From Saturday, Granite Hills wins battle of unbeatens vs Lincoln for CIF San Diego Section Open Division title. After Friday results, it will be No. 1 St. John Bosco and No. 2 Mater Dei playing each other for the seventh time in the last eight seasons in next week’s CIF Southern Section D1 final. It took stopping a two-point conversion with eight seconds left, however, for Bosco to get past No. 3 Corona Centennial. No. 5 Serra (San Mateo) also seemed to have clinched its Open Division berth on Friday while No. 9 De La Salle of Concord broke a state record with its 38th section title and kept one going with its 31st in a row.
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(Rankings based on previous State Top 50)
(Through reported results of Saturday, Nov. 18)
(Thanks to Northern California correspondent Daniel Poulter for contributions)
1. St. John Bosco (Bellflower) 11-1
Defeated No. 3 Centennial of Corona, 43-42, in a CIFSS D1 semifinal classic. The Braves scored with 3:29 left on a 4-yd TD pass by Caleb Sanchez (he had six in the game) to Tommy Maher for a 43-36 lead. Centennial scored with eight seconds left and went for the two-point conversion but the Bosco defense stuffed a run by the Huskies’ QB. The Bosco defense then had to make sure the team wouldn’t lose on a Hail Mary after Centennial recovered an onside kick. The Braves will now face Mater Dei in a rematch for the CIFSS D1 title next Friday at the L.A. Coliesum.
2. Mater Dei (Santa Ana) 11-1
Defeated No. 4 Sierra Canyon of Chatsworth 42-14. The MD semifinal in the CIFSS D1 playoffs wasn’t nearly as dramatic as the other one. The Monarchs scored with 11 seconds left in the first half on a 14-yard TD pass from Elijah Brown to Marcus Harris that gave them a 28-7 lead. There was a running clock to start the fourth quarter when it was a 42-7 lead. The Monarchs and St. John Bosco will be playing in the CIFSS D1 final for the seventh time in the past eight seasons (not counting 2020 due to COVID).
3. Centennial (Corona) 9-3
LOST to No. 1 St John Bosco (Bellflower) 43-42 on Friday in CIFSS D1 semifinals. Cornell Hatcher’s fifth TD of the night came on a 1-yard plunge with just eight seconds left, but the Huskies could not convert a two-point conversion attempt that just about for sure would have won them the game. Hatcher also had 46 carries for 212 yards. Centennial’s three losses this year were to three of the top five to top eight teams in the nation: Bosco, Mater Dei and Bishop Gorman (Las Vegas).
4. Sierra Canyon (Chatsworth) 11-1
LOST to No. 2 Mater Dei (Santa Ana) 42-14 on Friday in CIFSS D1 semifinals. An early turnover and then a long touchdown run helped put the Trailblazers in an early 14-0 hold and they never recovered. Wyatt Becker was reported with 251 yards passing and one TD.
5. Serra (San Mateo) 12-0
Defeated Wilcox of Santa Clara 63-27 for the Central Coast Section Open Division championship. While most of the top 10 were locked in thrilling close contests, the Padres breezed past a quality Wilcox club on Friday evening at San Jose City College. The victory means Serra should be locked into being the Northern California representative in the CIF Open Division state title game against next week’s winner of No. 1 St. John Bosco (Bellflower) and No. 2 Mater Dei (Santa Ana). Serra was up 49-13 at the halftime break, with Marley Alapati having a pick-6 late in the second quarter being a highlight.
6. Lincoln (San Diego) 11-1
In the biggest game of the season in the CIF San Diego Section on Saturday at Snapdragon Stadium, the Hornets lost to No. 7 Granite Hills (El Cajon), 27-26. The defending CIF D1-AA state champions also were trying to repeat as the Open Division section champion, but lost when a fourth down play from inside the 5-yard line as the clock was expiring was a low snap to the QB. Lincoln led 13-0 in the first half and 26-13 in the second half. The state’s longest current win streak in the state (23 games) also came to an end.
7. Granite Hills (El Cajon) 12-0
What ended up being the winning TD for the Eagles in their 27-26 win over unbeaten Lincoln in Saturday’s CIF San Diego Section Open Division final came with 5:32 left on a fourth down play from the 3-yard line on a TD pass from freshman Zach Benitez to Josh Zander. The defense then stopped Lincoln on fourth down with 3:29 left and then survived on a low snap on the final play at the game from inside the 5 that would have won the game for the Hornets. Earlier in the game, Benitez hooked up for an 86-yard TD pass to Zander. Granite Hills will now wait a week to see which team and where it will go for the CIF SoCal playoffs. The likely opponent will be the CIF Southern Section D2 champion (either Servite or Mission Viejo) and since Lincoln traveled for the SoCal game last season it may be the Eagles staying at home this time.
