Not every one of the so-called big four this year in the CIF Southern Section was from a private school. Centennial of Corona is public and therefore became an easy choice to be the 2021 State Public School Team of the Year. We also are congratulating Mater Dei Catholic of Chula Vista as State Medium Schools & Division II Team of the Year plus Menlo School of Atherton as State Small Schools & Division IV Team of the Year. The Division III & Division V State Teams of the Year are McClymonds of Oakland and Campbell Hall of North Hollywood.
FOR ANNOUNCEMENT OF SANTA ANA MATER DEI AS STATE TEAM OF YEAR, CLICK HERE.
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NOTE: Divisional placement for each school is based mostly on the divisions in which each school competed in during that season in their CIF section and CIF regional/state divisions. League strength also has always been a major component of division placement. Enrollments are used in much lower priority in recent years in section playoff division placement in favor of competitive equity. Enrollments are a factor in our five-division format in that a school with a large enrollment (especially those with 2,500 or more) cannot be in our D4 or D5 because those divisions over the years have been the ones we consider for traditional “small” schools representing smaller towns.
STATE PUBLIC SCHOOLS TEAM OF YEAR:
CENTENNIAL OF CORONA
For the last few years, it’s been the Huskies along with Mission Viejo and the last spring season’s honoree, Folsom, vying for the claim as California’s No. 1 public school football program. It wasn’t close this time as Centennial has captured the honor for the fifth time in the last seven years.
There were several glaring examples of how good head coach Matt Logan’s squad (11-1) was this year. First, there is suffering just one loss and that being by just 21-16 to state and national No. 1 Mater Dei of Santa Ana. Second, there was a 57-14 romp past eventual CIF D1-AA state champion Cathedral Catholic of San Diego. And third, there was an impressive 62-16 victory in the CIF Southern Section D1 quarterfinals against Mission Viejo. The Diablos were not unbeaten at the time of that game, but they had wins against Alemany of Mission Hills and Sierra Canyon of Chatsworth earlier in the season.
Logan went to a two-quarterback offense with juniors Izzy Carter and Carson Conklin and it was very effective. Junior RB Jayson Cortes also was strong with nearly 1,000 yards rushing. Two of the leading recievers, Eric Denham and Malachi Riley, also will be back next season along with one of the state’s top Class of 2023 defensive backs, Aaron Williams.
CAL-HI SPORTS STATE PUBLIC SCHOOLS
FOOTBALL TEAMS OF THE YEAR
2021 – Centennial (Corona) 11-1
2020 – Folsom 6-0**
2019 – Mission Viejo 11-1
2018 – Centennial (Corona) 14-1
2017 – Centennial (Corona) 10-2
2016 – Centennial (Corona) 11-2
2015 – Centennial (Corona) 14-1
2014 – Folsom 16-0
2013 – Long Beach Poly (Long Beach) 11-2
2012 – Centennial (Corona) 14-2
2011 – Vista Murrieta (Murrieta) 14-0*
2010 – Folsom 14-1
2009 – Oceanside 14-0
2008 – Centennial (Corona) 15-0**
2007 – Centennial (Corona) 13-2
2006 – Canyon (Canyon Country) 12-2
2005 – Dominguez (Compton) 13-1
2004 – Mission Viejo 14-0*
2003 – J.W. North (Riverside) 14-0
2002 – Los Alamitos 13-0-1
2001 – Long Beach Poly (Long Beach) 12-1
2000 – Long Beach Poly (Long Beach) 14-0
1999 – Hart (Newhall) 14-0
1998 – Elk Grove 14-0
1997 – Long Beach Poly (Long Beach) 14-0
1996 – Fontana 11-1-1
1995 – Long Beach Poly (Long Beach) 12-1
1994 – Los Alamitos 12-1
1993 – Eisenhower (Rialto) 14-0*
1992 – Clovis West (Fresno) 13-0
1991 – Eisenhower (Rialto) 13-1
1990 – Merced 14-0*
*Also overall State Team of Year.
**Played in 2021 spring season.
STATE DIVISION II & MEDIUM SCHOOLS TEAM OF THE YEAR:
MATER DEI CATHOLIC OF CHULA VISTA
One advantage to the Crusaders not being in the CIF San Diego Section Open Division is that their section playoff placement, league strength and enrollment make them eligible to be considered medium schools and below Division I for the final state rankings by Cal-Hi Sports. All of those rankings are still to be done, but for No. 1 in both it will be head coach John Joyner’s squad.
The Crusaders capped a 13-0 season with a 34-25 triumph against Central Catholic of Modesto last Friday in the CIF D2-AA state championship. They earlier showed they were much better than their D3 placement in the CIF San Diego Section with a 24-21 win over D1 section champion Helix of La Mesa in the CIF SoCal D2-AA regional bowl game. The school still won’t be eligible for the San Diego Open Division next season due to current guidelines in that section despite all of the impressive juniors who will be back.
One of the juniors, LB Tre Edwards, will be one of the top recruits in the nation. QB Dominic Nankil and RB Nico Mosley, who also led the way in the win vs. Central Catholic, also will be back.
