In the most anticipated decision of the day, Serra of San Mateo gains the NorCal berth into the CIF Open Division state final opposite national No. 1 ranked Mater Dei from the south. A few teams were much higher and a few were much lower than expected on the two sides of games from Division 1-AA down to 7-A, but the major takeaway of the various matchups is that there were no teams among all of the CIF section champions that opted out of being in the regional championships.
This post is derived from the actual CIF media release that was completed and sent out just around 12 noon on Sunday.
To compare to the teams we picked prior to the Sunday meeting of the CIF section commissioners, our north lineup can be seen HERE, while the south lineup can be seen HERE.
(Note that the CIF state football championships resumed in 2006 after a hiatus that began in 1928.)
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Serra of San Mateo (CCS D1) 11-1 vs. Mater Dei of Santa Ana (CIFSS D1) 11-0 at Saddleback College on Saturday, Dec. 11 at 8:00 p.m.
Comment: The Monarchs are looking to add a CIF Open state title to the two they won in 2017 and 2018. Serra has never been in the Open Division before. Its last appearance was a loss to Corona del Mar of Newport Beach in 2019 in D1-A. The Padres won their only state title in 2017 in D2-AA.
North: Folsom (SJS D1) 10-3 at De La Salle of Concord (NCS D1) 10-2 on Friday, Dec. 3 at 7:30 p.m.
South: Cathedral Catholic of San Diego (SD Open) 9-2** vs. Lutheran of Orange (CIFSS D2) 10-4 at Orange Coast College on Friday, Dec. 3 at 7:30 p.m.
Comment: This is the first time since 2008 when De La Salle has not been the NorCal team in the Open Division. The CIF obviously went by the comparative scores involving St. Francis to select Serra (Padres 1-1 vs Lancers, Spartans 0-1). DLS not only has an earlier win this season at Folsom, but also won at home against Cathedral Catholic. Folsom has won four CIF state titles, DLS has won seven, Cathedral Catholic has two, Orange Lutheran one.
North: Pittsburg (NCS D1) 9-2 vs. Liberty of Bakersfield (Central Sec D1) 10-2 at Bakersfield College on Saturday, Dec. 4 at 6:00 p.m.
South: Long Beach Poly (CIFSS D4) 11-3 at Serra of Gardena (CIFSS D3) 9-4 on Saturday, Dec. 4 at 6:00 p.m.
Comment: Counting the spring, LB Poly and Serra have played twice this year in super-close, exciting game. Serra won earlier this season, 28-27. LB Poly fans also are hoping this is a good spot in which the fabled program can nab its first state title. Serra won its second and last CIF state title in 2012. Pitt is used to playing Liberty of Brentwood and Liberty of Bakersfield played at the NorCal Honor Bowl this season that was played at the other Liberty. Neither has won a CIF state title.
North: Bullard of Fresno (Central Sec D2) 9-4 at Central Catholic of Modesto (SJS D2) 12-1 on Friday, Dec. 3 at 7:30 p.m.
South: Helix of La Mesa (SD D1) 9-3 at Mater Dei Catholic (SD D3) 11-0* on Friday, Dec. 3 at 7:30 p.m.
Comment: We thought the CIF would like the idea of the Fresno and Modesto schools facing off in this division and that’s what happened. In the south, Helix and Mater Dei Catholic have been near each other in the overall San Diego Section rankings for several weeks. The locals are calling the choice by the CIF to have them play each other in this game “an early Christmas present.”
North: Manteca (SJS D3) 10-3 at Wilcox of Santa Clara (CCS D2) 10-2 on Saturday, Dec. 4 at 6:00 p.m.
South: Scripps Ranch of San Diego (SD D2) 11-1 at Valencia (CIFSS D5) 9-4 on Saturday, Dec. 4 at 6:00 p.m.
Comment: We had these two playing each other but in a lower division. Manteca has three league losses (avenging one of them vs Oakdale) and had a 32-13 loss in the spring to McClymonds. Must be a computer ranking for Manteca ahead of McClymonds because we have Mack higher and that’s isn’t going to change. Wilcox is too high as well. The order in the south down to D2-A seemed obvious and the CIF’s games matched our rankings.
North: Vanden of Fairfield (SJS D4) 11-2 at Windsor (NCS D3) 11-1 on Friday, Dec. 3 at 7:30 p.m.
South: Newport Harbor of Newport Beach (CIFSS D7) 7-7 at Aquinas of San Bernardino (CIFSS D8) 9-5 on Friday, Dec. 3 at 7:30 p.m.
Comment: We didn’t envision the CIF having three games in the SoCal regionals involving CIFSS teams playing each other. There was only one last time. So what does that mean when the champion of the lower division beats the higher division? That the competitive equity model got it wrong? Windsor has never won a CIF state title, but first year head coach Paul Cronin was the head coach at Cardinal Newman two years ago when it won the state title in this very same division. We recall watching a very close game on a stream last spring when Cardinal Newman edged Vanden.
North: Campolindo of Moraga (NCS D2) 10-3 at McClymonds of Oakland (Oak) 10-1 on Saturday, Dec. 4 at 6:00 p.m.
South: Birmingham of Lake Balboa (LA City Open) 8-5 at Patrick Henry of San Diego (SD D4) 10-2 on Saturday, Dec. 4 at 6:00 p.m.
