All games at 7 p.m. unless noted.
Long Beach Poly (9-2) vs. Mater Dei (11-0) Veterans Memorial Stadium
The Jackrabbits are considered a long shot against the top-seeded Monarchs, and they’re fine with that.
“The only ones who believe in us is us,” said Poly defensive lineman Jermayne Lole, who has 33 tackles for a loss this season. “That’s okay with us.”
As always, any meeting between Poly and Mater Dei seems to mean more than just a football game. The two teams have played four times for the CIF-SS championship, including a run from 1997-1999 that saw Poly win one, Mater Dei win one, and then a shocking tie in ’99. Poly won the rubber match in 2012 with a dominant championship win, but the Monarchs shut Poly out 31-0 in the playoffs in 2013, the last meeting between the teams.
“There’s a lot of history between these schools, we want to make sure our team knows that,” said Poly coach Antonio Pierce.
It’s hard to miss it. Dozens of Poly football alums have changed their Facebook or Twitter profile pictures to throwback shots of themselves in uniform against the Monarchs, and a stream of Poly greats has come through campus this week to lend some historical perspective, including All-American running back Hershel Dennis and head coach Jerry Jaso, who won four championships with the Jackrabbits.
Jaso was also the head coach during those late 1990s title tilts—since the tie in 1999, Poly has won five championships, all under coach Raul Lara. Mater Dei has been highly ranked but has yet to win a title since ’99, with losses to Poly, Los Alamitos, and St. John Bosco (twice) since.
This year the Jackrabbits could have a hard time slowing down Mater Dei’s offense, which features quarterback J.T. Daniels as its centerpiece.
The winner of Friday’s game will face the winner of Mission Viejo and Orange Lutheran in next week’s semifinals.
- Mike Guardabasico
Millikan (9-2) vs. Grace Brethren (9-2) at Moorpark College, 7:30 p.m.
After winning their first playoff game since 1986, Millikan will face another tough test against third-seeded Grace Brethren team that relies heavily on its physical rushing attack. Junior Lontrelle Diggs has rushed for 1,216 yards, and the Grace Brethren offense averages 254 yards rushing.
“We have to stop the run. We have to slow down the run,” Millikan coach Justin Utupo said. “They’re a great running team. They’re probably the most physical team we’ve seen all year long.”
Millikan is on a seven-game winning streak, and is undefeated on the road. Sophomore quarterback Qeanu Campbell-Caldwell is coming off his best game of the season. He threw for 301 yards and five touchdowns with no turnovers in the first-round win over Northview.
- Matt Simon
St. Anthony (8-3) at Burroughs (9-2)
This is a third quarterfinal appearance in the last four years for St. Anthony, and Burroughs is looking for its first quarterfinal victory since 2005. The Saints reached the semifinals in 2015 and 2017. Last week, they opened the playoffs with a 31-19 win over Norwalk. Senior quarterback Deshaun Harvey rushed for 105 yards and a touchdown in the victory.
Burroughs, the No. 2 seed, beat Rubidoux in the first round 43-0. Senior quarterback Austin Griffin has passed for 2,244 yards, and completed 51 percent of his 283 attempts. He also threw 29 touchdowns and 10 interceptions.
“They’re well-coached,” St. Anthony coach Mario Morales said. “We have to play mistake-free football to be there at the end of the game.”
The winner of this game will play Mayfair or Woodbridge.
- JJ Fiddler