No. 2 St. John Bosco wins the rematch against No. 1 Mater Dei, 24-22, to win CIF Southern Section D1 title and snap a 29-game win streak by the Monarchs. Retiring head coach Bruce Rollinson also doesn’t get the ultimate send off. Up north, the top two teams — Serra of San Mateo and Folsom — also won but it wasn’t as easy as expected for either one. Congrats as well to top 25 section champs crowned on Friday (Liberty of Bakersfield and Pittsburg) plus those crowned on Saturday (Sierra Canyon and Manteca).
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(After games of Saturday, Nov. 25)
(Thanks to correspondent Daniel Poulter for contributing writeups and scores this season.)
1. Mater Dei (Santa Ana) 12-1
In what turned out to the final game in the 34-year career of retiring Mater Dei head coach Bruce Rollinson, No. 2 St. John Bosco won the rematch between the two national super powers, 24-22, on Friday at the Rose Bowl that decided the CIF Southern Section D1 championship. The Monarchs trailed 24-13 in the fourth quarter, but kicked a field goal and then following a botched punt by the Braves had a chance to tie the score. They did get the touchdown on a 1-yard plunge by Jordon Davison with 3:08 left, but Davison was then stopped by the Braves on a two-point conversion. Bosco was then able to run out the clock with a couple of first downs after also recovering an onside kick attempt. Rollinson will end his career with 340 wins (on-the-field), eight CIFSS titles and three CIF Open Division state titles (2017, 2018, 2021). The loss also ended a 29-game win streak for Mater Dei, which is a school record. The state’s longest win streak entering next season will be 30 in a row for Fall River of McArthur, a very small school in rural Northern California. Fall River won its section title on Wednesday and is opting out of the CIF regional bowls.
2. St. John Bosco (Bellflower) 12-1
Before a crowd of 15,955 at the Rose Bowl, the Braves won the CIFSS D1 title with an avenging 24-22 triumph over No. 1 Mater Dei. They had lost during the regular season showdown, 17-7, but two key players from this latest game, QB Pierce Clarkson and WR DeAndre Moore, didn’t finish due a concussion for Clarkson and an ankle for Moore. Those two hooked up for one of Clarkson’s three TDs on the night, a 72-yarder. Clarkson also had TD passes to Matayo Uiagalelei (20 yards) and Jahlil McCain (45 yards). Head coach Jason Negro’s team also will move on into the CIF Open Division state championship to be played in two weeks at Saddleback College. The opponent, representing Northern California, will be No. 3 Serra of San Mateo.
3. Serra (San Mateo) 13-0
It took a half, but Serra is the Central Coast Section Division 1 champions for the third straight season after pushing past Archbishop Mitty (San Jose) 41-14 on Friday evening at San Jose City College. The Monarchs shocked many across Northern California by being tied 7-7 heading into the halftime break. Serra took the lead for good on a Danny Niu 61-yard touchdown run with 4:29 left in the third quarter to go ahead 13-7. It’s not officially announced yet (it will be on Sunday), but Serra will take on St. John Bosco in the CIF Open Division final after the Braves upended No. 1 Mater Dei (Santa Ana) 24-22 down at the Rose Bowl for the Southern Section Division 1 title.
4. Los Alamitos 9-3*
Season complete. That shocking 52-0 loss to Mater Dei from last week in the CIFSS D1 semifinals ended the year for the Griffins. As much of a margin as that was, it is more reflection of what has happened with the programs at MD and Bosco compared to pretty much everywhere else in America than it is a negative toward Los Al. Head coach Ray Fenton’s team topped Long Beach Poly, 52-42, in the quarterfinals.
5. Folsom 12-1
Defeated Oak Ridge (El Dorado Hills), 23-13, for second straight CIF Sac-Joaquin Section D1 title. The Bulldogs broke a 6-6 tie early in the fourth quarter in two plays — a 51-yard kickoff return by Slade Wilson and then a 42-yard run by Donovan Maxey-Parler — and then after an interception by Wilson took a 16-6 lead with 4:34 left on a Jake Tremain field goal. The team learned during the week that all-state WR Rico Flores (Notre Dame) suffered a broken foot in the previous game and will be lost for the season. The Bulldogs already have been without TE Walker Lyons (a Stanford commit but seen wearing a Georgia hoodie on Friday), but they still have QB Austin Mack (has to be coming up high among national Class of 2024 recruits).
