Saturday NorCal/SoCal Region Finals

Rain-splattered, mud-caked players from Rancho Cotate of Rohnert Park earned CIF NorCal D3-A title plaque after win Saturday vs. Sierra of Manteca. Photo:

Corona del Mar and San Mateo Serra both win in D1-A, as expected, but it wasn’t easy for either one. McClymonds of Oakland also keeps alive its quest for a fourth straight state title while the other big news was the CIF North Coast Section ending 6-0 on the weekend. All seven NCS champions will be trying to win state crowns next weekend.

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Note: CIF Open Division state championship will be next Saturday at Cerritos College between state No. 1 St. John Bosco (Bellflower) and No. 3 De La Salle (Concord). CIF regional finals for the 1AA, 2AA, 3AA, 4AA, 5AA, 6AA and 7AA divisions were all played on Saturday. TO SEE THOSE RECAPS, CLICK HERE.
Teams with win-loss records showing an asterisk indicate forfeit wins/losses not included.

State Top 25 Ranked Teams Seasons Complete
No. 2 Mater Dei (Santa Ana); No. 4 Mission Viejo; No. 7 Centennial (Corona); No. 8 Servite (Anaheim); No. 11 JSerra (San Juan Capistrano); No. 12 Bishop Amat (La Puente); No. 14 Calabasas; No. 15 Narbonne (Harbor City); No. 17 Grace Brethren (Simi Valley); No. 18 Monterey Trail (Elk Grove); No. 19 Folsom; No. 20 Rancho Cucamonga; No. 21 Carlsbad; No. 22 Cathedral Catholic (San Diego); No. 23 Buchanan (Clovis); No. 24 Pittsburg; No. 25 St. Augustine (San Diego).


North: Serra (San Mateo) 28, San Joaquin Memorial (Fresno) 18
Without the inclusion this season of any runner-up teams from any sections (previously for North Coast Open and two from CCS), determining which team would be fifth on the NorCal board after De La Salle and the top teams from the top divisions of the CCS, Sac-Joaquin and NCS was always going to be hard. San Joaquin Memorial became that team and gave it a good shot after winning the Central Section D2 title with several key holdovers from last year’s team that went to D2-A state final. Serra (13-1) won its third NorCal title in four years and will now try for a second CIF state title in three years. The Padres saw a 21-10 lead chopped to 21-16 in the second half, but responded with a 14-play, 86-yard drive that took more than seven minutes off the clock. Jackson Lataimua capped the drive with a 5-yard TD. The Panthers got a safety for their final points as Serra took one deliberately instead of punting from its end zone with one minute left. Sophomore Dominique Lampkin passed for 159 yards on 14 of 17 throws and one TD. He also scored a rushing TD. Terence Loville also had an interception return TD. In his final game of a stellar career, Jalen McMillan of San Joaquin Memorial caught 9 passes for 113 yards.

South: Corona del Mar (Newport Beach) 14, Oceanside 7
The usually potent Sea King offense was getting shut out at halftime, but the defense did its job and in the second half it was Corona del Mar that made just enough plays for the win. The CIF Southern Section D3 champions improved to 15-0 and will now try to match the 16-0 record accomplished by the school’s 2013 team (the first in state history by a few hours ahead of St. John Bosco). Oceanside, the CIF San Diego Section D1 champion which finished 9-5, scored first in the second half on a 5-yard run by Kavika Tua. It was matched on a 40-yard TD pass from Ethan Garbers to Simon Hall. That also was Garbers’ 67th TD pass of the season, which moved him into a tie for third on the Cal-Hi Sports all-time state list. Early in the fourth quarter, Garbers pulled Corona del Mar into a one-score lead with a 1-yard run. The Sea Kings, ranked No. 9 in the State Top 50 (certainly not close to No. 3 in the computer rankings), fumbled the ball away five times and were without leading receiver John Humphries (wrist) for most of the game. Humphries entered the night with 31 TD catches. Oceanside (No. 39 in the state) continued to battle and had several chances in the final minutes to score a possible game-tying touchdown. On the final one, Tua was tackled on a fourth-and-4 from the 4-yard line one-yard short of the end zone.


