We’ll have a separate post coming on Saturday containing the actual all-decade all-state football teams for the 2010s, but for this first announcement we’re taking care of the major awards: State Player of the Decade, State Coach of the Decade, State Team of the Decade, State School of the Decade and State Game of the Decade. St. John Bosco and Mater Dei each get one and are involved in another. De La Salle also gets one while none of the three has the Player of the Decade.
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STATE PLAYER OF THE DECADE:
Jake Browning (Folsom)
With the insane totals that Jake put up in his three seasons at Folsom from 2012 to 2014, it proved almost impossible not to put him at quarterback for all-state all-decade and choose him Player of the Decade.
No, he didn’t end up in the NFL like Jared Goff, Sam Darnold or Josh Allen (both 2010s), but this isn’t a team based on what’s happened since high school. The high school accomplishments are counting the most.
Browning, the 2014 Mr. Football State Player of the Year, ended his legendary prep career with 16,689 yards passing (still the state record and one of the best in U.S. history) and a national record 229 TD passes. He had a state record 5,704 yards as a senior for Folsom’s 16-0 team that won the CIF D1 state title and was one of the best teams in the state for the decade. We’ll just never know how good that team was because it didn’t play De La Salle of Concord (the 2014 CIF Open Division champion that beat Folsom in 2012 and 2013 in NorCal Open Division games).
Browning also wasn’t exactly a bust at Washington, either. He started for the Huskies in a national semifinal game against Alabama in 2016 and he passed for more than 12,000 yards with a 39-15 record as a starter in Seattle. His career did seem to wane after a shoulder injury suffered during the 2016 season and then operated on after that season. He is currently on the Minnesota Vikings’ practice squad.
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STATE TEAM OF THE DECADE:
Mater Dei (Santa Ana) 2017
Oh boy, let the debates begin about which of the CIF Open Division state title teams that have been won five times during the 2010s by either the Monarchs or St. John Bosco (Bellflower) should be considered higher than the rest.
Those two obviously have separated themselves from the rest of the state (and just about everyone else in the nation) over the last four seasons. That is based on how they’ve done in games against top teams from outside of the state and on the sheer number of elite Division I college prospects that each has in the starting lineups.
There is only one of those four teams, however, that has gone 2-0 against the other super power in any one season and that would be the 2017 Monarchs. The other three have all split, including this year’s team at Bosco (lost the first, won the second); last year’s team at Mater Dei (lost the first, won the second); and the 2016 team at Bosco (lost the first, won the second). Bosco’s 2013 team that was 16-0 also would have be considered, but unlike Mater Dei for 2017 was not a consensus No. 1 team in the nation. Maybe that’s because the Braves had yet to establish themselves nationally in 2013, but for whatever reason Mater Dei of 2017 was No. 1 by all major national polls.
Another reason we give a slight edge to MD of 2017 and that is that head coach Bruce Rollinson’s team that season didn’t even have any close calls. It was a group that just hit the field with a single-mindedness of purpose and that was to take care of business. The closest that the Monarchs came to losing was by 31-21 to Bosco in the first of their two wins over the Braves. Mater Dei 2017 also had a momentous win against Bishop Gorman of Las Vegas to snap Gorman’s 55-game winning streak.
In the team’s final game, a 52-21 win over De La Salle for the CIF Open Division title, the Monarchs weren’t even at full strength as all-state linebacker Solomon Tuliaupupu was out with an injury. They still had others making plays on that side of the ball with players like quarterback J.T. Daniels (who later reclassified from being a junior to a senior) and receiver Amon-Ra St. Brown making plays on offense.
There also were some who were writing that Mater Dei of 2019 was a better team than 2017, but that group didn’t win at the end like 2017 did.
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STATE SCHOOL OF THE DECADE:
De La Salle (Concord)
The numbers still add up for the Spartans to be ahead of both Mater Dei and St. John Bosco considering all 10 years of the decade and not just the last four when they fell short in CIF Open Division state final matchups all against those other two.
In terms of winning the most CIF state titles of the decade, even including all schools and not just the Open Division, De La Salle led the state with five. Its championships (all in the Open Division) are for the 2010, 2011, 2012, 2014 and 2015 seasons.
The first three of those titles in the decade came during the final three seasons when the program was still being led by longtime previous head coach Bob Ladouceur, who retired after the 2012 season with an all-time state leading 399 wins since 1979. Ladouceur’s successor, Justin Alumbaugh, was the head coach of the two teams that won back-to-back CIF Open titles in 2014 and 2015. Alumbaugh has continued in that role since then, but hasn’t yet been able to come up with a formula to get the program closer to Southern California’s big two. Still, every one of Alumbaugh’s teams of the decade has been top five in the state, including No. 3 this year.
Plus, in terms of the school with the best win-loss record in the state over the last 10 years, De La Salle is on top in that category as well. The Spartans are 130-10 in the time span. Folsom is second at 135-12. Bosco has gone 126-18. De La Salle also would have been School of the Decade for the 1990s (just one loss) and close to the top for the 2000s and the 1980s.
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STATE COACH OF THE DECADE:
Jason Negro (St. John Bosco, Bellflower)
Since we hadn’t picked either Negro or De La Salle’s Justin Alumbaugh as a State Coach of the Year before heading into this year’s CIF Open Division state final, the thinking heading into it was that the winner was going to be State Coach of the Year and since the winner also was going to be winning his third CIF Open state title of the decade then that same person would be State Coach of the Decade. Both coaches also had great storylines for the decade as well.
Negro’s team won that game and he already has been written up separately as the State Coach of the Decade s well as State Coach of the Year. To see that announcement from earlier this week (which also includes selections of previous State Coaches of the Decade for the 1980s, 1990s and 2000s), CLICK HERE.
State Game of the Decade:
St. John Bosco 39, Mater Dei 34 (2019)
This was the latest of several No. 1 vs. No. 2 in the nation matchups between the Braves and Monarchs. It’s hard to choose between them, plus there was that insane 2015 CIF Southern Section Division I final when Bosco lost 62-52 to Centennial of Corona in a game that the Huskies led 55-31 at halftime, but considering that both quarterbacks in this latest Bosco-MD game both threw for more than 400 yards and considering it was a back-and-forth matchup that came down to the final seconds (not too many of their games have been that nerve-wracking at the end) we’re going with this one.
The stakes were high not just for the season but historically for this 2019 matchup. Mater Dei was looking to win its third straight CIF Open Division title not just sweep the Braves, a title that Bosco won instead two weeks later for its third state title of the decade.
None of other CIFSS title games between these two also involved arguably the top two quarterbacks in the nation. With Alabama-bound Bryce Young looking good in the early going, Mater Dei jumped out to the lead and had built it to 28-5 by the middle of the second quarter. Clemson recruit D.J. Uigalelei then drove Bosco for a score just before halftime to make it 28-12.
In the third quarter, Mater Dei’s offense hit some roadblocks and the Bosco comeback really got going. Uigalelei found Logan Loya for a go-ahead touchdown and a 32-28 lead in the fourth quarter and then he hit Loya again in the end zone and just like that it was the Braves that were leading 39-28.
But Mater Dei wasn’t done. Young’s fifth touchdown pass of the night cut the deficit to 39-34 and the Monarchs got the ball back twice with a chance to win at the finish. The Bosco defense then made plays to prevent that chance from becoming a reality.
For the game, Uigalelei passed for 440 yards and five scores. Young had 405 yards and his five touchdowns. As those two quarterbacks continue to develop in college, we have a feeling their final high school matchup (2-2 for each in games against the other quarterback) will be recalled many times in upcoming years.