CARSON, Calif. – The matchups for the 2008 CIF State Football Championship Bowl Games Presented by Farmers, which take place Friday-Saturday, December 19-20, 2008, at The Home Depot Center in Carson, are now set following the selection of participating teams, CIF Executive Director Marie M. Ishida announced Sunday.
The Selection Committee, comprised of the 10 CIF Section Commissioners, has selected the following teams to participate in the 2008 CIF State Football Championship Bowl Games Presented by Farmers.
"I was impressed with the Selection Committee, added Event Director Ken Gunn. "They showed depth of knowledge, thorough evaluation of all potential entrants and worked exceptionally well together."
OPEN DIVISION: GRANT, SACRAMENTO vs. POLY, LONG BEACH
Grant High School (13-0, 5-0) was the Division II Champion from the Sac-Joaquin Section. The Pacers, who play in the Metropolitan League, are coached by Mike Alberghini. They will face Long Beach Poly High School (14-0, 6-0) which was the Pac-5 Division Champion from the Southern Section. The Jackrabbits, who play in the Moore League, are coached by Raul Lara.
Grant finished the season undefeated, including a pair of wins against state champions from Idaho and Utah. Its win against Alta (Sandy, Utah) represented the highest ranked team that anyone from Northern California defeated this season. The Pacers' high-powered offense scored more than 30 points in all but one of their games. They defeated highly rated Granite Bay in the Section playoffs and also earned victories against Burbank in both league and Section finals.
Long Beach Poly won its Section championship with a come-from-behind 20-17 victory against Tesoro Saturday night in the Pac-5 Finals. The Jackrabbits won their second consecutive Pac-5 championship, the toughest division in the Southern Section. They also began the season against Miami Northwestern who is playing for the Florida 6A State Championship.
DIVISION I: DE LA SALLE, CONCORD vs. CENTENNIAL, CORONA
De La Salle High School (12-1, 7-0) was the Division I Champion from the North Coast Section. The Spartans, who play in the East Bay League, are coached by Bob Ladouceur. They will face Centennial High School (14-0, 7-0) which was the Inland Division Champion from the Southern Section. The Huskies, who play in the Big VIII League, are coached by Matt Logan. This game will be a re-match of last year's state Division I championship, which De La Salle won 37-31.
De La Salle, making its third appearance in as many years in the state championship, played a tough schedule and their only loss was in the preseason to Don Bosco (Ramsey, N.J.), who went on to become the private school state champion in New Jersey. Should the Spartans win the game, Ladouceur would take over as the leader in career wins in California state high school football history.
Undefeated Centennial bested Central Section champion Clovis West and also perennial power Mater Dei in a preseason game. The Huskies also beat highly ranked Chaparral twice, including the Section final.
DIVISION II: ST. MARY'S, STOCKTON vs. CATHEDRAL CATHOLIC, SAN DIEGO
St. Mary's, Stockton High School (12-2, 5-0) was the Division I Champion from the Sac-Joaquin Section. The Rams, who play in the Tri-City League, are coached by Tony Franks. They will face Cathedral Catholic High School (13-0, 5-0) which was the Division III Champion from the San Diego Section. The Dons, who play in the Eastern League, are coached by Sean Doyle.
St. Mary's of Stockton's greatest strength was its tough schedule. Its losses were to Bellarmine and to Modesto Central Catholic. The Rams had strong playoff wins against Merced and twice defeated Lincoln of Stockton, giving them their only two losses of the season.
Cathedral Catholic has been the top-ranked Division team in the statewide polls throughout the season. Nine of their 10 regular season opponents made the Section playoffs, and they are riding a 20-game win streak. The Dons have victories this season against Carlsbad, a SDS Division I semifinalist, and Scripps Ranch, a Division II semifinalist. Cathedral Catholic also earned the CIF State girls' volleyball championship Dec. 6, 2008.
