SUNDAY PICKS ARE IN: Narbonne vs. Corona Centennial in Open Division; Long Beach Poly vs. Clovis North in Division I. We have early look at predicted scores and bowl history.
Saturday’s Open Division regional final at Cerritos College: Narbonne (Harbor City) vs. Centennial (Corona).
Controversial choice? Not hardly, considering one of the alternatives was a rematch of a game earlier this year in which Narbonne defeated Long Beach Poly 56-0.
Bowl history: This will be Narbonne’s first-ever CIF bowl game. Centennial is playing in its fourth bowl game (lost to De La Salle in 2007 State Division I, defeated De La Salle in 2008 State Division I, lost to Palo Alto in 2010 State Division I).
Early prediection: Centennial 34, Narbonne 27. This is due mainly to concerns about health of Narbonne QB Troy Williams.
Friday’s Division I regional final at Veterans Stadium in Long Beach: Long Beach Poly vs. Clovis North.
Controversial choice? It might have been had the CIF San Diego Section Division I champion (Eastlake of Chula Vista) finished with a better overall record than 10-3.
Bowl history: This will be Poly’s second bowl game (lost in 2008 State Open Division to Grant of Sacramento). This is the first bowl game for Clovis North.
Early prediction: LB Poly 21, Clovis North 7. The visiting Broncos need to think of the Jackrabbits as a much, much deeper version of Fresno Edison. Key will be how fired up the Jackrabbits get after their emotional run to the CIFSS Pac-Five title.
Here are the Week 15 CIF Division I South bowl game rankings (completed before this year’s bowl selections were made; after games of Saturday, Dec. 1; previous rank in parentheses):
DIVISION I SOUTH
1. (1) Narbonne (Harbor City) 14-0*
2. (4) Centennial (Corona) 13-1*
3. (2) Vista Murrieta (Murrieta) 13-1
4. (7) Long Beach Poly (Long Beach) 11-3*
5. (8) St. John Bosco (Bellflower) 12-1
6. (3) Mater Dei (Santa Ana) 11-3
7. (6) St. Bonaventure (Ventura) 11-2
8. (9) Mission Viejo 11-1
9. (15) Clovis North (Clovis) 12-1*
10. (11) Upland 12-1
11. (10) Santa Margarita (Rancho SM) 9-3
12. (5) Crenshaw (Los Angeles) 11-2**
13. (12) Alemany (Mission Hills) 9-3
14. (13) Notre Dame (Sherman Oaks) 8-4
15. (14) Oaks Christian (Westlake Village) 8-3
*Indicates section champ and eligible for CIF bowl game.
**Does not include default win.
Bubble Teams: Bishop Amat (La Puente) 7-3-1, Central (Fresno) 11-3, Clovis 9-2, Chaparral (Temecula) 7-4, Charter Oak (Covina) 10-2, Crespi (Encino) 8-2, Eastlake (Chula Vista) 10-3*, Edison (Fresno) 9-4, El Toro (Lake Forest) 9-2, Mission Hills (San Marcos) 10-3, Moorpark 8-3, Murrieta Valley (Murrieta) 10-2, Rancho Cucamonga 10-3, Tesoro (Rancho Santa Margarita) 7-4, Westlake (Westlake Village) 6-5.
*Eastlake defeated Mission Hills 21-14 on Friday to win CIF San Diego Section Division I championship.
Case for Narbonne: The Gauchos are a lock to be one of the teams for the CIF SoCal Open Division. They blanked Crenshaw 25-0 to win their second straight L.A. City Section title on Saturday. It might be just as large for their reputation, though, that Long Beach Poly and Palos Verdes won CIFSS titles on Saturday as well. Adding those two to the CIFSS title that Serra of Gardena won on Friday and that makes it three CIFSS champs that Narbonne has already beaten this year. The team will take on a fourth one in the SoCal Open Division game, most likely Corona Centennial, the CIFSS Inland Division titlist. Crenshaw entered Saturday’s game having scored 50 points in three of its last four games, but could get nothing going against Narbonne’s magnificent group of defenders.
Case for Corona Centennial: Although the Huskies have that 40-35 loss to St. Bonaventure in their first game, by knocking off Vista Murrieta 30-28 in Friday’s CIFSS Inland Division final they seem to have the goods to be the opponent opposite Narbonne for the Open Division in the south. Vista Murrieta was on a 27-game on-the-field win streak and has been No. 3 in the state behind De La Salle and Narbonne for more than two months. Centennial also is no stranger to success with a CIF state title in Division I in 2008 (the last California team to beat DLS) and with CIF state bowl losses in 2007 (to DLS) and 2010 (to Palo Alto).
Case for Long Beach Poly: Coach Raul Lara and the Jackrabbit players seemed unsure about this whole new state game format after their 35-17 win Saturday over Mater Dei of Santa Ana before more than 12,000 at Anaheim Stadium in the CIFSS Pac-Five final. Those feelings can be understood because what Poly did by beating Mission Viejo, St. John Bosco and Mater Dei in consecutive weeks represents one of the best in-season turnarounds we’ve seen in 35 years of covering California prep football. Manusamoa Luuga’s 71-yard touchdown run in the first quarter seemed to ignite the team and it never looked back. With Narbonne and Centennial looking like the two Open Division teams, the Jackrabbits would then play in Division I.
Case for Clovis North: Since Eastlake of Chula Vista, the CIF San Diego Section champ, ended with three losses and no other teams are bowl-eligible in this division, the Broncos are the obvious choice to be opposite Long Beach Poly in the SoCal Division I bowl game. The Broncos stated their case to earn a bowl bid by defeating Central of Fresno, 27-10, to win the CIF Central Section Division I title. It was Clovis North’s second victory over Central, as it defeated the Grizzlies 50-7 during Tri-River Athletic Conference play. Clovis North lost its only game 38-33 to Clovis in TRAC play during a game in which quarterback Christian Rossi single-handily kept the Broncos in the game after they fell behind early. Although Clovis North wasn’t able to avenge its only loss, Central beat the Liberty of Bakersfield team in the playoff semifinals that eliminated Clovis from the post-season. Central also beat the Bakersfield team that handed CIF Southern Section Pac-Five champion Long Beach Poly a loss, so for Clovis North to beat Central twice is a big feather in its cap and makes the team a solid choice to earn one of the two Division I bids.
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