CIF Regional Football Lineup Set

Lucas Dunne of Concord De La Salle looks for running room during 2010 CIF Open Division state championship game against Servite of Anaheim. Photo: Scott Kurtz.

Here is the lineup of games for this year’s CIF football regional championships as announced on Sunday, Dec. 3. The matchups were approved by a committee of CIF section commissioners through video conference call. If people are curious, we know our Cal-Hi Sports’ bowl boards (north and south) are looked at by CIF football officials, but we’re not working together on them. We’re making projections on what we think might happen and also make suggestions on matchups we’d like to see and why. In some cases, the CIF committee agrees and in some cases they don’t.

Note: To see our what our own lineup would have been and why, CLICK HERE for Gold Club post.

De La Salle (11-1) vs. Mater Dei (14-0) at Hornet Stadium, Sacramento State – Saturday, Dec. 16 at 8:00 p.m.
Comment: This will always be CIFSS D1 champion vs. DLS unless the CIFSS D1 champion were to have a loss to a team from San Diego or L.A. City or when DLS finally loses a game to a team north of Fresno. There’s no indication either instance is going to happen anytime soon.

North: Central, Fresno (12-1) at Folsom (14-0) – Friday, Dec. 8 at 7:30 p.m.
South: Helix (12-1) at Oaks Christian (12-2) – Friday, Dec. 8 at 7:30 p.m.
Comment: Helix has a loss to Paraclete and will continue to be ranked behind the Spirits. Helix would only go higher if it beats Oaks Christian in this game because Oaks has a win over Paraclete. That being said, the win by Helix over Mission Hills was enough for that team to be in this game. Plus, it lined up the matchups nice and smooth in the next two divisions.

North: Pittsburg (8-2) at Granite Bay (12-2) – Saturday, Dec. 9 at 6:00 p.m.
South: Paraclete (13-1) at Narbonne (10-3) – Saturday, Dec. 9 at 6:00 p.m.
Comment: Our own Cal-Hi Sports projections done late Saturday had these matchups as well as the same for D1-AA. Pittsburg is the only one of the three that has never won a CIF state title.

North: Serra-San Mateo (11-2) vs. Tulare Union (13-0) at Bob Mathias Stadium – Friday, Dec. 8 at 7:30 p.m.
South: Cajon (13-1) at Rancho Verde (12-2) – Friday, Dec. 8 at 7:30 p.m.
Comment: Again, this division was a match for us. Serra traveled last year to play Sanger in D2-A regional final and while Tulare this year is probably better we’re not in favor of making a team like Serra have to travel like that for two straight years.

North: St. Francis, Mountain View (9-4) at Manteca (12-2) – Saturday, Dec. 9 at 6:00 p.m.
South: Aquinas (14-0) vs. Grace Brethren (12-2) at Moorpark College – Saturday, Dec. 9 at 6:00 p.m.
Comment: Grace Brethren obviously was elevated to D2-A for having an OT win over Bishop Diego even though Bishop Diego won a higher CIFSS division (D6 compared to D8). Aquinas vs. Grace should be a great game, but looking across to the NorCal side looms St. Francis and Manteca. Those two are just from traditionally much stronger leagues & playoff divisions. It would be like winner of Aquinas-Grace was going to be playing a team like Notre Dame of Sherman Oaks or Loyola in the state final. It’ll be a step up for sure.

North: Marin Catholic (12-0) at Shasta (11-1) – Friday, Dec. 8 at 7:30 p.m.
South: Quartz Hill (13-1) vs. Bishop Diego (13-1) at Santa Barbara City College – Friday, Dec. 8 at 7:30 p.m.
Comment: We have liked Quartz Hill as the strongest of the CIFSS divisional champions below D6 for the last two weeks and would have had the Rebels one division higher. They have a stronger computer ranking than Aquinas and Grace Brethren as well. Quartz Hill’s only loss to Palmdale (CIFSS D5) and beat a 12-0 team from Apple Valley in semifinals. Plus, love that win over Oxnard and then Oxnard beat Westlake the next week. Marin Catholic has played and beaten Northern Section teams in this round before.

North: Sutter (12-1) at Half Moon Bay (13-0) – Saturday, Dec. 9 at 6:00 p.m.
South: Steele Canyon (10-4) at El Modena (12-2) – Saturday, Dec. 9 at 6:00 p.m.
Comment: A lot of the SoCal teams from after Rancho Verde and Cajon were hard to split apart and evaluate. Steele Canyon actually could have been as high as D2-A since the previously unbeaten Ramona team that it beat in the San Diego Section D2 final clearly would have been in D2-A. Sutter and Half Moon Bay started looking like a possibility last week and it’s one of those matchups that gets more interesting every time you think about it. Great communities, great teams and should be a great night.

