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Warrior gridders return to playoffs

 

Last updated 11/15/2007 at Noon



Although Fallbrook High School’s football team finished the regular season with a 2-7 record, the Warriors still received an invitation to the CIF Division I playoffs.

Fallbrook will continue its season tomorrow at Mira Mesa, which ended the regular season with a 6-3 record. The winner of that game will play at Otay Ranch on November 23.

The seeding and selection committee considers strength of schedule as well as won-loss records in determining the teams for the playoffs. “We played some of the higher-ranked teams,” said Fallbrook offensive coordinator Tony Morrow, who was with the program the last time the Warriors reached the CIF playoffs in 2005. “Us playing eight playoff-caliber teams had something to do with it.”

The Warriors’ only opponent during the season who did not earn a playoff berth was Temecula Valley. Poway and Carlsbad, who earned the top two Division I seeds, were both Warrior opponents during the season. Fallbrook closed the regular season with a 41-27 loss to Carlsbad.

Four other Division I playoff teams – Rancho Buena Vista, El Camino, Rancho Bernardo, and Vista – faced the Warriors during the regular season. Point Loma and Santa Fe Christian are in their divisions’ post-season.

All six Avocado League teams earned playoff berths. Oceanside, whose league match against Fallbrook was cancelled due to the fires, earned the top Division II seed.

“We feel like we definitely deserve to be there. We don’t consider ourselves a 2-7 team,” Morrow said. “We feel like we were in those games and able to compete.”

Morrow joined the Fallbrook football program with the freshman team in 2002, a year the Warriors reached the CIF semifinals. Fallbrook lost to Torrey Pines in the 2003 CIF finals but finished with a 1-9 record in 2004 and did not receive a playoff invitation.

The Warriors’ last playoff appearance was a first-round loss at Eastlake in 2005. The Warriors were winless in 2006, which was also Morrow’s first year at the varsity level. None of the current Fallbrook players have post-season experience.

Twelve teams were invited to the CIF Division I playoffs, and Fallbrook earned the unofficial twelfth seed. The top four teams are officially seeded and receive first-round byes, and the rest of the seeds may be juggled to prevent league opponents from meeting in the first round. Mira Mesa is the unofficial fifth seed and Eastlake, which finished its regular season with a 6-3 record, earned the fourth seed.

“We actually kind of like the fact that some teams are going to overlook us,” Morrow said.

Only five of Fallbrook’s 22 starters are seniors. “We’re maturing a little bit every week,” Morrow said. “We think we can match up well with some of the teams that are in the playoffs.”

Morrow noted that the Warriors have played up to the level of their competition during the year, and he expects that to be the case at Mira Mesa. “We’d definitely like to see as many folks from Fallbrook come out and support us,” he said.

 

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