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Three county teams to play in CCS playoffs

Posted: Tuesday, Nov 13th, 2012

Monte Vista Christian High’s Dominic Robles stretches the ball to the goal line during the Mustangs’ game against North Monterey County on Friday night. Monte Vista Christian is in the CCS playoffs for the second year in a row and third time in school history. (Glenn Cravens/Register-Pajaronian)

If you’re a fan of Santa Cruz County high school football and want to see some postseason action, get on the road.

Three county teams will do just that.

Aptos, Soquel and Monte Vista Christian all received invitations to the Central Coast Section football playoffs on Sunday and will play their first-round contests away from home.

Monte Vista Christian, in the postseason for the second consecutive year and third time ever in school history, is scheduled to face Menlo of Atherton at 7 p.m. Friday in a Division IV contest.

The game will be held at Sequoia High in Redwood City, one of the rival schools of the Knights.

Menlo went 8-2 overall and 4-1 in the Peninsula Athletic League’s Ocean Division. It finished second to South San Francisco, which went undefeated in the division at 5-0.

Menlo’s last game was a 31-28 nailbiter against Sacred Heart Prep of Atherton.

The Knights were in the playoffs last year and were promptly disposed of by Division IV finalist Carmel 42-7.

Menlo last played at Sequoia on Oct. 21, 2011, when it defeated Sequoia 42-28. It’s 1-0 this season against Santa Cruz County, having defeated Santa Cruz in its opener.

Monte Vista Christian finished the season 8-2, with its two losses coming against playoff-bound teams. It finished third in the Monterey Bay League’s Pacific Division, the supposed weaker of the two divisions.

Seaside, which gave Monte Vista Christian its first loss of the season, is the top seed. If both teams win Friday night, they’ll meet up in the quarterfinals.

It could happen. Monte Vista Christian is 1-1 in its two openers, having gotten that one win last year against Half Moon Bay. Seaside is 2-3 in its last five openers.

Aptos is back in the playoffs for a second consecutive year as the Santa Cruz Coast Athletic League champion. But for being a champion, it’ll have to take its show on the road.

The Mariners will travel to Saratoga at 7 p.m. Friday in the first round of the CCS Division III playoffs.

Saratoga finished the season 6-4 and dropped its season finale at home to Los Gatos. It’s 2-2 in its last four games.

The Falcons were just 3-2 at home. While the Mariners were 3-2 on the road, they haven’t lost since coming back from Oakdale more than two months ago.

Aptos’ eight-game winning streak is the longest in the county.

Saratoga finished 3-4 in the hefty De Anza League, where five teams reached the playoffs.

This is the Falcons’ first CCS playoff appearance since 2009, when it reached the semifinals and lost to eventual champion Seaside.

They’ve reached the postseason only four times since the turn of the century. But in three of those four appearances — 2001, 2003 and 2009 — they won their opener.

Aptos went one-and-done last year when three-win St. Ignatius stunned the locals 35-31.

The Mariners haven’t won a playoff game since they won it all in 2003.

Soquel, the runner-up in the SCCAL, is back in the postseason for the first time since 2009. Unlike Aptos and Monte Vista Christian, the Knights are familiar with their first-round opponent.

The Knights will face Carmel at 7 p.m. Friday. It’s the second meeting between the two teams this season.

The last time they met was Sept. 8, when Soquel ran over the Padres 48-20, making fans throughout Monterey County wonder if Soquel was going to derail several teams from championship aspirations.

In that game, Fabiano Hale scored four touchdowns for the Knights. Carmel’s beast, Holden Smith, was held to 85 yards and one touchdown. Connor Marden kept the Padres in the game with two touchdown throws and 170 yards passing.

Since that game, Carmel has not lost, going 8-0. Soquel, meanwhile, went 6-2 the rest of the way, and its two losses were to Seaside and Aptos, which are both in the playoffs.

Both teams were the highest scoring teams in their respective county. Carmel averaged 49.1 points a game, by far the best in Monterey County. Soquel averaged 42.3 points a game, the best in Santa Cruz County.

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