6. Mission Viejo 10-2*
Season complete. The big news of the week for the Diablos, who beat Centennial (Corona) 31-28 in the CIFSS D1 quarterfinals and then lost to St. John Bosco 48-6, was that WR Mikey Matthews was named MVP of the South Coast League for the third straight year. That’s a rarity for a WR in a league like that one.
7. Centennial (Corona) 9-2*
Season complete. The only two losses for the Huskies came to Mater Dei in the regular season and then Mission Viejo in the CIFSS D1 quarterfinals. The best two wins were against JSerra and Cathedral Catholic and both were by 42-0 scores.
8. Long Beach Poly (Long Beach) 10-1*
Season complete. We have been ranking the Jackrabbits below Mission Viejo and Centennial after they lost to Los Alamitos, 52-42, in the CIFSS D1 quarterfinals. This could still change as the final top five for the state is not settled. Poly has a win over Mission Viejo, but then the Diablos beat Centennial and went up higher. Teams are still playing that Los Al, Mission and Centennial defeated in the regular season.
9. Inglewood 13-1
LOST to No. 13 Sierra Canyon (Chatsworth), 23-7, in Saturday’s CIFSS D2 championship. The team’s final ranking will now be determined by what Sierra Canyon does next week and potentially the week after that.
10. De La Salle (Concord) 8-3
Does not play. The Spartans defeated Pittsburg, 30-23, last Friday to win the CIF North Coast Section Open Division title. They fully expected to be playing Folsom next week for the CIF NorCal D1-AA title and that matchup was virtually assured with Folsom’s win on Friday over Oak Ridge. This matchup would be at Folsom more for the fact that DLS hosted the Bulldogs in the NorCal game last year and the CIF usually flips that for the other school the next time its in the regionals.
11. JSerra (SJ Capistrano) 6-6*
Season complete. This still would be the second highest highest ranked team after Centennial from among those that were D1 in the CIFSS and were in the quarterfinals. The Lions won in a first-round game over Santa Margarita to avenge an earlier loss and then lost to Mater Dei.
12. Lincoln (San Diego) 11-1
Does not play. Head coach David Dunn’s squad won the CIF San Diego Section Open Division title last week with a come-from-behind 28-24 triumph against Carlsbad. The Hornets will get dinged by many in the CIFSS for having a loss to Alemany, but in that game QB K.J. Chatham was injured in the second quarter and it was before Alemany’s No. 1 quarterback was hurt and was still playing. Lincoln is almost for sure going to play the CIFSS D2 champion (Sierra Canyon) in next week’s CIF SoCal D1-AA regional championship.
13. Sierra Canyon (Chatsworth) 10-4
Defeated previous 13-0 Inglewood, 23-7, on Saturday for CIFSS D2 championship. Sophomore Dane Dunn rushed for 201 yards on 32 carries and scored three TDs. It is the sixth CIFSS title for the school.
14. Lutheran (Orange) 7-5*
Season complete. The Lancers avenged an earlier loss with a one-point win over Edison of Huntington Beach in the CIFSS D1 playoffs. They then had to go up to play St. John Bosco and as one would expect weren’t close in a 49-14 defeat.
15. Edison (Huntington Beach) 9-2*
Season complete. After collecting key regular season victories over Orange Lutheran and San Clemente, the Chargers lost to Los Alamitos in the Sunset Surf League and then lost to Orange Lutheran in a rematch in the first round of the CIFSS D1 playoffs.
16. Carlsbad 10-2*
Season complete. This is the runner-up team from the CIF San Diego Section Open Division after a 28-24 loss from last week to Lincoln. Carlsbad won in the semifinals of that bracket, 37-0, over Poway, which was unbeaten coming into the game.
17. Santa Margarita (Rancho SM) 5-5*
Season complete. The Eagles fell in the CIFSS D1 playoffs (first round) to JSerra, a team they beat earlier in the season. Watch out next year for sophomore QB Bekkem Kritza.
18. Serra (Gardena) 8-4**
Season complete. Although the Cavs lost in their CIFSS D2 quarterfinal to Sierra Canyon 42-16, they had two head-to-head wins over CIFSS D2 semifinalists Chaminade and Bishop Amat. Their win over Warren of Downey in the first round also has gained strength.
