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Southern Section Division 4 football finals preview: Star dual-threat QBs named Aidan lead Cypress and Downey

4-star Oregon State commit Aidan Chiles and Downey will be underdogs against Aidan Houston and Cypress

For the second time in the last three postseasons, Cypress is 13-0 heading into a CIFSS title game. The Centurions have had about as hard a road to the Division 7 finals as possible, beating three teams considered to be title heavyweights – Highland, Millikan, and Newport Harbor – by a combined six points. Now they are one home win away from breaking through for an undefeated title run, and most will consider them the favorite to pull it off.

But waiting for them is an offense that's been unstoppable against every foe this season outside of the top 30 teams in the Southern Section. After the Vikings scored 55 points against Cathedral last week, they're now averaging over 40 points per game. And they're led by perhaps the best player in the whole Division 4 field – 4-star Oregon State commit Aidan Chiles.

Chiles has completed over 74-percent of his passes for 2,835 yards and 33 touchdowns to 4 picks, good for an amazing passer rating of 147.9. And he can beat you with his legs too. In fact, he's Downey's leading rusher with 838 yards and 9 scores on a whopping 13.7 yards per carry. Chiles also has a star receiver to throw to, 3-star WR Bryant Carey, who's caught 63 passes for 1,269 yards and 19 touchdowns to go with 405 kick return yards. The only times Downey scored under 30 points this season were in its two losses, coming to Warren of Division 2 and Division 3 semifinalist Corona del Mar.

Now, because of those two losses – or more so because they weren't close – a lot of the preseason talk about Downey as an upper division contender died down quickly. And despite the fact that Downey won every other game all year, it came into the playoffs ranked well outside the top tier within D4. As strong as CdM is, Downey's 41-10 loss to CdM in its season opener was a bad look for a team with some talent and expectations. And many expected its battle against rival Warren in league play to at least come down to a couple scores. 

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However, when you take care of business every single week against teams that aren't the clear favorite against you like Downey does, you're likely to do some good things. The Vikings shook off those losses to storm their way to a second place finish in the Gateway League, comfortably beat formidable Santa Barbara in their playoff opener, and edge out top-seeded Camarillo and explosive Cathedral in close games to make the finals. Plus, having at least seen two teams of the caliber of Corona del Mar and Warren is a leg up, because Cypress has not.

With all that said, most would consider the Vikings a small but clear underdog to Cypress. Cypress too is led by a dominant senior duo of a dual-threat QB named Aidan and a 3-star receiver. Aidan Houston has completed 66-percent of his passes for 2,942 yards and 28 touchdowns to 6 picks, and has run for a whopping 1,106 yards and 19 TDs on 8.6 yards per carry. His top target, 3-star prospect Matthew Morrell, has 75 catches for 1,548 yards and 14 touchdowns, and has also run for 221 yards and 2 more TDs. 

The biggest edge for Cypress over most of the Division 4 field has been its balance and consistency to go with its offensive star power. It's defense is probably D4's best. The Centurions don't have unfathomable athletes or major individual playmakers putting up numbers on defense per se, but they just don't make mistakes, and they generally just don't have weaknesses to exploit anywhere throughout three phases. Trevor Monteleone is another senior standout to watch for Cypress, its second-leading receiver and a defensive anchor at DB.

Other names to know for Downey are RB/LB/SS Jaylen Crutchfield and LB Pedro Debora.