DIVISION III: CARDINAL NEWMAN, SANTA ROSA vs. ST. BONAVENTURE, VENTURA
Cardinal Newman High School of Santa Rosa (13-0, 7-0) was the Division II Champion from the North Coast Section. The Cardinals, who play in the North Bay League, are coached by Paul Cronin. They will face St. Bonaventure High School of Ventura (13-1, 7-0) which was the Northern Division Champion from the Southern Section. The Seraphs, who play in the Channel League, are coached by Todd Therrien. Both teams are making their second appearance in the state finals as the Cardinals played in the inaugural games in 2006, and the Seraphs won last year.
Cardinal Newman was the top-ranked Division III team in Northern California for virtually the entire season. They had wins against Central Catholic, Del Oro and Palma during non-league play. They also defeated previously undefeated Clayton Valley in their Section championship.
St. Bonaventure's only loss was to Long Beach Poly, which will be playing in the state Open Division championship. The Seraphs had a commanding 42-7 victory in their Section final against Moorpark to finish off their tough season schedule.
SMALL SCHOOLS DIVISION: HAMILTON UNION, HAMILTON CITY vs. ST. MARGARET'S, SAN JUAN CAPISTRANO
Hamilton Union High School of Hamilton City (10-2, 6-1) was the Division III Champion from the Northern Section. The Braves, who play in the Mid-Valley League, are coached by Mark Cooley. They will face St. Margaret's High School of San Juan Capistrano (14-0, 3-0) which was the East Valley Division Champion from the Southern Section. The Tartans, who play in the Academy League, are coached by Harry Welch. This is Welch's second coaching appearance in the state finals as he also led Canyon of Canyon Country to the Division I title in 2006.
Hamilton Union won its Section final in overtime against Willows and finished the season as the top-ranked team in the Small Schools Division in all the statewide polls. Their strength of schedule was key to their selection. The Braves are the first team from the Northern Section to participate in the state football championships.
St. Margaret's enters the state football championships on a 42-game win streak, the longest such string in Orange County history. The Tartans won their third straight Section title this season, though the first since being moved up to a higher division. They defeated two schools of approximately 2,000 students in the playoffs.
"The Selection Committee made a commitment to a complete process during which all 50 schools were presented by their respective Commissioner and discussed thoroughly, said Ishida." I applaud the other 40 Section champions for their performances this season."
This year's championship has been expanded to feature five games, an increase from the three games played in each of the event's first two years. All five contests, played at The Home Depot Center in Carson, will be broadcast live on FSN Prime Ticket (Southern California) and CSN California and Bay Area (Northern California). Consult your local cable company or satellite provider for exact channel locations in your area:
FRIDAY, DECEMBER 19 SOCAL TV NORCAL TV
4:30pm Small Schools Division FSN Prime Ticket CSN Bay Area Plus
8:00pm Division I FSN Prime Ticket CSN Bay Area
SATURDAY, DECEMBER 20
12:00pm Division III FSN Prime Ticket CSN California
4:00pm Division II FSN Prime Ticket CSN California
8:00pm Open Division FSN Prime Ticket CSN California
KBCSports.com also will be providing live audio over the internet for all five games. Please visit www.kbcsports.com to listen to all the action.
To be eligible for the state championship bowl games, teams must have been their respective CIF Section Champion. There were a total of 50 Section Champions – 24 from Northern California and 26 from Southern California.
Guidelines, all weighted equally, used to select the teams included win-loss record, strength of schedule, head-to-head competition and common opponents. Various rankings and media reports also were used as informational sources in the selection process. Margin of victory or anticipated fan support were not factors in team selection.
Other ancillary gameday events include the California State High School Cheerleading and Dance Championships, Presented by Macy's, and a High School Football Coaches Clinic, sponsored by Nike. The clinic features USC head coach Pete Carroll, who has led the Trojans to two national titles, seven consecutive Pac-10 championships and seven straight BCS bowl appearances, and USC Strength and Conditioning Coach Chris Carlisle. Please visit www.cifstate.org for more information on how to register for either of these events.
Tickets for the 2008 CIF State Football Championship Bowl Games Presented by Farmers are available at The Home Depot Center Box Office, local TicketMaster outlets or ticketmaster.com. Tickets are $15 for adults and $8 for high school students (with a valid ASB card), seniors (65+) and children. All tickets are for general admission seating and are valid for all games on a single day. Two tickets would be required to attend at least one game on each day.