19. Liberty (Bakersfield) 11-2
The Central Section is the territory of Liberty once again, as the Patriots claimed back-to-back Central Section Division 1 titles after pushing past San Joaquin Memorial (Fresno) 29-13 on Friday in Bakersfield. Liberty only had a three point halftime lead, but were able to hold the Panthers’ offense scoreless in the second half. Kresean Kizzy has been a force this year for the Patriots and he shined on the biggest stage, as the senior opened the scoring with a 65-yard punt return for a touchdown in the first quarter. Kizzy then brought in a 80-yard touchdown at the end of the third quarter for the final touchdown of the game. There’s a good chance Liberty squares off for the second straight season with Pittsburg in the CIF NorCal D1-A regional final, but we won’t know for sure until Sunday afternoon when those pairings are announced.
20. Pittsburg 11-2
There was no letdown for the Pirates after falling to De La Salle (Concord) in the North Coast Section Open Division title game last week, as Pittsburg grinded out a 13-3 victory over Clayton Valley (Concord) in the NCS Division 1 championship at Dublin High on Friday evening. It was the defense that stood tall for the Pirates, as the unit allowed only a field goal on the opening drive of the game for the Ugly Eagles. Penalties hampered the Pirates offense all evening, but Florida bound Jaden Rashada did find Boise State signee Khai Taylor on a 11-yard touchdown pass. This is the fifth section title for the Pirates and second in a row after defeating Clayton Valley last season.
21. Chaminade (West Hills) 10-3*
Season complete. Team that went 8-0 to start the season before losing to Sierra Canyon and Serra (Gardena) lost to Inglewood in OT in CIFSS D2 semis. The Eagles won earlier playoff outings vs San Clemente and Citrus Valley of Redlands.
22. Bishop Amat (La Puente) 9-4*
Season complete. The Lancers had a 7-3 regular season (one loss was to St. John Bosco). They erupted in the CIFSS D2 playoffs with 70-49 and 64-27 victories against Murrieta Valley of Murrieta and Oak Hills of Hesperia (Oak Hills was 11-0) before losing to Sierra Canyon 29-23 in last week’s semifinals.
23. San Joaquin Memorial (Fresno) 11-2
The season came to a close for San Joaquin Memorial on Friday evening in Bakersfield, as the Panthers fell to No. 19 Liberty (Bakersfield) 29-13 in the Central Section Division 1 title game. San Joaquin Memorial did take the lead early in the second quarter on Brandon Ramirez’s second rushing touchdown of the evening. This would be the last score of the season for San Joaquin Memorial, however. Liberty held the Panthers scoreless in the second half. Ramirez finished the game with 21 carries for 164 yards in his final high school game.
24. Manteca 11-1
Defeated Granite Bay, 51-48, on Saturday at Sacramento City College. It is the ninth section title for the Buffaloes, who were led by Florida State commit Blake Nichelson with 227 yards rushing and five TDs. He also had a TD catch and an interception on defense.
25. Oak Ridge (El Dorado Hills) 10-3
LOST to Folsom, 23-13, in CIF Sac-Joaquin Section D1 final. A 4-yard TD pass from Maddox Varela to Jake Hall lifted Oak Ridge into a 6-6 tie early in the fourth quarter. Instead of taking a 7-6 lead on the PAT, however, it was missed by the usually reliable Cooper Nichols. Folsom then quickly broke the tie and eventually scored 17 straight points. The final TD by the Trojans came with just two seconds left.
TEAMS ON THE BUBBLE
Archbishop Mitty (San Jose) 9-4
Wills Towers hit Danny Scudero on a seven-yard pass on fourth down to tie the game against No. 3 Serra (San Mateo) 7-7 at the halftime break at San Jose City College, but the Padres would roll in the second half en route to a 41-14 Central Coast Section Division 1 title. Archbishop Mitty held Serra to only 18 offensive snaps in the first half, but couldn’t hold the top team in Northern California for a full game in the defeat.
Buchanan (Clovis) 9-3
Season complete. The Bears fell in the Central Section D1 semifinals last week to Liberty of Bakersfield after getting a win over the Patriots earlier in the season.
