Central Catholic Carson-bound again

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.

For more on St. Margaret’s win over Christian of El Cajon, CLICK HERE.
For more on our feature game of the night between Folsom & Sacramento Grant, CLICK HERE.

Justin Rice had a 300-yard rushing game for Central Catholic in NorCal D4 bowl game. Photo: Mark Tennis.

Justin Rice had a 300-yard rushing game for Central Catholic in NorCal D4 bowl game. Photo: Mark Tennis.

Junior running back Justin Rice delivered for the Raiders with 302 yards on 28 carries and went over 2,000 yards for the season. The junior scored the team’s first touchdown on a 41-yard run and had a back-breaking 78-yard TD to push the lead to 21-7 in the third quarter after a potential game-tying scoring drive by Capital Christian was halted deep in Raider territory.

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.

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