Conditions on a wet, sloppy field weren’t great for a team with breakaway athletes like the kind that Capital Christian of Sacramento possesses, but they were more than fine for Central Catholic of Modesto, which used its powerful running game to overwhelm the Cougars 35-14 in the CIF Northern California Division IV bowl game on Friday in Modesto.
Capital Christian entered the game at 13-0 but was a decided underdog against the 11-3 Raiders because of Central Catholic’s close losses to much bigger schools, including Oakdale (playing Clayton Valley of Concord on Saturday in the D2 NorCal bowl game), St. Mary’s of Stockton and Sierra of Manteca.
Central Catholic advanced to its third straight state final where it will meet 2009 CIF D4 (it was called small schools at the time) winner St. Margaret’s of San Juan Capistrano.
Next season, for the Raiders to get to a CIF state final, they’ll need to win the much more difficult CIF Sac-Joaquin Section Division III title and then probably will be in a much more difficult state bowl game, although they’d likely be major contenders for that new CIF Small Schools Open Division bracket.
According to the Modesto Bee, Central Catholic head coach Roger Canepa also increased his career win total to 198 games, which is two off the magical milestone of 200 that gets you into the Cal-Hi Sports state record book.