The article you’re about to read is from our reporters doing their important work — investigating, researching, and writing their stories. We want to provide informative and inspirational stories that connect you to the people, issues and opportunities within our community. Journalism requires lots of resources. Today, our business model has been interrupted by the pandemic; the vast majority of our advertisers’ businesses have been impacted. That’s why The Capistrano Dispatch is now turning to you for financial support. Learn more about our new Insider’s program here. Thank you.

San Juan 29
The San Juan Hills High School football team will open the CIF-SS West Valley Division playoffs with a first-round game against Upland on Nov. 14. Photo: Steve Breazeale

Compiled by Steve Breazeale

All five of the San Juan Capistrano high school football programs are headed to the CIF-SS playoffs this week. Here is a rundown of the week’s matchups. All games will be held Friday, Nov. 14 at 7 p.m. unless otherwise noted.

Follow us on Twitter @SouthOCsports for scores and updates on all of the high school football playoff games.

JSerra v. Santiago-Corona at Saddleback College, 7:30 p.m.

The Lions put an exclamation mark on the end of their regular season run with a 38-21 victory over Trinity League opponent Servite on Nov. 7.

A 9-1 overall record on the year, including a 4-1 mark in the highly competitive Trinity League, earned the Lions the No. 2 overall seed in the CIF-SS Pac-5 Division playoffs.

JSerra junior running back Edward Vander had a big game against the Friars, running for 145 yards and three touchdowns.

JSerra finished second in the Trinity League and will enter the playoffs for the first time in school history.

Santiago-Corona (6-4, 3-2 league) made it to the playoffs by finishing third in the Big VIII League.

If the Lions advance past Santiago-Corona, they will face the winner of Bishop Amat/Lakewood in the second round on Nov. 21.

San Juan Hills v. Upland at Upland High School

The San Juan Hills High School football team’s strength of schedule and performance in nonleague contests earned them an at-large berth into the CIF-SS West Valley Division playoffs.

The Stallions (4-6, 1-3) won only one game in the South Coast League but garnered enough consideration to grab one of two available at-large berths.

San Juan Hills will have a tough task in the opening round, where they are set to play top-seeded Upland (8-2, 5-0). If the Stallions get past Upland, they will play the winner of Edison/Hart in the second round on Nov. 21.

St. Margaret’s v. Excelsior Charter at SMES

The Tartans wrapped up their perfect season with a 42-0 shutout over Calvary Chapel on Nov. 7. Now the Academy League champions will turn their attention toward another deep playoff run in the CIF-SS East Valley Division.

St. Margaret’s has reached the finals of the postseason tournament in each of the past two seasons and this year, they enter the fray as the No. 1 overall seed.

Excelsior Charter (4-6, 4-3) earned an at-large berth into the playoffs following a fourth-place finish in the eight-team Desert Mountain League.

The St. Margaret’s defense appears to have rounded into shape, having limited their past three opponents to seven total points, a stretch that includes two shutouts.

If the Tartans advance past Excelsior Charter, they will face the winner of St. Genevieve/Santa Paula in the second round on Nov. 21.

Saddleback Valley Christian v Crean Lutheran at TBA

The Warriors defeated Santa Clarita Christian in a shootout, 54-40, on Nov. 6 to finish the year with a perfect 10-0 record.

Saddleback Valley Christian will open their CIF-SS East Valley Division playoff run at home against Crean Lutheran (6-4, 2-2) on Nov. 14.

Crean Lutheran, out of the Academy League, earned an at-large berth into the playoffs.

The two teams played overlapping opponents during the 2014 season. Crean Lutheran lost to Capistrano Valley Christian 56-17 on Oct. 3. The Warriors defeated the Eagles 14-10 on Oct. 10. Both Saddleback Valley Christian and Crean Lutheran had convincing wins over Southlands Christian earlier this year.

Capistrano Valley Christian v St. Anthony at St. Anthony High School

The Eagles strong finish in San Joaquin League play earned them a second-place finish and a berth into the CIF-SS East Valley Division playoffs.

After losing their league-opening game to rival Saddleback Valley Christian, Capistrano Valley Christian (7-3, 4-1) won four consecutive games to close out their regular season.

St. Anthony (9-1, 4-0) claimed the Santa Fe League championship and is the third overall seed in the East Valley Division.

Trustworthy, accurate and reliable local news stories are more important now than ever. Support our newsroom by making a contribution and becoming a subscribing member today.

About The Author Capo Dispatch