North: Placer (12-1) at Salinas (11-2) – Friday, Dec. 8 at 7:30 p.m.
South: Crenshaw (10-3) at El Camino (8-5) – Friday, Dec. 8 at 7:30 p.m.
Comment: Both Placer and Salinas got key wins during the season over Aptos. As the CCS Open 1 champ, Salinas being this low may surprise some. But before upsetting Milpitas in that last game, the Cowboys had a computer ranking that wasn’t even close to Placer’s. There also was too much evidence to have Half Moon Bay higher on the NorCal board.

McClymonds head coach Michael Peters has his team looking for second straight state title. Photo: Willie Eashman.

North: Milpitas (12-1) at Campolindo (10-4) – Saturday, Dec. 9 at 6:00 p.m.
South: San Joaquin Memorial (11-2) at Southwest EC (13-0) – Saturday, Dec. 9 at 6:00 p.m.
Comment: Before getting upset by Salinas, Milpitas probably would have been slotted in to play in D2-A. Now, the Trojans are all the way down to D4-A. We saw the possibility of San Joaquin Memorial playing Southwest, but just assumed the CIF wouldn’t ask any team to travel from Fresno to the Imperial Valley or vice-versa so we picked a different lineup. They did ask and it will be the Panthers who have to take this questionable trip.

North: McClymonds (12-0) at East Nicolaus (13-0) – Friday, Dec. 8 at 7:30 p.m.
South: Big Bear (13-1) vs. Golden West (11-2) at Visalia Community Stadium – Friday, Dec. 8 at 7:30 p.m.
Comment: McClymonds head coach Michael Peters seemed to be lobbying to play East Nic (same team the Warriors beat in last year’s NorCal regional final) and got his wish. Getting unbeaten teams to play is always a good thing, though, and that game Friday at East Nic is the one we are going to try to attend. It’s either that or drive to Tulare (last time we tried that we got wrecked on 99) or drive to Folsom (just saw them play).

North: Bear River (10-3) at Fortuna (12-2) – Saturday, Dec. 9 at 6:00 p.m.
South: Monte Vista (8-5) vs. Katella (13-1) at Western HS – Saturday, Dec. 9 at 6:00 p.m.
Comment: It’s hard to get a read on these teams. Love the bracket that Bear River just navigated in the SJS, though, and this is a good spot for the Bruins. Monte Vista and Katella, however, are bigger schools in terms of demographics.

North: St. Patrick-St. Vincent (11-1) at Strathmore (14-0) – Friday, Dec. 8 at 7:30 p.m.
South: Caruthers (12-0) vs. Orange (12-2) at El Modena HS – Friday, Dec. 8 at 7:30 p.m.
Comment: These matchups were expected after all of the results came in. St. Pat-St. Vincent won the D6-A state title last year and is playing the team it beat in the state final in this year’s NorCal final on the road. Strathmore just traveled to Hilmar so it makes sense that the Spartans wouldn’t have to travel this week.

North: Galileo=San Francisco (9-2) at Rio Vista (9-3) – Saturday, Dec. 9 at 6:00 p.m.
South: Huntington Park (11-3) vs. Vincent Memorial (11-2) at Calexico HS – Saturday, Dec. 9 at 6:00 p.m.
Comment: These two bottom teams in both north and south brackets were fairly easy to project. The decision by Northern Section D5 champ Chester not to participate only impacted these teams. We’ll actually be in Rio Vista on Saturday, but it’ll be earlier as we’re undertaking the sad task of collecting all of the sports items that were owned by our friend Bruce McIntosh, who died last Friday at a Vacaville hospital.

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  1. Edmund Prince Johnson
    Posted December 3, 2017 at 8:02 pm | Permalink

    Very enjoyable comments and outstanding reports on the brackets

  2. Tommy
    Posted December 3, 2017 at 10:18 pm | Permalink

    Would love to see you out at East Mic on Friday!

  3. Blake Eagal
    Posted December 4, 2017 at 7:36 am | Permalink

    How do they decide where the Fresno schools play? Central is playing in the north, but San Joaquin Memorial is playing in the south. What determines that?

