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CIF Southern Section Division 1 football playoffs; Sierra Canyon makes program history

The CIF Southern Section's top football playoff division is made up of eight teams.

The CIF Southern Section released its high school football brackets and pairings Sunday morning, which revealed Division 1 will be made up of eight teams - five of which are from the Trinity League.

No. 1 St. John Bosco (9-1) will host No. 8 San Clemente (9-1).

No. 2 Mater Dei (9-1) will host familiar foe No. 7 JSerra (5-5).

No. 3 Sierra Canyon (10-0) will host No. 6 Santa Margarita (5-5).

No. 4 Corona Centennial (8-2) will host No. 5 Orange Lutheran (5-5).

The opening round will be played on Nov. 10 and the semifinals are schedule for Nov. 17 before the Division 1 final at the LA Memorial Coliseum on Nov. 24.


Sierra Canyon (10-0) has been knocking on the door for years, eyeing a Division 1 playoff berth, and the Trailblazers have done it.

For the first time in program history, Sierra Canyon will run with the biggest programs in the country in the CIF Southern Section's toughest playoff field and compete for a CIF title with the likes of Mater Dei, St. John Bosco and Corona Centennial — three programs that are mainstays in the top bracket.

In the prior three seasons, coach Jon Ellinghouse has scheduled seven games with Division 1-elk programs, including St. John Bosco, JSerra (twice), Corona Centennial, Servite and Mission Viejo (twice) — all teams that have earned Division 1 playoff berths in recent years. 

In those matchups, Sierra Canyon went 1-6.

"Each game we played during that journey, we were earning respect," Ellinghouse said earlier this season. "We went toe-to-toe with St. John Bosco, played a really good half against Centennial. We knew we were getting there."

This season, the Trailblazers beat JSerra (9-7) and Orange Lutheran (40-6), two teams from the almighty Trinity League. Ironically, the first test in the Division 1 playoffs is another Trinity League team in Santa Margarita.

Sierra Canyon has many weapons on offense, its defense is its biggest strength. The defensive unit has allowed more than 14 points in a game just one time all season, which was a 35-28 win over a very good Gardena Serra team.

If Sierra Canyon wins its opening-round matchup, it's likely to take on Mater Dei in Santa Ana in the semifinals Nov. 10 for the first time ever.