California playoffs heat up, Ohio race finally comes to a close
A few more state titles were decided this past weekend, the California Regional Football Championship Bowl Games were announced, and one season-long member of the top ten was eliminated in its final game of the season. Only the big states (California, Texas and Florida) are continuing at this point, but those races remain intriguing.
The most surprising team excluded from the final eight spots is Vista Murrieta (Calif.), which lost 30-28 to Centennial (Corona, Calif.) in the CIF Inland Division championship. This was the third consecutive season that the Broncos and the Huskies faced off in the regional final, and the Huskies managed to exact revenge after last year's loss. Centennial quarterback Robert Webber may have added his name to the growing lineage of elite quarterbacks to come from the school (Nebraska's Taylor Martinez, Arizona's Matt Scott, Arizona State's Michael Eubank) after completing 16 of 23 passes for 259 yards and one touchdown. The junior has no reported Division-I offers yet, but will likely get an extended look.
The Broncos shook off some shoddy offensive play (they turned the ball over four times) to make a furious charge at the end. Down 30-22, Vista Murrieta went to its star, USC commit Su'a Cravens down the stretch. It almost worked. As noted succinctly by Eric Sodenheimer at the
Centennial has now won seven regional titles in 12 years. The Huskies will meet the dangerous Narbonne (Harbor City, Calif.), which beat Crenshaw (Calif.) 25-0 in its regional final.
The other shocking result from the CIF playoffs was Long Beach Poly's (Long Beach, Calif.) 35-17 win over Mater Dei (Santa Ana, Calif.). Some may remember Long Beach Poly as the vaunted football powerhouse that once featured Mark Carrier, DeSean Jackson, Marcedes Lewis, Willie McGinest and even Snoop Dogg.
But this year was different for the Jackrabbits. They were 1-3 after week four and had lost three consecutive games by the combined score of 105-18. Now, Raul Lara's will take on the dangerous Clovis North (Fresno) this coming Friday.
The win was the seventh in Moeller's history, but the first it has clinched since 1985. The Crusaders were recognized as one of the top teams in the nation entering the season, but faced a vicious regular season schedule that included top-ranked Ohio teams St. Xavier (Cincinnati), Elder (Cincinnati), St. Edward (Lakewood, Ohio), and the loaded Trinity (Louisville).
The Hurricanes easily clinched their regional championship and will now move on to the state semifinals where they will face a strong St. Thomas Aquinas side. It still seems unlikely that the Hurricanes will face a challenge in this game or even the final.
That's the end of the road for a talented Bellevue side, and it never played a close game after Week 1. Football fans will probably hear the names Myles Jack, Budda Baker and Sean Constantine called at the next level.
It was yet another easy win for Curtis, and it will advance to the title game with another traditional state power in Evangel Christian Academy (former high school of quarterbacks John David Booty and Brock Berlin as well as running back Jacob Hester).
Last week we wrote that Katy may get a more difficult test from LaPorte. It didn't. The Tigers will now face a rallying Cypress Ranch, which has won each of its playoff games in breathtaking fashion.
The Eagles were slowed down a bit -- but certainly not stopped -- this past weekend. They know play the game of the week against defending 5A Division 1 champion Southlake Carroll, which has won 12 consecutive games.
The Spartans obliterated an upstart Logan side in its CIF regional final. With one plaque down, De La Salle will need to survive a high-flying Folsom side that consistently features one of the top offenses in California.
The Bulldogs are champs and completed arguably its most dominating season in school history.
University keeps rolling through
Narbonne has essentially obliterated its opponents all season, but it will see a stiff test from Centennial, which knocked Vista Murrieta (Murrieta, Calif.) out of the top 10 this past weekend.