CIF State Champions (All 14 & MVPs)

San Diego High players whoop it up after defeating Colfax for CIF Division 5-A state title. School founded in 1882 won first CIF state crown. Photo: @KUSISports /

Here’s our annual one-stop home for every CIF state football title game played for the 2018 season. Check here for an MVP selection for each game as well. We have our first-ever two-time MVP since the modern CIF state championships began in 2006 (after a break since 1927) and we have a new all-time single-game rushing record. First-time champions include Liberty of Brentwood, Grace Brethren of Simi Valley, Lawndale, Menlo-Atherton, Wilcox of Santa Clara, Rio Linda, San Diego, Hilmar, Lincoln of San Francisco and Denair. We were 9-2 in state finals we predicted, which was better than 9-4 from last season.

For a look at every MVP from all 13 of the CIF state finals from last season, CLICK HERE.

For a look at every MVP from all 13 of the CIF state finals from two years ago, CLICK HERE.

For a look at every MVP from all 13 CIF state finals from three years ago, CLICK HERE.

For a look at every MVP we chose for the CIF finals we watched from 2006 to 2014 in Carson, CLICK HERE.

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Open Division
Santa Ana Mater Dei (14-1*) 35,
Concord De La Salle (12-1) 21

It was a better showing for De La Salle than in its previous two losses in the Open Division state final, but the Spartans couldn’t stop the Monarchs from repeating. DLS also fell to 7-6 all-time in CIF state finals, but has still comfortably won more CIF state titles than any other school.
MVP Bryce Young. It’s the second straight year an MD quarterback is being considered MVP for this game following JT Daniels from 2017. Young connected on 18 of 25 passes for 296 yards and two TDs and added 30 yards rushing on seven attempts.

Kaiden Bennett is getting team photo taken for Folsom after victory last Friday vs. Cathedral Catholic. Photo: Mark Tennis.

Division 1-AA
Folsom (14-1) 21,
San Diego Cathedral Catholic (11-2*) 14 (Overtime)

A few of the Bulldogs’ highlights were shown during NBC’s Sunday Night football broadcast of the Los Angeles Rams playing the Philadelphia Eagles from the L.A. Coliseum. If the Mater Dei-De La Salle game was the night before, no doubt it would have been the one shown. It went to overtime but Folsom won its fourth overall state crown.
MVP Kaiden Bennett. Here’s an accomplishment Kaiden will always have: First-ever two-time MVP for a CIF state championship in any division. He was the pick last year with 474 yards of offense (still a record for any CIF state final) when the Bulldogs topped Helix of La Mesa 49-42. This year, he went 25 of 32 passing for 262 yards and two TDs (one interception) and he rushed for 168 yards and one TD on 24 carries. That isn’t 474 yards like last year, but 894 over two state title games is pretty darn impressive.

Division 1-A
Brentwood Liberty (13-1) 19,
Chatsworth Sierra Canyon (12-4) 17

It was a come-from-behind win by the Lions, who trailed 17-7 late in the third quarter to win their first CIF state title and deny Sierra Canyon from winning its third.
MVP Tyerell Sturges-Cofer. Last year’s MVP for this game, Narbonne’s Jermar Jefferson, rushed for 158 yards and this year was one of the top freshman RBs in the nation at Oregon State. Sturges-Cofer rushed for 192 yards on 21 carries and had Liberty’s first two scores on runs of 72 and 31 yards. He later scored the game-winner on a 11-yard burst with 3:22 left in the game.

Division 2-AA
Simi Valley Grace Brethren (14-2) 21,
Loomis Del Oro (13-2) 14

It was a grind-it-out win by Lancers, who had to score a lot more when they won in the CIF Southern Section D4 playoffs over Villa Park and Corona del Mar. They won their first CIF state title after losing in the D2-A final last year to St. Francis of Mountain View. Del Oro won its first state title in 2015, but has lost in title games in 2016 and now this season.
MVP Lontrelle Diggs. A perfect running back to have in slug-it-out type of games, Diggs led the way against the Golden Eagles with 27 carries for 191 yards and three touchdowns. He had limited carries due an injury in Grace Brethren’s previous game.

