De La Salle will play Folsom at Diablo Valley College on Saturday in NorCal Open Division rematch of last year. In the South, meanwhile, it will be Corona Centennial taking a crack at St. John Bosco at Cerritos College.
2013 CIF NorCal Regional Bowl Games
Analysis & Predictions
Folsom (14-0) vs. De La Salle of Concord (13-0)
Diablo Valley College, 7:30 p.m. Saturday, December 14
Surprise factor: None (though there seemed to be among some in the media that this game won’t be played this season at Sacramento State’s Hornet Field)
Instant Analysis: This rematch from last year’s 43-14 win by DLS has been obvious from the beginning of the season. During one recent chat with a Spartans’ insider, it was remarked that the players “are getting sick and tired of reading and hearing about the Folsom quarterback (Jake Browning).” Well, it was mentioned in return, we’re pretty sure that Folsom’s players are “sick and tired” of hearing about how great De La Salle is. This year’s game itself is likely to unfold along similar lines. The DLS offensive and defensive lines are as nasty as ever and it’s hard to see Folsom doing much to negate that advantage. The Bulldogs and their offense, led by Browning (74 TD passes on season, 137 for career), however, are better than last year. It’s also always a little easier to play De La Salle a second time. On the negative side for Folsom is that two-way starters Sam Whitney and Bailey Laolagi probably will not be playing due to injuries. Laolagi is good against the run as a linebacker.
Early Predicted Score:De La Salle 42, Folsom 28. It should be closer than last year since Browning is much better than last year, but outcome will probably not change.
Del Oro of Loomis (12-2) vs. Serra of San Mateo (11-2)
San Jose City College, 7:30 p.m. Friday, December 13
Surprise factor: None
Instant Analysis:Since the DLS vs. Folsom game probably took the committee about two seconds to finish, the only other two teams on the board were the Padres and the Golden Eagles. San Jose City College was looked at as a possible venue for this game last year and got the nod this year. It’s where the CCS Open Division finals are held and Serra’s big win over Bellarmine of San Jose took place there earlier this season as well. Both teams are primarily run first, with Dylan Kainrath leading the charge for Del Oro and Kava Cassidy doing the same for Serra. The two key players to watch, though, will be Tyler Meteer, a tight end-defensive end for Del Oro and Hamilton Anoi’I for Serra, who can run it out of the Wildcat formation, catch passes and is a force on defense.
Early Predicted Score:Serra 20, Del Oro 17. Anoi’I might be the best player on the field and the Serra defense is just a bit better.
Enterprise of Redding (12-0) vs. Manteca (13-1)
Lincoln High School (Stockton), 7:30 p.m. Saturday, December 13
Surprise Factor for Selection: This was the matchup we liked the best, but Miramonte vs. Los Gatos wouldn’t have been a shock, either. All four were legit squads with compelling cases for different reasons.
Instant Analysis: The way various section title games played out this weekend made it an easier pick for these two teams to face off. As the only undefeated team on the board in this division after capturing the CIF Northern Section Division I championship in a game Cal-Hi Sports attended, there would have been an uproar if Enterprise had not been picked despite a strength of schedule lacking compared to other eligible teams. Junior Isaiah Matthews has rushed for 1,767 yards and 25 touchdowns for an offensive attack that averages over 100 yards more per game rushing than passing. Since losing a one-point game to Wilcox of Santa Clara, Manteca has won 12 in a row with wins over Inderkum of Sacramento and over Sacramento, 49-6, in the CIF Sac-Joaquin Section Division III championship game. Manteca is also a run-oriented team led by senior Alex Laurel, who has rushed for over 1,600 yards and 32 touchdowns. Both teams played Oakdale this season as the Hornets opened their season with a 23-22 road win over the Oakdale while Manteca won on the road, 35-20, in its league opener.
Early Predicted Score: Manteca 35, Enterprise 28. The Buffaloes have been outstanding in recent weeks against some tough competition and we look for that to continue. This also is basically a home game for Manteca, only about 30 minutes from the school.
