CIF Bowl Game Breakdowns (South)

El Capitan's D.J. Smith runs behind a wall when team beat Helix. Vaqueros likely to host D3 South bowl game next week. Photo:

El Capitan’s D.J. Smith runs behind a wall when team beat Helix. The Vaqueros are likely to host D3 South bowl game next week. Photo:

Check here for teams we think will get bowl bids in next week’s Southern California regional bowls and for those that we are recommending picked. We will be posting these divisions throughout Saturday night and into Sunday morning as they are completed.

(All selections for the CIF regional bowl games – north and south – will be made on Sunday morning by a committee comprised of the 10 CIF section commissioners. The announcement of teams selected will be made at approximately 1 p.m. via the CIF Facebook and Twitter page.)

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Should be picked:
 Centennial of Corona (12-2)
Will be picked: Same.
Case for Centennial: The new division placement this year in the CIF Southern Section and the results of key intersectional games meant by the time top-ranked teams got into league play it was evident that the SoCal open division pick should be the CIFSS’ Pac-5 champion. That would now be the Huskies and despite having two losses they are still the logical slam dunk choice to earn the lone SoCal Open Division bid. Centennial was able to avenge a regular season loss to Mater Dei of Santa Ana in the Pac-5 quarterfinals with its only other loss coming against a Bishop Gorman of Las Vegas team that beat four quality CIFSS playoff entrants and is being mentioned as the nation’s best team. Centennial lost by a point (43-42), played Gorman tougher than any other team on the Gaels’ schedule and actually had a chance to win that game. Sure, Oceanside is unbeaten, but the CIF San Diego Section open division champions didn’t play a schedule close to what the Huskies did. No team in the state, and perhaps the nation, had to go through a gauntlet of teams like Serra of Gardena (68-64), Mater Dei (27-24), Bishop Amat (38-37) and season-long state No. 1 St. John Bosco (48-41) to become bowl eligible. The quality of wins over the last four weeks makes it a relatively easy choice to pick Centennial.

Should be picked 
Oceanside (13-0) vs. Edison of Fresno (12-1).
Will be picked: Same.
Case for Oceanside: Once the Pirates completed another comeback to win in the CIF San Diego Section Open Division championship, they were locked into getting the top seed for D1 South and will host next week’s game. In addition to topping Helix 20-13 on Saturday, Oside also had a fairly easy win early in the season over Mission Viejo, which won the CIFSS West Valley Division crown on Saturday over Vista Murrieta. Potentially looking ahead, the Pirates also have the defensive front that could make life difficult for Folsom QB Jake Browning in a possible CIF D1 state bowl game.
Case for Edison: The Tigers have only lost one game by one point and although that was to a Sanger team that was only a D2 semifinalist in the Central Section, anybody who follows football in the valley knows that just for some strange reason Edison teams always struggle at Sanger. They do have a win over Bakersfield (last year’s D1 state champion) but more importantly they beat Liberty of Bakersfield 21-14 in Friday’s Division I section final. Since Liberty has a win over CIFSS West Valley champion Mission Viejo, the common opponent factor gives the nod to Edison. Once Mission Viejo won in its game Saturday at Anaheim Stadium over Vista Murrieta, Edison pretty much sealed it up. The L.A. City Section wasn’t much of a factor all season in key matchups with other sections, so D1 champ Carson (10-3) will join the Diablos on the outside looking in.

Armando Herrera was the starting QB -- as a sophomore -- for Redlands East Valley's first-ever CIFSS championship. Photo: Mark Tennis.

Armando Herrera was the starting QB — as a sophomore — for Redlands East Valley’s first-ever CIFSS championship. Photo: Mark Tennis.

Should be picked:
Redlands East Valley (13-1) vs. Ridgeview of Bakersfield (12-1)
Will be picked: Same.
Case for Redlands East Valley: With its only loss to a team from the CIF Southern Section’s powerful Pac-5 Division (St. Bonaventure) and a win in its section final over a Riverside Poly team that was 13-0, the Wildcats seem like a sold choice. Their chances only got better when 12-1 San Clemente lost to Trabuco Hills of Mission Viejo in the CIFSS Southwest Division.
Case for Ridgeview: In a roundabout way, the Wolfpack were helped by Mission Viejo winning the CIFSS West Valley Division since they own a win over a Liberty of Bakersfield team that beat the Diablos. Ridgeview does have a loss to Bakersfield and really should have won by more than 16-14 over Dinuba in its section final, but Bakersfield is their only loss (last year’s D1 state champ) and to us they hold on to this position.
Case for Crescenta Valley: Any 14-0 team deserves to be in the conversation, but there just isn’t one win you can point to for the Falcons that influence a ranking above either Redlands East Valley or Ridgeview. They did win a divisional title in the CIFSS that had St. Francis of La Canada in it but in the final a 21-14 win over Downey was aided by a controversial referee’s call. Great season, though, for QB Brian Gadsby and his teammates.
Case for Trabuco Hills/St. Augustine: We feel we need to point out in this division that the Mustangs, who beat both San Clemente and Corona del Mar in the playoffs, are higher than Ridgeview and others in computer rankings. In our rankings, however, we actually would have Trabuco Hills behind St. Augustine of San Diego in this division. This is because Trabuco Hills has a 34-7 loss to La Costa Canyon of Carlsbad and LCC just lost to St. Augustine in the San Diego D1 final (remember, San Diego D1 is D2 for the bowl games). The Saints at 8-5 and Trabuco at 10-4 have played tougher schedules than Ridgeview, but Ridgeview does have the win over Liberty and that’s enough.