Division 2-A
Lawndale (14-2) 20,
Fresno San Joaquin Memorial (14-1) 12

Having previous games against teams like Sierra Canyon, Calabasas and Narbonne may have helped the Cardinals, who won their school’s first-ever CIF state title.
MVP Jordan Wilmore. Not much of a surprise to pick Jordan. He shined all night vs. the Panthers on runs that often got him into the second level or on runs that kept the chain moving. He ended with 29 carries for 220 yards and two TDs. It’s the same yardage total that Bobby Cole of Sierra Canyon had when the Trailblazers beat Serra (San Mateo) for the D2-A state crown two years ago.

Division 3-AA
Atherton Menlo-Atherton (15-1) 21,
San Diego Lincoln (11-4*) 7

The Bears followed up winning the CCS Open 1 championship over Wilcox (also a state champion) with a state title. Leaving their long trip to Eureka from the week before in the rear view mirror, Menlo-Atherton won its first state title after losing in its first appearance in 2016 in this same division to Paraclete of Lancaster. That game also required a road trip to the Antelope Valley.
MVP Deston Hawkins. We thought about going with one of the Bears’ defenders since they held a team to one touchdown that scored 54 in its previous outing, but according to Glenn Reeves of the Bay Area News Group (who covered that game) it was “a team effort.” Hawkins was M-A’s workhorse running back. He racked up 131 yards on 22 carries and had two TDs.
CIF logo 216

Division 3-A
Santa Clara Wilcox (14-1) 41,
Fontana Kaiser (14-2) 27

An amazing stat from this game is that Wilcox rushed for 447 yards and didn’t attempt a pass for the entire game. The Chargers won their first CIF state title after losing in the CCS Open 1 final to Menlo-Atherton in a game they led most the way.
MVP Gabe Herrera. In a game that featured Kaiser’s Christian Hunter, who came into it with nearly 3,700 yards and threatening to become just the fourth running back in state history to reach 4,000 yards for one season, it was Herrera who had the biggest night. He led the Chargers’ ground attack with 24 carries for 246 yards and four touchdowns.

Division 4-AA
Chico Pleasant Valley (10-3) 43,
Visalia Central Valley Christian (11-3) 14

In a state final played on December 8 and not last weekend, the Vikings won their second state title in three years under the new expanded state championship format. They won this one after receiving one of three byes on the NorCal side of the CIF statewide board due to teams from the CIF North Coast Section deciding to play out their divisional brackets last week instead of playing in a NorCal regional bowl game.
MVP Daniel Chavez. This MVP pick was one of the hardest as the Vikings had numerous candidates including QB Tanner Hughes and super-quick WR/KR Dalton Walker, who ran back the opening kickoff for a score. One of the main reasons Pleasant Valley won was the constant pressure put on CVC’s offense by its defensive line. Chavez led that unit with 3 1/2 sacks, a total that actually also is one of the highest from any CIF state title game played since 2006.

Division 4-A
Oakland McClymonds (14-1) 32,
Los Angeles Garfield (13-2) 6

Garfield was trying to follow Crenshaw as an L.A. City Section Open Division runner-up winning the state title in this division, but ran out of gas against the powerful Warriors, who won their third state title in a row after capturing titles in D5A in 2016 and D5AA last year.
MVP Jarmar Julien. Mack’s MVPs for its two previous state titles were Devin White (2016) and Charles Alberty (2017). Julien follows next and had a sensational night against Garfield with 22 carries for 180 yards and one TD. Jarmar’s 75-yard run late in the third quarter gave the Warriors a 20-6 lead.

