For a one-stop place for all of the CIF state bowl winners crowned on Friday, Dec. 16 or Saturday, Dec. 17 with an MVP chosen for each game, this is the place to go. First-time champions include San Clemente, Paraclete, Oakdale, Pleasant Valley, Bishop O’Dowd, McClymonds, Rancho Christian and St. Patrick-St. Vincent. No school won more than its second. We also predicted the winners from all 13 games last Wednesday and were correct nine times. In the last two years, we’re also now 19-7.
Thanks to Stockton office assistant editor Paul Muyskens, who contributed many of the writeups for this post.
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Bellflower St. John Bosco (13-2) 56,
Concord De La Salle (11-2) 33
It wasn’t the most points scored in a CIF state final or even an Open Division state final – De La Salle scored 63 in 2014 – but considering the Braves did it against the Spartans, who only gave up seven in their last game to Freedom of Oakley team that was 11-0, their 56 in this game was perhaps even more impressive.
MVP Re-al Mitchell. In the last game the Braves lost to Mater Dei, a fourth quarter interception thrown by Mitchell really cost the Braves. He was nearly flawless against DLS, completing 18 of 20 for 191 yards and two TDs, adding 50 yards rushing and running the offense smoothly. It’ll be interesting to see how he does – more as a throwing QB than one who’s known for his track speed – in this spring’s camps and Elite 11 QB events.
Cathedral Catholic stuns St. Mary’s of Stockton 38-35 in overtime to win school’s second CIF state title and complete perfect season. The Dons overcame 28-14 deficit in the second half and win title in higher division (I-AA) than in 2008. Cathedral Catholic’s win also gave the CIF San Diego Section a 2-0 record on the day after Madison took the D2-AA crown earlier at Sacramento State with an almost equally exciting 21-17 triumph over Valley Christian of San Jose.
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The CIF might have to slip some extra payola into the coffers of San Diego Cathedral Catholic and Stockton St. Mary’s after the two parochial powerhouses played in another of the most exciting CIF state football finals since the series was jump started in 2006.
This time, St. Mary’s hopes of capturing its first-ever CIF state title were ripped from the players’ collective hearts in a 38-35 overtime loss to the Dons in the CIF Division I-AA state championship played Friday at Sacramento State. In the school’s first trip to the state finals in 2008, Cathedral Catholic happened to be on the other side that day as well and defeated the Rams 37-34 in another back-and-forth thriller.
With the teams sitting right next to each other in the Cal-Hi Sports State Top 25 with the Dons at No. 5 and the Rams at No. 6, such a close contest was expected by many.
Both teams also were looking to become historically great teams within their CIF sections. Cathedral Catholic became just the second team in San Diego Section history to finish 15-0 on-the-field and just the second to win a CIF state title in Division I. The first was Oceanside in D1 in 2009. Last year’s Mater Dei Catholic team also went 15-0 on-the-field, but had a forfeit loss so its official final record was 14-1. With another win, St. Mary’s also would have perhaps lifted itself into discussion about the best teams ever from the Sac-Joaquin Section. Even in defeat, the Rams still scored 831 points in 16 games for the fourth-highest total in state history, according to the Cal-Hi Sports state records.
“These kids fight for it,” said Cathedral Catholic head coach Sean Doyle. “They work for it since January to get something like this. It’s a special thing.”
“It was just an amazing season,” said St. Mary’s head coach Tony Franks, who has been friends with Doyle for many years. “It was historical. We never in the history of our school won 14 games in a season and we did that this year. Winning 14 games, a NorCal championship and all the things we accomplished this year with this team was historical.
“The game could of gone either way there at the end and it didn’t go our way.”
Morrison Mirer had one of the plays of the night for Cathedral Catholic against Stockton St. Mary’s. Photo: #D1Bound/Twitter.com.
St. Mary’s, the CIF Sac-Joaquin Section Division I champion and winner last week over Freedom of Oakley in the NorCal regional game, looked to be in good shape with 58 seconds left in the third quarter when junior standout Dusty Frampton powered into the end zone on a 14-yard run to give the Rams a 28-14 lead.
Cathedral Catholic answered with a 12-play drive that covered 69 yards and got back in the game on a 8-yard pass from Tate Haynes to Jack Thompson with 7:22 remaining.
It looked like St. Mary’s might answer with another score of its own, but was stopped one-yard short on a fourth-down play at the 10-yard line. Cathedral Catholic’s chance to tie it up on the next series, however, was prevented on a fumble recovery by the Rams’ Marquez Vaughn.
With 2:54 left and the Dons still down 28-21, they started a drive at their own 20-yard line and on just the second play the game turned completely in their favor. That’s when sophomore running back Shawn Poma grabbed a screen pass from Haynes and weaved his way down the sidelines for a 77-yard touchdown. After the PAT, the score was tied 28-28.
At this point, Frampton was getting treated for a foot injury and was not available. The Rams still had plenty of firepower on the field and plenty of time to score, but disaster struck on their second play on the next series. QB Jake Dunniway tried a pass down the seam, but Morrison Mirer of the Dons came up with the interception and not only that but ended up returning the theft for a 55-yard touchdown.
Just like that St. Mary’s saw a 28-21 lead turn into a 35-28 hole.
It’s a swarm of Cathedral Catholic hands as CIF state title trophy is presented. Photo: Paul Muyskens.
“I was just smiling,” said Mirer, the son of former Notre Dame QB Rick Mirer. “It was my first pick of the year. We had our coverage in and just executed.”
There was still 1:30 left in the game, however, and it ended up being Cathedral Catholic’s turn to get stunned. With 45 seconds left, Dunniway bought time and scrambled before spotting a wide open Tre Jenkins 50 yards down the field. Jenkins hauled in the pass and scored. The PAT tied it up at 35-35 presenting the likelihood of overtime.
After some checking, it was confirmed that the only other overtime game since the CIF bowl games from 2006 was a 2006 game between Oaks Christian of Westlake Village and Cardinal Newman of Santa Rosa.
In the extra period, the Rams went first and on fourth down from the 1-yard line, Dunniway took it himself but could not squeeze into the end zone. That gave Cathedral Catholic a huge advantage because all it had to do was kick a field goal to win. Doyle still called three running plays, which did get the ball to the 1, but a fourth down play pushed the Dons back five yards on a penalty. Kicker Liam King then trotted out and after a St. Mary’s timeout drilled the game-winning field goal.
“It was unreal,” Doyle said. “We score one to tie the game and one to take the lead. A minute left in the game and we think we have it done and they get behind us to tie the game.”
Not having Frampton available for the final 3:36 of regulation and overtime proved very costly for St. Mary’s. When he left, he had 33 carries for 179 yards and one TD. Dunniway also still had a strong night despite the last pick six and ended 31 of 46 for 411 yards and four TDs. Seniors Dewey Cotton (12 catches, 123 yards) and Marcus Aponte (10 for 126, 2 TDs) both went out with style as well.
With Cathedral Catholic also churning out more than 500 yards with 503, the two teams combined for 1,114 yards. The Dons didn’t have a 100-yard rusher, but Haynes topped out with 318 yards (going 18 of 28) and three TDs. Thompson also had a TD catch in the first half to go with the one he had at the start of the fourth quarter.
