Unbeaten seasons end for Sanger, Sutter and East Nicolaus, but continue on for Sierra Canyon and Strathmore. RB Joseph Garcia of Strathmore also rushes for 421 yards and seven TDs. Meanwhile, in the highest division playing Saturday, state No. 11 Edison of Huntington Beach falls to No. 16 San Clemente while No. 24 Del Oro rolls past Bakersfield.
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Notes: California’s two Open Division teams are seeded directly into the state final, which will be played next Saturday at Sac State between state No. 1 St. John Bosco of Bellflower (12-2) and state No. 4 De La Salle of Concord (11-1). State No. 2 Mater Dei (Santa Ana) & state No. 3 Centennial (Corona) both lost to St. John Bosco in CIF Southern Section Division I playoffs.
See Friday CIF Regional Scoreboard for Division 1-AA, Division 2-AA, Division 3-AA, Division 4-AA, Division 5-AA & Division 6-AA.
Thanks to Stockton office assistant editor Paul Muyskens for contributions to this post.
Del Oro (Loomis) 57,
We don’t know if the Golden Eagles (13-2) had the score of their 56-26 loss to the Drillers in the 2012 CIF Division I championship on their minds as this game unfolded but their margin of victory was even greater.
Taking advantage of the Drillers having to sit starting QB Josh Maran (injured during practice this week), Del Oro scored early and often and basically had the game under control at halftime. QB Stone Smartt threw a pair of 49-yard TD passes to Mason Hurst, while senior RB Dalton Gee scored on a 63-yard run.
Del Oro will be trying to win a second straight CIF state title, this time in D1-A after D2-AA last year. This also will be the school’s fourth CIF state final.
The Drillers (11-3) were down 36-3 at one point but showed some life late on TD runs by Cam Williams and Bishop Maxwell.
We didn’t have Bakersfield in the State Top 25 rankings and just moved in Del Oro this week up to No. 24.
San Clemente 39,
Edison (Huntington Beach) 35
The Chargers were actually the highest ranked team playing in Saturday’s games, but the No. 11 slot will be lost next week after falling to the Tritons.
San Clemente (12-3) took the lead twice on TD passes by USC-commit Jack Sears, but Sears and the rest of his teammates watched in horror as Edison’s E.J. Ginnis gave his team the lead at 35-32 with 4:41 left on a 100-yard interception return.
After the pick six, Sears stayed composed and directed a game-winning scoring drive. The Tritons scored with 54 seconds left on a 1-yard run by Brandon Reeves.
San Clemente jumped into the State Top 25 this week at No. 16 after its win two weeks ago over then No. 10 Murrieta Valley for the CIF Southern Section D2 crown. The team is making its first CIF state finals’ appearance.
Edison’s loss also meant the end of head coach Dave White’s remarkable career. He’s retiring and goes out with a reported record of 237-120-3.
Serra (San Mateo) 49,
After starting 0-4 with losses to St. Mary’s of Stockton, De La Salle, Pittsburg and Valley Christian of San Jose (three of those teams could win state titles next week as well), the Padres will get a crack at their first-ever CIF title after going on the road and knocking off unbeaten Sanger.
Serra (No. 25 in this week’s state rankings) found itself in a second-half shootout like many it gets into in the West Catholic Athletic League when the host Apaches (13-1) got their throng of more than 7,000 at Tom Flores Stadium rocking with a game-tying TD in the third quarter.
The Padres (10-4) quickly regained the momentum, however, and broke the 28-28 tie on a 54-yard TD pass from Sitaleki Nunn to Charlie Quinn. A few minutes later, Nunn struck again on a 55-yard TD pass to Isiah Kendrick.
Nunn, who has committed to San Jose State, accounted for six TDs rushing and passing. He reportedly had more than 100 yards rushing and more than 200 passing.
Sanger’s Andrew Azua finished with 36 TDs for the season. Head coach Chuck Shidan, who won his 200th game this season, was described in one photo caption as addressing the team “for one last time.”
Sierra Canyon (Chatsworth) 21,
Los Angeles 6
After last year’s loss in the CIF Small Schools Open Division regional final (that game was dropped this year) to San Marino in a game the Trailblazers led by 21 points in the fourth quarter, there was no collapse this time.
Sierra Canyon (14-0 with another win by forfeit) only led 7-6 at halftime over the Romans, but got separation in the second half on a 2-yard TD run by Bobby Cole and then a 36-yard TD pass from Johnny Hawkins to J.J. Hernandez. Hernandez also had one of the team’s four interceptions.
Los Angeles, which was coming in after and upset of unbeaten Hawkins, finished 11-4.
Oakdale 27, Sutter 10
The visiting Huskies were ahead 10-6 at halftime, but couldn’t slow down the Mustangs’ running game in the second half and were victimized by a 78-yard interception return TD by Jace Krick.
Oakdale (13-2) will be making its second CIF state final appearance and already knows it won’t be facing an opponent anything close to Serra of Gardena, which beat the Mustangs 42-15 in the 2012 Division II final.
Will Semone had another huge night for head coach Trent Merzon’s squad with 38 carries for 303 yards and three TDs. He now has more than 2,600 yards for the season.