    • Mark Tennis
      Posted December 4, 2017 at 9:14 am | Permalink

      Hard to give an answer but there tends to be a lack of top teams in the north for larger schools once they start looking at matchups. Both of the Central Sec D1 and D2 champions last year also were in the north. Then this year they had to bring over Strathmore to north for play-in game because of championship schedule changes in other sections. That meant the three remaining Central Sec teams had to be in the south. One of the biggest criticisms of this year’s SoCal lineup is SJM having to go on that far of a road trip. We initially had those two schools playing each other as well, but thought such a trip either way wasn’t fair and made adjustments. It’s perhaps the main reason the middle part of the South board we drew up is different from CIF’s.

  4. DB
    Posted December 4, 2017 at 10:47 am | Permalink

    Can you please explain why Folsom, unbeaten and in a much stronger playoff bracket was not chosen for the Open division game? It seems that DLS gets a free pass every year because the north wants them there over other more deserving teams. The north clearly benefits from not playing an open regional game where Folsom and DLS would meet every year.

    • Mark Tennis
      Posted December 4, 2017 at 12:24 pm | Permalink

      Think we’ve gone over this a million times. Yes, Folsom played a tougher playoff bracket. But we don’t know yet if Pittsburg is better than any other team in the SJS besides Folsom. And Folsom didn’t play or beat anyone like St. John’s of Washington DC. DLS also has not lost to a NorCal team in 26 years and has never lost to an SJS team. They aren’t being given a free pass. They’ve earned the position they’re in. The Open regional game makes no sense in the South anymore, but it still does in the north. It’s no guarantee Folsom can win D1-AA so they should just win that title, then look for ways for next year’s team (which on paper should be better than DLS) to build a case for the Open. Won’t happen unless they play DLS or play another well-known national opponent.

      • DB
        Posted December 4, 2017 at 3:10 pm | Permalink

        So basically, are you saying that “history” and the fact that DLS came from behind to upset St Johns (a multiple loss team by the way) is all they needed to surpass a 14 win team that won a tougher playoff bracket? If so, then my premise is correct because history should not factor in current decision making. This isn’t the BCS.

        • Cal 14
          Posted December 4, 2017 at 4:12 pm | Permalink

          The “multiple losses” for St. Johns were to DLS and St. John Bosco. Seriously ignorant statement.

          Bottom line is that Folsom needs to step up their non-league schedule, period. We’ve been waiting for that for almost 10 years.

          • jae
            Posted December 4, 2017 at 5:25 pm | Permalink

            Try not calling someone ignorant…we can be civil here….I agree that Folsom needs to step up non-league schedule, I am from Folsom and a huge fan so I am quite surprised it has not been done to this point. Del Oro has scheduled the likes of Bishop Gorman, Oaks Christian, strong teams from Hawaii and Utah, to just name a few. Folsom has no excuse. I think we should all take time to reach out to Folsom coaching staff and tell them to do so for next year.

            I do agree that there is a DLS bias (somewhat deserved, somewhat too much of a given) for the Open every year. Plus 2 more games in the playoffs where on any team, DLS has a gimme 2 essentially. The problem you run into is that you get teams like the 2014 Folsom team (who I would argue is as strong as this year’s MD team) who had to settle for D1 and then crush #4 state team 68-7 – and who was said to be better on defense than either BG or DLS that year (from some writers who saw all three teams) and with an otherworldly offense…or this year’s folsom which would not beat MD (next year?) but could be at least as good as DLS this year, maybe slightly better but does not get selected. Simplist solution is to have the Nor Cal Open again and then the loser gets regulated to D1AA..possibly with allowing the SS runner up to be given auto qual into a So Cal D1AA vs. Nor Cal Open runner up for the state.

          • DB
            Posted December 4, 2017 at 7:14 pm | Permalink

            It’s funny that people pick and choose what losses matter and which undefeated seasons don’t and then use phrases like seriously ignorant when I have been posting and following HS football nationally for over 25 years. My nephew plays for SJ Bosco and schedule is the key to every top ranked team. I understand that Folsom can and should do better there but my question was simply why are they automatically passed over every year regardless of record. DLS doesn’t schedule them during the regular year which would make this point moot. Just to mix things up would make it seem a bit more fair especially when DLS playoff bracket is almost comical with 2 games compared to other big time programs not named Bishop Gorman. Fair question I think not ignorant,

        • Mark Tennis
          Posted December 4, 2017 at 4:47 pm | Permalink

          What’s so great about the SJS D1 bracket? D2 this year was just about as good, other than Folsom in it. St Mary’s lost to Central Catholic. Oak Ridge barely beat Vacaville and Reed of Reno. San Ramon Valley was just as good as Jesuit, maybe better. And history like DLS has of course should be factored into it. That’s not BCS thinking. That’s common sense.