“Unbelieveable,” Mirer said. “All season we had our three goals. Undefeated, CIF and state and we got it.”
San Diego Cathedral Catholic (15-0) 38,
Stockton St. Mary’s (14-2) 35 (OT)
An instant classic, the Rams lost on a field goal in overtime by Liam King. They had 611 yards of offense, but didn’t score on five trips inside the red zone (one on a missed field goal, the other four on fourth-down stops). Cathedral Catholic won its second CIF state title, the first coming in 2008 in what was another memorable game vs. St. Mary’s.
MVP Tate Haynes. This was perhaps the hardest game of the five played at Sac State to choose an MVP. Two St. Mary’s players easily could have been chosen despite the loss – RB Dusty Frampton or QB Jake Dunniway – but Haynes was more than solid for the Dons all season long. In this game, although the Rams got to him for a sack and fumble, he didn’t throw any big interceptions, finished with 318 yards passing and three TDs and rushed for 57 yards on 13 carries. He’s the son of NFL
San Clemente 22, Del Oro (Loomis) 17
USC-bound quarterback Jack Sears has gotten the bulk of the attention for the Tritons as a passer, but in this matchup it was fellow senior Brandon Reaves who was more in the spotlight and it was Sears making a rare play as a defensive back that helped San Clemente win its first state title.
With the Tritons (13-3, ranked No. 13 in the state) trailing 17-15 late in the game, Reaves took a punt return and ran it back for a 54-yard touchdown to give his team a 22-17 lead.
Brandon Reaves got emotional just after playing and starring in his final game at San Clemente. Photo: Paul Muyskens.
Del Oro, which was hoping to win a D1-A state title after knocking off Camarillo in last year’s D2-AA finale, still had plenty of time to re-take the lead. The Golden Eagles picked up two first downs, but faced a fourth-and-nine from their own 48. Head coach Casey Taylor decided against punting, but the fourth down play resulted in a sack of QB Stone Smartt by San Clemente’s Austin Moore.
After a 15-yard penalty, San Clemente still had 2:11 to kill off of the clock to get the win and almost did it, but after running past a first-down marker with 48 seconds left (and with Del Oro already having burned all of its timeouts) Sears was hit and fumbled into the end zone. He probably should have just fallen down. The Golden Eagles recovered and then had a last-gasp chance from 80 yards out.
The furthest Del Oro could get on that last drive, however, was the 27 and on the final play a desperation heave pass was intercepted by Sears, who was just inserted into the game.
“He’s in our prevent defense and he was back there last week as well (in similar situation),” said San Clemente head coach Jaime Ortiz. “We like to make sure we have our best 11 of the field.”
“It’s always great to make history,” Sears said.
At the beginning of the game, it looked like the best 11 were all on the Del Oro sidelines. The Golden Eagles scored on their first series on a 17-yard scamper by Dalton Gee. They also stopped San Clemente on its second possession, then rolled down the field on a 88-yard scoring driva. That one ended on a 2-yard TD run by Smartt.
Del Oro continued to have the momentum well into the second quarter. The Golden Eagles took a 17-0 lead on a 26-yard field goal by Conor Calvert with 3:50 remaining in the period and even got another stop of the Tritons. That’s when the momentum finally turned away from them when a punt was fumbled and recovered on the 10-yard line by San Clemente’s Moore.
The Tritons converted on that turnover with 1:05 left before halftime on a 12-yard TD pass from Sears to Chase Berman. Del Oro was then punting with less than 20 seconds remaining and suffered another costly mistake on a high snap that went into the end zone, resulting in a safety.
“We just got a little momentum there in the second quarter and my feeling all week is that they have five to six guys going both ways so that might help us,” Ortiz said. “We took their best punch and now it was time to get ours.”
Head coach Jaime Ortiz was proud to represent the South Coast League of the CIFSS, which last year produced CIF D1-AA state champ Mission Viejo. Photo: Mark Tennis.
San Clemente’s defense did a much better job shutting down Del Oro’s offense in the second half, although the Tritons weren’t doing much on offense, either. They finally got a chance after getting good field position on a drive early in the fourth quarter. A 25-yard pass from Sears to Keith Jones got them down to the 1-yard line and then with 6:48 left it was Reaves who bowled into the end zone.
Still trailing by 17-15, San Clemente needed a two-point conversion to tie and didn’t get it on an incomplete pass.
Del Oro then had to punt on its next possession, which set the stage for Reaves to come through with his game-winning punt return.
“We just had a mantra of us against the world,” said Ortiz when asked about the team’s long road from not even being a top four seed in the CIF Southern Section Division II playoffs to a state title. “Heritage was the top seed and we went there, we had to go out to Murrieta Valley to play the second seed and then last week we had to play at Edison (Huntington Beach). This week, we drive eight hours to play a great Del Oro team. For our guys it became we’ll play anyplace, anywhere.”
Reaves’ big punt return also was significant since the game in general lacked much offense. He was the Tritons’ leading rusher with 14 carries for 66 yards while Gee led the Golden Eagles with 12 carries for 85 yards. Sears had a sub-par outing with only nine completions in 17 attempts for 95 yards. He also rushed for 55 yards. Smartt threw for 104 yards and ran for 35 for Del Oro.
“This wins means a lot for our program,” Reaves said. “We weren’t going to lose this game. We didn’t come all this way to lose this game so we came out in the second half and gave it all we had.”
Another of the game’s top performers was senior Camrion Davis of Del Oro. He was a standout last year in the team’s big win over Camarillo in the state final and came up with three defensive turnovers. He also rushed for 55 yards and caught one pass.
“It was a great year and I’m proud of our boys,” said Taylor, whose team fell to 13-3 and will drop from No. 21 in the State Top 25. “I wish we could have found a way to win tonight but it just didn’t happen.”
San Clemente scores 22 straight to claim first state title
It’s in the DNA of San Clemente High football players that when the going gets tough, they persevere, grind away and wait for any opening to turn adversity into success.
Down by 17 points late in the first half of Saturday’s CIF state championship Division 1-A bowl game, the Tritons had little going for them against Loomis Del Oro. That hardly mattered. A turnover, a relentless pass rush from Austin Moore and terrific athleticism from running back Brandon Reaves helped San Clemente score 22 consecutive points and pull out a 22-17 victory on a chilly night at Sacramento State.
“The adrenaline was through the roof, and it was the best feeling ever,” said the 6-foot-4, 220-pound Moore, who recorded three sacks in the second half.
It was Reaves’ 54-yard punt return for a touchdown with 5:38 left that gave San Clemente its first lead of the game.
“I caught it and saw no one to the right side, so I just ran to the right and got a big block at the end that pushed me into the end zone,” he said.
Reaves also had a one-yard touchdown run in the fourth quarter. His parents are Marines, so he’s learned to never give up.
As if coming back from a 17-0 deficit wasn’t enough adversity, San Clemente (13-3) received another shock as they tried to run out the clock.
Del Oro had no timeouts left when San Clemente quarterback Jack Sears fumbled at the opponent’s one-yard line. Camrion Davis recovered the ball in the Del Oro end zone for a touchback with 48 seconds left.
