset League's tiebreaker scenario and can't petition for an at-large playoff berth.

City seedings

Harbor City Narbonne (9-1) has been seeded No. 1 for the 16-team City Section Championship Division football playoffs that begin Thursday. The Gauchos won the Marine League championship and will start the playoffs with a home game against No. 16 L.A. Washington (5-5). League rival San Pedro (9-1) was seeded No. 2, followed by No. 3 Woodland Hills Taft (9-1) and No. 4 L.A. Crenshaw (7-2).

The best opening-round matchup has two-time defending champion Lake Balboa Birmingham (5-5), seeded No. 9, playing at No. 8 L.A. Garfield (6-4). The two teams played in August, and Garfield won, 29-28. The winner could face Narbonne in a quarterfinal.

The quarterfinals are Nov. 26; the semifinals on Dec. 5. The championship game will be played Dec. 13 at 1 p.m. at the Coliseum.

In the City Invitational Division, Arleta (10-0) was seeded No. 1 and L.A. Roosevelt (8-2) No. 2. The final will be Dec. 12 at East L.A. College at 7 p.m.

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ben.bolch@latimes.com

eric.sondheimer@latimes.com

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