Division 5-AA
Rio Linda (13-2) 38,
San Bernardino San Gorgonio (12-4) 35

The dam seemed to have burst for the Knights once they got past perennial power Oakdale in the CIF Sac-Joaquin Section D4 semifinals. They used that energy, plus the special talents of a junior running back (see below), to win the school’s first state title.
MVP Cameron Skattebo. Most in the twitter world were talking about one run that Cameron had in this game in which he broke tackle after tackle and went 67 yards for a score. His final rushing total, however, of 396 yards on 29 carries with two additional TDs probably deserves the most attention. It’s the most yards rushing in any CIF state title game ever played (regardless of division). The previous record of 329 yards was set in a D2 final in 2008 by Tyler Gaffney from Cathedral Catholic of San Diego. Skattebo also ended the season with 3,553 yards. That not only broke the SJS record of 3,458 held by Dixon’s John Bordenkircher (who to be fair did that in three less games) but puts Skattebo at No. 7 on the all-time state list. He also surpassed the NorCal record of 3,488 yards set in 2011 by Olito Thompson of Concord.

Cameron Skattebo put his name into several state historical record lists for the game he had for Rio Linda against San Gorgonio. Photo: James K. Leash / SportStars.

Division 5-A
San Diego (13-2*) 21,
Colfax (13-1) 10

All of the historical notes regarding San Diego High winning its first CIF state title were mentioned on Sunday morning, but it was a difficult win. Colfax was playing at home in the Sierra Foothills and had the home crowd rocking by taking an early 10-0 lead. It also wasn’t that long ago when the Cavers were really struggling to even field a team. When head coach Charles James arrived in 2015, he still had to rebuild from back-to-back seasons of 1-9 and 2-8.
MVP Raiden Hunter. Teammates Jayden Wickware and Mo Jackson made plays too, but Hunter had arguably the top two with a leaping 23-yard TD catch to get the Cavers on the scoreboard and then an interception plus a 60-yard return that set up a score that gave the team a 21-10 lead. Hunter also is one of several seniors who has helped Coach James turn things around at the Balboa Park neighborhood school.

Division 6-AA
Hilmar (13-2) 49,
Strathmore (13-2) 0

A school that once had a 46-game winning streak from 1986 to 1990 when the state record at the time believe it or not was only at 47 (yes, the streak was snapped when the Yellowjackets were trying to tie the record) made history of a different sort with one of the biggest blowout wins in recent years. Head coach Frank Marquez’s team beat the defending champion of this CIF state division as well.
MVP Justin Rentfro. When first posted, we listed teammate Isaac Sharp, but turns out total of 316 rushing yards was not his total but appears to be a team total. If you read the story we saw, it’s easy to see why that mistake was made. Not clearly written. For two-way dominance, Rentfro becomes the choice. He rushed for 132 yards and helped hold Strathmore to just 24 yards rushing. Sharp scored three TDs, but had 81 yards.

Division 6-A
San Francisco Lincoln (12-0*) 24,
Escondido Orange Glen (10-4)

We’ll have more on Mustangs’ head coach Phil Ferrigno coming via a feature story by Harold Abend, but this is the first state title for the Sunset District school. The perfect record is hard to ignore, too. It’s 12-0 not counting a default and it’s 13-0 counting it.
MVP Jovon Baker. Already named the player of the year in the Academic Athletic Association (San Francisco Section), Baker is Lincoln’s quarterback who beat defenses mostly with his legs. Against Orange Glen, he rushed for 155 yards on 20 carries and scored three time. His 52-yard TD run in the fourth quarter gave Lincoln some breathing room. He also had 76 yards passing and seven tackles on defense in the same game.

Predictions, Predictions
As the scores were coming in late on Saturday night, we were getting super pumped up about the very real possibility of going 11-0 for our CIF state title picks. The high scoring game in Rio Linda then came in and it went from 9-0 to 9-1 and then Liberty (Brentwood) came back to beat Sierra Canyon and then it went from 9-1 to 9-2. Still, we’ll take it. The picks we got wrong were on Liberty winning and Rio Linda. The computer also went 9-2. It was wrong on San Diego and Grace Brethren getting wins. We couldn’t make picks on D7-AA and D4-AA due to schedules being changed but already had Mater Dei winning 38-23 before the Monarchs won their game 35-21. Since the CIF went to 13 divisions in 2015, our record in making predictions now stands at 37-13.

Mark Tennis is the co-founder and publisher of He can be reached at Don’t forget to follow Mark on the Cal-Hi Sports Twitter handle: @CalHiSports

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