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HIGH SCHOOL FOOTBALL

Mater Dei, Bishop Amat to meet in Pac-5 playoff

The game is considered the most evenly matched first-round game in the division.

November 20, 2009

Santa Ana Mater Dei (6-4) at No. 9 La Puente Bishop Amat (9-1), 7:30 p.m., Prime Ticket

This is widely considered the most evenly matched first-round game in the Pac-5 Division playoffs, but it could turn into a rout if Bishop Amat's defense can pull off a repeat of its performance last week against Sherman Oaks Notre Dame. The Lancers sacked quarterback Ryan Kasdorf four times in the second half and held tailback Kenneth Boggs to four yards during a 31-14 victory that clinched a share of the Serra League title. Mater Dei won its final three regular-season games to secure the Trinity League's third and final playoff spot. "They are scoring a lot of points and are kind of feeling it a little bit," Bishop Amat Coach Steve Hagerty said of the Monarchs, who averaged nearly 43 points per game during the late-season streak. The pick: Bishop Amat.

No. 23 Fountain Valley (8-2) at No. 15 Sherman Oaks Notre Dame (8-2), 7:30 p.m.

Fountain Valley is coming into the playoffs following two consecutive losses, but Barons Coach John Shipp said confidence shouldn't be an issue. "I believe my guys feel they can win and compete against anybody," Shipp said. Tailback Kyle Middlebrooks, one of the top sprinters in the state, was productive even during Fountain Valley's losses to Huntington Beach Edison and Los Alamitos. "He's doing it against everybody, and that's what big-time players do," Shipp said. Notre Dame is also in need of a bounce-back effort following its loss to Bishop Amat, which ended a seven-game winning streak. The pick: Notre Dame.

No. 19 Los Alamitos (8-2) vs. Long Beach Poly (5-5) at Long Beach Veterans Stadium (5-5), 7 p.m.

Dylan Lagarde played quarterback for Poly for four games this season -- including three losses -- before losing the starter's spot to Chris Leachman and transferring to Los Alamitos. "Obviously, the kids are excited they get to play against Dylan, but we're trying not to make that the focus," Poly Coach Raul Lara said. The Jackrabbits must also contend with a Los Alamitos defense that is giving up only 11 points per game and running back Nick Richardson, who is averaging 180 yards per game. Poly won three consecutive games to end the regular season. "I'm happy with our progress," Lara said. "We have a little bit of an identity now." The pick: Los Alamitos.

Orange Lutheran (6-4) at No. 24 Dana Hills (8-2), 7:30 p.m.

While Dana Hills is hosting its first playoff game since 1991, Lutheran is accustomed to deep postseason runs. "They're used to being here," Dana Hills Coach Brent Melbon said of the Lancers, who won the Pac-5 title three years ago. "They have the tradition." Lutheran also has some momentum after closing the regular season with five wins in its last six games. Quarterback Mike Markovsky has filled in capably for the injured Bobby Wheatley, and running back Damani Wilson has been steady all season. Dana Hills is hoping to rebound from a 49-17 loss to Mission Viejo. The pick: Lutheran.

-- Ben Bolch

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