It had been a difficult night for Sears, the USC quarterback commit who was intercepted twice by Davis and passed for just 95 yards. But Coach Jaime Ortiz inserted Sears to play on defense in the secondary, and on the final play of the game, he came up with an interception.
“Oh, my god! Oh, my god!” San Clemente players shouted on the field during their victory celebration.
“We always like to make it close,” Ortiz said. “The kids did a great job battling back.”
The game's momentum shifted late in the second quarter when San Clemente recovered a fumble at the Del Oro 10. Sears completed a 12-yard touchdown pass to Chase Berman. Then the Tritons picked up a safety on a high punt snap to cut their deficit to 17-9 at halftime.
It was San Clemente’s defense that kept the team in the game while waiting for someone to make a big play on offense.
“Austin Moore was a physical presence in the second half,” Ortiz said.
San Clemente won its first Southern Section Division 2 football title in school history two weeks ago and now has its first state championship bowl title.
“How 'bout those Tritons,” Ortiz said.
San Clemente (13-3) 22,
Loomis Del Oro (13-3) 17
The Tritons returned to a heroes welcome in their community that is the last one travelers heading on I-5 south see before they hit San Diego County. A parade also is in the works and why not? Del Oro had one in Loomis last year. This was San Clemente’s first state title.
MVP Brandon Reaves. Although he doesn’t have the recruiting offers of teammate QB Jack Sears (USC commit), Reaves was the versatile, multi-faceted threat who was just as valuable to the Tritons all season long. He scored twice in this game, including of course the game-winning 54-yard punt return in the fourth quarter. He also scored with 48 seconds left in the game when San Clemente edged Edison of Huntington Beach in the SoCal regional final.
Valley Christian falls just short of state crown...
SACRAMENTO — Before their state championship game Friday night, Valley Christian players got a history lesson. They stopped on the way to Sacramento by a church in Elk Grove, where the school’s first football coach led a pregame chapel — the pastor telling the team how far the program had come from its humble beginnings in the early 1980s.
A few hours later, Valley Christian nearly made the ultimate history.
Miles Kendrick’s 42-yard Hail Mary pass to the end zone on the final play hung long enough — and sailed far enough — to think the prayer might be answered. But defender Terrell Carter knocked the ball away from receiver D’Angelo Mckenzie, clinching Madison of San Diego’s 21-17 victory in the Division 2-AA state championship game at Sacramento State.
As it ended, several Valley Christian players dropped to their knees, tears flowing as a program that had never gone this far fell just short of the coveted prize.
“You do not need to cry,” senior lineman David Beltramo told one teammate. “We gave everything we had. I know we didn’t win, but we still made Valley Christian history.”
For Valley Christian to have a shot at the finish, it took a defensive stop that gave the Warriors the ball 88 yards from the championship, 30 seconds on the clock and no timeouts in their pocket.
Kendrick threw a 25-yard pass to Anthony Flores. The two connected again on the next snap for 11 yards. Suddenly, Valley Christian had reached midfield.
After a near completion at the 25, Kendrick completed a pass for 10 yards to the Madison 42 with two seconds to go.
“I was just fighting to give my guys another chance,” said Kendrick, a senior. “That’s what it’s about. It’s a Hail Mary. You just throw it up, and you’re hoping for the best.”
“I was nervous,” said Carter, the defender. “The ball was in the air forever. At first, I was going to pick the ball. Then I was like, ‘Nah, I am going to slap it down so we could take the win.’”
As Madison celebrated its second state title, Valley Christian coach Mike Machado told his players that he loved how they battled, that nobody quit and that the seniors left a legacy. Valley Christian lost two games this season, in overtime to St. Francis and narrowly Friday.
“Fifteen game season, and they won 13 games — and the two they lost weren’t by much,” Machado said. “They raised the bar. We have some young kids on this team that anything less than this from here on out is going to be a little bit of a letdown.”
Valley Christian, which had never played for a state championship, led 10-7 at halftime. But the advantage was gone just minutes into the third quarter.
Madison went 80 yards in six plays to take a 14-10 lead.
Carter, who also plays quarterback, avoided pressure on the touchdown play, throwing a pass to Brandon Lewis along the sideline. Lewis broke a tackle and raced into the end zone, the play covering 37 yards.
Valley Christian responded with a 69-yard drive that ended with a 6-yard pass from Kendrick to Flores that gave the Warriors a 17-14 lead.
Madison answered that touchdown on its next series as Erick Buchanan scored on an 8-yard run to give the Warhawks a 21-17 lead with 41 seconds left in the third quarter. Buchanan finished with 159 yards and two touchdowns in 26 carries.
“Oh my God, Erick Buchanan is the best running back ever,” Carter said. “I don’t have to do so much because Erick does so much.”
Madison (13-2) scored 60 points in an overtime win a week earlier and looked as if it hadn’t slowed down, at least on its first series Friday.
The Warhawks needed 13 plays to go 59 yards for a 7-0 lead, a series capped by Buchanan’s 11-yard run. Valley Christian answered on its next possession, taking advantage of a short kickoff that gave the Warriors the ball near midfield.
Kendrick’s 31-yard pass down the right sideline to Isaiah Rodriguez, who was wide open, moved the ball from the 42 to the 11. Two plays later, Javon Sturns followed his bulky offensive line for an 8-yard touchdown run that evened the score 7-7.
Valley Christian had two golden opportunities to take the lead. Madison fumbled on a punt return, giving Valley Christian possession at the Madison 25. The Warriors ultimately missed a 40-yard field-goal attempt.
Madison fumbled two plays after the miss, but Valley Christian again did not score after taking over at the Warhawks’ 25. A 20-yard pass completion from Kendrick to Flores in the end zone was negated by a penalty, and Valley Christian eventually punted.
“They said one of the linemen wasn’t down for a full second,” Machado said.
Bailey Schroeder eventually broke the tie with a 33-yard field goal on the final play of the half, giving Valley Christian a 10-7 advantage.
It remained close all the way down to the final heartbreaking play for Valley Christian.
“Our kids are part of a great tradition,” Valley Christian defensive coordinator Eric Scharrenberg said. “There’s a great tradition in the Valley Christian football program, and they have added to the tradition. We’re going to be disappointed tonight. But we’re proud of them and proud of everything we did.”
San Diego Madison head coach Rick Jackson raises a CIF state title trophy for the second time in his career as his two sons stand nearby. Photo: Mark Tennis.
San Diego Madison (13-2) 21,
San Jose Valley Christian (12-2) 17
It was a defensive battle that came down to the final play of the game as the Warriors’ Hail Mary chance to win the game was knocked down by the Warhawks’ quarterback Terrell Carter, who played both ways. Carter passed for 195 yards and a touchdown while also rushing for 28 yards in the come from behind win.
MVP Erick Buchanan. He rushed for their first and last touchdown on the day and finished with 163 yards on 26 carries with two touchdowns, including the game-winner late in the third quarter.
Madison (San Diego) 21,
Valley Christian (San Jose) 17
Writeup by Paul Muyskens
As they had been doing all postseason long, the Warhawks once again came from behind to get the win as they trailed twice before holding on for the Division II-AA state championship in the first of five games to be played at Sacramento State.
