Two local Catholic high school football teams will compete for their first-ever state titles Dec. 16 in the finals of the CIF Championship Bowl Series.
Mater Dei High School of Santa Ana will play De La Salle of Concord in the Open Division title game Dec. 16, 8 p.m. at Hornet Stadium in Sacramento. Mater Dei (14-0) has held not only the top ranking in California but in the U.S. all season, as determined by Maxpreps’ “Xcellent 25” survey, and won the CIF-SS Open Division title Dec. 2 over Trinity League rival St. John Bosco.
While this will be the Monarchs’ first state title game appearance in the 12-year history of the CIF Bowl Series, De La Salle (11-1) is making its 12th, having won seven, but losing in the 2016 OPen Division final to St. John Bosco. The Spartans’ only loss this season came Sept. 16 to Bishop Gorman of Las Vegas --- a team Mater Dei defeated on Sept. 1.
Earlier Dec. 16, Bishop Diego High School of Santa Barbara will take on Shasta of Redding in the Division 3-AA title game, 6 p.m. at Cal Lutheran in Thousand Oaks, after the Cardinals overpowered Quartz Hill, 41-7, Dec. 9 in the SoCal Regional Finals at Cal Lutheran. (Both last week’s and this week’s games were moved to Thousand Oaks from Santa Barbara City College for safety reasons because of the Thomas Fire.)
As in most of its victories, the Cardinals used a suffocating defense and the power of senior running back John Harris (206 yards and four touchdowns in just eight carries) to lead Quartz Hill 34-0 at halftime. The Cardinals (14-1) reached the regional final by winning the D-6 championship, and were ranked No. 1 in the CIF-Southern Section’s Division 6 most of the season, the.
Shasta (12-1), from the CIF’s Northern Section, won the Eastern League title and earned its way to the title game with a 40-27 win over Marin Catholic, the Wolves’ eighth straight win. Both the Cardinals and the Wolves have dominated their opposition all year: Bishop Diego has outscored its opponents 653 points to 165; Shasta, 610-258.
In the Division 1-A SoCal Regional Finals on Dec. 9, Paraclete High School was overrun by L.A. City power Narbonne, 56-14, in a game that saw Narbonne (like Bishop Diego) take a commanding halftime lead and coast home. For the Spirits, winners of the 2016 state 3-AA championship, the loss was only its second against 13 wins in a season that saw them capture the CIF-SS Division 5 title after winning the Gold Coast/Valley League crown.