Should be picked:
El Capitan of Lakeside (13-0) vs. Paso Robles (13-1)
Will be picked: Same.
Case for El Capitan: With a win over Helix of La Mesa included on its resume, there’s just no other team in the division that comes close to the Vaqueros. In their section final on Saturday, they didn’t dominate like they have been but defeated Rancho Bernardo of San Diego 14-7. They’ve been among the top five overall in the San Diego Section for two months and if they were in the Open Division there’s no telling how they would have done. It’s a senior-laden team with a veteran QB and also has been in the State 25 overall rankings for three weeks.
Case for Paso Robles: About halfway through the season, it was apparent that the CIFSS Northern Division was just far too superior for any of the other D3 South playoff divisions that did not have El Capitan in it. Paso Robles ended up winning the title with a 13-10 win on Friday over Newbury Park. The Bearcats’ only loss was to Atascadero and although they didn’t avenge it in the playoffs they did beat a Newbury Park squad that eliminated Atascadero in the semifinals. Paso also finished with two wins over an Arroyo Grande squad that split with Lompoc and had a win over Liberty of Bakersfield.

Should be picked:
Christian of El Cajon (13-0) vs. St. Margaret’s of San Juan Capistrano (14-0)
Will be picked: Same.
Case for Christian: After the Patriots were denied in a controversial court decision last year regarding confusing CIF criteria, they make it on the board for sure this time after their victory on Saturday over San Diego Hoover. They had to beat a number of bigger schools on the way to their perfect record so far and also were tested in their section final but used a huge fourth quarter to turn a 12-9 lead over Hoover into a 31-9 win. As this season was unfolding, we thought there probably were two teams in the South in D4 that could potentially be a tough foe for two-time defending CIF state champ Central Catholic of Modesto in this year’s state final and Christian was one of them (the other was Sierra Canyon of Chatsworth, which could not get out of the CIFSS Mid-Valley Division playoffs).
Case for St. Margaret’s: Heading into the weekend, it was not a guarantee that the winner of the 13-0 vs. 13-0 final between the Tartans and Lancers was going to get a D4 South bowl bid. This is because Central Valley Christian of Visalia had a chance to steal it and would have with a win over unbeaten Liberty of Madera Ranchos on Friday in the Central Section D4 final. Luckily for St. Margaret’s, Liberty won 24-7. That team, by the way, has an enrollment too big for it to be D4 and instead has to get stuck into the same group as El Capitan, Paso Robles, Hanford, etc.
Note: Another team that would have at least been an outside contender in this division, Arrowhead Christian of Redlands, lost in the CIFSS Northwest Division final to Nipomo 22-19. Nipomo, like Liberty of Madera Ranchos, too big of a school for D4.

Mark Tennis is the co-founder and publisher of He can be reached at Don’t forget to follow Mark on the Cal-Hi Sports Twitter handle: @CalHiSports

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  1. Bearcats97
    Posted December 6, 2014 at 10:19 pm | Permalink

    One Comment

    Mark was wondering y u feel so certain that el cap deserves a home game over paso Robles. Paso has played a much harder schedule over all there only loss was to their rival and it was there first game after there running back got hurt (1400 yds 17tds in 8 games) if he played the would of one that game imop. They beat Clovis by 3tds and scored 48 pts on them at clovis who was beating edison 14-0 with 7 min left and then lost 21-14 u guys have edison ranked very high to. Paso beat Camarillo when they were ranked high. There cif division is much harder than el cap not even close el cap also got a bye paso never got that. At one point u guys had Palmdale arroyo grande and newbury park in the top 5 and in 3 consecutive games paso won el cap never played 3 games in a row like that and paso starting defense allowed 10 pts combined in 3 games against offenses that average 40 pts a game. I know el cap beat helix which is a great win but paso beat 6-7 teams who would beat any team el cap played except helix. To me schedules don’t match up at all. overall strength of schedule should out weigh one great game. I’ve seen el cap play they are very good not taking anything away from them just think paso deserves it more.


    • Mark Tennis
      Posted December 7, 2014 at 9:50 am | Permalink

      One game vs. Helix does make that much of a difference especially since Paso Robles is not undefeated. Pretty easy choice as of now.

