CIF state finals matchups, schedule


State championship matchups

(Teams from Bay Area News Group’s coverage area)

Serra (11-1) vs. Mater Dei-Santa Ana (11-0) in CIF Open Division state championship game at Saddleback College in Mission Viejo, Saturday, Dec. 11, 8 p.m.: Serra is an epic underdog in this matchup against the nation’s top-ranked team. Mater Dei is loaded with talent on the field and the bench. Its quarterback, sophomore Elijah Brown, has never lost a varsity game, winning five as a freshman in the spring and 11 more this fall. He succeeded Bryce Young, who led the Monarchs to the Open Division state championship in 2018 and now stars for Alabama. Brown’s top targets are seniors C.J. Williams (46 receptions, 775 yards, 12 TDs) and Cooper Barkarte (25 receptions, 592 yards, nine TDs). Williams is committed to Notre Dame, Barkate to Harvard, according to 247Sports. Senior Raleek Brown leads Mater Dei in rushing, with 1,062 yards and 12 TDs. The five-star USC commit, a transfer from Edison-Stockton, is rated by 247Sports as California’s No. 2 college prospect in the senior class. He ranks behind only five-star Mater Dei teammate Domani Jackson, a cornerback with multiple major offers, including from Alabama. Serra is stepping up several weight classes for this matchup. The Padres were chosen by the California Interscholastic Federation to play in the game because their resume includes a 16-12 victory in the Central Coast Section Division I final over St. Francis, which beat the other contender for the Open spot, De La Salle, in September. Serra has won three in a row since losing to St. Francis, 44-21, in a regular-season finale. The Padres are appearing in their fourth state championship game. They won the 2-AA title in 2017 and lost at the 1-A level in 2019 and 2-A level in 2016. Serra coach Patrick Walsh, who led the return-to-play movement last winter that opened the door for a spring season, will no doubt have players such as QB Dominique Lampkin feeding off the underdog role. But will that be enough? Calpreps.com’s computer predicts Mater Dei will win 48-0. The game will unfold under a dark cloud for Mater Dei as the Santa Ana school remains embroiled in controversy over an alleged locker-room hazing incident in February and an Orange County Register report this week that two Mater Dei football players allegedly beat up a Mater Dei student at a gathering in Irvine in 2019. — Darren Sabedra

Wilcox’s Luther K. Glenn breaks loose against Menlo School in the CCS Division II final on Nov. 27 at Westmont High in Campbell. (Shae Hammond/Bay Area News Group) 

Wilcox (10-4) vs. Scripps Ranch-San Diego (13-1) in CIF 2-A state championship game at Saddleback College in Mission Viejo, Saturday, Dec. 11, noon: Wilcox has won nine in a row since opening the season with losses to Valley Christian, San Benito, Pittsburg and Los Gatos in its first five games. The early-season woes toughened up a young team that will play for the program’s second state championship in the past three fall seasons. Wilcox captured the 3-A title in 2018, winning at home in Santa Clara over Kaiser-Fontana 41-27. This time, the Chargers will travel 400 miles to play an opponent that is less than a touchdown from a perfect record. Scripps Ranch lost to Mira Mesa 38-35 on Oct. 22, the team’s only blemish through 14 games. The San Diego school will bring a six-game winning streak 68.2 miles up Interstate I-5 to Saddleback College in Mission Viejo for the matinee matchup against Wilcox. The public-school teams will be a contrast in styles, with Wilcox operating behind its veer-option and Scripps Ranch relying heavily on its passing attack. Jax Leatherwood, a 6-6, 215-pound junior, has thrown for 2,923 yards and 41 touchdowns with only two interceptions for Scripps Ranch. Conor Lawlor leads the Falcons in receiving, with 62 catches for 1,099 yards and 17 TDs. Wilcox counters with a running game led by Luther K. Glenn (2,218 yards, 27 TDs) and Andrew Palacios (1,022 yards, 12 TDs). Scripps Ranch is appearing in its first state championship game. Calpreps.com predicts the San Diego school will prevail 31-28. — Darren Sabedra

