Sammamish (Wa.) Skyline vs Tacoma (Wa.) Bellarmine Prep
Max Browne (Sammamish, Wash./Skyline), the nation's top-quarterback, cemented himself as one of the finest players in state history, setting the state career passing record, and, more importantly, leading the Spartans to their second straight 4A state title, and their fifth in the last six years. Browne threw for 384 yards, the most ever in a state championship game, and four touchdowns, in the win. As usual, Browne did a great job looking for open receivers, and diversifying the offense. And most notably, he engineered a win on the biggest stage. The best play of the night he made, was his last touchdown pass of his storied career, stepping up in the pocket against a big rush, and tossing a 54-yard touchdown pass, the final nail for the Spartans. And Browne did it with quite an audience, one that include his future coach, Lane Kiffin from USC, as well as quarterbacks coach Clay Helton.
Sefo Liufau (Tacoma, Wash./Bellarmine Prep), a Colorado commit, has long been overshadowed by Browne in-state, but he showed why he's every bit the college prospect, throwing for 376 yards (which also would have broken the previous record), and three touchdowns, and setting state records with 33 completions and 45 pass attempts. Liufau spread out the offense, and withstood a tough Spartan pass rush, which had him on the run literally from the time he'd take the snap. He was hit hard, and almost everytime he let go, he was tackled, but would pop up and kept battling. The future Buff had the Lions farther than they'd ever been.
Greg Biggins, National Recruiting Analyst
Santa Ana (Calif.) Mater Dei vs. Long Beach Poly (Calif.)
For Poly, athlete John Smith had a big game on both sides of the ball. Just a junior, Smith could be an elite recruit at WR or safety but I love him on defense.Smith looked good over summer on the 7 on 7 circuit and he just looks the part, the kind of athlete you see in the SEC. Smith has a great frame, is very physical, has good ball skills, runs well and is a play maker. He definitely projects as one of the elite prospects in the West next fall.
Sophomore corner Iman Marshall was matched up against Thomas Duarte for MD most of the night and more than held his own. At least four or five times, Poly had sacks on the QB, coverage sacks, because the QB was locked on Duarte and Marshall had him blanketed. Marshall has grown since the summer and is noticeably bigger. He's a physical player that can run and is a special talent for sure and is already an elite talent.
Jayon Brown played very well. He's very active, very athletic and is always around the ball. He's a big hitter who plays well in space and should do a nice job filling that Dalton Hilliard role that he was recruited for by UCLA.
For MD, Duarte is a huge talent. He's such a tough cover and has the ability to get deep as well as being a dependable possession WR. Marshall was on him most of the night with John Smith offering help over the top and he still made plays. He's definitely one of my favorite players in this years class and should be a serious matchup problem for opposing defenses wherever he lines up.
MD corner Jonathan Locket is a junior I like that has a chance to be very good. He has good size and cover skills and improving athleticism. He doesn't show elite speed and that's probably the only thing holding him back from having several offers but he makes up for it with very good football instincts.
Kevin Carden, West Recruiting Analyst
West Hills (Calif.) Chaminade vs Gardena (Calif.) Serra
When you cover a game you hope the big-time players make a major impact on the game, and that is exactly what happened in the star-studded Chaminade-Serra showdown. Serra pulled out a 30-28 win thanks in large part because of the play of standouts Adoree Jackson and Dwight Williams. Jackson, one of the top 2014 prospects in California, got Serra on the board with a fake punt that he ran in for a long touchdown. Linebacker Dwight Williams was all over the field, coming up with two interceptions, and returned one for a 48-yard score. Sophomore tailback Malik Roberson stands just 5-foot-6, but he had a terrific night running the ball and will get plenty of attention from college coaches the next few years.
For Chaminade, four-star tailback Terrell Newby had another solid performance that included several tough runs inside and a 29-yard touchdown. Junior Donovan Lee, who is slated to take over for Newby at tailback next season, had an 82-yard punt return for a score. Colorado commit Elijah Dunston pulled in a 56-yard touchdown reception from quarterback Brad Kayaa.
Annabel Stephan, West Field Reporter
Palos Verdes Estates (Calif.) Palos Verdes vs. Torrance (Calif.) West
Many factors played a role in this championship match up, including the abundance of rain. However, the Palos Verdes Sea Kings managed to rally and pulled out the 35-14 victory. Running back Matt Lopes was the player of the game, finishing the night with close to 200 yards yards for three touchdowns. Lineman Andrew Bucklin, who plays on both sides of the ball for the Sea Kings, is the team's most highly touted prospect, with an offer from Colorado and some more Pac-12 interest, as well as interest from Ivy League programs. Bucklin was ecstatic after the win, crediting the team's discipline and heart for leading them to their first CIF title win (Northern Division Champs) in almost fifty years.
The West Warriors, however, put up a fight until the literal last second of the game, displaying an impressive determination. Athlete Mat Boesen, the obvious leader of the Warriors' team, played both tight end and linebacker and showed off an ability to get to the ball. The 6-foot-4, 220-pound prospect, who is committed to Boise State on the defensive side, did not stop moving until the referee blew the whistle, looking to make a hit on every play.