          • DB
            Posted December 4, 2017 at 7:15 pm | Permalink

            Never said it was great but it is stronger than having to only play 2 teams and that is a consensus among every person that I spoke to including other top level coaches. Lets just get rid of that playoff altogether and allow DLS the open nod based on their 10 game body of work. It is essentially the exact same thing.

          • Kenneth Moore
            Posted December 6, 2017 at 7:22 am | Permalink

            Oak Ridge beat Del Oro and Granite Bay and St Mary’s beat state top 20 ranked Oak Ridge. With a wr turned 3rd String qb mind you. So saying that St Mary’s lost to Central Catholic (with a wr turned 2nd string qb) doesn’t make the SJS D1 bracket weak. I’m a SM guy and Folsom got robbed. That is a very good team and deserved to be in the open game. Especially considering DLS’s best player is out for the season. MD is going to throttle them. I’ve seen them up close at Levi Stadium when SM played them. Bad choice by the section if you ask me.

  5. Jason Howes
    Posted December 4, 2017 at 10:52 am | Permalink

    Can you explain why Salinas was awarded a home game when Placer has a better record, a higher computer ranking, higher Max preps state ranking, and an enrollment 1/2 of Salinas?

    • Jason Howes
      Posted December 4, 2017 at 10:54 am | Permalink

      And why the game was scheduled for friday and not saturday?

      • Mark Tennis
        Posted December 4, 2017 at 12:29 pm | Permalink

        Pretty sure all games for a particular division are on the same night and that part of it is pre-determined. You’d have to ask the CIF if some of those divisions trade out such as D4AA gets Friday one year and then goes to Saturday the next.

        • Cal 14
          Posted December 4, 2017 at 4:14 pm | Permalink

          AA games are Friday night an A games are Saturday. This is so that the Friday night headlining game in Sacramento is the #2 game of the state bowls.

          By the way, the computer ranking and Maxpreps ranking are the same thing. Not sure how enrollment plays into anything.

    • Mark Tennis
      Posted December 4, 2017 at 12:27 pm | Permalink

      Folsom at home, Granite Bay at home, Manteca at home. Somebody in the SJS was going to have to go on the road. Salinas also has to get some credit for beating Milpitas (which had a higher computer ranking than Placer) and winning CCS Open D1 title. And enrollments no longer have any bearing on it. They should to some degree, but CIF isn’t looking at it that way.

  6. DB
    Posted December 4, 2017 at 3:15 pm | Permalink

    To add to this is the fact that everyone agrees Folsom is the 2nd best team in Norcal and none of the teams from the south that they may meet is close to that position in the south. By separating the top two teams in the north from each other makes it obvious what the north is doing. The 4 best teams in so cal are not participating in this so called competition. Mater Dei is the only top team doing so from the south. Mission Viejo, Bosco or Centennial would destroy any of those teams at the D1 level yet are not allowed to play.

    • Cal 14
      Posted December 4, 2017 at 4:19 pm | Permalink

      Geez, did you just step off of a boat?

      Bottom line is that the sections are setup the way the sections are setup. That’s not changing anytime soon. Folsom simply needs to step up their non-league schedule and play a team like Centennial or Mission Viejo. St. Mary’s got games with St. John Bosco and Mater Dei. Pittsburg got Centennial. DLS got Bishop Gorman and St. John’s.
      Folsom got… Coeur d’Alene?

      • DB
        Posted December 4, 2017 at 7:19 pm | Permalink

        Geez are you a racists with questions like that or simply a troll? High schools schedule who they schedule and in most seasons DLS overall body of work clearly trumps Folsom’s but with their new playoff consisting of 2 games vs Folsom’s against a full slate should factor in based on what many coaches at top schools feel. Should they step up and play better teams nationally? Yes but so should other schools (see Katy Texas and note who they played this year and where they are ranked).

