The season comes down to this: One final effort to win the last game.
Four area football programs are in CIF State championship games, two competing on Friday in Southern California and two at home sites Saturday in the best regional season in history.
Sacramento has never sent four teams to a title game in a single season; sometimes it’s just been one team. Folsom and Del Oro will play private-school powers while Rio Linda and Colfax will take on public-school programs making lengthy trips.
Here’s a look at the four games:
Sign Up and Save
Get six months of free digital access to The Sacramento Bee
Folsom (13-1) vs. Cathedral Catholic-San Diego (12-1) at Cerritos College, 8 p.m. Friday – Both teams are on a roll, Folsom with a 13-game winning streak since opening with a 14-0 loss at De La Salle and Cathedral Catholic on a 12-game streak since opening with a 19-7 loss to La Costa Canyon of Carlsbad. These are proven programs, with Folsom seeking its fourth CIF State title this decade and second in a row at Division I-AA, and Cathedral Catholic seeking its third title, having beaten St. Mary’s of Stockton in 2008 and 2016 to cap perfect seasons. The Bulldogs’ Kaiden Bennett has passed for 3,993 yards and 60 touchdowns and rushed for 431 yards and 12 scores. He’s accounted for 15 touchdowns in his last two games, crediting an offensive line anchored by Kaden Richardson for his success. The Dons are a wing-T team paced by Shawn Poma, who has rushed for 1,413 yards and 17 touchdowns, and D.J. Ralph, who has tossed 15 touchdowns. This game will be televised on NBC Sports California.
Del Oro (13-1) vs. Grace Brethren-Simi Valley (13-2) at Cerritos College, 4 p.m. Friday – This is old hat for Del Oro, competing in a CIF State final for the fifth time this decade and for the first time under second-year coach Jeff Walters, a one-time Golden Eagles player and assistant coach. The Golden Eagles seek their second title in three seasons and aim for a third consecutive knockout of a private-school heavy, having beaten Central Catholic of Modesto 20-17 for the Sac-Joaquin Section title and Saint Francis of Mountain View 14-13 for the Northern California crown. Matt Smart was the man of the hour both games, but he’s not a solo act, surrounded by QB Carson Jarratt, RBs Sheldon Conde and big-play performers Johnny Guzman, Dawson Hurst, Tatuo Martinson, Dante Pericin and Charlie Rogers. The Lancers are in the DII-AA final for the second consecutive season, having lost to Saint Francis to cap a 13-3 season. They are a run-heavy team, having churned out 4,556 yards and 56 touchdowns on the ground, including 2,236 yards and 33 TDs by Lontrelle Diggs. This game will be televised on NBC Sports California.
San Gorgonio-San Bernardino (12-3) at Rio Linda (12-2), 6 p.m. Saturday – The host Knights live to run with power and speed. They feature Cameron Skattebo, whose 3,157 yards rushing and 39 touchdowns make for one of the greatest single-season efforts for any position in regional history. QB Tyson Ybarra is also a rushing threat, having scored 11 of his team’s 64 rushing touchdowns. The Spartans have an explosive offense that includes a 4,000-yard passer (Jordan Pachot), a 2,000-yard rusher (Elijah Hall) and two 1,000-yard receivers (Jaylen Matthews and David Whaley). This figures to be an offensive show. This game will be live-streamed through NFHS Network.
San Diego (11-2) at Colfax (13-0), 6 p.m. Saturday – On paper, it looks lopsided with San Diego’s enrollment of 2,400 and Colfax with 600, but since the CIF went with a “competitive equity” formula two years ago, the results have been encouraging with a lot of competitive games. In 2015, East Nicolaus, enrollment of 284, defeated Coronado, enrollment 1,500. This game will be live-streamed through NFHS Network.
CIF State football championships
At Cerritos College, Norwalk
Division I-AA: Folsom vs. Cathedral Catholic-San Diego, 8 p.m.*
Division II-AA: Del Oro vs. Grace Brethren-Simi Valley, 4 p.m.*
Division I-A: Liberty-Brentwood vs. Sierra Canyon-Chatsworth, 8 p.m.*
Division II-A: San Joaquin Memorial-Fresno vs. Lawndale, 4.p.m.*
Lower-division title games
All games Saturday at 6 p.m. unless noted
Division III-AA: Lincoln-San Diego vs. Menlo-Atherton at Sequoia High School in Redwood City
Division III-A: Kaiser-Fontana at Wilcox-Santa Clara
Division IV-A: Garfield-Los Angeles vs. McClymonds-Oakland at Laney College
Division V-AA: San Gorgonio-San Bernardino at Rio Linda
Division V-A: San Diego at Colfax
Division VI-AA: Strathmore vs. Hilmar at Atwater High School
Division VI-A: Orange Glen-Escondido vs. Lincoln-San Francisco at City College of SF, noon
* Games televised on NBC Sports California. Other games will be live-streamed online through NFHS Network.
Games already completed
Open Division: Mater Dei-Santa Ana 35, De La Salle-Concord 21
Division IV-AA: Pleasant Valley-Chico 43, Central Valley Christian-Visalia 14
Division VII-AA: Denair 42, Santee 14