Despite several big penalties, the Warhawks were able to take the early lead on a Erick Buchanan 11-yard touchdown run to start a big night that saw him rush for 163 yards and two touchdowns on 26 carries. That lead would be a short one, however, as Javon Sturns scored on a 8-yard touchdown run to tie things up late in the first quarter.
Madison QB Terrell Carter is about to get tackled by Valley Christian’s Trent Laubach on scramble play during CIF D2-AA state final. Photo: Phillip Walton/SportStars.
“Our defense was unbelievable tonight,” said head coach Rick Jackson after the game.
That defense had the Warhawks down by just three points at halftime despite a pair of turnovers deep in their own territory — one on a fumbled punt. All that Valley Christian could get in three trips inside the 25-yard line was Bailey Schroeder kicking a 33-yard field goal on the final play of the first half to give the Warriors a 10-7 lead.
Getting the ball to start the second half, Madison once again scored on its first series of the half. Quarterback Terrell Carter made two big plays on the drive, the first of which saw him complete a 28-yard pass to move the chains on third down and get the ball down to the Warriors’ 37-yard line. One play later, Carter again created a big play as he scrambled back 15 yards to avoid a sack and let go of a pass to Brandon Lewis down the sideline for the 37-yard touchdown and the lead.
“We wanted to prove we can run the ball too. We weren’t trying to score but were trying to chunk them,” said Jackson, whose now won two CIF state titles (the first in 2012 against Marin Catholic and QB Jared Goff). “It was okay in this game to get three or four yards at a time. I just think (winning two) says a lot about our program. We have guys who work all year round and it validates why we do it. Helps everyone buy into it.”
Just like they did in the first half, the Warriors responded with a touchdown of their own on a lengthy drive that included several big pass plays to Anthony Flores, including a six-yard touchdown pass from Miles Kendrick to cap the 11-play 69-yard drive to give them a 17-14 lead with 3:41 left in the third quarter.
All-American LB Sampson Niu looks to family in the stands after final seconds of Madison’s state title win. Photo: Mark Tennis.
Unlike the first half, the Warhawks then found the end zone a second time. Their eight-play drive went 75 yards in 2:54 capped off by an eight-yard run nearly untouched into the end zone by Buchanan with 41 seconds left in the third quarter that turned out to be the game-winning score.
“We just love to work hard, we just never give up,” said Carter. “This is a great feeling.”
“Countless hours of hard work and everyday running and it all paid off,” said standout linebacker Sampson Niu after the game.
Niu and that defense still had to come up with one final stop. The Warriors got a fourth-down stop with 30 seconds left from their own 12-yard line, but had no timeouts and needed a touchdown to steal the state title. After three passes moved them within range, Kendrick was able to unleash a Hail Mary pass. Carter, the quarterback, was the one who knocked down the pass, causing the Warhawks’ sideline to go nuts celebrating their state title.
“It was a tall order to go the length of the field in 30 seconds but we executed it well and having that last play was all we could ask for,” said Warriors head coach Mike Machado. “I’ll think about all the mistakes we made tonight when looking back on it. In games like this you just can’t make them like that. Our defense played great. These guys we just played are disappointed when they don’t get 50. This was a united group this year. I’m prouder of them than you can imagine. It was a united group that stuck together. They earned the right to be here.”
Sturns finished with 76 yards and one touchdown on 15 carries while Kendrick completed 8 of his 17 pass attempts for 104 yards and one score in the loss. Carter ended the night completing 14 of his 24 pass attempts for 195 yards and a score while also rushing for 28 yards. Elijah Thomas and Brandon Lewis each caught four passes with Thomas going for 63 yards and Lewis ending with 60 yards and the touchdown catch.
Serra loses to Sierra Canyon 42-40 in 2-A state title game...
SACRAMENTO — Leki Nunn stood outside Sacramento State’s Hornet Stadium on Saturday, a red scrape on the quarterback’s right bicep and moisture in his eyes as he spoke about the final game of his storied high school career.
Nunn has meant everything to the Serra program, guiding the team farther than it had ever gone before, but the Padres’ journey ended just shy of the mountaintop.
Sierra Canyon-Chatsworth celebrated the Division 2-A state championship, holding off Serra 42-40 on a crisp but sunny afternoon as Bobby Cole rushed for 220 yards and four touchdowns in 30 carries to cap a perfect season for the Trailblazers.
“We killed ourselves on a lot of drives,” Nunn said as some teammates hugged and shed tears around him. “We had chances, but we didn’t execute. We came up short.”
Serra dug itself an early 14-0 hole. The Padres fought back to grab leads of 20-14 and 27-21 but spent much of the game playing from behind as they continued the Central Coast Section’s and West Catholic Athletic League’s run of tough losses on the state’s championship stage.
Nunn certainly did his part to reverse the trend. He ran for 109 yards and three touchdowns in 23 carries and passed for 331 yards and three touchdowns.
“We’ve been down the whole season,” Nunn said. “So 14-0 wasn’t anything new. We just kept our poise and came back. It wasn’t enough, but I am proud of what the kids did and how we stuck in there and finished the game.”
Isiah Kendrick made a juggling catch in the end zone to cut Serra’s deficit to 35-33 with 4:36 left. But Charlie Quinn caught the two-point pass from Nunn out of bounds.
“It was a hard-fought game to the end,” said Kendrick, who caught five passes for 142 yards and rushed for 80 yards in 11 attempts. “I’ve never been on a team that had as strong a brotherhood as we did.”
In the end, Cole simply was too much for the Padres, who overcame an 0-4 start to win 10 games in a row heading into Saturday. Cole stamped an exclamation point on a sensational game running the ball, scoring on a 7-yard run to extend Sierra Canyon’s lead to 42-33 with 3:05 to go.
Nunn’s 3-yard run with 2:06 left pulled Serra to within 42-40, but Sierra Canyon recovered the onside kick and eventually ran out the clock.
As he addressed his players on the field, Serra coach Patrick Walsh told the team it had no reason to hang its heads.
“I don’t care about that scoreboard,” Walsh said. “You’re the best Padre team to ever play at this school.”
Serra’s defeat came on the heels of another WCAL team falling just short of a state crown. Valley Christian lost to Madison-San Diego 21-17 in the 2-AA championship game Friday night.
Palo Alto in 2010 began the weekend as the only CCS team to win a state championship in the modern era. Serra’s loss dropped the CCS to 1-9 in state titles games since the California Interscholastic Federation implemented the championships in 2006 and the WCAL to 0-6.
Surprised by the WCAL’s record, Walsh said, “We’ve got to push over the top.”
Serra looked as if it might be in serious trouble six minutes into the game. Cole ran all alone through the middle of the field on the game’s second play, the 80-yard sprint putting the Padres in a quick 7-0 hole.
An interception on Serra’s next series — a miscue that ended the Padres’ run of seven consecutive games without a turnover — gave Sierra Canyon the ball at its 35.
Sierra Canyon caught another break three plays later when a juggled pass among receivers and defenders eventually was clutched by JJ Hernandez, who turned the play into a 26-yard gain to the Serra 30.
Niko Harris, who returned Saturday after missing much of the season because of a knee injury, threw a 21-yard pass to Dylan Tait to move Sierra Canyon to the 6. From there, Cole scored on a 6-yard run to extend Sierra Canyon’s lead to 14-0.
