Here’s a list of every CIF section football final in the state from this weekend plus a look at possible CIF regional championship projections. The actual lineup of games will be announced Sunday afternoon. It’s always fun to compare how the projections with what the CIF decided to do. Congrats to all championship squads.
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Notes: For these bowl projections, we are using the team that is either seeded first or ranked highest in our own state rankings as the placeholder for that section’s playoff champion. After the first two divisions, the CIF and ourselves usually go by the team on the board with the highest CalPreps.com computer ranking. Travel is a consideration as well. Sending a team from San Diego, for example, to the CIF Central Section might be a bit much.
There are not any big changes in any of the CIF section playoffs this year. The CIF Central Section did use base divisions this year instead of 100 percent competitive equity seeding to determine divisions (which is what the CIF Southern Section does). That helped some smaller schools not having to be mixed together as much with large schools in higher divisions.
Speaking the of CIF Central Section, the CIF also has the option of using teams from there in the north or south. It has been three going to each region, but it can be two and four. We’ve used two and four for this first run through.
CIF associate commissioner Brian Seymour confirmed this week that this year’s selection process is the same as last year. He added that the section commissioners will be on a call on Sunday morning to finalize the various matchups that the CIF state office will put together beforehand and already has been pondering (just like we do). The games may be announced on Sunday as early as 2 p.m.
“As you are well aware of, when conducting seeding plans, it never goes exactly as you envisioned it,” Seymour said. “There are multiple plans in place to counter upsets. That’s the fun part.”
St. John Bosco of Bellflower (CIFSS D1) 12-1 vs.
Serra of San Mateo (CCS D1) 13-0
Comments: Other than the first time it won a CIF Open Division state title in 2013 (and when Open Division regional playoffs were still conducted), St. John Bosco has won the CIF Southern Section D1 title for the third time after losing in earlier in the season to Mater Dei. The Braves did it with their 23-16 victory over the Monarchs on Friday at the Rose Bowl. In 2016 and 2019, Bosco also followed up those avenging wins with a victory in the state finals. The team will be favored big-time once again even though Serra has a team that is being considered one of the best-ever from the CIF Central Coast Section after it won a third straight section title on Friday with a 41-14 win against Archbishop. We saw both of Serra’s wins over Folsom and De La Salle and this is a better squad that last year that lost 44-6 to Mater Dei in the final game. It’s just that there’s just such a huge gap between Bosco and Mater Dei than any other school. Teams like Serra can legitimately be among the top 25 teams in the nation, but don’t have much a chance compared to those two.
De La Salle of Concord (NCS D1/Open) 9-3 vs. Folsom (SJS D1) 12-1
Sierra Canyon of Chatsworth (CIFSS D2) 10-4 vs. Lincoln of San Diego (SD Open) 11-1
Comments: Two of these teams were already qualified after De La Salle defeated Pittsburg, 30-23, to win its 30th straight NCS Open Division title, while Lincoln topped Carlsbad, 28-24, to win the CIF San Diego Section Open Division crown. Folsom grabbed its spot with a 23-13 victory on Friday over Oak Ridge of El Dorado Hills, but will be without Notre Dame committed WR Rico Flores the rest of the way with a broken foot. On Saturday night, Sierra Canyon continued on its late-season surge, this time more on defense than on offense when it held previously unbeaten Inglewood to its lowest scoring total of the season for a 23-7 triumph. It is the sixth CIFSS title for the Trailblazers.
Liberty of Bakersfield (Central Sec D1) 11-2 vs. Pittsburg 11-2 (NCS D1)
Yorba Linda (CIFSS D3) 14-0 vs. Mater Dei Catholic of Chula Vista (SD D1) 9-4
Comments: Liberty captured its second straight section title with a 29-13 triumph on Friday over San Joaquin Memorial. Pitt also won for the second straight year as the NCS D1 champ, this time it was 13-3 against Clayton Valley of Concord. For Yorba Linda, it moved to 14-0 with a 9-6 win against Upland. Jayden Flaig booted a game-winning 42-yard field goal with four seconds left. It was even more dramatic for Mater Dei Catholic as a 30-yard game-winning TD catch by Jeremiah McClure with three seconds left was at first ruled incomplete and then later changed to a legal catch after an officials meeting. Pittsburg traveled to play at Liberty last year and it doesn’t matter to the CIF that Liberty won. If this matchup is confirmed on Sunday, it will be Liberty’s turn to hit the road.
Manteca (SJS D2) 12-1 vs. McClymonds of Oakland (Oakland Sec) 10-1*
Downey (CIFSS D4) 12-2 vs. Granite Hills of El Cajon (SD D2) 12-2
Comments: It was a high scoring 51-48 triumph by Manteca over Granite Bay on Saturday for the CIFSJS D2 crown. McClymonds won its 13th straight section title, 45-12, over Castlemont. Mack’s only loss was to Pitt in a one-score game in the fourth quarter. The team should be ahead of San Ramon Valley and other Bay Area teams but the CIF has tended to put the Warriors too low (especially true last season). Downey knocked off Cypress down south, 40-7, ending the 14-0 dreams of the Centurions and destroying any speculation about a possible 14-0 vs 14-0 matchup next week against Yorba Linda. Granite Hills won that school’s first-ever section title with a 48-12 rout of Ramona.
