1. St Bonaventure vs 16. Cabrillo
The Seraphs are hungry to prove they belong in the upper-echelon of Southern California football. The jump to the Pac-5 might not be easy for most, but the Seraphs are the No. 1 seed and have beat the likes of Corona Centennial, Oaks Christian and Westlake. St. Bonaventure has struggled in recent years in the semifinals, but I feel this is a team of destiny this time around. Arizona commit Zack Green leads the attack rushing for more than 116 yards per game and 8.9 yards per carry. This brand of smash mouth football will be too much for Cabrillo to withstand.
Sobes Prognostication: 52-7 St Bonaventure.
8. El Toro vs 9. Santa Margarita
El Toro quarterback Connor Manning is seventh in the nation with 3,740 passing yards and has committed to Utah. After a catastrophic six picks in a loss last week to Mission Viejo, Manning may have another tough go at it this week against another superb defense led by Washington-bound Connor O’Brien and ASU-bound Nick Begg. Never doubt a Harry Welch coached team. I look for Santa Margarita to pound the ball on El Toro without injured quarterback Johnny Stanton.
Sobes Prognostication: 24-14 Santa Margarita.
5. Alemany vs 12. Moorpark
I look at this game much like the Oaks Christian game for Moorpark – the Warriors have too many weapons, are too quick and too athletic for the Musketeers. Steven Mitchell (USC) and Devin Ross (Colorado) are the two electric targets for quarterback Devon Dunn. Dunn is one of the toughest players I’ve seen all season long. He truly is the leader of this team.
Sobes Prognostication: 38-14 Alemany
4. Mater Dei vs 13. Lakewood
Mater Dei receiver Thomas Duarte will be all over the field. Lakewood doesn’t even stand a chance.
Sobes Prognostication: 35-7 Mater Dei
3. St. John Bosco vs 14. Tesoro
We could get into a whole different argument about how Tesoro got into the playoffs over Crespi, but I won’t go there. The Titans’ running back Nate Tago has been great averaging 167.6 yards a game, but he won’t be enough to upset Bosco. The Braves have a talented running back in Darren Walker who is averaging more than 100 yards a game. He should dominate in this one.
Sobes Prognostication: 49-14 St. John Bosco
6. Notre Dame vs 11. Oaks Christian
This is the game of the night. #13 vs #14 in the state according to Maxpreps. Not sure how Oaks Christian fell to the 11 seed when its only two losses were to St. Bonny and Crenshaw. Teams that can pound the ball through smash mouth football have gotten the better of the Lions this season, but I don’t think Notre Dame can play that brand. The Lions’ skill players will be too much to overcome. Receiver Francis Owusu (Chris’ brother) is following in his footsteps. He’s headed to Stanford and is absolutely dynamite on the field. Expect him to break at least one big touchdown catch and run. Brandon Dawkins has been a solid dual-threat quarterback all season long for the Lions. The Knights are led by the fastest man in the state Khalfani Muhammad. Muhammad won state championships in the 100 and 200 meter track races and has tons of offers including UCLA and Notre Dame. Quarterback Kelly Hilinski is underrated, and believe it or not, at 6-6, 225 one of the biggest players on the field.
Sobes Prognostication: 28-24 Oaks Christian
7. Long Beach Poly vs 10. Bishop Amat
Even though the Serra League was voted fourth, they somehow have three teams seeded in the top 10. Receiver Darren Andrews (Duke) and running back Dionza Blue are among the best skill position players in Southern California. The Jackrabbits are led by running back Gerard Wicks who has been electric. The Lancers are the more battle-tested team and will come out on top in a nail-biter.
Sobes Prognostication: 24-21 Bishop Amat
2. Mission Viejo vs 15. Westlake
Will Jim Benkert and the Warriors be able to pull a rabbit out of his hat? The answer should be a resounding no. Westlake has used three different quarterbacks this season. Meanwhile, Ian Fieber leads the Diablos with 69% completions and about 250 yards passing a game.
Sobes Prognostication: 42-14 Mission Viejo
1. St Bonaventure vs 9. Santa Margarita
The Seraphs will have revenge on their mind. Santa Margarita is the only team that defeated them all season long and St. Bonaventure wants to keep it that way. The Seraphs should be too much for the Eagles to handle without Johnny Stanton.
Sobes Prognostication: 35-21 St Bonaventure
4. Mater Dei vs 5. Alemany
This should be a high scoring affair. The Warriors are banged up with five juniors and four sophomores starting on defense. This will be too much to overcome against an explosive Mater Dei offense with multiple D-1 prospects on the offensive line.
Sobes Prognostication: 42-31 Mater Dei
3. St. John Bosco vs 11. Oaks Christian
Oaks Christian has the talent to upset Bosco, but needs more depth. The Braves may be too tough a feat to pull off for the Lions, who have multiple players going both sides of the ball. If Oaks Christian loses, it will be the first ever loss before the semifinals in school history. That may indeed happen in this quarterfinal matchup.
Sobes Prognostication: 35-28 St. John Bosco
2. Mission Viejo vs 10. Bishop Amat
Bishop Amat’s defense was impressive when I saw them stymie Crespi’s offense in person, but Mission Viejo is too good. The Diablos should win this one in the most lopsided game of the quarterfinals.
Sobes Prognostication: 38-10 Mission Viejo
1. St. Bonaventure vs 4. Mater Dei
The Seraphs continue to roll. They put the rest of the state on notice that there’s good football in Ventura County.
Sobes Prognostication: 28-23 St. Bonaventure
2. Mission Viejo vs. 3. St. John Bosco
The Braves have a chip on their should, but I don’t feel they can beat Mission Viejo.
Sobes Prognostication: 35-31 Mission Viejo
1. St. Bonaventure vs 2. Mission Viejo
Even though Angel Stadium is much closer to Mission Viejo, the Seraphs can in a sense feel at home in a celestial stadium. This would be kind of funny in a sense because the two mascots would be a heavenly being (Seraph) against the Diablos (Devils). St. Bonaventure toughs it out for the victory and takes the Pac-5 crown in its first season. Then a big debate will ensue on whether or not the Seraphs deserve the open division bid or the division one bid, considering Narbonne (City) and Vista Murrieta (Inland) may finish undefeated.
Sobes Prognostication: 29-28 St. Bonaventure