This is the first state team of the year selection for MD Catholic, sort of. In 2003, Marian Catholic of Chula Vista (which was the previous parochial school in Chula Vista and was closed when the new school was built) went 13-0 and was D4 State Team of the Year. The city of Chula Vista also had a No. 1 team in D2 before, which was 13-0 Castle Park in 1996. Mater Dei Catholic was not a state team of the year in any of our divisions in 2015 when it won the D5AA state title.
STATE DIVISION III TEAM OF THE YEAR:
MCCLYMONDS OF OAKLAND
While McClymonds claimed its fourth CIF state title last Saturday with a 54-7 obliteration of Lake Balboa Birmingham in the D3-A final, the Warriors haven’t been a state team of the year that many times. They were No. 1 in the final D4 rankings for 2017 and 2018, but were not in 2016.
We know that the school’s enrollment would be D5 if only enrollment were considered, but there are other factors (always have been) and the Warriors were moved up to D3 in 2019 when they lost to Pacifica of Oxnard in the D2-A state final. They are still D3 for those rankings and it’s now been determined that McClymonds will be No. 1 in those final rankings.
Head coach Michael Peters’ squad (12-1) showed its strength in games that were not part of the CIF Oakland Section schedule or in the games it played after it was placed in the CIF NorCal 3-A game opposite Campolindo of Moraga. The Warriors’ best win was against CIF D4-AA state champion Marin Catholic (that team’s only loss) and their only loss came in overtime to a Menlo-Atherton of Atherton club that played in the CIF Central Coast Section D1 semifinals along with Serra of San Mateo, St. Francis of Mountain View and Bellarmine of San Jose.
Four-year starting QB Dreyan Paul will be missed next season, but the Warriors also will have several impressive returnees, including running back Jaivion Thomas.
STATE SMALL SCHOOLS & DIVISION IV TEAM OF THE YEAR:
MENLO SCHOOL (ATHERTON)
With the ever-increasing use of competitive equity formulas to place teams in section and state playoffs, we knew there would be a time when a team that did not win a CIF state title would be finishing No. 1 in our final D4 and small school state rankings. That time is now.
The highest ranked schools that did win CIF state titles that we would consider small schools were San Marin of Novato (D5-AA) and Sacred Heart Prep. It’s not that Menlo defeated SHP in the regular season, 18-15, that stands out, it’s what the 12-1 Knights did when they were moved up to the CCS D2 playoffs. They faced a Half Moon Bay team in the first round that has been top five several times in recent years and beat the Cougars, 47-28. Up next was San Benito of Hollister, which was the top seed in the division and the Knights beat the Haybalers, 44-35. The run ended in the final and it was 54-20, but the loss was to a Wilcox of Santa Clara squad that won the CIF NorCal D2-A title and came within a few seconds of winning the D2-A state title.
Escalon was another squad seriously considered for the top spot. The Cougars only lost to CIF D4-AA state champ Marin Catholic of Kentfield, 20-13, after trailing 20-0. They had a bad loss, too, however, which was 52-12 to Kimball of Tracy.
Sacred Heart Prep also was the D4 state team of the year from just last spring so the honor is staying on Valparaiso Avenue, which is the street both schools are located. The Gators beat the Knights, 27-7, and lost their only game, 15-7, to Menlo-Atherton. Menlo, believe it or not, is shown with a D3 team of the year for 1931 when the team finished 6-0-1. We didn’t see any others on any other all-time lists.
QB Sergio Beltran led the Knights with a school record 53 TD passes. Final totals have not yet been uploaded onto MaxPreps. Beltran also passed for more than 3,300 yards and rushed for more than 1,000 yards.
STATE DIVISION V TEAM OF THE YEAR:
CAMPBELL HALL OF NORTH HOLLYWOOD
The only school that we would classify as D5 that won a CIF state title was Fall River of McArthur, which got it done in D7-AA. But another that would be D5 is University Prep of Redding, which like Fall River also is from the CIF Northern Section. UPrep was unbeaten heading into the NorCal bowl games but played and lost to a Sacred Heart Prep team that won the D5-A state title.
In looking at the schools that were ranked in our most recent small schools state rankings, the ones that would be D5 and not D4 also included Campbell Hall and Rio Hondo Prep of Arcadia. Rio Hondo Prep gained a lot of attention in SoCal for a CIFSS playoff win over Charter Oak of Covina. The only problem for the Kares to be No. 1 in D5 is that they lost, 34-27, to Campbell Hall. It’s therefore the Vikings getting the state nod for the division. UPrep and Strathmore (12-1 from the Central Section) also were considered.
Campbell Hall took a 10-0 record into the CIFSS D6 playoffs, which proved to be too difficult of a hill to climb. The Vikings played and lost 36-20 to Santa Barbara (which might be as high as a D2 team in our five-division state rankings). Before that, they not only got a win against Rio Hondo Prep but also were averaging 49 points per game.
Junior QB Isaiah Sepand led Campbell Hall by passing for 2,654 yards and 37 TD. Head coach Dennis Keyes’ squad also featured WR Kian Salehi (48 catches for 1,028 yds and 13 TDs) along with RB David O’Mara (14 rushing scores).
This is the first-ever state football honor for Campbell Hall. Note that CIFSS teams like St. Pius X-St. Matthias of Downey and St. Genevieve of Panorama City will be in the D4 final state rankings and not D5.