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Previewing the 2019 CIF San Diego Section football championships: Lincoln vs. Oceanside highlights great slate of matchups

Lincoln and Oceanside -- two of San Diego’s most historic programs -- will be facing off for only the third time ever.
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The 2019 CIF San Diego Section high school football playoffs wrap up this weekend with championship matchups across Divisions 1 through 5.

Here’s a preview of all five championship games

Division 1 Bracket

(2) Lincoln (10-2) vs. (9) Oceanside (9-4)

Two of San Diego’s most historic programs will be facing off
for only the third time ever. Each of the previous matchups were blowouts with
each side winning one. This year’s battle figures to be an excellent game. The
argument could be made that both teams underachieved in the early part of the
regular season but figured things out around league play and have been steamrolling
their opponents on the way to this game. Oceanside comes in looking for 17th
CIF Championship, which would extend the record they already hold. The Pirates have
had a very balanced offense this season with Jakob Harris leading things
through the air and Kavika Tua surpassing 2,000 yards on the ground. Jalen
Ramsey leads a very talented secondary and Christopher Laie Jr. has been big in
the pass rush with 70 tackles and 10.5 sacks. After shocking Cathedral Catholic
to end the regular season, Lincoln has taken down Avocado League teams Torrey
Pines and Mission Hills on their way to Southwestern College. The Hornets have
shifted to a run-heavy approach utilizing several different players that has
made it very difficult for opponents to contain. Seniors Keyshawn Smith and
Benjo O’Brien have shown their versatility in the passing game and on the
ground.

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Division 2 Bracket

(1) Bishop’s (12-0) vs. (7) El Camino (7-6)

The most dominant offense in the section this season belongs
to Bishop’s. Quarterback Tyler Buchner has put up video game numbers while
setting records along the way. When Buchner hasn’t been throwing or running,
senior running back Armaan Banks has averaged seven yards per carry and has
sixteen total touchdowns. The Knights defense was able to cruise against most
of their regular season opponents but were tested in their first playoff game against
Poway. The Knights will need to be ready for more of the same against El Camino
with the competition changing drastically against a big public-school team. The
Wildcats had an up and down regular season but appear to have found a long-term
solution in sophomore quarterback Kiah Reid. His dual-threat ability has been huge
for El Camino and is just another thing that Bishop’s will have to focus on
come Friday.

Division 3 Bracket

(1) Scripps Ranch (13-0) vs. (3) La Jolla (8-4)

Another matchup that features an earlier season matchup. Scripps
Ranch has remained undefeated to this point thanks to the statistically most
dominant defense in the section. They’re allowing 7.3 points per game and have
recorded three shutouts. Junior quarterback Luke Durkin has improved as the
season has gone on thanks to a balanced receiving corps led by Rashad Griffin
Jr. Six Falcons have brought in double digit receptions this season. Junior
running back Nicholas Gardinera has gotten better each game and has been held
under 100 yards rushing only once. The Scripps Ranch defense has been dominant with
fourteen players having recorded double digit tackles. The Falcons kicking game
has been reliable with Matthew Killam going 47 for 47 on extra points and 8 of
10 on field goals. La Jolla has been led by their defense for much of the
season but has seen their offense pick up slightly during their recent
four-game winning streak. Junior Max Smith is one of San Diego’s top two-way
players. Davidson-commit Jack Wiese has 103 tackles on the season to go along
with three sacks and two forced fumbles.

Division 4 Bracket

(1) Santana (11-1) vs. (2) Serra (10-2)

Through the first eight weeks of the regular season there
was no team in San Diego more dominant than the Sultans. A surprising 27-point
loss to Monte Vista ended their undefeated season but didn’t derail the goal of
a section championship. Senior quarterback Nathan Temple has been one of the
breakout candidates in San Diego this season. Temple and senior receiver
Randall Smith formed a great pair this season connecting for seventeen
touchdowns. Junior defensive lineman Michael Richter has been a beast with 82
tackles and 17.5 sacks so far and will certainly be Serra’s scouting report. Of
the six section football championships in San Diego, Serra and Santana is surprisingly
the only matchup that features the top two seeds in their bracket. The
Conquistadors started their season with consecutive losses to Scripps Ranch and
Santana but quickly turned things around and have won ten straight games since
then. Junior running backs Dustan Ellison and Brevin Lingao has formed an
excellent duo in the backfield for Serra with both players closing in on 1,000
rushing yards. During their current winning streak, the Conquistadors have held
their opponents to seven points or less in eight of those games. Juniors Keoni
Lamoreaux and Nathan Meyes have combined for 22 sacks with season. Senior
Broock Desta has been a lockdown defender in the secondary with eight interceptions.

Division 5 Bracket

(2) Castle Park (11-1) vs. (4) Francis Parker (7-5)

The Lancers and Trojans have been playing football since the
60’s but hadn’t faced off until week three of this season. Castle Park was victorious
in that game, 33-28, but things have changed since then. After losing to Bishop’s
in week six, the Lancers used their bye week to turn things around and have
since won six straight heading into this week’s final. The Lancers lost several
key players from last year’s division five finalist team but have been able to
rebuild quickly thanks to contributors from every grade. Freshman Chris
Williams and Chris White have been key for Parker. Despite their lack of
experience, the duo has combined for twenty touchdowns and nine interceptions
so far. The Trojans game plan is clear. With only 71 pass attempts on the
season, they intend to run the ball and do it often. Junior Erik Hernandez
leads the rushing attack, averaging over eleven yards per carry. Chris Wright,
Ramon Cabal, and Xavier Alvarado are also key to the run game. The trio has
combined for over 1,200 rushing yards and eighteen touchdowns to compliment
Hernandez. Alvarado has also been key for the Trojans on defense, racking up 45
tackles and five interceptions.