8. Clovis North (Fresno) 12-0
Defeated Clovis East 34-28 on Friday in the Central Section D1 semifinals. There are no easy games this time of year in the Central Section Division 1 playoffs, but a strong running game continues to push Clovis North forward. The Broncos were led by an impressive performance from Jackson Cinfel, as the star running back used 18 carries to pick up 253 yards and found the end zone two times. The Broncos nearly blew a 28-point lead in the victory. Clovis North will square off with Central (Fresno) in the D1 finals, a league opponent it beat 27-20 in a game we saw last month.
9. De La Salle (Concord) 10-2
Defeated San Ramon Valley of Danville, 17-7, in NCS Open final played at Dublin. This game was almost a carbon copy of the Spartans’ earlier 14-7 win at Folsom. In this one, though, the Wolves led 7-3 entering the fourth quarter before DLS went on two textbook scoring drives that both were capped by TD runs by QB Toa Faavae. The defense also got a stop against the SRV offense in between those scores. The Spartans will now wait to see if they will play the CIF Central Section D1 champion (could be Clovis North) or Folsom (if it wins Sac-Joaquin Section title or if Clovis North loses in its section final). DLS won its 31st straight section title (ongoing state record) and broke a state record with its 38th overall section title. The previous record of 37 was set in 2016 by Bakersfield.
10. Folsom 10-2
Defeated Inderkum (Sacramento) 36-29 on Friday in Sac-Joaquin Section Division 1 semifinal. Folsom received a scare from Inderkum, as the Tigers held the lead for a majority of the first half, but an 80-yard touchdown run and following two-point-conversion by quarterback Ryder Lyons was the key turnaround point for the Bulldogs. Folsom never trailed after that drive, with the Bulldogs’ defense blocking a punt on the following drive and Lyons scoring on a quarterback keeper from five yards out. The Sierra Foothill League champions will square off with No. 25 Oak Ridge (El Dorado Hills) next week for the Division 1 title.
11. Carlsbad 10-1
Season complete. The Lancers were No. 7 entering their CIF San Diego Section Open Division semifinal vs Granite Hills and lost in overtime.
12. JSerra (SJ Capistrano) 5-6
Season complete. A 38-0 loss to Mater Dei of Santa Ana in the CIFSS D1 quarterfinals ended the season for the Lions. They have a head-to-head win over Orange Lutheran and beat Anaheim Servite, 49-0, in their final regular season game.
13. Lutheran (Orange) 5-6
Season complete. Team with wins over De La Salle, Serra of Gardena, Servite and Santa Margarita but with losses to JSerra, Sierra Canyon and others lost in the CIFSS D1 quarterfinals, 63-39, to Centennial (Corona).
14. San Ramon Valley (Danville) 10-2
LOST to De La Salle of Concord, 17-7, in NCS Open final. The only TD of the night by the Wolves came just before halftime on a 32-yard pass from Luke Baker to Evan Economos. The DLS defense in this matchup took away a lot of the scrambling runs by Baker that helped SRV force the two teams’ regular season matchup into overtime. The Wolves will now play Pittsburg for the NCS D1 championship.
15. Pittsburg 12-0
Defeated California (San Ramon) 35-14 in North Coast Section Division 1 semifinal. For one half of play, it appeared that Pitt and California were in for a case of deja vu, as the two teams had played to a thrilling 38-35 game earlier this year won by the Pirates. Pitt took a 14-7 lead into the halftime break, but the Pirates outpaced the Grizzlies 21-7 in the second half to pull away for the victory. Pittsburg will take on No. 14 San Ramon Valley (Danville) in the NCS D1 title next week.
16. Helix (La Mesa) 9-2
Season complete. Team with overtime losses to Lincoln (San Diego) and Granite Hills could move up in the final rankings. The Lincoln overtime loss was in last week’s CIFSD Open Division semifinals.
17. Serra (Gardena) 9-4
LOST to Servite of Anaheim, 28-20, in CIFSS D2 semifinals. The Cavs were hamstrung in the loss as they played without leading rusher Cincere Rhaney and leading playmaker Zachyrus Williams (both injured). Serra still cut a 28-6 lead by the Friars down to 28-20 in the fourth quarter and even had the ball inside the 5-yard line for a possible tying touchdown but then there was a fumble that broke the momentum.