At that point, Cole had 104 yards and two touchdowns in just four carries.
Serra settled down after the quick punch, needing only three plays to answer Sierra Canyon’s second touchdown.
After a short kickoff — something Sierra Canyon did all afternoon — gave Serra the ball at its 37, Kendrick flipped the momentum with a 46-yard run to the 14.
On the next play, Nunn scored on a 14-yard run, cutting the deficit to 14-6. Serra missed the PAT.
Serra tied the score in the second quarter as Kendrick turned a short reception into a 37-yard burst to the end zone.
Kicker Damon Lewis took a direct snap on the PAT and threw a pass to Quinn in the corner of the end zone to make it 14-14.
Serra took its first lead later in the quarter on a 35-yard pass from Nunn to Chris Park. The PAT was again no good, leaving the score 20-14.
The advantage was gone in the time it took JJ Hernandez to return the ensuing kickoff 97 yards for a touchdown.
The kick put Sierra Canyon in front 21-20.
“To me the biggest play was the kickoff return,” Walsh said. “We finally crest. We get over the top. We score and then they answer back with a great kickoff return.”
Sierra Canyon (Chatsworth) 42,
Serra (San Mateo) 40
Writeup by Paul Muyskens
In the third straight incredibly close, tough loss for a Northern California team at Sac State, Serra fell short in its first-ever trip to the state finals while the Trailblazers won their second title.
Senior running back Bobby Cole lifted the winners with 220 yards rushing and four touchdowns.
No debate needed on MVP of D2-A final: Sierra Canyon RB Bobby Cole. Photo: Paul Muyskens.
“I’m going to keep giving the ball to our horse and Bobby is one heck of a running back,” said Sierra Canyon head coach Jon Ellinghouse as they rode Cole early and then at the end to keep Serra’s offense off the field.
Cole made his impact on the second offensive play of the day as he took his first carry and broke free through the middle for an 80-yard touchdown. He scored on two of his first four carries and had 104 yards and two touchdowns as the Trailblazers jumped out to a 14-0 lead midway through the first quarter.
Serra would quickly respond as senior quarterback Leki Nunn got the Padres into the end zone on a 14-yard run as they went 63 yards in three plays in under a minute. Nunn followed that with two touchdown passes as he connected with Isiah Kendrick for a 37-yard touchdown and Chris Park for a 35-yard score.
Serra’s 20-0 run, however, did not give the Padres a very short-lived lead.
On the ensuing kickoff, sophomore J.J. Hernandez broke through a hole in the Serra return defensive alignment and outraced the kicker for a 95-yard touchdown and after the PAT Sierra Canyon was back on top 21-20.
“There was a lot of swings in that game and that is what happens when you play fantastic teams that are used to fighting themselves,” Ellinghouse said.
“Yeah, definitely after that TD they scored we had to capitalize,” said Hernandez. “I saw the hole and knew I had to do it for our seniors.”
“All things being equal, we had the same number of TDs as they did,” said Serra head coach Patrick Walsh. “The biggest play in the game was that kickoff return. Finally, we had crested and got a score, then we gave it up right away.”
For the second time on the afternoon, the Padres still came back to take the lead when Nunn led the Padres on a scoring drive on the opening series of the second half. He ended that drive by rushing it in from two yards out for their final lead of the day.
Nunn on the day also completed 18 of his 34 pass attempts for 331 yards and three touchdowns while also rushing for 109 yards and three touchdowns on 23 carries.
“Just unbelievable,” said Walsh on his standout dual-threat signal caller. “He’s right up there with the best players I’ve ever coached. No, he doesn’t look like D.J. Williams or Matt Gutierrez or Kevin Simon (De La Salle players), but if you cut him open he’d be just the same.”
Players from Sierra Canyon of Chatsworth gather around CIF D2-A title game trophy after win over San Mateo Serra. Photo: Mark Tennis.
Unfortunately for the Padres, their defense then couldn’t get a stop when they needed it the most.
Just like they did after trailing the first time, the Trailblazers matched with a touchdown drive of their own. Senior QB Niko Harris, a starter last year but who was injured and out of action until just this week, hit Dylan Tait for a touchdown with the extra point giving them a 28-27 lead. Harris completed 12 of his 22 pass attempts for 201 yards and one touchdown while rushing for 23 yards.
Cole scored his third touchdown to cap a lengthy drive that expanded from the third quarter to the fourth quarter. His 11-yard touchdown run and the extra point upped the score to 35-27 with 8:15 remaining and still kept Serra in the position of having to get a TD and a two-point conversion to tie it.
On the next series, Nunn again found Kendrick for a touchdown but the attempted two point conversion to tie the game was incomplete when the wide receiver couldn’t keep his feet in bounds.
Serra was still down 35-33 at that point with 4:36 left and tried to use its timeouts in an effort to get the ball back. Cole and the Trailblazer offensive line, however, would have none of that. He scored on a 7-yard run just 1:31 later for a 42-33 lead.
The Padres still weren’t done yet. Without timeouts, they raced down the field and scored with 2:06 left on a 3-yard run by Nunn. Serra had no choice to try an onside kick, which Sierra Canyon easily recovered. The Trailblazers technically then ran out the clock, but with three seconds left Harris just ran backwards to kill the time and caused a lot of confusion when he tossed the ball in the air in celebration. No Serra player fell on the ball, but the Padres also were called for having too many players on the field. The end result was an untimed play for Sierra Canyon, which was a simple kneel down.
Sierra Canyon also ended a 15-0 season, although one of the wins was a forfeit. The Trailblazers haven’t been in the State Top 25 yet, but probably will get that high for the final rankings since Serra (9-5) had moved up to No. 24 last week.
“This wasn’t really even thought of,” said Cole after the game on going undefeated and winning a state championship. “We really didn’t expect to be here but we were and we made the most of it.”
“It is an incredible feeling,” said Ellinghouse. “Both times we’ve won state titles have been awesome but different. The first time we were in our infancy and this time we had to move up a bunch of divisions. Both great cases of accomplishment. This is a great group of kids and I am very proud of them.”
Chatsworth Sierra Canyon (15-0) 42,
San Mateo Serra (9-5) 40
QB Niko Harris returned to the starting lineup and the Trailblazers captured their second state championship in a back and forth game that saw multiple lead changes and a two-point conversion to tie the game came within inches of being completed in bounds. Leki Nunn passed for 331 yards and three touchdowns while also rushing for 109 yards and three scores in the loss. His touchdown pass to Isiah Kendrick made it 35-33 with 4:36 remaining but the attempted tying two-point conversion was caught but ruled just out of the back of the end zone.
MVP Bobby Cole. Called a workhorse by his head coach, Jon Ellinghouse, he rushed for 220 yards and four touchdowns on 30 carries and scored Sierra Canyon’s first touchdown on an 80-yard run. He also scored on a 7-yard run with 3:05 remaining that would end up being the game-winner.
Menlo-Atherton its own worst enemy in state final defeat...
LANCASTER — With tears flowing down his cheeks, it was obvious that Menlo-Atherton senior Jordan Mims was emotionally invested in the outcome of Saturday night’s CIF state Division 3-AA championship game.
