Starting the high school football week in Orange County with notes, comments and observations …

1. Down the stretch they come. We can see the playoffs from here. Brackets will be released Oct. 30.

A few things to remember …

The top two finishers in four-team leagues — Big 4, Crestview, North Hills, Pac 4, Pacific Hills, Pacific Valley, Sea View and South Coast — receive guaranteed berths in the CIF Southern Section playoffs. The county’s other leagues get three guaranteed playoff berths.

A team that finishes with an overall record of .500 or better can get into the playoffs as an at-large team if there are available berths in its bracket. If after that a division still has not filled the 16 berths then the next-highest rated sub-.500 team will be selected.

No under-.500 team will be selected over a team that is .500 or better; so don’t go thinking that a sub-.500 Trinity League team is going to get selected before a .500-or-better team from a lesser league.

Teams will be placed in a playoff division based solely on ratings provided by The top eight teams that meet playoff qualification standards are going to be in Division 1, if that stays an eight-team division as it was last year. After that, the next 16 teams in the CalPreps rankings, that meet qualification standards, are placed in Division 2 and so on.

2. Division 1. Thinking that Division 1 will be an eight-team bracket . Going into this week the top eight CIF-SS teams in the CalPreps ratings are, in order: 1. Mater Dei; 2. St. John Bosco; 3. Corona Centennial; 4. Long Beach Poly; 5. Mission Viejo; 6. Los Alamitos; 7. Chaminade; 8. Edison.

3. Battle of the Bay. In some years the annual Corona del Mar vs. Newport Harbor football game means nothing to the league standings or playoff contention. This year, it does.

Corona del Mar is 2-1 in the Sunset League standings and Newport Harbor is 1-2. A win for Corona del Mar strengthens the Sea Kings’ candidacy for a guaranteed playoff berth in the Sunset League in which the top three finishers are automatic qualifiers. A win for Newport Harbor puts the Sailors in excellent position to be the league’s third and final playoff representative

4. Battle for fifth. JSerra and Servite are 0-3 in the Trinity League going into their matchup Friday at JSerra. The outcome might matter to the winner’s playoff candidacy, or it might not. For sure, though, is that neither wants to be 0-5 in league.

5. Six. That’s how many undefeated teams remain in Orange County football. The 8-0 teams are Crean Lutheran, Cypress, El Modena, Mater Dei, Westminster and Yorba Linda. The two teams with the largest possibility of getting their first loss are El Modena, which plays 7-1 Canyon on Thursday, and Crean, which plays Tustin, a 2-6 team that got those two wins over the past two weeks.

6. Upset of the week. Perhaps upset of the year, too, was La Quinta’s 12-10 win over Rancho Alamitos last week in the Garden Grove League. La Quinta went into the game 1-6, and Rancho Alamitos was 7-0.

7. Mother Nature vs. Football. Mother Nature continued her undefeated ways with a lighting storm that canceled the Orange League game Saturday between Savanna and Western. Western is 2-0 in league and plays 3-0 Santa Ana Valley on Friday at Western High.

8. That’s what we expected. San Juan Hills was 0-7 after playing all of its nonleague games. It’s a team that was considered to be an Orange County top 10 team coming into this season. The Stallions beat El Toro 47-3 last week and now they have a chance to win the Sea View League championship. They play Trabuco Hills (6-2 overall, 1-0 in league) on Friday at Trabuco Hills High.

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9. Remember the Titans. Tesoro has won four in a row. The Titans are a hot team, and they play Mission Viejo in a key South Coast League game Friday.

10. A test for the defense. El Modena’s excellent defense has a challenge Thursday, taking on Canyon’s offense that is averaging 42 points a game and is led by Orange County’s leading passer, Christian Lundsberg.