Last weekend was not kind to the North at chilly Hornet Stadium.
Northern California high school football teams went 0-5 on Friday and Saturday in the CIF state championship upper-division finals at Sacramento State, falling to the strength and depth of Southland programs.
Four games went down to the wire, just what CIF officials anticipated when they based their championship matchups on competitive balance rather than enrollment, their standard from 2006 to 2014.
Those teams are so good, the hits sounds different and the speed is different than other games. Just incredible.
Terry Rasmussen, former San Juan coach, on Open Division state football finalists Bosco and De La Salle
San Clemente of Orange County trailed Del Oro by 17 points in the first half and 17-9 at halftime before rallying for a 22-17 win in the Division I-A game Saturday afternoon.
Then in the Open Division, state No. 1 Bosco of Bellflower outclassed two-time defending and seven-time state champion De La Salle 56-33 in a showcase of speed, skill and size. De La Salle allowed its most points since the 1970s, before Bob Ladouceur took over as coach in 1979. He has been an assistant to coach Justin Alumbaugh since 2013.
Bosco and De La Salle will return a wealth of talent in 2017 and should be highly ranked nationally. Alumbaugh said of Bosco: “That team is better than we are.”
“Those teams are so good, the hits sounds different and the speed is different than other games,” said Terry Rasmussen, a former San Juan coach who was part of the Sac-Joaquin Section and CIF staff for game-day operations. “Just incredible.”
Small-school success – NorCal teams won six of the other eight divisions, all played in Southern California. The most nerve-racking game might have been in Division IV-A, where Pleasant Valley of Chico scored on a two-point conversion in overtime to defeat St. Anthony of Long Beach 50-49.
The two-point pass from Kyle Lindquist to Sean Seibert was called “trips right, orange slice.” Lindquist passed for 406 yards and four touchdowns and ran for a score for Pleasant Valley, which trailed by 10 in the third quarter.
Pleasant Valley, which opened in 1964, is the alma mater of Green Bay Packers quarterback Aaron Rodgers. The Vikings became the second Northern Section team to earn a state title since the CIF introduced the bowl system in 2006. East Nicolaus won the Division VI-AA championship last season.
Vikings players and coaches will be honored in a parade in downtown Chico on Wednesday. On Sunday night, fans packed Asgard Yard in Chico as the police and fire departments escorted the team’s charter buses into town. Local drivers pulled over to honk, wave and cheer.
Oakland’s champions – If the Raiders relocate to Las Vegas, Oakland still has two champions to celebrate. McClymonds and Bishop O’Dowd won titles in V-A and V-AA, respectively.
56 Bosco’s points against De La Salle, which allowed its most points since the 1970s
Overcoming six bad shotgun snaps in the first half before switching to snaps under center, McClymonds beat La Jolla Country Day 20-17. Bishop O’Dowd, which beat Capital Christian 24-21 in a NorCal Regional Bowl, topped Valley View of Moreno Valley 43-24. Former Raiders running back Napoleon Kaufman coaches Bishop O’Dowd. McClymonds, Bill Russell’s alma mater, and O’Dowd have long been known more for their basketball prowess.
▪ Sac State will will complete its three-year bowl contract next year. The CIF will send bids to venues and accept bids for future championship weekends.
▪ The section basketball finals for Divisions I through VI will be held at Pacific on March 3-4. Section officials sought a deal with Golden 1 Center, but there were scheduling conflicts. Since the late 1980s, most of the section finals have been held at Sleep Train Arena.
The NorCal Open Division finals in March will be held at Santa Clara’s Leavey Center. Golden 1 Center will host NCAA Tournament games that weekend. NorCal championships for other divisions likely will be at home sites, according to CIF executive director Roger Blake.