Monday, March 27, 2023

Prep Football: First round playoff recap for area teams

[Photo] Elsinore wide receiver Mykai Skinner (9) finds room to run against Liberty in their opening round matchup of the CIF-SS Div. 8 playoffs. Valley News/Action Captures Media Group

— So much for parity in the world of high school football, at least here in the CIF Southern Section that is. Of the 218 playoff teams, in 14 divisional brackets, 18 local prep football teams advanced to the first round of the postseason. Only five came out victorious. Chaparral, San Jacinto, Paloma Valley, Elsinore and Tahquitz all extended their seasons one more week, and four of the five did so by putting more than 50 points on their side of the scoreboard.

The high school football playoff system might not be broken, per se, but it is deeply flawed. Prep football is the only Southern Section sport where a league champion is not guaranteed a first-round home game in the playoffs. Oddly enough, an at-large selection can earn a first-round home game despite finishing fifth, fourth and third in their respective leagues. Granted, we are two years into the CIF-Southern Section’s new football playoff system but coming in first place in the regular season should absolutely get you a favorable draw in the postseason.

Thousand Oaks probably felt that way as head coach Evan Yabu helped lead his team to an undefeated regular season. The Lancers’ reward? A first-round playoff game that included a four-hour bus ride Friday night to open the Division 3 playoffs against Chaparral. The Pumas are heavy favorites to win the Division 3 championship. They’re playing their best football right now, and in the last three weeks alone, Chaparral has beaten Murrieta Valley and Norco, two Division 2 teams.

Caron Tyler (1) and the Chaparral Pumas used a big ground game to run past undefeated Thousand Oaks 62-14 in first-round CIF-SS Div. 3 playoff action. Valley News/David Canales photo

In their opening round, the Pumas handled Thousand Oaks with ease, cruising to a 62-14 victory behind quarterbacks Dash Beierly and Caron Tyler, who had 7 scores between the two, in the air and on the ground. Beierly threw three touchdown passes, ran in two on the ground, as did Tyler where one of his runs amassed for an 83-yard touchdown mid-way through the game.

Murrieta Valley quarterback Bear Bachmeier put on a show during the first round of the CIF Southern Section Division 2 playoffs, but so did Bishop Amat QB Aiden Ramos, who set a school record with seven touchdowns in the game. Bachmeier completed 19 of 21 passes for 308 yards and three touchdowns, and he also ran in a score in the final seconds for a 35-28 lead at the half, but Bishop Amat (8-3) got out in front in the second half, winning 70-49, to advance to the second-round next week.

In Division 8 first-round action, Elsinore hosted the red-hot Liberty Bison. The Tigers stuck to their patented run game, amassing 341 yards on the ground, to defeat Liberty 28-20. Jamari Jones led the Elsinore rushing attack, gaining 129 yards on 13 carries, while Mykai Skinner added 101 yards on 15 carries and Julian Santoyo picked up 76 yards on 14 carries.

Liberty RB Eddie Smith (23) hurdles Elsinore defender Julian Santoyo (3). Valley News/Action Captures Media Group

Anthony Quinones led the Bison offensively, completing 7 of 13 passes for 166 yards. Troy Dulyn led all receivers, hauling in three receptions for 96 yards. The Tigers now advance to the quarterfinals, where they will play Rancho Verde in a rematch that the Mustangs won 35-28 earlier this season in an Ivy League contest.

Temecula Valley felt the flaw in the playoff system but took their loss to Alemany without complaining. The Warriors football team made the Division 5 playoffs as an at-large team after a winless Mission League season and then made the most of their opportunity by beating the Golden Bears, 40-14.

The Mission League is one of the toughest leagues in Southern California, so records mean nothing, but there is also the question of parity. Alemany was the Division 2 runner-up last season, and this season they were bumped to Division 5, that’s definitely worth questioning. At the end of the night, the Warriors were led by Jeremiah Claiborne, who scored four touchdowns in the game. The Alemany defense held the Golden Bears scoreless in the second half.

Murrieta Mesa, under first-year head coach Oscar McBride, turned some heads in the new Big West Lower Division by winning a co-title with Great Oak this season. McBride introduced a fast-break offensive style all season behind quarterback Julian Silva, but it was the Rams defense that couldn’t catch up this past Friday night. Villa Park scored on its first four possessions of the first half, tallying a 29-7 lead going into the third quarter. The Spartans averaged nearly ten yards per play as they took down Murrieta Mesa 42-7 in their first-round matchup at El Modena High School.

Vista Murrieta’s Aswut Alvarez makes the tackle on Bishop Diego’s Qu’Ran Gossett in first-round action of the CIF-SS Div. 3 playoffs. Vista Murrieta/Butch Owens photo

Vista Murrieta also fell in the first round, as did Great Oak. While all six former Southwestern League football teams made the playoffs, only Chaparral advanced. The remaining scores from the first round of the CIF-SS playoffs are below:

Friday, Nov. 4


No local teams


Bishop Amat (8-3) – 70, Murrieta Valley (6-5) – 49


Chaparral (7-4) – 62, Thousand Oaks (10-1) – 14

Up next: Chaparral at Corona del Mar (7-3)


Cathedral (9-2) – 36, Orange Vista (9-2) – 31


Notre Dame (5-6) – 35, Great Oak (6-5) – 20

Alemany (3-7) – 40, Temecula Valley (6-5) – 14

Villa Park (6-5) – 42, Murrieta Mesa (6-5) – 7


San Jacinto (9-2) – 57, Trabuco Hills (7-4) – 51

Up next: San Jacinto vs. Oak Park (7-4)


Paloma Valley (9-2) – 28, Palm Springs (8-3) – 24

Up next: Paloma Valley vs. Golden Valley (6-4)


Elsinore (8-3) – 28, Liberty (9-2) – 20

Lakewood (6-5) – 28, Hemet (8-3) – 10

Up next: Elsinore at Rancho Verde (4-7)


Tahquitz (8-3) – 50, Burbank Burroughs (7-4) – 47

Up next: Tahquitz at San Dimas (7-4)


No local teams


No local teams


Hueneme (5-6) – 27, Linfield Christian (5-6) – 6


Maranatha (10-0-1) – 44, Santa Rosa Academy (9-2) – 22


Monica (6-5) – 28, St. Jeanne de Lestonnac (6-3) – 26

Whittier Christian (7-4) – 35, Temecula Prep (6-2) – 18


Hesperia Christian (8-2) – 54, California Lutheran (5-5) – 0

Saturday, Nov. 5


Bishop Diego (8-3) – 41, Vista Murrieta (5-6) – 18


Villanova Prep (6-2) – 23, Cornerstone Christian (4-6) – 22

*For the 2022-2023 prep sports season, the Valley News Sports Department will have photographers and game reports for schools and sports inside a limited coverage area due to print space and manpower. Those schools include Great Oak, Temecula Valley, Chaparral, Murrieta Valley, Murrieta Mesa, Vista Murrieta, Linfield Christian, Rancho Christian, Elsinore, Paloma Valley, Liberty, St. Jeanne de Lestonnac, Heritage, Temecula Prep, Hamilton (Anza), Cornerstone Christian, Temescal Canyon, Lakeside and the River Springs Charter Schools (no football programs). Scores and schedules may be posted for other area schools, but full coverage cannot be guaranteed.

All stats, schedules, photos and scores are supplied by local high school athletic directors, MaxPreps, CIF-SS offices, contributing writers/photographers and countless fans of the games via social media. To submit any additions or corrections to the schedule or stats, please email

JP Raineri can be reached by email at

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