But 350 miles away from home on a frosty evening at Antelope Valley College in Lancaster, it just wasn’t meant to be for the Bears, whose bid for the school’s first state football title was denied in a 39-21 loss to Paraclete.
“We obviously made it this far, we made history,” Mims said. “But we didn’t just want that, we wanted to win state. And we couldn’t figure out how to do it tonight.”
M-A (12-3), which tasted defeat for the first time in more than three months, was at times its own worst enemy with six turnovers — four fumbles and two interceptions.
Paraclete (12-4) found the end zone four times after the sudden change of possessions, including twice in the second half to pull away after going into halftime up 26-21.
“They’re a good team, I’m not taking anything away from them, but I think we kind of shot ourselves in the foot this game,” M-A senior Stavro Papadakis said.
“The turnovers I felt made the difference,” M-A coach Adhir Ravipati said. “And give them credit, they forced those. They capitalized on them, and every time we seemed to flip momentum, they would get it back. And that’s what good teams do.”
The Bears took the opening kickoff and marched down the field, as quarterback Aajon Johnson hooked up with wide receiver Spencer Corona on a 28-yard touchdown pass to go up 7-0 with 9:09 left in the first quarter.
After defense forced a three-and-out following a 14-yard sack by Papadakis on third down, M-A looked poised to double its lead. But a fumble just outside the red zone proved to be a sign of things to come.
Paraclete pulled ahead 12-7 on the strength of a pair of short touchdown runs by fullback K.J. Latu, who added a third TD plunge before halftime.
The Bears attempted to counter, but a short completion on a wide receiver screen turned into a disastrous 43-yard fumble recovery for a touchdown after the ball popped out in traffic.
Trailing 19-7 with 9:18 left in the second quarter, M-A got the ball back in search of a spark. That’s when Johnson stepped up in the pocket to scramble out of trouble before sprinting 59 yards down the sideline to pay dirt.
But nothing could prepare the Bears for what took place with 5:08 left before halftime.
M-A senior Josh Lepulu ran across the field to make a tackle for a loss in front of the Paraclete bench, only to go down motionless as teammates frantically waived to coaches for help.
“It was very scary,” Mims said. “We didn’t see him move at all and we were very terrified.”
After a lengthy delay, Lepulu was wheeled away to an ambulance, but not before giving a thumbs up as teammates greeted him on the way out.
“Last we heard, he doesn’t need any scans or anything, they’re just observing him right now,” Ravipati said. “They don’t think it’s anything too serious. He has a concussion, but he has movement of all his extremities. It was more precautionary than anything.”
“My thoughts and prayers are with him, obviously,” Papadakis said. “Being such a great player, you saw, he came down and hit someone really hard. And when you have that missing the whole game, not to have someone who plays with that much passion the whole game, really takes away a piece from the puzzle.”
Once play resumed, M-A responded by forcing a punt. Then, the Bears methodically embarked on a 13-play, 80-yard drive comprised entirely of runs, with Mims plowing in from 2 yards out with 25.8 seconds left in the half to make it 26-21.
The Bears rushed for 217 yards in the first half, split mostly between Mims and Johnson. But it wasn’t quite as easy to gain yards on the ground the rest of way, with only 14 yards on 18 carries after intermission.
M-A proved unable to become the first team out of the Central Coast Section to win a state title since Palo Alto did it in 2010.
But the players still managed to maintain a sense of perspective.
“You work so hard with these guys and you do spend so much time with them, and I think that’s something I’m going to take away from this — creating those bonds and relationships,” Papadakis said.
“Being a Bear, that’s special. And I’m just proud to be a Bear and proud to be able to take this team to a NorCal title and first state appearance.”
And while M-A has plenty of talent coming back, this senior class will not soon be forgotten by Ravipati, in his second year at the helm.
“That’s what I tell everybody, is that when I got the job we were 3-7 the year before and our team was predominantly this class, it was mostly juniors,” Ravipati said. “And we hit rock bottom together and we built this thing to where it is now. And one of the things they put on their covenant is they wanted to build a dynasty and they wanted to put a foundation of a program that they could hand to the younger guys that was going to be bigger and better than anything people could see.
“And it says a lot about them that the goals they put on their covenant, they checked them all off. And they actually started to add some by the end of the year. They’re going to be forever special to me.”
That includes Lepulu, who had to stay behind while teammates left together for one final bus ride home.
“He was a little emotional realizing that it was his last game and he wasn’t going to be able to go back in,” Ravipati added. “Showing the kind of kid Josh is, he’s a tough kid, the first thing he asked me is, ‘Can I still go back on the bus with you guys?’ I just think that speaks to this team. They just want to be together and do it together. I am very, very proud of them.”
CIF state Division 3-AA championship game
Menlo-Atherton 7 14 0 0 — 21
Paraclete 6 20 6 7 — 39
MA — Corona 28 pass from Aaj. Johnson (Corona kick), 9:09
P — Latu 5 run (kick failed), 2:40
P — Latu 3 run (kick failed), 9:58
P — Cooper 43 fumble return (Gordon kick), 9:18
MA — Aaj. Johnson 59 run (Corona kick), 7:56
P — Latu 3 run (Gordon kick), 6:17
MA — Mims 2 run (Corona kick), 0:25
P — Stovall 11 pass from Ikahihifo (pass failed), 3:10
P — Bell 15 run (Gordon kick), 8:48
RUSHING—Menlo-Atherton, Johnson 23-112, Mims 25-102, Papadakis 4-7. Paraclete, Bell 10-93, Latu 11-35, Jones 4-33, Ikahihifo 8-26, Smith 1-1.
PASSING—Menlo-Atherton, Johnson 10-18-2 115. Paraclete, Ikahihifo 9-19-0 152, Latu 1-1-0 15.
RECEIVING—Menlo-Atherton, Corona 5-58, Reid 2-33, Tussing 2-9, Papadakis 1-15. Paraclete, Smith 4-89, Brown 2-25, Stovall 2-16, Bell 1-22, Ikahihifo 1-15.
Records: Menlo-Atherton 12-3; Paraclete 12-4.
Lancaster Paraclete (12-4) 39,
Atherton Menlo-Atherton (13-3) 21
For a program that has nine CIF Southern Section titles, this was a first for the Spirits. They also became the first school from the Antelope Valley to win a state football crown. M-A scored just before halftime to cut a deficit to 26-21, but the Paraclete defense shut out the Bears in the second half. Jaylan Tynes led the defense with two fumble recoveries and one interception. Aaron Cooper also had a 45-yard interception return. M-A’s Aajon Johnson rushed for 138 yards and one TD and passed for 121 yards and one score. Paraclete head coach Dean Herrington, who was at Alemany (Mission Hills) last year and also well-known for assisting his brother, Mike, at Hart (Newhall), also celebrated winning his first state title.
MVP K.J. Latu. The four-year varsity performer at Paraclete rushed for three touchdowns as a fullback and had an interception on defense. Latu even punted for the Spirits.
Oakdale’s CIF state title trophy, earned the night before, was taken to the beach last Sunday morning in La Jolla before the players departed on a bus for long ride home. Photo: James Burns/The Modesto Bee.