McClymonds quarterback Dreyan Paul throws a pass in the NorCal 3-A regional on Saturday in Oakland. (Doug Duran/Bay Area News Group) 

Birmingham-Lake Balboa (9-5) at McClymonds (11-1) in CIF 3-A state championship game, Saturday, Dec. 11, 6 p.m.: On paper, McClymonds appears to be a comfortable favorite over Birmingham, a charter school from the L.A. Section. McClymonds’ only defeat was by three points in overtime to Menlo-Atherton. Birmingham has won nine in a row, but it started 0-5 against teams that all lost at least five games. The Warriors also have the advantage of being at home and playing in their fifth straight state championship game. They are 3-1 in the previous four. The defeat was in 2019 to Pacifica-Oxnard in the 2-A game. Ironically, Pacifica beat Birmingham to earn the shot at Mack. The calpreps.com computer is picking McClymonds by four points. Coach Michael Peters is 100-11 in his nine seasons at McClymonds, and, as usual, he has a roster loaded with talent. Dreyan Paul is one of the top quarterbacks in Northern California, Jay’Vion Cole is an excellent receiver, Dwayne McDougle can play anywhere and two-way lineman Tigana Cisse is someone the colleges are keeping an eye on. However, the best player on the field might be Birmingham’s Arlis Boardingham, a 6-5, 230-pound senior who leads the Patriots in receiving and is third on defense with 61 tackles. He has 13 Power-5 college offers, according to 247sports, with his favorites being Texas, USC, Arizona State and Colorado. Birmingham runs a balanced offense, favoring the pass slightly more than the run. This will be its first time playing for a state title in football. The school has been around since 1953 and is best known for producing actresses, including Sally Field, Karen Valentine (Room 222) and Cindy Williams (Happy Days, Laverne and Shirley). — Mike Lefkow

Sacred Heart Cathedral’s Ray-John Spears runs against Chico in the third quarter Saturday at Kezar Stadium in San Francisco. (Karl Mondon/Bay Area News Group) 

Northview-Covina (9-6) vs. Sacred Heart Cathedral (7-7) in CIF 4-A state championship game at Kezar Stadium, Saturday, Dec. 11, 6 p.m.: If Sacred Heart Cathedral finishes off its postseason run with a state championship, it will finally elevate its season record above .500. That’s some achievement, given where the Irish started. The San Francisco school began 0-5, losing by a touchdown to Sacred Heart Prep and Palma and by 10 to Burlingame. If those results weren’t enough to show that the team was probably better than its record, the Irish proved it in their next two games. Despite more losses, SHC led Valley Christian late in the game before losing 27-21 and trailed St. Francis by only three points in the fourth quarter before fading 37-13. The Irish qualified for the playoffs at 3-7 — they went 3-4 in the powerful West Catholic Athletic League, with wins over Bellarmine and St. Ignatius — and were ranked 19th among 40 qualifying teams at the CCS seeding meeting. Because the section’s competitive-equity model places the top eight teams in Division I, the next eight in Division II and on down the line, SHC was seeded third in Division III. The Irish beat Leigh, Mountain View and Christopher to claim a CCS title and advance to a regional. Last week, SHC defeated Chico 31-7 to win the NorCal 4-A championship as Ray-John Spears threw three touchdown passes and Bruce Uperesa returned a punt 91 yards for a TD late in the first half to make it 21-0. Northview senior Cheo Medina has rushed for 1,876 yards and 18 TDs. The Covina school has won its past five games. Both teams are appearing in their first state final. Calpreps.com picks SHC, 27-14. — Darren Sabedra

