Breaking down the CIF-SS football playoff pairings
NOV 10, 2013 6:50p ET
Included in that is winning, plenty of it.
With the pairings for the Ford CIF Southern Section playoffs released Sunday, it was no surprise Serra (10-0) received the No. 1 seed in the Western Division. A part of the new Serra is competing for championships. Last December, it was determined any shot at winning the Western Division was going to go through Gardena and the Serra Cavaliers.
With that bullseye came a ton of pressure, which through an entire regular season, Serra has shown it could handle, going undefeated and reclaiming the Mission League title.
"Everything, obviously, amps up with the playoffs," Altenberg said. "I think that we've had a lot of success in handling (the target on your back)."
A team with a similar bullseye is in Bellflower -- St. John Bosco (10-0). There is no repeat bid to be had, but the Braves entered this season as heavy favorites in the PAC-5 Division and ranked as high as No. 1 in the country, according to some publications.
Like Altenberg, St. John Bosco head coach Jason Negro is equally proud of his team for handling huge expectations through a 10-game regular season.
He's also aware the PAC-5 is not going to be a cake walk. While Bosco received the No. 1 seed, Mission Viejo (10-0) received the No. 2 seed. Long Beach Poly (9-1) and Alemany (8-2) received the Nos. 3 and 4 seeds, respectively.
This brings us to those Jackrabbits, who somehow, someway, have flown under the radar. They just so happened to be the reigning champs in the PAC-5 division.
Poly suffered an early bump, getting tripped up by Servite (5-5) but bounced back to show they were still legitimate contenders by defeating Corona Centennial in a game shown on FOX Sports West earlier this season.
They'll face another Trinity League team in the first round, Orange Lutheran (7-3). It's tough to think about these teams facing one another and not immediately flashback to the 2-0 PAC-5 semifinal win in 2007 -- unless you're Jackrabbits head coach Raul Lara.
"No," Lara said via text message. "Different teams."
While the ground-and-pound mentality of Poly hasn't changed much since then, the offensive persona of Orange Lutheran is much different these days with its option running game under second year head coach Chuck Petersen.
Will Championship Saturday, Dec. 7, give us a rematch of last year's semifinal between Poly and Bosco on the Angel Stadium field? Will Poly be there? Will Bosco be there? Who will be this season's Cinderalla?
All of these questions will get answered over the next four weeks.
"It's November Madness," Negro said.