Oakdale (14-2) 47,
La Jolla Bishop’s (13-1) 0
While Northern California teams went 0-5 in games at Sacramento State, they were 6-2 in the Saturday divisional games (all on the road). No team perhaps represented better than the Mustangs, who were backed by more fans 450 miles from home than the Knights. They also rolled to the most lopsided win in any state final this year. It’s Oakdale’s first CIF state title after lopsided loss in its previous title game appearance vs. Gardena Serra.
MVP Will Semone. Perhaps the easiest MVP pick of any game, Semone scored six touchdowns to tie the single-game record for any CIF state final, a record set in 2008 by San Diego Cathedral Catholic’s Tyler Gaffney. Semone also had 28 carries for 219 yards to put his final season total at 2,851 yards.
Campolindo wins state title with 31-7 rout of Bakersfield Christian
BAKERSFIELD — For a minute or two, Campolindo coach Kevin Macy tried to explain the key to his team’s state championship in his own terms.
Then he gave up and used a term more popular with the current generation.
“It’s like the kids like to say, their language, we just ‘grinded,’” Macy said after his team beat host Bakersfield Christian 31-7 on Saturday for the CIF Division 4AA state title. “They were just grinding away.”
Jacob Westphal passed for 188 yards and two touchdowns, John Torchio intercepted two passes and caught another for a touchdown and the Cougars (12-3) forced four Bakersfield Christian turnovers.
Three of those takeaways came in the second half, when Campolindo out-scored the Eagles 21-0.
“It’s unbelievable. It’s awesome. It’s once in a lifetime,” said Torchio, who was a freshman when the Cougars won the CIF Division III state title in 2014.
“That is a great football team,” said BCHS coach Darren Carr, older brother of Raiders quarterback Derek Carr. “Their first snap looks like their last snap. They went out there and took advantage of our fumbles, our interceptions, man. They didn’t shoot themselves in the foot. They kicked our butt.”
Torchio was key for a Campolindo defense that held a vaunted Bakersfield Christian passing attack in check. BCHS quarterback Braden Wingle entered with more than 4,000 passing yards but was just 11 of 22 for 155 yards with a touchdown and two interceptions. His top target, 1,600-yard receiver Jeremiah Foster, was held to two catches for 36 yards.
“We knew they passed the ball really well, and we worked all week on covering the pass,” Torchio said. “Coach Macy, his game-planning is ridiculous.”
Macy’s top priority was to get pressure on Wingle, which the Cougars had noticed on film led to the quarterback dropping his eyes. To that end, a defensive end crew led by Joey Berzins forced Wingle to scramble all night and sacked him three times.
“We didn’t think we could run with them, so we knew we’d have to bring pressure on them, and the kids off the edge did enough,” said Macy, who also mentioned Jonathan Cirelli and Justin Ehrenberger as key pass rushers.
Bakersfield Christian (13-2) also helped the Cougars’ cause. The Eagles’ Brock Holloway rushed for 95 yards but also lost a fumble on the team’s first offensive play. Campolindo didn’t directly capitalize, but the turnover flipped field position and led to the game’s first touchdown on the next drive, a 4-yard pass from Westphal to Kannah Cruickshank.
BCHS also missed a field goal, ended another drive with a bad snap, fumbled the opening kickoff of the second half and threw two late interceptions.
Each time, Campolindo was there to pounce.
“We all felt this was the football gods saying it was our chance,” Berzins said. “We needed to capitalize, and we did.”By the time Matthew Ringquist ran for a 36-yard touchdown deep into the fourth quarter, it was all over but the celebrating.
The Cougars gathered as one for a photo, fitting for a team that lost several key players from last year’s roster but still returned to a state championship — and this time emerged victorious.
“We’re sort of an unknown story all year,” Macy said. “We sort of liked it that way. This was a team that just didn’t have marquee names. If you look at us, we’re small linemen, just kind of a small team. Joey Berzins stands out, but other than that we’re just kind of anonymous. We just compete, we fight.
“This game is emblematic of what they’ve been about all year, so maybe it’s the perfect ending.”
Moraga Campolindo (12-3) 31,
Bakersfield Christian (13-2) 7
Facing a quarterback, Braden Wingle, who had passed for over 4,000 yards this season, the Cougars’ defense held him to just 155 passing yards with two interceptions. They also helped the school earn its second CIF state title (first was in D3 in 2014) in the fourth straight season in which it has been in a state final.
MVP John Torchio. The son of former Cal QB Jay Torchio recorded both of the interceptions thrown by Bakersfield Christian in this game and he also had a pick six in the NorCal final. A junior, don’t be surprised if he’s the QB for the Cougars next season.
Pleasant Valley of Chico QB Kyle Lindquist is shown after he helped team get a win over Napa. Photo: Harold Abend.
Chico Pleasant Valley (12-3) 50,
Long Beach St. Anthony (13-3) 49 (OT)
In a game that rivaled Cathedral Catholic-Stockton St. Mary’s as the craziest of the weekend, the Vikings brought home their first state title and no doubt brought a smile to the face of famous NFL alum Aaron Rodgers. St. Anthony took a 42-34 lead with 2:02 left in regulation on a 60-yard interception return by B.J. Busbee. On PV’s next series, a fourth-and-10 (match point so to speak) was picked up on a pass from Kyle Lindquist to Quiane Rhodes. Teammate Trevor Owens caught another pass from Lindquist a few plays later and turned it into a 47-yard TD with 1:13 left. Payton Williams next came through with a diving catch in the end zone for the two-point conversion that tied the score. In overtime, the Saints took the lead at 49-42 on a 10-yard run by Talaun Patton and a PAT. Pleasant Valley went next and after a 6-yard TD pass from Lindquist to Max Andersen, head coach Mark Cooley went for the two-point conversion to win – or lose – the game. Lindquist found Sean Seibert open (who had only two catches in the game previously). He made the catch and the Vikings had their state title.
MVP Kyle Lindquist. Anybody who stands out among all of the QBs who go to the annual Elite 11 camp in the Bay Area can’t be a sleeper, but Lindquist still is among any listing of top QBs in the state. He had a huge CIF state final, completing 27 of 44 passes for 406 yards and four TDs with another TD rushing. It may be the second-best CIF state passing total for anybody following the 445-yard total for Folsom’s Jake Browning in 2014.
Football: Bishop O’Dowd breezes to 5-AA state championship
MORENO VALLEY – When vision becomes reality, it’s easy to see the future. And the future looks bright for Bishop O’Dowd football.
Austin Jones ran for three touchdowns, and Christopher Lucas returned an interception for a late score as Bishop O’Dowd ran away from Valley View for a 43-24 victory in the CIF-State Division 5-AA championship game.
The city of Oakland, which had never produced a state football champion, produced two Saturday as O’Dowd and McClymonds won titles within minutes of one another.
“I set the vision that we believe we can do this, and when you get people to buy in to the vision and start pushing in the same direction, you can achieve great things,” said Bishop O’Dowd coach Napoleon Kaufman, the former Oakland Raiders running back.
Bishop O’Dowd (15-1 overall) reached the mountaintop despite playing its last three games without one of its biggest stars, cornerback Je’quari Godfrey, who injured his left knee before the North Coast Section Division III championship game.