El Cerrito (12-2) vs. Sacred Heart Prep of Atherton (12-1)
De Anza High School (Richmond) 7:30 p.m. Saturday, December 14
Surprise factor: Just a little because West Valley of Cottonwood (12-1) could have gotten the nod to play El Cerrito instead of Sacred Heart Prep.
Instant Analysis: These two teams couldn’t be any more different or have more contrasting styles of play. Sacred Heart Prep will try to control the line of scrimmage and run the ball. Last week, it ran for over 400 yards against Pacific Grove with Andrew Segre getting 351 of them and six touchdowns. The Gators, however, have not played anywhere near the kind of competition El Cerrito has, and they have not faced anything like the five-headed monster of Division I college-committed players El Cerrito has. Unlike SHP, El Cerrito will take everything and anything it can get. UCLA-bound Adarius Pickett ran wild against Marin Catholic in a 48-28 victory that was 41-3 before the Gauchos defense relaxed. Pickett is just one of the Gauchos many weapons and all of them can potentially do damage against the SHP defense.
Early Predicted Score: El Cerrito 45, Sacred Heart Prep 14. Even if all the boys head coach Kenny Kahn has in his arsenal aren’t firing on all cylinders like they were against Marin Catholic, on the surface this appears to be a mismatch.
Central Catholic of Modesto (13-1) vs. McClymonds of Oakland (10-2)
Lincoln High School (Stockton), 7:30 p.m. Friday, December 13
Surprise Factor: None
Instant Analysis: It’ll be a rematch from earlier this season as Central Catholic handed the Warriors their first loss of the season, 38-24, in Modesto. While this game will be on a neutral field, Roger Canepa and the Raiders will be thrilled to return to Stockton for this game as he talked about how his team is 4-0 in games at Lincoln High’s stadium after the 24-10 win over Hilmar in the CIF Sac-Joaquin Section Division IV championship game. While the Raiders don’t have quite the explosive talent they had last year with Ray Lomas and Rey Vega, they do have Matt Ringer. He rushed for over 200 yards in their section championship win and has over 2,200 yards and 33 touchdowns on the year. Central Catholic likes to wear down opponents with a run heavy attack and that’s what it did to McClymonds in the second half when it outscored the Warriors, 24-12. McClymonds became bowl eligible after capturing the Oakland Section championship with a 44-16 win over Oakland as Lavance Warren rushed for 142 yards and two touchdowns on 15 carries. Warren had 199 rushing yards and two touchdowns vs. Central Catholic, but the Warriors struggled to stop Ringer as he ran for 264 yards and four touchdowns.
Early Predicted Score: Central Catholic 35, McClymonds 21. Defending CIF State Division IV champions Raiders will have excellent chance to make it back-to-back state titles.
2013 CIF SoCal Regional Bowl Games
Analysis & Predictions
St. John Bosco of Bellflower (14-0) vs. Centennial of Corona (12-2)
Cerritos College, 7:30 p.m. Saturday, December 14
Surprise factor: Apparently there was serious consideration for picking another team other than Centennial for the open division and that would have been a surprise.
Instant Analysis: Last year, Centennial played L.A. City Division I champ Narbonne of Harbor City in a barn-burner. Centennial pulled it out in the end. That Narbonne team has just as many weapons offensively, but St. John Bosco has a better defense than the Gauchos. On the flip side, Centennial’s offense is even better this season with Robert Webber and Tre Watson leading the way. Watson had games of 519 yards rushing vs. Upland in the CIFSS Inland Division semifinals and 468 yards vs. St. Bonaventure of Ventura so you know he can do some damage, especially since Bosco hasn’t faced an offense quite the way Centennial runs its no-huddle spread. Mater Dei of Santa Ana has a pro-style offense, but it was capable of putting big points on the board and Bosco shut it down — twice. Bosco has made some really good teams look average and that’s the scary thing about them. The Braves’ ceiling is so high because they really don’t have any glaring weakness to point to. Centennial is hoping to get a few turnovers, because its defense is not on par with Bosco’s. This could be the game of the year in California once again.
Early Predicted Score: St. John Bosco 42, Centennial 37. With its athletes on defense, the Braves make just enough stops to pull out the victory. It will be be a high-scoring affair and after the shock of a team moving the ball on its defense rather easily, St John Bosco will adjust, settle in and play its game in the second half.