Central Catholic (Modesto) 8-5
Season complete. Losses were to higher-ranked teams like St. Francis (Mountain View), St. Mary’s (Stockton), St. John Bosco and Serra (San Mateo). Lost in last week’s SJS D1 semifinals to Folsom.
Clovis West (Fresno) 10-2
Season complete. The Golden Eagles lost in last week’s CIF Central Section D1 semifinals to a San Joaquin Memorial (Fresno) squad that was defeated on Friday in the title game by Liberty of Bakersfield.
Corona del Mar (Newport Beach) 9-4
Season complete. The Sea Kings went out in the CIFSS D3 semifinals with a loss to still unbeaten Yorba Linda. Their final ranking will go up because a team they beat, Downey, knocked off unbeaten Cypress to win the D4 title.
It was a painful night for the Centurions in the CIFSS D4 finals as Oregon State-bound Aiden Chiles and his team at Downey ended their season with a lopsided 40-7 defeat.
Madison (San Diego) 9-2*
Season complete. Both of the Warhawks’ losses were to their rivals from Lincoln, once in the final game of the regular season and then in the CIF San Diego Section Open Division semifinals.
Mater Dei Catholic (Chula Vista) 9-4
Defeated Mission Hills (San Marcos) 34-29 in CIF San Diego Section D1 championship. With three seconds left, the Crusaders and everyone else at Southwestern College were kept on edge for two minutes while officials conferred about a catch by Jeremiah McClure in the end zone. It was reported by the San Diego Union-Tribune that the catch was out of bounds initially. Replays on social media showed the officials talking and talking and finally raising their hands. It was almost like someone gave a signal to the referees that they had seen a replay and said it was good. Those replays also seemed to show McClure getting a foot down before sprawling out of bounds. The team will now look to win a second straight CIF state title. Last year, that title came in D2-AA. This year, we think it will probably be in D1-A.
McClymonds (Oakland) 10-1*
Defeated Castlemont (Oakland) 45-12 on Saturday for the annual Oakland Silver Bowl section title. It is the 13th straight section title for the Warriors (who have lost only to Pittsburg).
Oak Hills (Hesperia) 11-1*
Season complete. The only loss for the Bulldogs came in the CIFSS D2 quarterfinals, but it was by a lopsided 62-27 margin to Bishop Amat. That result probably will keep Oak Hills out of the final top 25, but squarely inside the top 30.
Rancho Cucamonga 9-3*
Season complete. Lost to No. Inglewood, 13-7, in CIFSS D2 quarterfinals after posting 14-10 win in the first round over Oaks Christian.
San Clemente 7-4*
Season complete. That regular season win over Corona del Mar plus the way that the Tritons played (one-point loss in overtime) vs Chaminade in the first round fo the CIFSS D2 playoffs is probably going to continue to add strength in the final two weeks of the season.
St. Bonaventure (Ventura) 7-4*
Season complete. The Seraphs lost twice to Oak Hills, but won the Marmonte League championship due to wins against Oaks Christian and Bishop Diego (Santa Barbara).
St. Francis (Mountain View) 8-4
Season complete. We were still ranking the Lancers in front of the Archbishop Mitty (San Jose) team that edged them 42-41 in OT last week in the CCS D1 semifinals because they had a 35-14 win over the Monarchs in the regular season. A win against Central Catholic (Modesto) also stands out.
St. Mary’s (Stockton) 10-1*
Season complete. Suffering a 51-50 upset 51-50 to Turlock in the CIF Sac-Joaquin Section D1 playoffs ended the season for the Rams. They had regular season wins over both Central Catholic (Modesto) and De La Salle.
Warren (Downey) 9-2
Season complete. The Bears’ league win over their arch-rivals from Downey gained strength with Downey’s win on Friday over Cypress in the CIFSS D4 championship. They also had a solid win vs La Serna of Whittier and only lost by one point to Sierra Canyon in the CIFSS D2 playoffs.
Yorba Linda 14-0
We have our first 14-0 team of the season after Mater Dei and Cypress were denied on Friday. The Mustangs got there courtesy of a 9-6 win over Upland for the CIFSS D3 title. Jayden Flaig kicked a 42-yard field goal with just four seconds left and Will Saucedo had 1-yard run to account for Yorba Linda’s points.
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