Sutter (13-1) was trying to break a three-game regional bowl losing streak. The Huskies still had a great season behind junior QB Ryan Reynolds and senior LB Logan Hungrige.
Bishop’s (La Jolla) 29,
Valley Christian (Cerritos) 8
Junior QB Jeffrey Jackson has emerged as a top prospect for the next level this season and led the Knights with two TD passes and two TDs runs in the win over the Crusaders.
Bishop’s (14-0) will be headed to its second CIF state final. The Knights won the 2014 small schools game vs. Brookside Christian (Stockton).
Valley Christian (12-3) could only find paydirt on a TD pass reception by R.J. Van Kampen, who has had an outstanding three-year career for Valley Christian on both sides of the ball.
Pleasant Valley (Chico) 24,
In a matchup of teams that lost in NorCal regional finals last year, the Vikings (10-3) advanced by holding off the Trojans.
QB Kyle Lindquist, one of the most underrated QB prospects in the state, passed for 218 yards and three TDs. Pleasant Valley’s biggest play, however, was an interception by Salomon Navarro that set up a go-ahead field goal of 19 yards by Antonio Ramirez with 9:14 remaining.
Twin brothers Tyree and Tyriq Bracy connected on a pair of TD passes for the Trojans, who wrapped up 10-4.
With Milpitas losing combined with Palma (Salinas) and Freedom (Oakley) on Friday, none of the three runner-up teams that got into this year’s NorCal bowl lineup were able to win.
St. Anthony (Long Beach) 55,
Yorba Linda 23
It had been since 1948 when the Saints last won a CIF Southern Section title and now they have a chance to add a state crown to the section plaque won last week.
Despite playing a team from a higher CIFSS numbered division, St. Anthony (13-2) had too much firepower for the Mustangs. B.J. Busbee was electric on a 60-yard punt return, 80-yard interception return and 32-yard TD reception. Talaun Patton added three TD runs, including one from 42 yards out.
Yorba Linda (12-3) cut the lead to 20-17 in the second half on two TD runs by Jaydyn Webb, but the Saints quickly responded and ended up with a blowout.
McClymonds (Oakland) 45,
East Nicolaus (Nicolaus) 26
It was a much closer game than the final score would make you think as the Spartans tied the game at 20 with a touchdown early in the third quarter before a big 72-yard touchdown pass from Emoreea Fountain to Angelo Garrett gave the Warriors a 26-20 lead in the final minute of the third quarter and they would lead the rest of the way.
East Nicolaus then fell behind by two scores but made it exciting. Th Spartans (13-1) scored to cut the lead down to six with 8:03 remaining and then recovered an onside kick but ended up throwing an interception at the Warriors’ 6-yard line with 5:26 left. Not long after, Devin White went 85 yards for a McClymonds TD and then Jerrell Alberty would score on a late 82-yard touchdown run.
Mack (12-1) is going to its first state final and snapped a 24-game win streak by the Spartans. With them losing, that also means that every title team from last season has now lost this season. The state’s longest current win streak would be from among those teams that have not lost this season, including Sierra Canyon of Chatsworth (14-0 with one forfeit win), Cathedral Catholic of San Diego (14-0), Strathmore (14-0) and Bishop’s of La Jolla (13-0).
La Jolla Country Day (La Jolla) 63,
Arroyo (El Monte) 42
Just like the game up north, this one was closer than the final score indicated as well as the Torreys had a 49-42 lead with under three minutes before getting a stop and two late scores to win by 21 points.
Arizona commit Braxton Burmeister had six touchdown passes in the win while Ernesto Camacho had five touchdown passes in the losing effort. Since a loss to Santa Fe Christian of Solana Beach, the Torreys (12-3) have won five straight and have scored at least 60 points in three of the five wins.
Arroyo ended at 13-2.
St. Patrick St. Vincent (Vallejo) 47,
Brookside Christian (Stockton) 18
The Bruins (12-3) never trailed as quarterback Akil Edwards had a 26-yard touchdown run to get the scoring started and Marshel Martin followed with a 14-yard touchdown run.
The Knights (9-5) cut the lead down to eight with a 66-yard touchdown pass from Quincy Glasper to Reuben Lee but Edwards got the lead back to double digits with another touchdown run and a touchdown pass made it 27-6 at halftime.
Head coach Lane Hawkins’ remarkable job turning around a team that went 2-8 and lost their final seven games of last year will continue with a chance to win a state title at Strathmore.
Horizon Christian Academy (San Diego) 22
We saw some big performances around the state on Friday night but Strathmore running back Joseph Garcia topped them all on Saturday night when he rushed for 421 yards and seven touchdowns on 31 carries.
Just in the first half, he rushed for 192 yards and four touchdowns on 22 carries and now has 44 touchdowns on the year.
Before he scored seven straight touchdowns for the 14-0 Spartans, they had the opening kickoff returned 69 yards for a score by Gilbert Acevedo.
According to a tweet from Nick Giannandrea (@NickG_FB) of the Fresno Bee, the Spartans were told before the game that if they won they would be hosting the Division 6-A state championship next Saturday.
Horizon Christian finished 7-7.