Mission Hills of San Marcos (12-1) vs. Bakersfield (11-2)
Mission Hills High School (San Marcos), 7:30 p.m. Friday, December 13
Surprise factor: None
Instant Analysis:It’s a home game for the Grizzlies, which will give them a big advantage against Bakersfield, which is traveling more than 200 miles to play them. There are no official seedings for the regional game, but this year the first team voted in by the committee in a division is somewhat considered the top seed and can be a host. The only other option for the committee really was to put Cathedral Catholic into the game as the San Diego D1 champion. The Drillers at least make it a more like a regional game. The key to the actual game may be Bakersfield’s option-offense, with QB Asuani Rufus leading the way, trying to be stopped by Mission Hills’ defense, which has that great linebacking duo of Fred Warner (USC) and Ricky Liuchan (Oregon State) plus one of the top junior DBs in the nation, Dechaun Holiday.
Early Predicted Score: Mission Hills 27, Bakersfield 26. This will be close but having seen Oceanside and knowing that the Grizzlies beat the Pirates twice that’s enough for us to choose them.
Hart of Newhall (12-2) vs. Chaminade of West Hills (12-2)
College of the Canyons, 7:30 p.m. Saturday, December 14
Surprise factor: None
Instant Analysis: With Chaminade having won its first-ever section title and with Corona Centennial being the defending SoCal open division champions and having played in a bowl game for the fifth time in eight years, it makes perfect sense to slot Chaminade in Division II as opposed to the open division. If Chaminade was seriously considered, then Hart should have been the team selected because the Indians own a win over Chaminade, 55-54, at College of the Canyons in early September. What strikes us about this game is how average Hart looked in its loss to Canyon of Canyon Country and how Chaminade was able to avenge its 36-0 loss to a Serra of Gardena that was ranked the second best team in Southern California behind St. John Bosco. We know Hart is better than what it showed against Canyon and playing in the friendly confines of COC in front of a large crowd should help the Indians. On the flip side, beating a good team twice in the same season is hard to do and it’s not as if Hart dominated. It gave up a ton of points and needed overtime to pull out the win.
Early Predicted Score: Chaminade 42, Hart 35. If there is one coach in the state you don’t want to face for the second time in the same season after beating his team during the regular season, it’s Chaminade’s Ed Croson. He pulled off many avenging wins while at Birmingham of Lake Balboa and he worked his magic against Serra. The Eagles will play defense a bit better this time around and pull it out.
Corona del Mar of Newport Beach (14-0) vs. Nordhoff of Ojai (13-1)
Orange Coast College, 7:30 p.m. Saturday, December 14
Surprise factor: None
Instant Analysis: The Sea Kings are in the overall state top 25 rankings and are about as complete a team you’ll see in this division. With QB Luke Napolitano, Corona del Mar has the ability to move the ball with ease and its defense is solid. It gives up yardage but usually stiffens up on its side of the field. One reason to like Nordhoff is that the Rangers are battle-tested as a member of the Tri-Valley League and they too has a stout defense. The most points the Rangers have given up is 23 in their only loss, which was to league foe Oak Park. This is also a battle of two-time defending CIFSS champions. We like CdM’s overall talent and Nordhoff’s ability to pull out close games against quality competition.
Early Predicted Score: Corona del Mar 28, Nordhoff 25. The Sea Kings haven’t given up more than 21 point in a game this season. They will in this game, but Napolitano will help generate enough points for CdM to move to 15-0 on the season.
Surprise factor: It’s surprising this issue couldn’t be resolved before Selection Sunday. As a result, the teams that will eventually play have to wait around because there are three legitimate, eligible teams, It’s not fair for the unlucky third team that winds up not playing to sit and have to wait around while not knowing if its season is complete.
Instant Analysis: The CIF would not stray at all from the statement it made regarding this division, even as Zach Ewing of the Bakersfield Californian tried. Zach knows, as do we, that Bakersfield Christian, by beating Mission Oak on Friday, is going to be one of the two teams.
Early Predicted Score: To be determined.
Note: Mark Tennis, Paul Muyskens and Harold Abend contributed to this report.