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California football championships: Mater Dei, Serra to meet again for CIF State Open Division title

For the second time in three years, the Monarchs and Padres will play for California's top prize at Saddleback College

For the second time in three years, Mater Dei and Serra will meet for the California Interscholastic Federation's top prize — the Open Division football championship. 

The state's governing body for high school sports just announced the pairings of all their regional games — 28 in all (14 in South and 14 in North) — which are held Friday and Saturday at home sites. 

The lone exception is the Open Game, which pits what is considered the top teams from the South (Mater Dei) and North (Serra), which waits two weeks to play the state's final game, 8 p.m. Dec. 8 at Saddleback College in Mission Viejo. 

Two years ago, Mater Dei defeated Serra 44-7. It was the first of three straight years now that Serra has been selected from the North. The previous years, since the games were incepted in 2006, De La Salle was selected the Open squad with one exception, Grant-Sacramento in 2008. 

Then a sophomore, Mater Dei quarterback (12) and Stanford commit Elijah Brown in 2021 against Serra

Then a sophomore, Mater Dei quarterback (12) and Stanford commit Elijah Brown in 2021 against Serra

Mater Dei reached the 2023 Open Game with a resounding 35-7 victory over St. John Bosco on Friday for the Southern Section Division I title at the L.A. Coliseum. Serra won the Central Coast Section crown on Nov. 17 with a resounding win of its own, 63-27, over Wilcox. 

The way the playoff system is set up, Serra will have 21 days off between its section championship and the Open title game. 

For the first time, instead of the lower division games played at home sites, the CIF implemented a three site plan in Southern California for championship games Dec. 8-9: Saddleback, El Camino College in Torrance and Pasadena City College. Which divisions go where will be announced Dec. 3. 

The following is at the official document sent out to media at 1 p.m. today. We will add more later. 

CIF pairings 1
CIF Pairings 2