North: McClymonds (Oakland) 46, Manteca 13
After simply having no competition for more than two months, there were some questions how the unbeaten Warriors (11-0) might do against the CIF Sac-Joaquin Section D3 champions who have won some big games in recent weeks (Central Catholic, Placer, Capital Christian, etc.). They did more than fine. Sophomore QB Dreyan Paul and the offense had the visiting Buffaloes’ off-balance all night, including a 70-yard TD pass to Edward Woods. Jabril White also ran back one kickoff for a touchdown. Head coach Michael Peters’ club will now look to win a fourth straight CIF state title, but the previous crowns were quite bit lower on the board (5A, 5AA, 4A). The Warriors also have a state-best 21-game win streak (22 if you count forfeits) and should move up from their current No. 50 state ranking. They’ve been tough to rank all season, too. Manteca fell to 11-3 for its final record.

South: Pacifica (Oxnard) 51, Birmingham (Lake Balboa) 23
The placement of Birmingham in 2-A even though the Patriots won the L.A. City Open Division title seemed too high when it was announced last week and that was evident rather early in this game. The Tritons (14-1), winners of the CIFSS D6 title, led 31-7 at halftime and will be playing for the school’s first state title next Saturday at Cerritos College. R.J. Maria threw for two TDs and ran for another score in that first half. Nohl Williams also stood out for Pacifica with two interceptions and a TD catch. Birmingham (8-5) won a more wide open L.A. City playoff race after Narbonne of Harbor City was removed by the section office for player eligibility issues. Scooter Carranza of Pacifica set a reported state record by making his 153rd consecutive PAT, but later in the game he had one hit off the uprights no good. He streak ended at 157. The previous record of 152 was set three years ago by Manny Berz from Citrus Hill of Perris. Berz still has the state record for career field goals.

Bakersfield Christian once had future NFL QB Derek Carr leading the way. His brother, Darren, is the current head coach. Photo:


North: Rancho Cotate (Rohnert Park) 10, Sierra (Manteca) 0
The timing of a strong rainstorm hitting south San Joaquin County on Saturday night couldn’t have been worse as Sierra’s Daniel Teicheira Memorial Stadium isn’t turf and became a mud bowl. Fumbles were more frequent and offensive yards were hard to come by. But the visiting Cougars battled for the win. They took a 3-0 lead at halftime on a 37-yard field goal by Alex Sandoval and had the only score of the second half on a two-yard plunge by QB Jared Stocker that followed a bruising breakaway run by Rasheed Rankin that took the ball inside the 5-yard line. Sierra’s Kimoni Stanley had a similar run earlier in the game, but the Timberwolves fumbled and didn’t score. Rancho Cotate (12-3 and North Coast Section D3 champs) wanted to join Cardinal Newman as a Santa Rosa area team going for a state title and it did. Sierra (11-4 and Sac-Joaquin Section D4 champs) has one CIF state title previously in its history but will now have to wait for another try.

South: Bakersfield Christian 42, Sunny Hills (Fullerton) 21
It could be third time’s the charm for the Eagles in next week’s state finals. They lost in their two previous trips to a CIF state championship (2013 to Central Catholic of Modesto and 2016 to Campolindo of Moraga). Bakersfield Christian (11-3), the CIF Central Section D3 champion, won its regional final with strong showings in all facets of the game, including a blocked punt that was returned for a score by Stanford tight end commit Ben Yurosek. Head coach Darren Carr’s squad also got two TD passes from Dominic Gamboni to Ronnie Simril. Sunny Hills, attempting to reach its first CIF state football final, also had two TD passes from a QB to a receiver. It its case, that was QB Luke Duxbury to Wilson Cal. The Lancers (CIFSS D8 champions) ended 12-3.


North: Escalon 41, Pleasant Valley (Chico) 17
One night after Trans-Valley League rival Ripon High won in the NorCal D4-AA final over Sutter, the Cougars (13-1) ventured to Butte County and got their running game rolling. Pleasant Valley, which avenged an earlier loss to Chico in winning the CIF Northern Section D2 title, just couldn’t keep up. The Vikings (7-6) also were trying to win a second straight state title after getting it in D4-AA over Central Valley Christian (Visalia) last season. Colton Panero rumbled for a 22-yard touchdown run that gave Escalon a 12-9 lead after PV had scored earlier to take its only lead on a 13-yard TD pass from Austin York to Ian Guanizon. According to Julian Lopez of the Modesto Bee, Kaden Christensen shined for Escalon with 16 carries for 125 yards and one TD. He also had a touchdown catch and an interception on defense. The Sac-Joaquin Section D6 champions (who lost in the regular season to Ripon) will now try to win their second CIF state title. The first was a memorable upset over favored San Diego Madison in D3 in 2010.

