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TODAY’S S.F. SECTION GAMES

LOWELL (9-1) VS. MISSION (5-5) AT KEZAR STADIUM, 4 P.M.

The San Francisco Section playoffs open with a game featuring the Academic Athletic Association’s most disciplined team (Lowell) facing perhaps its most athletic (Mission).

Lowell is coming off an emotional 9-8 last-second win over Balboa last week that clinched an undefeated league season and the No. 1 playoff seed for the Cardinals. By now, it’s no secret Lowell loves to run the ball and running backs Duc Anh Le (102 carries, 607 yards), Marcos Cronander (108, 598) and J.R. Ayalde (106, 506) each finished the season amongst the top 10 in The City in rush yards.

Lowell beat Mission 28-6 in the league opener, but Bears star running back DeAngelo Winston did not play. Winston ran for 804 yards and 15 touchdowns in six games this season, including a 155-yard, four-TD effort in last week’s 34-24 win over Galileo.

LINCOLN (8-2) VS. BALBOA (5-5) AT KEZAR STADIUM, 7 P.M.

The last time these two teams played, Lincoln running back David Henderson was simply spectacular. The City’s leading rusher (1,706 yards) ran for 376 yards and five touchdowns in Lincoln’s 38-32 win at Kezar Stadium in their AAA opener.

But Balboa rebounded from that game to play its best football of the season, and enters the playoffs a totally different team. The Buccaneers left the Lincoln game 0-4 overall, but they rallied to win five straight before last week’s loss to Lowell.

Limiting big plays could be the key in this one. Four of Henderson’s five touchdown runs in the first matchup came from more than 40 yards and Balboa stayed close with big plays from quarterback Eric Lara and Luther Gary’s 80-yard kickoff return for a TD.

SATURDAY’S CCS GAME

APTOS (6-4) AT ST. IGNATIUS (7-2-1), 1 P.M.

St. Ignatius made history in last week’s 26-20 victory over Bellarmine as the Wildcats won a share of the West Catholic Athletic League title for the first time since 1967. Now, the Wildcats open up the Central Coast Section playoffs as the No. 1 seed in the Medium School Division as they attempt to capture the first section crown in school history.

Balance was the key to the St. Ignatius offense as three receivers caught at least 18 passes from quarterback Chris McCaffery and running backs Ryan Kirkpatrick and Ryan Brown both showed the ability to move the chains.

Aptos appeared to be in danger of missing the playoffs before reeling off three straight wins to end the season, including a 50-21 win over Harbor of Santa Cruz a week ago.

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