SUNDAY PICKS ARE IN: Rio Hondo Prep, Santa Fe Christian get bids and will play in San Diego. Go inside for early predicted winner.
Friday’s Division IV regional final: Rio Hondo Prep (Arcadia) vs. Santa Fe Christian (Solana Beach) at Del Norte High (San Diego).
Controversial choice? Since it looks like the CIF is reluctant to drop down a D3 South team into D4 North, these are the only two teams that could have been chosen. No other D4 South teams eligible.
Bowl History: This is the first bowl appearance for either the Kares or the Eagles.
Early Prediction? Santa Fe Christian 19, Rio Hondo Prep 17. Yes, we know that the Eagles have a loss to Bishop Diego, but that team might be better than either one in this division. Also like the way SFC has looked in recent weeks plus it is playing close to home.
Here are the Week 15 CIF Division IV South bowl game rankings (completed before this year’s bowl selections were made; after games of Saturday, Dec. 1; previous rank in parentheses):
DIVISION IV SOUTH
1. (5) Rio Hondo Prep (Arcadia) 12-1*
2. (2) Bishop Diego (Santa Barbara) 12-1
3. (6) Santa Fe Christian (Solana Beach) 10-3*
4. (1) Ontario Christian 13-1
5. (3) Sierra Canyon (Chatsworth) 11-2
6. (4) Mission Prep (San Luis Obispo) 11-2
7. (8) Bakersfield Christian 10-3
8. (9) St. Margaret’s (SJ Capistrano) 10-2
9. (7) Francis Parker (San Diego) 8-5
10. (10) Horizon (San Diego) 8-4
*Indicates season complete, section champ and eligible for CIF bowl game.
Bubble Teams: Boron 10-2, Calipatria 9-3, Christian (El Cajon) 8-4, Flintridge Prep (La Canada) 6-5, La Jolla Country Day (La Jolla) 7-4, Windward (Los Angeles) 5-4. All teams season complete, ineligible for bowl game.
Case for Rio Hondo Prep: The Kares suffered a 47-14 loss early in the season to Mission Prep that kept them way down in the rankings for the rest of the season. They played the Royals again in Friday night’s CIFSS Northeast Division final and won 28-21. It also was their second straight CIFSS divisional crown. Nate Tayco scored all four touchdowns to lead the offense. Yes, it’s hard to think that Rio Hondo might be as good as Bishop Diego or Ontario Christian or defending CIF D4 state champ Sierra Canyon, but all three of those teams have lost in other CIFSS divisions and are no longer bowl eligible.
Case for Santa Fe Christian: This program has been eyeing the state bowl games since the event began and often has been stuck facing bigger schools in the San Diego Section playoffs. On Saturday, the Eagles stamped themselves as a likely SoCal bowl team with their 31-15 triumph over Francis Parker in the San Diego Section Division V final. We could not rank Santa Fe Christian higher than Bishop Diego due to a 13-8 head-to-head loss, but that was a close game and the team’s other two losses – to Capistrano Valley of Mission Viejo (41-39) and to Westview of San Diego (28-14) were both to bigger schools.
Note about selection process: It looks like there are just two bowl eligible teams from the Southern Section, L.A. City Section, San Diego and Central Section in this division. While it looks like the two – Rio Hondo and Santa Fe Christian – probably deserve to play each other and it looks like it might be a good game, we are unclear about any rules that allow the CIF to choose a school with a D3 enrollment to play in this D4 bowl game. The one school that could be in that mix is Nordhoff of Ojai, which won in Saturday night’s CIFSS Northwest Division final 31-14 over North of Torrance. Nordhoff has a loss to Bishop Diego of Santa Barbara, but does have an enrollment in the 700-800 range and quite frankly would have a better chance against Central Catholic of Modesto (the big favorite in the North) in a potential D4 state final. Thanks to reader Louis Amistoy for setting us straight on Rim of the World’s enrollment compared to Nordhoff’s.
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