Top high school football games in the Southland for regional bowls

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Analyzing the top high school football state playoff games this week:


Birmingham (11-2) at Del Norte (11-2), 7:30 p.m.

The City Section Open Division champion Patriots have a lot to prove in the state playoffs. A 41-0 nonleague loss to Sherman Oaks Notre Dame in August still has people wondering whether Birmingham can win games outside the City Section. Quarterback Kingston Tisdell has grown immensely, making 162 pass attempts without an interception. Former NFL linebacker Nick Barnett is in his first season as head coach at Del Norte (11-2), and he has 34 seniors to rely on, including quarterback Jack Schneider, who has 23 touchdown passes. The pick: Birmingham.

Granite Hills (12-0) at Mission Viejo (11-3), 7 p.m.

Granite Hills is the San Diego Section Open Division champion with a 21-game winning streak. Freshman quarterback Zachary Benitez has shown he’s a dual threat. Running back Max Turner has scored 16 touchdowns. The Diablos are no longer considered a young team in Week 15. They are showing how good they might be in 2024. Defensive lineman Justin Williams has 15 sacks. The pick: Mission Viejo.


St. Bonaventure (11-3) vs. St. Augustine (10-4) at Mesa College, 6 p.m.

The Seraphs won the Southern Section Division 3 championship and have balance on offense with quarterback Anthony Wolter and running back Koen Glover. St. Augustine is a young team with an aggressive defense led by Isaiah Hasten, who has seven interceptions. Jon Class had four sacks in the San Diego Division I final. The pick: St. Bonaventure.

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