Highest state-ranked teams playing Friday were No. 6 Folsom and No. 7 Central of Fresno against each other in D1-AA NorCal final. Folsom won 54-35, but the Grizzlies still mounted an impressive comeback that fell short. The Bulldogs will now play D1-AA SoCal champ Helix of La Mesa for state title after the Highlanders beat higher-ranked Oaks Christian. Other Friday winners were Serra of San Mateo, Cajon of San Bernardino, Placer of Auburn, McClymonds of Oakland, Golden West of Visalia, Strathmore and Orange.
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Note: The only division in which there are no regional finals this weekend is the Open Division. Both De La Salle of Concord (11-1) and Mater Dei of Santa Ana (14-0) go directly into that state final, which will be at Hornet Stadium, Sacramento State – Saturday, Dec. 16 at 8:00 p.m.
North: Folsom 54, Central (Fresno) 35
After building a 34-7 lead, the Grizzlies came back on the Bulldogs and got it down to within 40-35. Folsom’s offense wasn’t stopped on the ensuing possession and then a few minutes later C.J. Hatton scooped up a fumble and ran it back for a 62-yard TD. Folsom will now try to win its third CIF state title and go 16-0 for the second time.
Head coach Kris Richardson’s squad (ranked No. 6 in the state coming into the game) was powered yet again by junior QB Kaiden Bennett (312 yards passing, four TDs) and junior WR Joe Ngata (3 TD catches). Bennett also had a short TD run while Daniyel Ngata, the sophomore RB and younger brother of Joe, rushed for 126 yards and two TDs.
Central (ranked at No. 7 in the state since its only loss coming into the night was 45-30 to No. 3 De La Salle) was hard to stop at time as well. Junior QB Trent Tompkins threw three TD passes to Jacob Torrez, but two fourth down stops prevented the Grizzlies from keeping up with Folsom’s offense. Central finished 12-2.
South: Helix (La Mesa) 28, Oaks Christian (Westlake Village) 13
Cheered on by alum and former NFL star Reggie Bush, the Highlanders advanced to their second CIF state final and will try to go for their second title next week with a road win over the Lions.
Helix (13-1 and ranked No. 13 in the state) beat a team that was ranked higher — Oaks Christian (12-3) was No. 8 — on the strength of its offensive line plus sophomore running back Elelyon Noa. That offensive line gave up no sacks to a Lions’ defense that had 11 in its previous game. Noa rushed for 160 yards and one TD.
Helix’s lower ranking is because it has a head-to-head loss to Paraclete of Lancaster, which also is a team that Oaks Christian defeated early in the season. Now that the Highlanders have a win over Oaks Christian, they can go higher than Paraclete in next week’s rankings.
Rashad Scott had the biggest play on defense for Helix by scoring on a interception returh.
Oaks Christian had a hard time moving the ball, which was partly due to the Helix defense but also was because the Lions lost their No. 1 and No. 2 quarterbacks (Josh Calvert and Marco Siderman) to injuries. Trae Johnson was the team’s quarterback for much of the second half.
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.
North: Serra (San Mateo) 76, Tulare Union 43
Before this game, we wondered how Tulare might fare after not really having to face any opponent all year quite like the Padres. The bottom line was that the Tribe’s offense fared well, but the defense couldn’t come close to stopping the Padres all night long.
Serra set a school record for points that previously was 69 from a game in 2005. The Padres, who had moved up to No. 25 in the state this week and improved to 12-2, ran and passed with equal explosiveness. QB Luke Bottari threw three TD passes, two to Patrick Nunn, while David Coker rushed for TDs of 30, 49 and 24 yards. Edmond Lahlouh also scored on a 62-yard fumble return.
Kazmeir Allen scored twice for Tulare, including once on a 91-yard run. That enabled him to set a national single season record with 72 TDs. That also is the total he’ll be listed with as his final total in the Cal-Hi Sports state record book. The Tribe (13-1) were up to No. 32 in the state rankings this week, but it’s possible the nature of the loss to Serra could drop them all the way out of the State Top 50 in the next rankings.
South: Cajon (San Bernardino) 70, Rancho Verde (Moreno Valley) 23
Turnovers sealed Rancho Verde’s fate in the first half of this game. The Mustangs had five of them (four on fumbles) and by halftime the Cowboys had the outcome in hand.
