All of the CIF NorCal and SoCal regional bowl choices are out. Go inside to see what we think for each division and to check out which teams we peg as the favorites to win titles in every division.
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The following is the schedule for the 2016 CIF Regional Football Championship Bowl Games for Divisions 1-AA through 6-A. Winners from the NorCal and SoCal Regional games will advance to the CIF State Football Championships representing their respective divisions for the title of CIF State Champion. All teams were slotted based on competitive equity and the respective criteria.
All comments and quick picks for each division are from Cal-Hi Sports and not an indication of any input from the CIF itself.
De La Salle of Concord (11-1) Concord vs. St. John Bosco of Bellflower (12-2) at Hornet Stadium, Sacramento State – Saturday, Dec. 17 at 8:00 p.m.
Comment: As long as the Spartans are continuing to cast their giant shadow on all of NorCal (no losses to teams north of Fresno in 25 years, no losses ever to any teams from Sac-Joaquin Sec, etc.) there’s no other way for the CIF to go when they win their NCS title. There’s also no other way to go to match DLS against the CIFSS D1 winner unless there’s some head-to-head loss to an L.A. City, Central Sec or San Diego team.
Quick Pick: As much as we respect all that is DLS and how far the Spartans have come since early in the season, the sense we’ve had all season is the fairly large gap that St. John Bosco, Mater Dei and Corona Centennial have over everybody else in the state.
North: Freedom of Oakley (11-1) at St. Mary’s of Stockton (13-1) – Friday, Dec. 9 at 7:30 p.m.
South: Narbonne of Harbor City (14-0) at Cathedral Catholic of San Diego (13-0) – Friday, Dec. 9 at 7:30 p.m.
Comment: Freedom may have lost big to DLS, but its wins throughout the season clearly kept the Falcons in the three spot on the NorCal board. Narbonne on the road instead of at home is a reflection of the Gauchos’ computer ranking dropping in the course of the season due to the general weakness of the L.A. City D1 bracket compared to CC being in an Open Division. You’d think winning a CIF D1-A state title and having to travel last year to play Bakersfield Ridgeview would have merited a better deal for Narbonne from the CIF.
Quick Pick: A lot of folks in Stockton have thought about St. Mary’s playing Cathedral Catholic again in a state final. They played in the D2 bowl game in 2008 in a game State Player of the Year Tyler Gaffney scored six TDs for the Dons. First reaction is that it will happen again, but the Tyler Gaffney clone plays at St. Mary’s named Dusty Frampton. Many in SoCal will scoff at the Rams because of their huge loss to Bosco, but Frampton got hurt on the first play in that game and the way they are playing with the final at Sac State this is a bracket they definitely can win.
North: Bakersfield (11-2) at Del Oro of Loomis (12-2) – Saturday, Dec. 10 at 7:30 p.m.
South: San Clemente (11-3) vs. Edison of Huntington Beach (13-1) at Huntington Beach HS – Saturday, Dec. 10 at 7:30 p.m.
Comment: We’ve thought all year and in talking to our great Central Section correspondent Bob Barnett that it’s just been a down season there. The CIF struggled with this placement but put the Drillers in this spot opposite Del Oro anyway. Our problem with DO is that until this week we had to still rank the team behind Oak Ridge due to head-to-head loss. San Clemente and Edison is indeed a strong matchup and will get strong support from Orange County. Regardless, Calabasas has been the better team since day one over either one. We get it that the CIFSS wants to protect its competitive equity divisional pecking order as much as possible (San Clemente D2, Edison D3 and Calabasas D5) and you could argue that Edison could be ranked higher than Calabasas. There’s not a metric at all (humans, computers, common sense), however, that would rank San Clemente with three losses ahead of the Coyotes.
North: Cardinal Newman of Santa Rosa (12-1) at Valley Christian of San Jose (12-1) – Friday, Dec. 9 at 7:30 p.m.
South: Calabasas (14-0) at Madison of San Diego (11-2) – Friday, Dec. 9 at 7:30 p.m.
