The release of the CIF Southern Section football playoff brackets shows the fate for five Long Beach football teams.
To no surprise, Long Beach Poly was placed in Division 2 after the Division ½ pool was split on Sunday, with only eight teams making the D1 bracket. While a lot of Jackrabbits fans were surprised to see their team not in the top division for the first time, that’s how things had trended since the start of the season, and Poly coach Stephen Barbee took it in stride.
“To be honest, it’s one of those things that’s completely out of our control,” said barbee. “There’s things we can control and things we can’t. We’re excited to be in the playoffs and to work towards a CIF championship.”
Poly (7-3, 6-0) will host Orange Lutheran on Friday at Veterans Memorial Stadium at 7:30 p.m. If the Jackrabbits can defeat the 4-5 Lancers from the Trinity League, they’d face the winner of Rancho Cucamonga and Murrieta Valley in the quarterfinals.
Wilson (9-1, 5-1) has earned a high seed with their performance all year long, and that’s what the Bruins got when the brackets were released on Sunday.
Wilson is No. 2 in Division 7 and will host Fullerton on Friday at 7:30 p.m. “We’re very excited,” said Wilson coach Mark Ziegenhagen. “I thought we deserved that two-seed, we were No. 1 most of the year then dropped to four after we lost to Poly. I’m glad we got a top four seed and a home game, that was the goal.”
With a win, the Bruins would face the winner of West Ranch and Quartz Hill in the quarterfinals, and Wilson won’t have to see another top four team until potentially facing Temecula Valley in the semi finals. 10-0 Serrano received the No. 1 seed in the Division 7 bracket.
There are two local teams in the Division 9 playoffs, although there’s no chance they’d play each other unless they both made the semifinals.
St. Anthony (5-5, second place in Del Rey League) will host Newport Harbor on Friday at Clark Field, while Lakewood received an at-large bid and will travel to Brea Olinda in the first round.
With a win, St. Anthony would face the winner of Monrovia and Santa Fe while Lakewood would face the winner of Highland and Bonita.
Lakewood finished fourth in the Moore League but grabbed an at-large bid with a 4-6 overall record and a 3-3 record in league.
“We’re really excited, it’s a whole new season,” said Lakewood coach Scott Meyer. The Lancers staff was confident they’d receive an at-large.
“A lot of crazy stuff would have had to have happened for us not to get in,” said Meyer. “That said it’s a relief when you see your name, and all our players and coaches are excited for the opportunity.”
For the first time since 2008, Compton High (6-4, 3-3) will be in the playoffs as Calvin Bryant’s squad finished third in the Moore League and earned a spot in the Division 11 playoffs, where they’ll travel to El Rancho (8-2) in the first round. El Rancho is the two-seed out of the Del Rio League.
“It’s great, it’s great to get the atmosphere going again,” said Bryant. The coach was at the CIF-SS office for the release of the bracket, while his school hosted a watch party for students and players in the school’s auditorium. For Bryant, it’s a personal validation to get his team back to the playoffs–they were a routine participant in his first stint at the school. After he was let go by Compton’s principal, the team floundered, with winless seasons. Since he returned a few years back, they’ve improved each year and finally find themselves back in the playoffs.
“I returned the year after that 99-9 loss,” said Bryant. “It’s been a lot of work, but it’s been good to see the progress each year, and we’re happy to get the opportunity this year.”