Righetti-Santa Maria (6-8) at Sacred Heart Prep (7-7) in CIF 5-A state championship game, Saturday, Dec. 11, 1 p.m.: This might be competitive equity having gone too far. The teams were a combined 4-15 during the regular season. Righetti, from the Central Section, was 1-8. But the section seeded 16 teams in four of its six divisions, including Righetti’s. In Righetti’s Division V, all but four of the 20 teams in the pool made the playoffs. The calpreps.com computer is picking SHP to win 28-10. The Gators were better than their 3-7 finish to the regular season. Their only bad loss was a 56-20 thrashing by Menlo-Atherton. The rest of their regular-season outcomes were decided by single digits. The playoffs have been a different story. Sacred Heart Prep has won its four games by an average of 28 points. The Gators control games with a three-player committee of running backs in Andrew Latu, Zach Freire and Luis Mendoza. They have rushed for 1,821 yards and 26 touchdowns this season. All three have topped 500 rushing yards. But Righetti played good run defense in a 14-7 victory over Northwood-Covina to advance to Saturday. This will be SHP’s third appearance in a state final. It lost previous appearances in 2013 and 2015. Righetti has never advanced this far. — Mike Lefkow

Salesian quarterback Nick Fontanilla (15) celebrates his touchdown to seal a win against Justin-Siena in the NCS Division VI championship game in Richmond on Nov. 27. (Ray Chavez/Bay Area News Group) 

Arlington-Riverside (7-8) at Salesian (10-2) in CIF 6-A state championship game, Saturday, Dec. 11, 1 p.m.: Until setting sail on a five-game playoff win streak that has it on the doorstep of a state championship, Arlington was 3-34 in its past 37 games dating back to 2017. But the Division 13 school in the massive Southern Section won two of its last three regular-season games and received an invite to the playoffs. Calpreps is picking Salesian to win by a touchdown, which would be the second state title in a row for the Pride and coach Chad Nightingale, who’s in his 26th season as the school’s head man. Nightingale has been very successful at Salesian. He has only three losing seasons dating back to 2004. His teams have won 10 or more games nine times since then. They won nine games in two other seasons. Salesian will probably favor the run against Arlington, but Pride quarterback Nick Fontanilla is a dual-threat who threw four touchdown passes in a 36-28 victory over Aragon last Saturday in the CIF NorCal final. Senior Devin Quinn is also a dual-threat as a runner and receiver. The Lions, who won a section title for the first time since 1990, will also likely run more than pass. Raymond Warhop is the workhorse, but last week in a 24-14 triumph over El Camino Real-Woodland Hills, the Lions gave the ball to Gregory Mcdaniel near the goal line. He’s a lineman who checks in at 6-foot-3, 300 pounds. — Mike Lefkow

Complete schedule

OPEN DIVISION

Serra (11-1) vs. Mater Dei-Santa Ana (11-0) at Saddleback College, Saturday, Dec. 11, 8 p.m.

DIVISION 1-AA                                                                                          

Folsom (11-3) vs. Cathedral Catholic-San Diego (11-2) at Saddleback College, Friday, Dec. 10, 8 p.m.

DIVISION 1-A

Liberty-Bakersfield (11-2) vs. Serra-Gardena (10-4) at Saddleback College, Saturday, Dec. 11, 4 p.m.

DIVISION 2-AA

Central Catholic-Modesto (13-1) vs. Mater Dei Catholic-Chula Vista (12-0) at Saddleback College, Friday, Dec. 10, 4 p.m.

DIVISION 2-A

Wilcox (10-4) vs. Scripps Ranch-San Diego (13-1) at Saddleback College, Saturday, Dec. 11, noon

DIVISION 3-AA

Aquinas-San Bernardino (11-5) at Vanden (12-2), Saturday, Dec. 11, 6 p.m.

DIVISION 3-A

Birmingham-Lake Balboa (9-5) at McClymonds (11-1), Saturday, Dec. 11, 6 p.m.

DIVISION 4-AA

Central Valley Christian-Visalia (10-4) at Marin Catholic (13-1), Saturday, Dec. 11, 1 p.m.

DIVISION 4-A

Northview-Covina (9-6) vs. Sacred Heart Cathedral (7-7) at Kezar Stadium, Saturday, Dec. 11, 6 p.m.



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