Comment: In a nutshell, Cardinal Newman is too high. Yeah, know that VC can’t play Serra in a bowl game. But putting the Cards this high on the board basically because their one loss to Stockton St. Mary’s “wasn’t that bad” isn’t enough. We’d have had VC playing Del Oro, Serra in this division playing Bakersfield and Newman down further playing Sanger or Manteca. In the south, Calabasas actually could have been even lower (behind Sierra Canyon due to CIFSS divisional order), but at least some sanity prevailed to match up the Coyotes with San Diego Madison, which has some of the top D1 talent of any team in that section.
Quick Pick: No doubt that Calabasas is the favorite here. How the team will react given its attention will be key. No disrespect to Madison fans and players, but for various reasons we’ve never seen QB Tristan Gebbia, WR/DB Darnay Holmes and company yet and we really want to see them up in Sac. Holmes didn’t play in this week’s game, though, so hope injury isn’t bad.
North: Serra of San Mateo (9-4) at Sanger (13-0) – Saturday, Dec. 10 at 7:30 p.m.
South: Los Angeles (11-3) at Sierra Canyon of Chatsworth (13-0*) at Granada Hills HS – Saturday, Dec. 10 at 7:30 p.m.
Comment: Some in the Central Section have thought all year that Sanger was right up there with Bakersfield and Central of Fresno as top overall team in section. There just aren’t a lot of scores to look at to prove that, which made it hard to place the Apaches on the board. If Serra plays like it has in the last month, even on the road might be tough for Sanger. In the south, once Calabasas got slotted into D2-AA, Sierra Canyon was a cinch for D2-A. Hawkins probably would have played Calabasas in D2-AA if it had won vs. L.A. High, but the Romans winning basically caused a flip with Madison going up and them coming in opposite the Trail Blazers.
Quick Pick: Serra is like Del Oro last year, which went 4-6 in regular season only to come back and beat a 15-0 team for a CIF state title. The way the Padres beat St. Francis a second time is a good sign for them.
North: Manteca (12-1) at Menlo-Atherton of Atherton (11-2) – Friday, Dec. 9 at 7:30 p.m.
South: Mater Dei Catholic of Chula Vista (12-1) vs. Paraclete of Lancaster (10-4) at Antelope Valley College – Friday, Dec. 9 at 7:30 p.m.
Comment: We would have had Manteca a bit higher so the Buffs getting an M-A team that arguably should have been behind Palma of Salinas in CCS pecking order is a good spot for them. Mater Dei Catholic probably was locked into this game to play Los Altos of Hacienda Heights and it didn’t take long to check out Paraclete’s resume to just replace the Spirits after their win over the Conquerors. The losses are against a strong schedule for team in this bracket range.
Quick Pick: MD Catholic easily has the most dynamic player among the four with Oregon-bound RB C.J. Verdell. A Manteca-MD Catholic final, since it may be down south, would be too tough to call. Paraclete also may have edge due to experience of head coach Dean Herrington (formerly Alemany and longtime assistant at state power Hart of Newhall), who knows how to win big games.
North: Sutter (13-0) at Oakdale (12-2) – Saturday, Dec. 10 at 7:30 p.m.
South: Bishop’s of La Jolla (13-0) at Valley Christian of Cerritos (12-2), Cerritos – Saturday, Dec. 10 at 7:30 p.m.
Comment: We had Sutter and Oakdale playing in several run-throughs of our NorCal board (not the last one) so that’s a pairing that makes sense. Both Valley Christian and St. Anthony of Long Beach (in same league) were moved up higher than CIFSS D7 and D8 champions because St. Anthony has a high computer ranking and VC beat the Saints head-to-head. We checked that out as well and frankly just don’t see why that computer ranking for St. Anthony is that high. We would have kept San Gorgonio and Yorba Linda higher.
Quick Pick: Oakdale is a team that has played Clayton Valley and Gardena Serra in CIF state bowl games. Sorry, but none of these teams are close to that. The way the Mustangs have been rolling, they’d be our choice at first glance.
North: Campolindo of Moraga (10-3) vs. Palma of Salinas (10-3), Salinas at Rabobank Stadium, Salinas – Friday, Dec. 9 at 7:30 p.m.
