Here’s five things to watch to get you ready for a great weekend of high school football.
If you’re a fan of the playoff format as currently constructed, savor this weekend. Although not confirmed, the format is highly likely to change for the 2016 season. A proposal was made earlier this season and is scheduled to be voted on in January. If approved, much like basketball, leagues won’t define a playoff division. Instead, teams will be assigned to a division individually based on prior postseason performance. Meaning, hypothetically, Long Beach Poly could remain in the PAC-5 while some of its Moore League cohorts could be placed in other divisions. A similar situation could play out for (Corona) Centennial and other members of the Big VIII League. The CIF-Southern Section’s search for greater competitive equity could make for some exciting times.
Vista Murrieta always a bridesmaid, just once a bride
Head coach Coley Candaele says there are plenty of coaches who would love to have the success his Broncos have enjoyed in recent years … and he’s probably right. However, with that success has come a ton of heartache. The Broncos (12-1) find themselves in a CIF-SS final for the seventh straight year. Just once during that span were they crowned champions — 2011 in a wild affair against Centennial. On Friday night at 7:30 p.m. (on FOX Sports West/FOX Sports GO), the Broncos will host the West Valley final against a Mission Viejo (13-0) team that owns the longest winning streak in Southern California with 25 straight victories. It’s a rematch of last year’s final won by the Diablos at Angel Stadium.
Los Alamitos endured a five-game losing streak in 2015, putting a damper in what ended up being the final campaign for longtime Griffins head coach John Barnes, who announced his retirement at the end of the season. The rough patch in Barnes’ final season may not be Barriere’s fault but the blame could easily be pointed in his direction. After all, it was his completion of a Hail Mary that handed the Griffins their first loss, setting off the losing streak and trending in the wrong direction. La Habra head coach, Frank Mazzotta, says his quarterback is ‘special’ and h’s one of the most exciting quarterbacks in the CIF-Southern Section. The senior, who holds FCS offers, is a four-year varsity player for the Highlanders, and has them back in the finals for the first time since 2010. La Habra (12-1) will be looking for the 8th title in program history Friday night against San Clemente (10-2) in a battle of the No. 1 and No. 2 seeds in the Southwest Division. The game can be seen at 10 p.m. (delay) (on FOX Sports West/FOX Sports GO).
There’s more to Camarillo than just great shopping. The town’s high school is playing some good football and enjoying one of the best seasons in school history. Camarillo (13-0) has shown that it’s a team in every sense of the word, rallying around each other to pick up a win in the semifinals to get to this point. Without star quarterback Jake Constantine last week, the Scorpions turned to sophomore and third-string signal caller Jake Moss and blew past Bishop Diego, 54-28. This week Constantine will be back in the lineup for the Northern Division final against Thousand Oaks (11-2) on Friday at 7 p.m. (on Prep Zone/FOX Sports GO) in what is sure to be an offensive explosion. Camarillo is back in the finals for the first time in 19 years while it’s been 28 years since Thousand Oaks last played for a championship.
Two of nation’s best collide at Angel Stadium
It’s one of the most highly anticipated sectional finals in CIF-SS history. It’s a matchup of top-10 teams nationally and the No. 1 and No. 2 teams in the FOX Sports West High School Football Rankings … Corona Centennial (13-0) and St. John Bosco (13-0).
It’s the third postseason meeting between the two schools in as many years. The rubber match is a rematch of last season’s PAC-5 Final played at Angel Stadium and won by the Huskies in the program’s first season in the CIF-Southern Section’s top division. Matt Logan’s Huskies are looking to become the first team to repeat in the PAC-5 since Servite in 2010 and the first public school to do so since Long Beach Poly in 2008.
Centennial’s defense is, arguably, the best ever under Logan, allowing just 16.8 points per game this season. Three Pac-12-bound seniors, Chacho Ulloa (Stanford), Kentrell Love (Washington), and Camryn Bynum (Cal) anchor the secondary.
Bosco had its repeat bid in 2014 upended by Centennial. Senior quarterback Quentin Davis sat behind Josh Rosen for two years and has emerged as a star in 2015, throwing for 39 touchdowns and just two interceptions. Davis’ QB rating of 148.2 is 25 points higher than Rosen’s a season ago while Davis has added seven rushing scores. The 2015 version of St. John Bosco is eerily similar to the 2013 squad that won a national championship. There are some members of this current Braves squad who feel the 2015 version is better.
With a win, Bosco will draw itself even closer to a second national championship in three years. Second halves have been a blur for both teams this season. A running clock was used in the second half for all but two of Centennial’s games this season. Just one of St. John Bosco’s games didn’t end in a running clock.