Comment: McClymonds, with just an overtime loss to CCS D1 semifinalist Menlo-Atherton plus a win against Marin Catholic, seems too low, but the way Campo has been playing over its last two games it won’t be an upset if it wins in this game. Birmingham is two divisions lower than it was in two years ago. We had them here as well, but against Aquinas with Newport Harbor and Patrick Henry in D3-AA. The Mack-Campo matchup also is great from a historical standpoint. They’ve combined for five CIF state titles (three for the Warriors, two for the Cougars).
North: Escalon (SJS) D5) 12-1 vs. Marin Catholic of Kentfield (NCS D4) 12-1 at San Rafael H.S. on Friday, Dec. 3 at 7:30 p.m.
South: Central Valley Christian of Visalia (Central Sec D3) 10-4 at Serrano of Phelan (CIFSS D9) 11-3 on Friday, Dec. 2 at 7:30 p.m.
Comment: This is a tough spot for Escalon, which is in the same division that league rival Ripon won in 2019. The difference is that Marin Catholic has fallen that low, which has been in more than one D2 state final. The two schools have both played San Diego Madison in state finals — Escalon winning in 2010 and MC losing in 2012 in the final game of Jared Goff’s career.
North: Chico (Northern Sec D2) 9-3 vs. Sacred Heart Cathedral of San Francisco (CCS D3) 5-7 at Kezar Stadium on Saturday, Dec. 4 at 6:00 p.m.
South: Northview of Covina (CIFSS D11) 8-6 at Colony of Ontario (CIFSS D10) 8-6 on Saturday, Dec. 4 at 6:00 p.m.
Comment: None of these teams have won a CIF state title before. Sacred Heart Cathedral is from the same league as Serra in the Open Division. None of these four have played any opponent even close to that (or St. Francis or Valley Christian or Bellarmine, either).
North: San Marin of Novato (NCS D5) 12-1 vs. Sutter (Northern Sec D3) 11-1 at River Valley H.S.(Yuba City) on Friday, Dec. 3 at 7:30 p.m.
South: Independence of Bakersfield (Central Sec D4) 8-6 at Venice (LA City D1) 8-3 on Friday, Dec. 3 at 7:30 p.m.
Comment: San Marin’s only loss was in a one-score game with league rival Marin Catholic. None of these teams has won a CIF state title before.
North: University Prep of Redding (Northern Sec D4) 13-0 at Sacred Heart Prep of Atherton (CCS D4) 6-7 on Saturday, Dec. 4 at 1:00 p.m.
South: Righetti of Santa Maria (Central Sec D5) 9-4 vs. Northwood of Irvine (CIFSS D11) 9-5 at Irvine H.S. on Saturday, Dec. 4 at 6:00 p.m.
Comment: U-Prep’s girls volleyball team just last week won the school’s first-ever CIF state title in any sport. Its fans probably are curious why their 13-0 team is on the road against a 6-7? First, it has to do with each section getting a certain fair share of home games. And second, strength of schedule for SHP is hard to beat. All of its losses are to teams that were in higher CCS divisions.
North: St. Vincent de Paul of Petaluma (NCS D7) 11-1 at Argonaut of Jackson (SJS D6) 10-3 on Friday, Dec. 3 at 7:30 p.m.
South: Quartz Hill (CIFSS D12) 9-4 at Palo Verde of Blythe (SD D5) 11-2 on Friday, Dec. 3 at 7:30 p.m.
Comment: With an enrollment of nearly 3,000, Quartz Hill is gargantuan compared to the other three schools in this division. If Quartz Hill wins out, those against all-out competitive equity will have some proof why that system may not be the best and needs more revision.
North: Aragon of San Mateo (CCS D5) 9-4 at Salesian of Richmond (NCS D6) 9-2 on Saturday, Dec. 4 at 1:00 p.m.
South: El Camino Real of Woodland Hills (LA City D3) 6-7 vs. Arlington of Riverside (CIFSS D13) 6-8 at Ramona H.S. (Riverside) on Saturday, Dec. 4 at 6:00 p.m.
Comment: The only difference from our projected board at the bottom was El Camino Real being lower than Morro Bay. That’s because the L.A. City’s two title teams from D2 and D3 have not done much in these games in recent years.
North: Le Grand (SJS D7) 8-5 at Fall River of McArthur (Northern Sec D5) 11-0 on Saturday, Dec. 4 at 6:00 p.m.
South: Loara of Anaheim (CIFSS D14) 8-6 at Morro Bay (Central Sec D6) 6-6 on Friday, Dec. 3 at 7:30 p.m.
Comment: Le Grand just knocked off an unbeaten team (Woodland Christian) and will now get to try to do it again. Fall River opted out of being in these regional games the last two times it won a section title and we’re glad to see the school come in this time. The squad has been hugely dominant in the Northern Section and needs the challenge. Either Loara or Morro Bay going on a trip to Fall River for the final will be quite a journey.
DIVISION 7–A Championship
Taft of Woodland Hills (LA City D3) 6-7 at Balboa of San Francisco (SF AAA) 8-4 on Saturday, Dec. 11 at 1:00 p.m.
Comment: These were the two teams on the bottom of both boards and since there were no teams that opted out the CIF didn’t have a choice but to just match them for a one-game championship. Two years ago, Gardena made the same trip up north to play Lincoln of S.F. and lost.
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