South: Bakersfield Christian (12-1) at Selma (13-0) – Friday, Dec. 9 at 7:30 p.m.
Comment: After our projections were off by a team or two from NorCal divisions 1-A and downward, they got more in line from this point downward. Campolindo’s recent CIF state bowl titles likely helped the Cougars get seeded higher than Bishop O’Dowd and beating Milpitas last year helped as well. Putting the two Central Sec teams together generally isn’t preferred by the CIF but doing it with these two prevents travel and it’s not a bad matchup.
Quick Pick: Yes, Palma lost that first game to Sutter, but we keep thinking about the team that beat San Benito when it was 9-0, the team that lost to St. Francis (Mountain View) by one point and then Valley Christian 14-10. If that team shows up the next two weeks, Salinas folks may be very happy.
North: Milpitas (10-3) vs. Pleasant Valley of Chico (9-3) at Harrison Stadium, Oroville – Saturday, Dec. 10 at 7:30 p.m.
South: Yorba Linda (12-2) vs. St. Anthony of Long Beach (12-2) at Veterans Stadium, Long Beach – Saturday, Dec. 10 at 7:30 p.m.
Comment: Since Milpitas and Palma can’t play each other and you wouldn’t want the Trojans any lower, they had to kind of fit in this division. Pleasant Valley didn’t do well last year in its home game vs. St. Francis, but this could be a better fit. In the South, we’ll find out quickly if St. Anthony’s high computer ranking is accurate or not.
Quick Pick: Just like Palma is in a good spot in the division above, Milpitas is a team many will remember that beat Antioch this season and has some great D1 players. We like the way PV, though, beat Paradise in its section final. Think winner of that game will win state.
North: Capital Christian of Sacramento (11-2) at Bishop O’Dowd of Oakland (13-1) – Friday, Dec. 9 at 7:30 p.m.
South: Valley View of Moreno Valley (11-3) at San Gorgonio of San Bernardino (11-3) – Friday, Dec. 9 at 7:30 p.m.
Comment: We still like the idea better of having Selma from the Central Sec in this spot and Sanger over on the SoCal board. O’Dowd has been ranked higher than Campolindo in Bay Area all year but CIF and NCS seeded it other way around. Both Valley View and San G had to survive thrillers to win CIFSS titles so matching them up and both from Inland Empire makes sense.
Quick Pick: O’Dowd recently beat Capital Christian in a NorCal Open Division game in boys hoops, then won state title the next week. Look for that to happen again in football in this division.
North: East Nicolaus (13-0) vs. McClymonds of Oakland (11-1) at Chabot College, Hayward – Saturday, Dec. 10 at 7:30 p.m.
South: Arroyo of El Monte (13-1) at La Jolla Country Day (11-3) – Saturday, Dec. 10 at 7:30 p.m.
Comment: We had it this way as well but assume the most unhappy folks have to be in East Nicolaus. Team won D6-A last year, gets jumped two divisions and on the road to play in East Bay against team with computer ranking about 30 spots higher. Glad CIF did not match the D12 and D13 teams from the CIFSS together and placed Country Day here.
Quick Pick: Since LJCD would get to play both games at home and has record-breaking QB Braxton Burmeister going at a high level, the Torreys may get a CIF football title to go with the ones they have had from the great Terri Bamford’s girls basketball program.
North: Mendota (13-0) vs. Amador of Sutter Creek (13-1) at Calaveras HS – Friday, Dec. 9 at 7:30 p.m.
South: Rancho Christian of Temecula (12-2) at Franklin of Los Angeles (13-1) – Friday, Dec. 9 at 7:30 p.m.
Comment: East Nicolaus and Amador certainly could have switched positions, but choice already was made with Amador having to be in a play-in game against SF Lincoln. Building the board from the bottom up also showed CIFSS D13 vs. LA City D3 was going to be hard to ignore.
Quick Pick: We’re already thinking about list of coaches who have won state football titles at different schools. Rancho Christian’s Jim Kunau won one in 2009 at Orange Lutheran. We like the way his team knocked off Santa Ana in CIFSS D13 final.