        • jae
          Posted December 4, 2017 at 8:12 pm | Permalink

          I totally agree with your thoughts…people need to not be so nasty and disrespectful, especially when laying out logical conclusions….I do not understand how the CIF can just assume DLS is better, it should be based on the season’s body of work…maybe they out to get out and go to these games…..I know they often value the opinion of Cal Hi Sports, which I understand, but at the same time, Cal High has a bias toward DLS in many respects and some of that is deserved some not. It is not fair to let great teams or even really good teams that might be better or match up at least as well as DLS against So Cal competition get the “lesser bowls” because of a “give me” to DLS…I grew up in East Bay so I am not prejudice toward my more recent hometown of Folsom. Also, we forget that many “national” schools will not play teams like Folsom unless that team has established itself as a worthy challenger (which Folsom is there now) as in the case of DLS or if that national team thinks they can win (as is the case of Del Oro, who seems to get good teams to schedule them but doesn’t necessarily win these games). So Folsom may have tried but have found it hard to do…and I wonder if DLS has refused to schedule Folsom in the regular season….if you look at who DLS has played over the last several years during the regular season…there has been no Folsom, Grant, or Granite Bay, or even SM, it has been DO twice but they know DO could not beat them. I just think there needs to be fairness to considering some teams other than DLS especially in years where you have an amazing team (like Grant in 2008, Folsom in 2014, this year and possibly next) and they get passed (other than Grant) for the Open. We cannot relive history, but I can almost guarantee you that Folsom would have beaten DLS in 2014.

          Congrats to your nephew on playing for SJB, maybe next year they and Folsom will meet!

          • Kenneth Moore
            Posted December 6, 2017 at 7:40 am | Permalink

            Couldn’t have said it better myself. Great analysis. And I agree 100%. Not many top teams in our section will play SM in preseason and SM has had good teams and the only teams that will play are WCAL teams or trinity league teams. We don’t have a budget like DLS to play oos games but at least we are taking on top local teams like, Serra (San Mateo), Cardinal Newman, Central Catholic and top SoCal teams like Bosco last season and THE TOP TEAM IN AMERICA Mater Dei this season. And we will have those caliber teams again next season as well.

          • DB
            Posted December 6, 2017 at 9:53 am | Permalink

            Thanks for your reasonable and well thought out response. It is refreshing to read on boards such as this. As for Bosco vs Folsom, I think Bosco’s slate is already booked for next year and they will be loaded. Many of their key players return in 2018. They are looking to schedule Trinity of Kentucky (multiple time state champ and nationally ranked in top 10) last I was told along with another OOS game vs a national power. I am not sure Folsom is looking to play them next season. Hopefully, they can step out of their area and play someone nationally known.

      • Kenneth Moore
        Posted December 6, 2017 at 7:41 am | Permalink

        Hahahaha that is true!!!

  7. Jeff D
    Posted December 4, 2017 at 9:55 pm | Permalink

    Maybe I’m not understanding the selection process but why did Huntington Park get in a bowl division and San Fernando not, with SF playing in a higher division?

    • Mark Tennis
      Posted December 4, 2017 at 11:15 pm | Permalink

      The L.A. City Section had to either send its Open Division runner-up or its Division I champion. They decided when adding their own Open Division that it would be the runner-up getting that position.

  8. DB
    Posted December 6, 2017 at 4:54 pm | Permalink

    Mark, is there a way to view the regional games via live stream? Please post the link if possible thanks

  9. Kent Newmark
    Posted December 8, 2017 at 6:49 am | Permalink

    Why not determine an Open State Champion with an 8 team tournament. The 2 best teams in California should play for the State title. Why should it be the best team in the north vs best team in south? First, each section determines its top 4 teams and rank them accordingly. This year the south teams in order would be Mater Dei, Bosco, Centennial and Mission Viejo. The north teams would be DLS/Folsom, Pittsburg and probably Serra. Then number 1 in south plays number 4 in north; number 2 in south plays number 3 in north and so on. 3 games- state champion. No disputes. If Mater Dei plays Bosco in finals, those are the best teams(as determined on the field). What’s not to like

    • Mark Tennis
      Posted December 8, 2017 at 9:08 am | Permalink

      Why would Mater Dei have to beat Bosco a third time? That’s the point of section championships and no section would support this plan. If the original proposal to have state football games did not have a stipulation that only section champions could be in it, it never would have passed. The Open Division stuff with runner-ups advancing has come only in the last few seasons from the CCS, then the NCS and now L.A. City. San Diego of course also has an Open Division but doesn’t advance its runner-up.

    • Cal 14
      Posted December 8, 2017 at 3:27 pm | Permalink

      That would make the season 17 games long for some teams. People are already complaining about 15 or 16.

  10. Posted December 10, 2017 at 1:33 pm | Permalink

    Wish I had a chance to say hi Mark,, I was at the game friday night up top filming… Got a bit cool up there but wasn’t too bad since I was dressed for it. Were you field level in pressbox?

    • Mark Tennis
      Posted December 10, 2017 at 5:55 pm | Permalink

      I was on the McClymonds sidelines. Glad the fog didn’t get worse in second half.

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