Annual Honor Bowl, held in Oceanside the last two football seasons, will be at Mission Viejo from Sept. 1 to Sept. 3 and will involve more out-of-state teams.
(Edited version of press release)
The Honor Group Inc. a 501c3 nonprofit and organizers of The Honor Bowl Football Showcase, announced this week that Mission Viejo High School will play host to the 5th Annual Southern California 2016 Honor Bowl High School Football Showcase to benefit military veterans.
In a move that The Honor Group believes solidifies the high school football showcase to be called one of the nation’s best, the organizers felt that the 2016 relocation from Oceanside (Calif.) to Mission Viejo and the Orange County of Southern California area allows for greater sponsor exposure, more hotel and tourism options while still being minutes from the US Army, Marines, National Guard and Navy command locations that in past years have been key contributors to the event.
Also, in a move to aid The Honor Bowl’s goals for national expansion, the Honor Bowl organizers announced that the two-day showcase will expand to a three-day format and will host 12 teams from four states (three of which will be traveling from the east coast).
“We just could not say no to the great schools who wanted to become involved in the event as well as the schools who wanted to return to the event,” said Mark Soto, who is the executive director of The Honor Group. “The schools love the educational mission behind The Honor Bowl. The students, coaches and communities leave changed, inspired and with a better understanding for what a hero looks like. We are extremely excited about this year’s event.”
The 2016 Honor Bowl Football Showcase will feature 12 elite high school varsity football programs from the states of Florida, New Jersey, Pennsylvania plus Northern and Southern California.
Here is the event’s complete schedule (with added comments from Cal-Hi Sports):
Thursday, Sept. 1 (Opening Ceremony)
7:30pm — Cathedral Catholic (San Diego) vs. Central Catholic (Modesto). The Dons went 1-1 in their last two Honor Bowl games against Oaks Christian of Westlake Village and will be a test for the Raiders, who have won four straight CIF state titles (including the first Open Division small school crown in 2015).
Friday, September 2 (Armed Forces Night)
5:00pm Oaks Christian (Westlake Village) vs. St. Joseph’s Prep (Philadelphia, Pa.). Junior QB Matt Corral will be one of the state’s top returnees at his position for the Lions, who went 11-1 last season and have one CIF state title on their resume.
8:00pm Mission Viejo vs Oak Hills (Hesperia). The host Diablos, who are opening the season with a 28-game winning streak after beating San Jose Bellarmine in the CIF Division IAA state bowl game, will be led by RB-LB Colin Schooler, a Cal-Hi Sports Mr. Football State Player of the Yea finalist. Oak Hills also was a CIF Southern Section titlist last December but is stepping up in a major way in taking on Mission Viejo.
Saturday, Sept, 3 (Tribute and Memorial Finale)
12:00pm Serra (Gardena) vs. St. Joseph Regional (Montvale, N.J.). There will no doubt be some new players moving into starring roles for the Cavaliers. Serra has been in the feature game for the last two Honor Bowls — against Bellevue (Wash.) in 2014 and against Centennial in 2015.
4:00pm Clayton Valley (Concord) vs. Helix (La Mesa). The Ugly Eagles will have 15 returning starters from their squad that lost to Narbonne in the CIF Division IA state bowl game. Helix loses head coach Troy Starr and a ton of offense, but watch out for returning linebacker Zeke Noa.
7:30pm Centennial (Corona) vs IMG Academy (Bradenton, Fla.). Nobody expects the Huskies to drop much from their No. 2 position in the state at the end of last season despite heavy grad losses. IMG is a building national powerhouse, attracting players from many states and appears to be following the model of boys basketball “academy” style schools (like Montverde Academy of Florida).
“Our school and community are excited about hosting this event,” said Mission Viejo head coach Bob Johnson. “We participated in The Honor Bowl several years ago and our school and community loved it. The quality of athleticism, coaching and school spirit will be astounding.”
With all of the activities at the three-day event that are being planned, students and coaches understand that participating in The Honor Bowl is more than a win or a loss; it is a time to reflect on what our military has done and continues to do for the freedom America’s Armed Forces provide us.
Possible television details are still being worked out so stay tuned for further announcements.
To learn more or to become a sponsor, please visit The Honor Group’s website at www.thehonorgroup.org