      • Bearcats97
        Posted December 7, 2014 at 11:23 am | Permalink

        I understand helix is good but this isn’t the Reggie bush Alex smith team. I saw helix play st Bonnie’s helix barely won that game and this was probably the worse st bonnies team in 10 years westlake was beating st Bonnie’s 45-7 in the 4th qrt and westlake beat newbury park by 3 which the same amount paso beat them by. Helix also beat del oro but this wasn’t one of there better teams either seems like people are as if beating helix is the same as mater dei or long beach poly either way it goes paso el cap should be an awesome game and I’m more than excited to see paso make it this far if there chosen to play. Thanks for all the great info u provide on this website mark.

        • Beercat
          Posted December 7, 2014 at 11:31 am | Permalink

          Hummmmm …………. good point on the WL/NP game

          And yes you were correct on the Cathedral split, my eyes were a bit tired

          • Bearcats97
            Posted December 7, 2014 at 11:38 am | Permalink

            To me it’s no question paso deserves the home game but we’re not in San diego were just a little town never get respect even thoe paso just won there 9th cif championship not to many schools can say that el cap just won there first but hopefully we’ll get to find out who the better team is hopefully a 6-7 hour bus ride doesn’t effect the game for who ever is the road team

    Posted December 7, 2014 at 8:04 am | Permalink

    No question about the Huskies that was a ridiculous schedule. Coach Logan’s best effort to date congrats to all the Huskies people’s out there they deserve a chance to play D.L.S I’M rooting for them. As far as Pirates n Helix go that was a battle our defense made adjustments and our offense made enough plays to get the win. A total team effort players,coaches and fans. Looking forward to Friday to play Edison of fresno we will be there loud n strong go Pirates.
    Thanks Mr the quick breakdowns I know it was a long day n late night the for your

    Posted December 7, 2014 at 8:06 am | Permalink

    Thanks Mr.Tennis for the quick breakdowns I know it was a long day n late night your works appreciated.

  4. Beercat
    Posted December 7, 2014 at 8:17 am | Permalink

    All #1’s will host. El Cap is the #1 in South D3 so they get to host, at least that is what was shared with me. Looking forward to the game, who doesn’t love San Diego. Yes a long drive but we are just happy to have the chance to play in the game, that is if CIF gives us a shot.

    You got to give respect to any team that knocks off Helix, a team who did play a tough schedule. Beat Saint Bonaventure, Cathedral Catholic not once but twice and then played tough against Oceanside ………..

    If it happens it should be a great game, 2 average size public schools who don’t relay on open enrollment ……… great honest matchup.

    • Bearcats97
      Posted December 7, 2014 at 11:26 am | Permalink

      Helix actually lost to cathedral catholic one of the times.

  5. Beercat
    Posted December 7, 2014 at 8:18 am | Permalink

    Agreed, thanks Mark for your responses, you worked your rear off, very much appreciated ……..

  6. Jazz Bass
    Posted December 7, 2014 at 9:25 am | Permalink

    Like the name Beercat ! El Cap is in Santee (way off the path of the beautiful beaches). More of a cowboy town. It is great for all teams to extend their seasons. GO PIRATES !

    • bobo216
      Posted December 7, 2014 at 10:42 am | Permalink

      No it is in Lakeside witch is next to Santee.

    • Beercat
      Posted December 7, 2014 at 10:53 am | Permalink

      I’m guessing if it goes down like it should we play at Southwestern College. El Cap is the host but I believe it must be at a ‘neutral’ site. Southwestern makes sense seeing El Cap just played there but we will know soon enough.

      PR is a bit cowpoke, we match up well. Similar size public schools, a bit country in feel, and we don’t depend on transfers, home grown boys, great match up ….

      • Bearcats97
        Posted December 7, 2014 at 11:14 am | Permalink

        Unless they changed it the host school can play on there home field. Last year I saw bakersfield play mission hills and it was at mission hills high schools do when u get to el cap high school u definitely won’t feel like ur in San diego. Go bearcats

      • bobo216
        Posted December 7, 2014 at 12:30 pm | Permalink

        Thats funny because El Capitan is considered a hick town with the rodeo grounds right next to the football field. We even have an Ag. dept on the other side of the field. Google earth it. It is nice that 2 teams that have kids that have grown up in their own neighborhoods are playing against each other.

        • Beercat
          Posted December 7, 2014 at 12:37 pm | Permalink

          Agreed, very pleased if it goes down like this …..

          Both towns seem to be single high school communities, both in the 20K something in size ……. doesn’t get better

          Will want your take on the right place to eat once we hear where we are playing 🙂

        • Bearcats97
          Posted December 7, 2014 at 1:53 pm | Permalink

          Definitely agree it’s how high school football should be can’t wait to watch the game.

  7. Bearcats97
    Posted December 7, 2014 at 11:49 am | Permalink

    Mark would cif ever consider schools like paso and el cap who are 350 miles apart to play a neutral site in the middle somewhere there’s only hundreds of places to play between the two schools it couldn’t be that hard to figure a place out seems a little unfair to the road school to travel that far just because a couple people feel one team is better than the other team when in reality no one really knows. Paso is actually closer to the two northern teams that u have predicted to play in the nor div 3 game sounds crazy but it’s true.

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