This is the match-up that many people were hoping to see in this game: the longtime powerhouse De La Salle against the City champions Crenshaw. A matchup of a program that has won 18 straight section titles and the reigning City winners. The private school flavor of the Spartans and the public school talent of Crenshaw. Last year's Open Division game was an entertaining one between longtime powers Grant and Poly. But both were similar teams. This one will feature two contrasting styles of play- the discipline and precision of the Spartans and the athleticism and high-powered offense of the Cougars. De La Salle boasts the two-headed monster at running back of Terron Ward and Tyler Anderson while the Cougars feature elite 2011 player DeAnthony Thomas, the top prospect in the West next year. Crenshaw also has Hayes Pullard in the backfield with Thomas, though he doubles as a stellar linebacker. De La Salle will want to run it, which is what Pullard is hoping for, since he excels against the run. Crenshaw will mix it up, throwing it with Geno Hall and running it with Thomas and Pullard. Defensively, the Spartans are led by 2011 stud Dylan Wynn, who had a great game in the D-I game a year ago as a sophomore. Expect a good one in the Open Division Championship.
Division I: Oceanside vs. Bellarmine Prep
The Pirates look to become only the second school to win two state bowl games, joining St. Bonaventure. Oceanside won the title two years ago in D-II and had a case for it a year ago, but Cathedral went instead. Last week, they simply over powered Helix in the San Diego Section finals. The Pirates are led by Oregon State commit Thomas Molesi up front and J.J. Whittaker, headed to Arizona, a the skill position. Bellarmine suffered serious graduation losses, but alas, finds themselves in the finals, where they had a case a year ago. Their stars are Kris Olugbode and Kyle Olugbode, brothers who helped the Bells to the CIF-CCS Open Division title.
Division II: Anaheim Servite vs. Rocklin
The Thunder, the alma mater of UCLA freshman hoopster Brendan Lane, are making their first ever visit to the Home Depot Center where they'll face Pac-5 champion Servite. Rocklin went 14-0 and stunned defending Open Division champs Sacramento Grant. A big part of their success has been because of quarterback Jimmy Laughrea, but a broken arm will sideline him for the finals. Jackson Cummings figures to carry the load for the Thunder, after rushing for over 2,200 yards this season. Servite on the other hand, has one of their stars playing through a broken arm, Kirifi Taula, though it's not on his throwing arm as a quarterback. The Friars won the Pac-5 in dominating defensive fashion over Edison. But their offense ticks because of dual-threat quarterback Cody Fajardo, who can do it with his legs and his arm.
Division III: Gardena Serra vs. Kentfield Marin Catholic
Marin Catholic, the alma mater of former UCLA running back Kahlil Bell, takes their first ever plunge into the state championship game. They'll be led by quarterback Nate Kristoff but the strength of their team is in the backfield, behind the legs of Chris Adams, who ran for 2,230 yards this year and 30 touchdowns. Their secondary, while up for it, isn't exceptionally big, with their tallest DB going 5-10. That will be a challenge when facing arguably the best receiving corps in the country. Serra is led by Robert Woods, the nation's top receiver, as well as UCLA commit Paul Richardson, back from an ankle injury, and elite 2011 prospect George Farmer. They also boast a stingy defense featuring elite 2011 stars Jason Gibson and Marqise Lee and 2010 defensive back Devan Spann and Bene Benwikere.
Small Schools Division: San Diego Francis Parker vs. Modesto Christian
Parker rolled to the San Diego Section title for D-V last week against The Bishops School, thanks to a do-everything performance by Deon Randall, who ran, threw and returned kicks for touchdowns in the win. Modesto Christian, though, has an equal, if not better, in Isaiah Burse, who has offers from a handful of programs in the West as an athlete, but is primarily known as MC's quarterback.
Commits: Derrick Bryant (Columbus Brookhaven), Chris Ward (Santa Ana Mater Dei), John Young (Loyola), Jordon James (Corona), Aramide Olaniyan (Woodberry Forest), Eric Kendricks (Fresno Hoover, Kip Smith (Legacy Broomfield), Earnest Thomas (Orchard Lake St. Mary Prep), Kody Innes (Scottsdale Saguaro), Julious Moore (Bellevue), Tevin McDonald (Edison)
Recruits: Anthony Barr (Loyola), Sil Ajawara (Los Flores Tesoro), Shaquille Richardson (Los Alamitos), Josh Shirley (Kaiser), Kenny Stills (La Costa Canyon)