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What's Lompoc's reward for another successful regular season?

A monumental challenge in the first round of the CIF Southern Section playoffs.

Though the Braves have moved down to Division 5 from Division 3 this year for the postseason, judging by the brackets there isn't a discernible difference. 

The Division 5 gauntlet is filled with some of the top teams in the Southern Section.

Lompoc draws the No. 3 seed in the division with Friday's first-round game against Glendora. The game will be played at Citrus College in Glendora with kickoff at 7 p.m.

The Tartans are 9-1 and ranked No. 51 in the state according to MaxPreps. Lompoc is ranked 227th.

The Braves enter the postseason with a 7-3 record after going 4-1 in Channel League games. Though the Braves put together a solid season, this is the first year under Andrew Jones that Lompoc hasn't won a league championship. They finished second behind Santa Barbara, which is in Division 8. (The Dons host Gahr to start their playoffs Friday). 

The Division 5 bracket features No. 1 seed Culver City. The Centaurs are 10-0 and ranked 31st in California. They host Bishop Diego in the first round.

The division's No. 2 seed is Oxnard, which will be a Channel League member with Lompoc next season. The 9-1 Yellowjackets, ranked No. 37 in the state, host St. Bonaventure in the first round Friday. 

Then there's the Tartans, the No. 3 seed. Glendora's only loss came to Ayala, the Palomares League champion that is undefeated at 10-0 on the year. 

Glendora has won three straight games heading into Friday's postseason opener. The Tartans have outscored their opponents 365 to 107 on the season.

They feature a balanced offense, similar to Lompoc's. They throw for 170 yards per game and rush for 181. 

Lompoc coach Andrew Jones says the Tartans run multiple sets and are "well-balanced. Sometimes spread, sometimes two backs," he added.

Jacob Gonzalez is the Tartans starting quarterback and he completed 60 percent of his passes (104 for 171) for 1,639 yards. Gonzalez, a 6-foot-2, 185-pound senior has thrown 23 touchdowns against just four interceptions. Gonzalez is an Ole Miss baseball commit. 

The Tartans feature running back Xzavier Ford, a 6-foot, 198-pound senior. Ford is a three-star recruit according to 247 Sports. He has offers from Fresno State, Nevada and Azusa Pacific.

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Ford is the Tartans' leading rusher with 1,329 yards on 174 carries (7.6 avg.) and 16 touchdowns. 

Cade Marshman is Glendora's leading receiver. The senior has 54 grabs for 746 yards and 11 touchdowns. AJ Salgado is second on the team with 19 catches for 328 yards and seven scores. 

Hunter Heflin helps lead the Glendora defense. The senior has 18 tackles-for-loss with 4 1/2 sacks. Braydon Brus is second on the team with 16 tackles-for-loss and also has 4 1/2 sacks. Heflin is tied for the team lead in tackles with 80. Brus has 79 tackles on the year. 

Marshman leads the team with three interceptions on the year. 

The Braves, meanwhile, enter the playoffs coming off a 63-0 beating of rival Cabrillo in the Big Game last week. In that contest, freshman quarterback Cavin Ross threw five touchdown passes. On the season, Ross has completed 63 percent of his passes (127 for 202) for 1,661 yards. He's thrown 21 touchdowns against seven interceptions.

Sophomore Sheldon Canley has taken the reins of Lompoc's vaunted rushing attack. Canley has carried the ball 71 times for 773 yards and 14 scores. 

The Braves average 165 yards passing per game and 205 rushing yards.

Over the final two weeks of the regular season, Canley rushed for 400 yards and eight touchdowns in wins over San Marcos and Cabrillo.

Seniors Leondre Coleman and Oscar Tenorio have been banged up in the latter part of the season but did get some action last week against Cabrillo.

Ryan Morgan leads the Braves' receiving corps. Morgan, a Wyoming commit and senior, has 36 catches for 622 yards and six touchdowns this year. Cailin Daniels is second on the team with 380 receiving yards and four scores. Junior Christian Duarte-Tenorio has 32 catches for 339 yards and five touchdowns. 

Senior Jed Rantz leads the Lompoc defense with 68 total tackles (38 solo). Rantz has 12 1/2 tackles-for-loss. Coleman is second on the team with 54 tackles and has nine tackles-for-loss.

Rantz has 5 1/2 sacks on the year to lead the Braves. Coleman is second on the team with five sacks. 

The winner of the Lompoc-Glendora game will play the winner of the Diamond Ranch-Etiwanda winner in the quarterfinals. 

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Joe Bailey is the sports editor at Lee Central Coast Newspapers. Contact him with tips and story ideas at jbailey@leecentralcoastnews.com or (805) 739-2239. Follow him on Twitter at twitter.com/jbaileysmsports

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