18. Servite (Anaheim) 8-5
Defeated Serra (Gardena), 28-20, in CIFSS D2 semifinals. The Friars continued their incredible turnaround from a 1-9 season and will now play Mission Viejo next weekend for the CIFSS D2 championship. Junior RB Quaid Carr led the way with 136 yards rushing and two TDs.
19. St. Mary’s (Stockton) 11-1
Defeated Manteca, 41-12, in SJS D2 semifinals. The Rams, who have lost only to De La Salle, will now play Rocklin for SJS D2 championship. Asante Carter scored on runs of 20, 8 and 3 yards as St. Mary’s led 34-6 after its first drive of the third quarter.
20. Santa Margarita (Rancho SM) 5-6
Season complete. The year ended for the Eagles in last week’s CIFSS D1 quarterfinals with a 37-20 loss to Sierra Canyon. The highlight of the season probably was a league win vs. JSerra.
21. San Clemente 9-2
Season complete. The Tritons were respectable in a 35-10 loss to St. John Bosco in the CIFSS D1 quarterfinals. They won their league over Mission Viejo and continue to be higher in our rankings than the Diablos.
22. Long Beach Poly (Long Beach) 10-2
Season complete. A loss to now higher ranked No. 18 Servite of Anaheim in overtime ended the season last week for the Jackrabbits. They also have a win over Mission Viejo and their other loss was to national No. 1 (in some rankings) Bishop Gorman of Las Vegas.
23. Mission Viejo 10-3
Defeated Murrieta Valley 31-21 on Friday in CIF Southern Section Division 2 semifinals. Mission Viejo found itself in a hole, as the Diablos were behind 14-3 to Murrieta Valley. The contest quickly turned early in the third quarter, as Hinesward Lilomaiava found the end zone on the opening drive and Luke Fahey connected with Vance Spafford four minutes later to give the Diablos a 17-14 lead. Jeron Jones had the back breaking play for Mission Viejo, as he snagged a Bear Bachmeier pass and returned it for a touchdown. Mission Viejo will now square off with No. 18 Servite (Anaheim) for the CIFSS D2 title.
24. Rocklin 11-1
Defeated Del Oro of Loomis (8-4) 35-8 in the Sac-Joaquin Section Division 2 semifinals. Rocklin only managed a 7-0 lead at the halftime break over fellow Sierra Foothill League foes from Del Oro. The Thunder defense kept the Golden Eagles offense in check, similarly to their 35-14 victory over Del Oro in SFL play. Rocklin will take on St. Mary’s (Stockton) in the D2 finals.
25. Oak Ridge (El Dorado Hills) 10-2
Defeated Central Catholic of Modesto 31-14 in the Sac-Joaquin Section Division 1 semifinals. A second half shutout was all Oak Ridge needed to push past a top flight Central Catholic side, as the Trojans will head to their second straight Division 1 title game and will once again see No. 10 Folsom standing across from them. Erick Orme Jr. had two first half touchdowns vs the Raiders.
TEAMS ON THE BUBBLE
Central (Fresno) 10-3
Defeated Liberty (Bakersfield) 35-21 in Central Section Division 1 semifinals. Nothing is certain except death, taxes and we may have to add Kyle Biggs’ Grizzlies making a Central Section title game to that list. For the sixth time in seven full seasons, Central will be playing for a piece of Central Section hardware. After an opening score by Liberty, the Grizzlies scored 21 unanswered to take control of the contest.
Central Catholic (Modesto) 9-3
LOST to No. 25 Oak Ridge 31-14 in the Sac-Joaquin Section Division 1 semifinals. The season came to a close for Central Catholic, despite the Raiders taking an early lead on a Joey Alcutt 9-yard rushing touchdown. After back-to-back scores from Oak Ridge, Clemson baseball commit Tyler Wentworth scored on a quarterback keeper from 20 yards out, but that will have to be the final score of his impressive high school career.
Chaminade (West Hills) 7-6
LOST to Warren of Downey, 36-35 in overtime, in the CIFSS D3 semifinals. The Eagles had a rousing comeback win in their first playoff game vs Inglewood and couldn’t quite do it vs Warren. The Bears won the game by converting a two-point try after they scored on their overtime possession to match a TD by the Eagles in their overtime possession.
Clovis East (Clovis) 9-3
LOST to No. 8 Clovis North 34-28 in Central Section D1 semifinals. At one point it appeared that Clovis East would ride off into the night after falling behind 28-0 to undefeated fellow Tri-River Athletic Conference foe Clovis North (Fresno), but the Timberwolves stormed back to get within six with four minutes remaining in the fourth quarter. Tyus Miller completed a 30-yard pass to Harold Duvall, but five sacks by the Clovis North defense and two interceptions were enough to hold off the upset.