Quarterback Jackson Stratton’s play at quarterback has helped La Jolla reach CIF D4A state final. Photo:

South: La Jolla 27, Marina (Huntington Beach) 14
After knocking off unbeaten Scripps Ranch the week before to win the CIF San Diego Section D3 title, La Jolla came into Saturday night’s regional final with a load of confidence. The victorious Vikings (Marina also is the Vikings) won mainly with defense vs. Scripps Ranch and did it again vs. Marina. They held the CIFSS D10 champions to just 34 yards in the second half and broke a 14-14 tie on a pair of TD passes from Jackson Stratton o Diego Solis. According to the San Diego Union-Tribune, Solis also ended with nine catches for 124 yards and three TDs. La Jolla (10-4) will now make its first CIF state title appearance. Marina’s two touchdowns came on runs by Gavin Del Toro and Brantt Reiderich. The Vikings finished 12-3.


North: Milpitas 26, Caruthers 19
Josue Torres was the NorCal Offensive Player of the Week after he rushed for more than 300 yards in leading Milpitas to the CCS D4 championship. He didn’t get 300 again, but came close and considering the conditions and that the Trojans (8-6) were far from home his 40 carries for 285 yards and three TDs was enough. Milpitas did its most damage on a time-consuming scoring drive in the fourth quarter after the Blue Raiders had cut the lead to 20-19. Torres got that touchdown with just 1:45 left. Isaiah Dwelle then got an interception to ice it. Caruthers (13-2) won the CIF Central Section D5 title, but clearly was playing the role of a small-town, small school (it was reported there are more students at Milpitas than people in Caruthers) against a large school that is benefitting from competitive equity seeding in its section and by the CIF. The team did show that they could compete, but should they have had to? Milpitas, meanwhile, will be trying to win its second CIF state title next week in its second appearance.

South: Reseda 28, Esperanza (Anaheim) 0
This score may have qualified as the most surprising of the night. Reseda was the L.A. City D1 champion but at 10-3 overall it was thought Esperanza (the CIFSS D13 winners but with a win over an Inglewood team that was unbeaten at the time) might have the edge. It was all Regents, however, as they will now join Gardena High next week as L.A. City Section teams looking to win first-ever state titles. Mario Martinez was called the player of the game by Connor Morrissette of Scorebook Live with a touchdown catch and an interception return TD. Trent Butler also came up big for Reseda with two TD passes and a 20-yard TD run. We couldn’t find stats for Esperanza rushing standout Walter Gooding, who came into the night with more than 2,600 yards. The Aztecs ended 11-4.


North: Salesian (Richmond) 35, Santa Cruz 14
When this score came in, it was quickly tweeted out that teams from the CIF North Coast Section had gone 6-0 in their NorCal regional finals and that all seven of the section’s champions will be going for state titles next week. The seventh that didn’t play, of course, was De La Salle of Concord in the Open Division. Salesian did its part by breaking a 14-14 tie against Santa Cruz with quarterback Ronald Robertson playing a key role. The Chieftains (12-2) got the go-ahead score by Dominic Fontanilla on a run in the third quarter. They kept up that momentum against the CCS D5 champions for the rest of the second half. The Cardinals, representing one of the oldest schools in Northern California, had their season finish at 10-4. Salesian, the NCS D7 champions, will now be going for its first CIF state football title. The school has won state titles before in boys basketball and girls basketball.

South: Bishop bye
The Broncos (11-2) are champions of the CIF Central Section for Division 6. They were placed on the SoCal board ahead of both Parker (San Diego) and Gardena (played last night in D7-AA with Gardena winning) probably due to their computer ranking. The bye is mainly due to Bishop’s remote location on 395 in the eastern Sierras. The team will travel next week to Salesian of Richmond for the state final.

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:

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