North: Brookside Christian of Stockton (9-4) at St. Patrick-St. Vincent of Vallejo (11-3) – Saturday, Dec. 10 at 7:30 p.m.
South: Horizon Christian Academy of San Diego (7-6) at Strathmore (13-0) – Saturday, Dec. 10 at 7:30 p.m.
Comment: There were no surprises on these matchups. It could be an opportunity for small town team from Central Section in this division.
Quick Pick: The 13-0 record of Strathmore stands out, but pretty sure Brookside Christian has a couple of athletes that none of the other teams do.
Mark Tennis is the co-founder and publisher of CalHiSports.com. He can be reached at email@example.com. Don’t forget to follow Mark on the Cal-Hi Sports Twitter handle: @CalHiSports
CIF did choose Grant for the Open game one year over DLS.
In 2008 Grant was 14-0 and DLS had gotten shellacked by Don Bosco Prep so Grant should have been rated higher.
DLS did not get shellacked by Bosco in 2008. Facts are wrong. Played Corona Centennial with two future NFL guys on defense and lost in a close game.
But since then DLS has won the Open game in 09, 10, 11, 12, 14, 15. No chance anybody in NorCal therefore is going to be picked higher until somebody from NorCal gets a win over DLS.
It’s funny to hear the norcal writer talking about which teams should have rated higher or lower in these games. Where would Mission Viejo, rancho Cucamonga, Mater Dei be ranked if the playoff system was fair? All of these teams would whip 99% of the teams on this board yet can’t play because SS puts them all in one bracket.
As you know, we had Mission and Rancho higher than all of the NorCal teams until just the last two weeks. They would go back to being higher if Bosco wins easily in two weeks. Got to at least respect the chance that DLS can win and that we may have an unbeaten team (Narbonne or Cathedral Catholic) winning the D1-AA state title.
Agreed. If SS did what CCS does and split top 16 teams into four separate ‘open’ sections, SJB, Mater Dei, Centennial and RC could all be moving to regional games…
The CCS didn’t really split up their divisions. The open divisions were a compromise to the teams in the weaker leagues that no longer wanted to face the WCAL teams in the playoffs. The section has the same number of divisions as before, but the open divisions are only for the teams that wished to compete for state. The other two divisions are for teams that wished to stay in the weaker leagues or simply not move up to the tougher divisions.
But then how are both Valley Christian and Serra are moving on?? If they are both WCAL shouldn’t they be in the same bracket where only one can move on like SS D1 and the Trinity league? That is what I mean by separating. SS doesn’t allow Trinity league teams to play in different brackets so only one would be able to move on to a state bowl game unlike CCS. If went by school size Orange Lutheran and Servite should be in D2 or D3.
As the CIFSS D1 evolves with competitive equity, you could see a Trinity League or two dropping to D2. They don’t because they keep winning in a lot of big non-league games, like JSerra beating Vista Murrieta this year.
Narbonne is going to beat Cathedral Catholic. Narbonne is the most underrated team in the playoffs. Physical team with multiple weapons all over the field. Narbonne vs. St Mary’s should be good in finals. I still think Corona Centennial, Mater Dei and Mission Viejo or Rancho Cucamonga would beat both of these teams but what can fans do about that? Nothing.
How much? They happen to be overrated.
So much so that despite going 14-0 and beating the likes of Serra and LB Poly handily they have to travel to SD to face Cathedral Catholic on their home turf. I realize the LA city section is not great but who did CC beat that was so great?
I agree Narbonne should have gotten home game. CC win over Madison (31-7) could turn out be real good but have to wait and see how they do against Calabasas.
A SoCal fan here but how many times has it seemed that the CIF-SS D1 team was better than DLS and then they get beat by them? Same thing this year. SJB seems like it should win but I am going with DLS. Won’t get fooled again.
PS Sears decommitted from Duke and committed to USC.
Can’t argue with that at all John but it needs to be noted that in the Open game one team DLS will have had 3 of the past six weeks with a bye while this will be the first weekend in the past six weeks SJB hasn’t played a top 40 team in the state. It takes a toll especially on high school kids. The open game hasn’t been apples to apples in a few years with the current setup.