San Ramon Valley of Danville (NCS D2) 11-2 vs. Marin Catholic of Kentfield (NCS D4) 13-0
Lemoore (Central Sec D2) 12-1 vs. Etiwanda (CIFSS D5) 9-5
Comments: SRV took down previously unbeaten Campolindo of Moraga, 35-21, to win its title. The Wolves had lost to the Cougars in the same game last season. Marin Catholic, meanwhile, crushed Cardinal Newman of Santa Rosa, 48-22. We had Marin Catholic facing unbeaten El Cerrito in most recent projections, but the Wildcats and San Ramon Valley are too close to each other in the computer rankings. Lemoore is a replacement for previously unbeaten Central Valley Christian after racing past the Cavaliers, 62-46. It had a computer ranking when we checked of 62, just four spots higher than Etiwanda at 66. The Eagles won a dramatic section title game on Saturday night, 45-42, over St. Francis of La Canada. They came from behind from a 35-9 deficit in the third quarter and blocked a potential game-tying field goal in the final seconds. Lemoore being in the south is probably the most unpredictable move on our board. The CIF could just as easily stick the Tigers in the north with a different team from the Central Section in the south.
El Cerrito (NCS D3) 12-0* vs. Grant of Sacramento (SJS D3) 10-2
San Jacinto (CIFSS D6) 12-2 vs. University City of San Diego (SD D3) 11-2
Comments: We overheard one of the Grant coaches on Friday telling a fan that they might be playing “an undefeated team from the Bay Area.” Grant’s 20-12 victory over Christian Brothers was good, but the undefeated team we came up with this time was El Cerrito and not Marin Catholic. The Gauchos, who have a win over Vacaville (which has a win over Vanden), would now be our pick to play Grant. They won their section championship, 34-27, on Friday against Windsor. We also still have San Jacinto and Uni City meeting up in the south. It’s a 102 to 125 computer ranking and the more we find out about Uni City the more we like. San Jacinto topped Orange, 42-15, to win its section title. The Centurions were looking to beat league rival Point Loma again and did it, 33-28.
Vanden of Fairfield (SJS D4) 12-1 vs. Bellarmine Prep of San Jose (CCS D2) 7-6
Laguna Hills (CIFSS D8) 13-1 vs. Northwood of Irvine (CIFSS D7) 13-1
Comments: Vanden captured its second section title in a row with a 10-6 triumph on Saturday vs Capital Christian of Sacramento. The Vikings would be one division lower than that state title they won last season, but they should have been behind McClymonds last year instead of higher, too. Plus, they have to be behind El Cerrito due to common opponent results involving Vacaville. Bellarmine won its title by a 21-14 margin vs league rival St. Ignatius. Both of the CIFSS Orange County teams we had next to each other in this division were both winners on Saturday. Laguna Hills edged Golden Valley of Santa Clarita, 28-27. Northwood beat Lakewood, 35-14. The last time we checked the computer actually had the CIFSS D8 champ higher than CIFSS D7. That’s the main reason we matched them up.
Pleasant Valley of Chico (Northern Sec D2) 8-4 vs. Escalon (SJS D5) 10-3
Birmingham of Lake Balboa (LA City Open) 9-4 vs. Kennedy of Delano (Central Sec D3) 11-2
Comments: One of the upsets of Saturday night was Pleasant Valley avenging an earlier 35-14 loss to Foothill of Palo Cedro and beating the Cougars, 10-7, for the Northern Section title. That dropped the place where we would have put Foothill (its only other loss was to Buchanan of Clovis) and instead pushed Pleasant Valley opposite Escalon. We were there to see Escalon win in a memorable matchup, 35-34, over Sonora. It came down to a missed PAT for the Wildcats (on a bad snap and not the kick) and then a made PAT for the Cougars after Owen Nash snared an 18-yard TD pass from Donovan Rozevik with 28.1 seconds left. The Escalon folks would go crazy if their team were to play the L.A. City Section champ for a state title, but forget the enrollments and all that. Escalon definitely could win. Birmingham crushed Garfield in the L.A. City final, 49-13, a far cry from the overtime thriller that the Patriots had to win against Venice in their first playoff game. Kennedy also is a team Birmingham is used to playing in its league, so playing Kennedy of Delano would be funny. The Central Section title was won the Tbirds due to their 40-20 victory on Friday.
Menlo School of Atherton (CCS D3) 8-5 vs. San Marin of Novato (NCS D5) 11-2
Laguna Beach (CIFSS D9) 11-3 vs. Granada Hills Charter of Granada Hills (LA City D1) 11-2
Comments: The change here after Saturday was moving up Granada Hills from D5-AA after its 44-7 romp past Palisades. Dijon Stanley (Utah commit) rushed for 367 yards and five touchdowns. The Highlanders also only lost to LA City Open champ Birmingham by one point. Laguna Beach won its first CIFSS title in 76 years by topping Diamond Bar, 36-28. Up north, Menlo School rolled past Hollister, 42-6, to win a section title in D3 one year after a much stronger Knights’ team lost in the CCS D1 final to Wilcox of Santa Clara. We have Menlo opposite San Marin, a CIF state champ from last year in 5-A. The Mustangs won their second straight NCS title by defeating Miramonte of Orinda, 42-28.
