HS Football: Playoffs underway as local teams begin the journey to be the last one standing

Golden Bears offensive line creates running space for QB Zach Cutka (7) during last week’s Division 7 CIF-SS playoff game against Valencia High School. David Canales photo

It’s win or go home time for local high school football teams, and as just as quickly as Week One of the postseason started, it also ended for more half of the local teams that made it to the playoffs. In fact, only seven local teams remain in the hunt for an elusive CIF Southern Section title. Here are the scores from Week One of the playoffs:

Division 1

No local teams

Division 2

Vista Murrieta 24, Sherman Oaks Notre Dame 21

Rancho Cucamonga 49, Murrieta Valley 14

Rancho Verde 26, Serra 20

Division 3

Edison 42, Heritage 27

Division 4

Hart 34, Chaparral 23

San Juan Hills 39, Murrieta Mesa 25

Villa Park 39, Great Oak 8

Division 5

Yorba Linda 28, Citrus Hill 0

Division 6

San Jacinto 28, Apple Valley 21

Division 7

Temecula Valley 38, Placentia Valencia 0

Carter 58, Elsinore 54

Division 8

Palm Desert 34, Temescal Canyon 14

Division 9 & 10

No local teams

Division 11

Linfield Christian 47, Beaumont 42

Hemet 48, Arroyo 20

Division 12

Orange Vista 35, Yucca Valley 14

Division 13

No local teams

Division 14

Vista del Lago 55, Cornerstone Christian 7

Division 14

Loara 35, California Military Institute 6

8-Man, Division 1

San Jacinto Valley Academy 22, Sage Hill 57

8-Man, Division 2

Cal Lutheran 32, Noli Indian 62

There were some very exciting games in the first round. Some went the way they needed to and some didn’t, but one thing that wasn’t lacking was heart from many of these local teams. Two of the more exciting games that came down to the wire involved Linfield Christian High School versus Beaumont High School and Vista Murrieta High School versus Sherman Oaks’ Notre Dame High School. Both games were decided in the final seconds and both local teams walked away with wins. The same thing happened for the Elsinore High School Tigers, who had a slugfest against Carter High School, unfortunately the ball landed in the wrong hands at the end of a game that saw more than one hundred points hit the scoreboard.

For the Linfield Christian Lions, Friday’s Division 11 playoff game was an epic back-and-forth game filled with big plays that helped them knock off top-seeded Beaumont, 47-42.

The Lions were playing catch-up for most of the night, but finally got the pivotal score they needed with just 25 seconds left on the clock when quarterback Michael Harkins’ scored on a 1-yard sneak. The score came after Beaumont decided to take an intentional safety with almost two minutes left in the game after being backed up to their 1-yard-line.

Beaumont wanted to buy some field position on the ensuing free kick, but Linfield Christian’s Blake Allen spoiled that strategy with a 42-yard return into Beaumont territory. Then, on what may have been the biggest offensive play of the night, Crispin Wong broke three tackles to turn a potential no-gain into a 26-yard pickup on second-and-17. That led to the final score and a win. Justin Manqueros of Linfield Christian rushed for 214 yards and three touchdowns on 20 carries.

“It was a big win to keep us moving on in the playoffs,” Linfield Christian head coach DeChon Burns said.

For the Vista Murrieta Broncos their Week One win was very much needed. After losing in the first round of the playoffs the past two seasons, the Broncos are back in the quarterfinals.

Drama once again showed its face before Bronco kicker Josh Baron drilled a 34-yard field goal on the game’s final play as host Vista Murrieta defeated Sherman Oaks Notre Dame 24-21 in the first round of the CIF-SS Division 2 playoffs. How so? On the previous play, Baron missed a 49-yard attempt, but Notre Dame was penalized for roughing the kicker.

Notre Dame (6-5) tied the game 21-21 with 1:25 to play on quarterback Zachary Siskowic’s one-yard touchdown run, but Vista Murrieta quarterback Robert Coleman did what he had been doing best all night and led the Broncos to the Knights’ 32-yard line to set up Baron’s game winner. Bronco RB Raqueal Wagstaff led all rushers, gaining 111 yards on 18 carries while Coleman completed 7 of 12 passes for 156 yards.

Vista Murrieta, which reached at least the quarterfinals every year from 2005-2016, including seven straight championship appearances, will travel to face top-seeded Sierra Canyon High School in next week’s quarterfinals.

Other winning teams included San Jacinto High School, who beat Apple Valley High School 28-21, Orange Vista High School beat Yucca Valley High School 35-14, Hemet High School beat Arroyo High School 48-20, Rancho Verde High School beat Serra High School 26-20 and Temecula Valley High School blanked Placentia Valley High School 38-0. Brody Hughes had a huge game for the Golden Bears gaining 83 yards on 10 carries with 3 TDs. QB Zach Cutka was 14 for 20 with 148 yards, an interception, 61 yards on the ground and had a rushing TD as well. Blake Frazier led the Golden Bears defense with 10 tackles and an interception.

Here is a list of CIF Southern Section football quarterfinal games involving Inland Valley teams.


Games are 7 p.m. unless noted. Sites and times are subject to change.

Division 1

No local teams

Division 2

Vista Murrieta vs. Sierra Canyon at Granada Hills HS, 7:30 p.m.

Rancho Verde at San Clemente

Division 4 & 5

No local teams

Division 6

Kaiser at San Jacinto

Division 7

Temecula Valley at Carter

Division 8 – 10

No local teams

Division 11

Linfield Christian at Pasadena, 7:30 p.m.

El Rancho at Hemet

Division 12

Oak Park at Orange Vista, 7:30 p.m.

Division 13 & 14

No local teams

8-Man, Division 1 & 2

No local teams

JP Raineri can be reached by email at sports@reedermedia.com.