Its the Boise St vs Oklahoma argument. Boise hones their players, rests guys and then gears up for one big game when everything this is clicking while OU has to get beat on most weeks by very good teams. Then, Boise beats them and everyone is surprised? Same logic here. Playing quality teams every week takes a toll on HS players. DLS has organized scrimmages 10+ weeks every year and a coaching staff that knows how to make adjustments based on that development. They need to have the norcal teams merge their playoff bracket with the top teams from the SJS like the Pac5 has done and pit the best vs the best.
Only difference in analogy is Boise State has never beaten a team like Oklahoma six times in seven years like DLS has.
True Mark, and you can’t argue that DLS is THE BEST team hands down over the past three decades, but the question that can’t be answered until they merge SJS, CCS and NCS sections to form a super open section, we know DLS has beat SJB, Centennial, etc. (best of SoCal) in the championship but how would they fare each year playing three or four big games in a row like a SS Div. 1 bracket – could they beat Santa Margarita, Centennial and Mater Dei in three consecutive weeks?
They wouldn’t win as often for sure. But the CIFSS D1 bracket as its currently constructed is in its first year and the Pac-Five before that didn’t include Centennial until 2014 and only Mission Viejo one or two years. The best CIFSS teams before 2014 many times didn’t even play each other, either. Think of Westlake and Oaks Christian in the years they were really good.
Westlake and Oaks Christian were not in the D1 bracket when they were winning titles so that point is moot. The bottom line is that if you can hone your team with organized scrimmages for 2 months and have a top notch coaching staff that gets players from all over the Bay area its simple to gear up for one game when you have rested guys and not had to go through a year long gauntlet like the top So Cal teams have. DLS would not even make the state bowl game every year if they had negotiate schedules like other top programs do when it comes top league play and top playoff bracket play. They simply gear up for one game after a year of getting their timing down all while resting their top stars due to blowouts. No wonder their record against the sorry north is 23 years and 0. And why wont they even face the best northern teams each year during the regular season ala Gorman? Folsom, Grant and other teams like that should be DLS regulars.
It’s a shame that the runner-up in such an outrageously strong division as the SSD1, is not allowed to keep playing like in the north with the case of Freedom. The small number of teams in the North Coast Open playoffs doesn’t seem to make as much sense as having a SS D1 team advance. By all rights, Mater Dei should be playing Narbonne or Cathedral Catholic in 1-AA. O.K. So it might not be a close game. So be it. What’s fair is fair.
Here we are a again. CIF/State championship playoffs, What a joke. This not a true Championship. reason being each section has it own rules how their teams are placed, followed by the state moving them around for regional games.
SS D2 vs SS D3 to play for 1A
SS D5 vs SD D1 for 2AA
LA II vs SS D4 for 2A
SD D2 vs SS D6 3AA
SD D3 vs SS D9 3A
SS D8 vs SS D10 4A
SS D11 vs SS D7 5AA
SD D4 vs SS D12
SS D13 vs LA III 6AA
As I’m being saying for this to work need to get rid of Sections, and place teams into districts from the beginning of the season. Arrange leagues according to the district that you will be playing for the championship. Not this. Example Big VIII , 1 team playing in D1, 1 team playing in D2, 2 teams playing in D5. Think about it. Follow other state this way we will have a true champion. Just saying.
1AA , 1A
Feed back please.
One state, no sections has always had appeal to me as well.
How to “get rid of sections” would be very hard to do, however. Might even take one our state’s propositions, but many of the educational groups and a lot of others would fight that over concerns about local control. And when the stated objective to get rid of sections is just so we can have a better state football playoff, not sure a lot of folks would agree that such a move is really worth it. This is California, after all, and I’m glad we don’t spend millions and millions of dollars on high school football stadiums.
Agree with you that Card. Newman is in a bit too high of a division. However, the Cardinals did play St. Marys (other than the Rams’ blowout loss to Bosco) closer than anyone else this year. And, that was in Stockton.