Despite the huge point total, it wasn’t that great of a stat night for Cajon QB Jayden Daniels. Big plays were the difference such as a 30-yard interception return TD by Jonathon Perkins, a 90-yard kickoff return TD by Daniel Fortune and an 85-yard score by Jerome Weber after he took a lateral from Jeremiah Martin. Cajon improved to 14-1 and will now attempt to win its first CIF state football crown. Head coach Nick Rogers’ team was No. 27 in the state this week.
As for Rancho Verde, it was a tough ending to a CIFSS D3 championship season. The team ended 12-3 and will likely drop out from its No. 43 listing in the State Top 50.
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.
North: Marin Catholic (12-0) at Shasta (11-1) – Saturday, Dec. 9 at 6:00 p.m.
South: Quartz Hill (13-1) vs. Bishop Diego (13-1) at California Lutheran – Saturday, Dec. 9 at 6:00 p.m.
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.
North: Placer (Auburn) 43, Salinas 42 (OT)
After falling behind 21-0 in the first half, the Hillmen (13-1) got their Wing T offense cranked up and won with a thrilling finish on the road against a team that just won the CIF Central Coast Section Open Division 1 title. Placer got the ball first in overtime after the two teams tied 36-36 in regulation and scored. Salinas answered but the extra point kick was missed, handing the win to the boys from the Sierra Foothills. The Cowboys wrapped up their season at 11-3.
South: Crenshaw (10-3) at El Camino (8-5) – Saturday, Dec. 9 at 6:00 p.m.
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.
North: McClymonds (Oakland) 35, East Nicolaus 12
It was double dose of good news for the Warriors after they overpowered the Spartans for the second straight year in a regional final. In addition to winning, they learned that Golden West of Visalia had won in the D5-AA game for the SoCal bracket so there would be no trip to much further and much more difficult Big Bear.
“That’s great. We won’t have to be on the bus so long,” said McClymonds head coach Michael Peters, who took his team to La Jolla Country Day to win last year’s D5-AA crown. “We’ll be able to prepare easier and then just go down to the Fresno area and take care of business.”
The Warriors, who have now won 24 games in a row and improved to 13-0, were led by senior QB Emoreea Fountain, who passed for four TDs and ran for another score. Three of his TDs went to fellow senior Charles Alberty. The other TD was to Day’Marr Johnson.
East Nicolaus, which ended 13-1, had a difficult time with McClymonds’ speed but hung tough in the first half with two fourth down stops plus an interception. Mo Bautista’s 6-yard run late in the opening quarter also cut the Warriors’ early lead to 14-6. Spartan coaches expressed their general disappointment with the CIF’s placement of their traditional small school, small town program opposite McClymonds, but credited the Warriors for the way they played.
South: Golden West (Visalia) 41, Big Bear (Big Bear Lake) 21
Gonzalo Rodriguez already has the all-time career rushing record for any player from a Visalia school and added to his numbers with 30 carries for 252 yards and three TDs on Friday night. It was a back-and-forth contest in the first half, but Golden West (12-2) went on a 27-0 run in the second half. The Trailblazers will be in their first CIF state final next week against McClymonds. Big Bear (12-2) committed three turnovers and will have to be satisfied with winning the CIFSS D12 championship.
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.
North: Strathmore 49, St. Patrick-St. Vincent (Vallejo) 35
Revenge from losing in last year’s D6-A state final to St. Patrick-St. Vincent was earned by the Spartans on a couple of big plays in the fourth quarter. In improving to 15-0, Strathmore broke a 35-35 tie in the fourth quarter on a 24-yard TD pass from Nick Salas to Andres Lara. On the ensuing series for St. Pat, Lara came up with big play on defense to cause a 12-yard loss. Strathmore got the ball back and then put the score out of reach with Joseph Garcia’s fourth rushing touchdown of the night. Akil Edwards led the Bruins (12-2) with second half TD runs of 84 and 73 yards.
South: Orange 46, Caruthers 43 (OT)
The Blue Raiders had a 43-35 lead with less than five minutes left, but the Panthers came through with 4:09 remaining on a 33-yard TD pass from Jason Wilkinson to Jordan Schmitt. Wilkinson then tried to run for a two-point conversion and he made it to tie the score at 43-43. Caruthers couldn’t score at the end so the two teams went to overtime and after being stopped on its first series that put Orange in a position to win. Nick Guzman did that by drilling an 18-yard field goal. Caruthers lost its first game and ended at 12-1. Orange improved to 13-2. It was a great game and great win, but Orange is a school that is about three times larger than Caruthers.
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.
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