Hughson (SJS D6) 11-2 vs. Orland (Northern Sec D3) 13-0
Palo Verde Valley of Blythe (SD D4) 13-1 vs. Muir of Pasadena (CIFSS D10) 8-6
Comments: The Saturday afternoon contest at St. Mary’s High of Stockton in the Sac-Joaquin Section matched Hughson against Summerville of Tuolomne. Summerville was the top seed and had a win over the Huskies earlier this season. This time, Hughson won 14-13 after a wild-and-wacky 2-point try by the Bears at the end failed. Orland goes on the board after it won in a showdown with University Prep of Redding, 33-19. The Trojans also improved to 13-0. Palo Verde Valley won its second straight section title by topping Fallbrook, 33-14. We still have the team opposite the CIFSS D10 champion, which went to Muir on Saturday after a 21-0 victory against Salesian of Los Angeles.
Ripon Christian (SJS D7) 11-2 vs. Santa Teresa of San Jose (CCS D4) 8-5
Shafter (Central Sec D4) 9-4 vs. Walnut (CIFSS D11) 11-2
Comments: Ripon Christian’s computer ranking is actually stronger than some of the teams in D5-AA so despite the enrollment differences vs Santa Teresa it wouldn’t be a bad matchup at all. RC took the SJS D7 title with a 28-16 victory against Woodland Christian. The Saints earned their spot on the board by defeating top seed Branham of San Jose, 23-15, which also was their first-ever CCS title. Shafter and Walnut both won over higher seeded teams to keep their seasons going. The Generals got past Caruthers, 41-35. Walnut cracked Bellflower, 27-14.
Clear Lake of Lakeport (NCS D7) 12-1 vs. Palo Alto (CCS D5) 7-6
Lancaster (CIFSS D12) 9-5 vs. Atascadero (Central Sec D5) 9-4
Comments: Unbeaten St. Vincent de Paul of Petaluma was stunned in the NCS D7 final by Clear Lake. The 56-55 score was the wildest of the night in the state on Saturday. The Mustangs were stopped on a two-point try that would have won the game with a few seconds left. We still would ranked the NCS D7 winner higher than D6 due to computer rankings and since Clear Lake just beat St. Vincent de Paul. We did drop the Cardinals down two divisions, however, from where St. Vincent was pegged to go. Palo Alto kept going in the CCS D5 bracket and earned a championship with a 27-24 victory over Monterey. We also still have Atascadero from the Central Section in this division. The Greyhounds won in their section final, 27-13, against Pioneer Valley of Santa Maria.
Pinole Valley of Pinole (NCS D6) 8-4 vs. Colusa (Northern Sec D4) 10-2
San Gabriel (CIFSS D13) 11-3 vs. Classical Academy of Escondido (SD D5) 10-3
Comments: Both of the NorCal teams listed here in these projections won in their section finals by 7-0 scores. For Pinole Valley, that was against Justin-Siena of Napa. For Colusa, it was against Pierce of Arbuckle. San Gabriel got its running game going in the CIFSS D13 final and charged past Bishop Montgomery of Torrance, 52-27. Classical Academy took on top seed and one-loss San Diego Crawford and beat the Colts, 33-14.
Mendota (Central Sec D6) 9-4 BYE
Whittier Christian of La Habra (CIFSS D14) 10-4 vs. Kennedy of Granada Hills (LA City D2) 9-5
Comments: For the bottom two divisions for us, we had a change with Mendota beating Hanford West, 38-8, to win the Central Section D6 title. That moved them past Lincoln of San Francisco and it’s also the spot we stuck in a bye. It will be needed on Sunday by the section commissioners with Fall River opting out (the team did win its Northern Section title on Wednesday of last week). Whittier Christian won its title with a 20-7 defeat of Lynwood. Kennedy of Granada Hills is a new team on the board, however, after the Cougars knocked off previous 12-1 Panorama of Panorama City, 22-21.
Lincoln of San Francisco (SF) 9-3 vs. Crenshaw of Los Angeles (LA City D3) 6-7
Comments: Lincoln won another SF Section title on Turkey Day with a 44-7 blowout of Balboa. The computers still put the Mustangs quite low in its order, but Lincoln could still be moved up to 7-AA by the CIF. Crenshaw, on the other hand, is pretty clearly the bottom team on the South board. The Cougars won the sixth section title in their history last week with a 49-14 blasting of Los Angeles Wilson.
We have the one reported opt-out so far from the CIF (Fall River), but didn’t use any others for our projections. There may be one or more on each side north and south. We hope reporters will ask coaches if they plan to opt out following each section championship win.