I think it’s fair to say Serra had the toughest non-league schedule north of the Tehachapis this year (DLS, St. Marys, Pittsburg) than had to open WCAL play at Valley Christian which they lost by only 35-38. Arguably the Padres were the best 0-4 team in the state at that time. Since, they’ve gone 9-0 in the tough WCAL and through the CCS Open 2 playoffs. Their only real challenge was a 41-40 ot win against St. Francis Oct. 8. (Speaking of S.F., the CCS prejudice against the WCAL really shows by the way they seeded Serra and the Lancers to meet in the Open 2 second round. Also, Arch. Mitty should have been allowed to move on before Milpitas). Anyway, a Serra-Valley Christian rematch at a neutral site in 2-AA North would settle a lot and probably attract a full house crowd. Since Bakersfield Christ. (CS-D3) is playing Selma (CS-D4) for 4-AA South, why can’t the CCS Open 2 and Open 3 winners play each other? Is there some “special” rule about Open divisions in the same section? (Actually, having more than 1 Open division in the same section makes a farce out of what an Open division is supposed to be, anyway!)
Dropping Newman into 2-A North against Sanger would make a more fair match-up as well as the winner being a more fair match-up against the LA Hi-Sierra Cnyn winner in 2-A South.
Bakersfield Christian is playing Selma partly because of travel concerns. If they weren’t going against each other, then one would be at home possibly playing a team from the San Diego Section while the other would be on a long road trip. The two haven’t played each other this season either. Since these are bowl games and not playoffs, Valley Christian already has a win over Serra so the thinking is that a rematch isn’t necessary.
The CCS playoff qualification system has been in place for probably 25 years. There was no bias against the WCAL. That’s just silly. Everyone knows the rules for the playoffs before the season starts. The Padres and Lancers were seeded correctly. To suggest otherwise is just ignorant.
Mark is correct. Valley Christian already beat Serra. Time to move on.
Do you know what the reason is that Milpitas is playing Pleasant Valley at Harrison Stadium in Oroville in 4A North rather than at Chico State which is Valley’s usual home field?
The CIF has always used Harrison Stadium for Northern Section hosted games. Don’t know exactly why.
Pleasant Valley does not play at Chico State. In fact PV now has a brand new stadium on their campus.
How do you put Bishop O’dowd a #1 rated D3 school in Bay Area,No/Cal and drop them to D5 division against Capital Christian a true D5 school. CIF seated Capital #4 in section because of there weak schedule. 1700 students vs 450. Sounds like Bay Area bias. More sexy for State. Oh yeah, McClymonds D6. That proves my point.
The sectional divisions mean nothing for the state bowl divisions. It’s all competitive equity.
As you know, we would have had Selma moving over from the Central Sec to play Cap Christian. Once that wasn’t going to happen, don’t know who else Cap Christian could have played other than O’Dowd. If it was Cap Chr vs. McClymonds, for example, then where’s O’Dowd? Can’t play East Nicolaus. Your Bay Area bias comment against the SJS also is interesting when Del Oro has a home game, Manteca is probably in a lower division than it could have been and Oakdale definitely is in a division it can win. When the bowls are over and the SJS may have multiple state champions, it’ll be hard to claim it was slighted.
Appreciate the information. I know it’s not easy trying to put teams in the right spot, just seems that a solid D3 team rated #1 and #8 in Bay Area and #65 in California has no competitive place to play, so let’s put them in D5. Thank goodness you found a place for De La Salle. It all makes sense, I think:-)
7 Bay Area teams qualify for State. That proves my point about Bay Area bias. More sexy for CIF to have Bay Area teams by dropping Bishop O’Dowd from D3 to D5 and McClymonds from D4 to D6. McClymonds and O’Dowd could have played each other. Teams from other sections played each other. It would save on travel time and expenses is what CIF said. Sad that this is so obvious.
Im just glad California teams have bowl games..It is awesome for the lucky teams to still be playing. SMHS could play 16 games this year.
That is awesome for the seniors and even better for the sophomores who came up.
Gorman is done.. Winner of the one game state game and home. we are still playing.