Grant (Sacramento) 10-2
Defeated Oakdale, 42-7, in SJS D3 semifinals. It wasn’t embarrassing like Grant’s 82-7 win last week vs Linden but it was dominating. The Pacers will now play Woodcreek of Roseville in the D3 section final.
Inderkum (Sacramento) 11-2
LOST 36-29 to Folsom in the Sac-Joaquin Section Division 1 semifinals. The season may have come to an end on Friday for the Tigers, but Inderkum proved that the Sacramento based school is once again a key player in the Sac-Joaquin Section. Inderkum led the dance in the first half, with the Tigers taking 7-0 and 14-7 leads before Folsom tied the game at 14-14 at the halftime break. Big plays in the second half by Folsom quarterback Ryder Lyons were the difference.
Liberty (Bakersfield) 9-3
LOST to Central (Fresno) 35-21 in Central Section Division 1 semifinals. The Southwest Yosemite League was uprooted the past two weeks by Central, with the Patriots of Liberty being the upset victims to the Grizzlies on Friday evening after Frontier (Bakersfield) fell in the quarterfinals. The Patriots’ offense went cold after an opening score, as 21 unanswered points were two much to overcome.
Los Alamitos 9-3
Season complete. Team that won Sunset League title was ousted in last week’s CIFSS D2 quarterfinals by Serra of Gardena.
Los Gatos 10-2
Defeated St. Ignatius (San Francisco) 21-17 in Central Coast Section Division 1 semifinals. For the second straight week Los Gatos has claimed a West Catholic Athletic League pelt, with the Wildcats taking the lead from St. Ignatius on a AJ Minyard 27-yard pass to Jaylen Thomas. Los Gatos also held the WCAL side to only three points after the halftime break. The Wildcats will now take on Wilcox (Santa Clara) for the CCS Division 1 title.
Marin Catholic (Kentfield) 11-1
Defeated Tamalpais of Mill Valley, 36-16, in NCS D3 semifinals. Will face Cardinal Newman in the title game. Only loss to San Marin (Novato).
Murrieta Valley (Murrieta) 9-4
LOST to Mission Viejo 31-21 in CIF Southern Section Division 2 semifinals. Murrieta Valley did what you need to do against a high quality offense and that is keep them on the sidelines. The Nighthawks took a 14-3 lead into the halftime break after controlling the time of possession in the first half. Mission Viejo only had two offensive drives in the first half. The Diablos woke up, however, in the second half with 21 unanswered points in the seven minutes of the third quarter.
Oaks Christian (Westlake Village) 8-4
Season complete. The Lions won in the Marmonte League over St. Bonaventure, but lost in the CIFSS D2 quarterfinals to Mission Viejo.
Palos Verdes (PV Estates) 10-1*
*Season complete. Lost to Mission Viejo in CIFSS D2 playoffs. Had regular season wins vs Edison (Huntington Beach) & Corona del Mar (Newport Beach).
San Juan Hills (SJ Capistrano) 11-2
LOST 20-13 to St. Bonaventure in CIFSS D3 semifinals. Timmy Herr and the San Juan Hills offense were deep in St. Bonaventure territory with 3:35 remaining on the clock and the game tied 13-13. Unfortunately for the young quarterback, the drive ended in disaster, as St. Bonaventure defender Max Peters returned an interception 86 yards for the eventual game winning score.
San Marin (Novato) 12-0
Defeated Maria Carrillo of Santa Rosa, 59-7, on Friday in NCS D4 semifinals. Team will now play Acalanes (Lafayette) in title game next week.
St. Bonaventure (Ventura) 10-3
Defeated top seed San Juan Hills 20-13 in the CIFSS D3 semifinals. For the first time since 2008, the Seraphs are heading back to a CIF Southern Section title game. The game winning play came in the final four minutes, as Max Peters intercepted a San Juan Hills pass and returned it 86 yards for the eventual game winning score. St. Bonaventure will now take on Warren (Downey) in the section title game.
Warren (Downey) 11-2
Defeated Chaminade (West Hills), 36-35 in overtime, in CIFSS D3 semifinals. Heart medication may be needed for the Bears and their fans. They won for the second straight week by going for a two-point conversion and getting it in overtime. Warren’s first playoff win was 34-33 over Tustin before 34-33 last week in overtime vs Oak Hills of Hesperia.
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