“We knew our brother was down and it was next-man-up,” said Jones, a sophomore who carried 28 times for 195 yards. “We did what we had to do. We got this ‘W’ for him. We love him and thank him for everything he did for us.”
“I’m just ecstatic,” said Godfrey, who has committed to Cal. “I know I can’t be on the field but my bros have gotten it done.”
Senior quarterback Joe Deluca played his final game and got Bishop O’Dowd going on its second possession, marching the Dragons down to the 18-yard line before Trey Miller kicked a 35-yard field goal. Jones made it 9-0 with a 29-yard touchdown run on O’Dowd’s second possession.
Bishop O’Dowd’s defense held Valley View without a first down until the Eagles’ fourth possession, limiting its opponent to just 87 yards in the first half.
“We figured that we were going to be able to contain them, and I tip my cap to Valley View, but we played better tonight,” Kaufman said.
Jones added his second touchdown — from 1 yard out — with less than two minutes remaining in the half to make it 16-0. He broke loose on a 50-yard scoring run after Valley View had closed to within 16-10.
“It’s been a dream of mine and now it’s finally here, but we’re going to come off this and keep pushing,” said Jones, who led the Dragons with 1,966 rushing yards and 27 rushing touchdowns this season.
Jones will be back next season, as will most of the team. The Dragons had just 17 seniors.
“We just have a great group of kids,” said Kaufman, whose team’s only loss came against NCS Open runner-up Freedom. “We want to win on the field but we want to win off the field. We’re building men of character, and it doesn’t stop. There’ll be another group coming in soon.”
Oakland Bishop O’Dowd (15-1) 43,
Moreno Valley Valley View (12-4) 24
The Dragons scored the game’s first 16 points and would never trail as the city of Oakland won two state football championships within minutes on Saturday after never having had one before. While we’ll get a lot of these types of accomplishments now that there are 13 different state champions, the city of Oakland needs any kind of lift after the recent warehouse fire that killed 36 people.
MVP Austin Jones. The standout sophomore rushed for 195 yards on 28 carries and three touchdowns while also catching three passes for 31 yards. One of many that will be back next season, he ended the year rushing for 1,966 yards and 27 touchdowns.
LA JOLLA — After the first quarter of the State 5-A football championship game Saturday night, McClymonds coach Michael Peters threw out his offensive game plan.
Plagued by bad center snaps — six of them — Peters scrubbed the shotgun formation and went to taking snaps under center.
“We had to go back to the early ‘90s offense and run the ball,’’ Peters said. “Usually it’s real bad when you scrap the game plan you worked on for a while week.’’
Not this time. McClymonds’ strategy change went well enough for the Warriors to claim a 20-17 victory over La Jolla Country Day.
Oakland, a city that never had produced a state football champion, won two Saturday. McClymonds’ victory came within minutes of Bishop O’Dowd claiming the 5-AA championship.
“We made history,’’ McClymonds’ senior Devin White said. “We wanted to stop their passer. We thought if we do that, we’ll have a game.’’
Facing quarterback Braxton Burmeister, who entered the game with 4,335 passing yards and 53 touchdowns this season, McClymonds harassed the 6-foot-1, 215-pound thrower into a terrible performance. Burmeister was just 8-for-25 passing for 124 yards.
“We worked really hard to take away their receivers and make the quarterback work harder than he’s used to,’’ said Peters, who team improved to 13-1 with its 11th consecutive win. “We did what we had to do. We got him rattled. No one had done that much to him all year.’
If it wasn’t for White’s 78-yard kickoff return for a touchdown, the first half would have ended tied 14-14.
La Jolla Country Day had just converted one of Mack’s three lost fumbles into a touchdown to make it 14-14 with 21 seconds left in the half.
But White took the ensuing kickoff and put the Warriors back on top 20-14.
“On film, we saw that they kicked a lot to one side, so coach moved me over there,’’ White said. “When I saw the first block, I knew I was gone. I sure didn’t think that would be the last points we scored.’’
McClymonds lost 65 yards on those six bad snaps before Peter put quarterback Emoreea Fountain under center. Fountain and Angelo Garrett connected on two first-half touchdown pass plays, from 16 yards and 38 yards.
The second half was spent on the ground as McClymonds chewed up clock and held down the La Jolla offense.
“This means a lot to the school, it means a lot to these kids and it means a lot to the entire West Oakland community,’’ Peters said. “Look at all the smiles on the faces of the people who drove here to watch this game. People are really going to be proud of us when we get home.’’
Linebacker Huruma Zulu will be one of the top players back for Oakland McClymonds next season. Photo: Everett Bass Photography.
Oakland McClymonds (13-1) 20,
La Jolla Country Day (12-4) 17
Yet another prolific passer who was limited by a stingy defense was Country Day’s Braxton Burmeister, who was held to just 7 of 26 for 113 yards. Devin White’s kickoff return right before halftime that made the score 20-14 also turned out to be the game-winner. Emoreea Fountain had two touchdown passes, both going to Angelo Garrett, in the first half while the Torreys two touchdowns’ came on runs by Burmeister. Mack won its first CIF state football title.
MVP Devin White. His kickoff return turned out to be the game-winner. White also has been one of the team’s top two-way threats all season long.
Temecula Rancho Christian (14-2) 38,
Sutter Creek Amador (14-2) 13
Head coach Jim Kunau of the Eagles became just the second coach in CIF state history to guide a second, different school to a title. He did it the first time as the head coach at Orange Lutheran in 2006. The only other on that list is Harry Welch, who actually has led three different schools to state titles (Canyon of Canyon Country 2006, Rancho Santa Margarita St. Margaret’s 2008 and Rancho SM Santa Margarita 2011). Rancho kicker Emma Baker had one field goal and four PATs for seven kicking points. She ended the season with 99 kicking points (75 PATs, 8 of 10 FGs, long of 40) and already has 208 for her career. We already knew she had a state record for most points by a girl kicker and she already has a national record for that category. It’s going to be even better, however, when she ends her career on several all-time state lists regardless of gender. She’s in the book already for season kicking points and career kicking points.
MVP Carter Treadway. While RB Daylan Thetford of the Buffaloes had another strong outing, the junior QB for Rancho Christian hit on 10 of 11 passes for 211 yards and two TDs. He also rushed for 42 yards.
Vallejo St. Patrick-St. Vincent (13-3) 29,
Strathmore (14-1) 28
Joseph Garcia rushed for 150 yards and two touchdowns on 27 carries and Andres Lara caught two touchdown passes from Nick Salas to build a 28-14 halftime lead for Strathmore, but the Bruins outscored the Spartans 15-0 in the second half for the road win. Gabe Fuentes kicked a 19-yard field goal to win the game with six seconds left. It also was the Bruins’ first-ever state title in football.
MVP Marshel Martin. Nearly scoring the game-winning touchdown, he was knocked out at the one-yard line to set up the game-winning field goal and his 72-yard touchdown run with under nine minutes remaining made it 28-26. Martin also rushed for more than 100 yards on the night.
Mark Tennis is the co-founder and publisher of CalHiSports.com. He can be reached at firstname.lastname@example.org. Don’t forget to follow Mark on the Cal-Hi Sports Twitter handle: @CalHiSports