With the state bowl games returning to the Home Depot Center on Friday, December 17th and continuing on December 18th in Carson, GoldenStatePreps.com takes a crack at who could be the respective division representatives from Northern California and Southern California as the playoffs continue to shake out.
Northern California candidates: Concord De La Salle, Palo Alto, Folsom
Southern California candidates: Mission Viejo, Anaheim Servite, Corona Centennial
The Prediction: Concord De La Salle vs. Anaheim Servite
The Reason: De La Salle continues to roll and if they win their 19th straight section title, expect them back here in the Open Division title game. If they fall to CalHi, then Palo Alto, based on their unbeaten record, likely becomes the frontrunner over Folsom. We're still going with Servite in the Pac-5 over Mission Viejo. Corona Centennial has an outside chance at the Open, particularly if Mission Viejo wins, but we still think the winner of the Pac-5 gets the nod.
Northern California candidates: Concord De La Salle, Palo Alto, Elk Grove Pleasant Grove
Southern California candidates: Corona Centennial, Westlake, Westlake Village Oaks Christian, Los Angeles Crenshaw
The Prediction: Palo Alto vs. Corona Centennial
The Reason: Palo Alto has all but locked up the D-I berth. The only way Pleasant Grove gets in is if De La Salle loses to CalHi and Paly goes to the Open Division. But they haven't lost in 18 section title games, so we see no reason why the Spartans would this year. So pencil in Paly for the D-I spot from Northern California. In Southern California, Corona Centennial will likely be the D-I pick, unless they're upset by Vista Murrieta. If Centennial loses, the winner of the CIF-SS Northern Division, Westlake-Oaks Christian game, likely slides in here.
Northern California candidates:Folsom, Loomis Del Oro, Concord
Southern California candidates: Gardena Serra, Moreno Valley Rancho Verde, Oceanside
The Prediction: Folsom vs. Gardena Serra
The Reason: Folsom has pretty much locked up the D-II spot. They too could sneak into the Open Division if De La Salle loses, despite Paly having a better record, because of their strength of their schedule (wins over Pleasant Grove and a split with Grant). In the South, Serra is the heavy favorite to return to Carson. They needed things to break their way for a shot at the Open Division title, but two unbeatens in the Pac-5 have rendered that moot. Rancho Verde is ready to pounce on the D-II spot if Serra loses to Arroyo Grande, and they've got the horses to beat Colton for a CIF-SS title. If Colton and Arroyo Grande serve up upsets, the 7-time defending San Diego Section champs, and two-time winner of the state title Oceanside (D-II winners in 2007, D-I winners last year), would be a worthy candidate.
Northern California candidates: Alameda Encinal, Santa Rosa Cardinal Newman, Escalon
Southern California candidates: San Diego Madison, Lancaster Paraclete
The Prediction: Alameda Encinal vs. San Diego Madison
The Reason: Encinal took out 2009 rep Kentfield Marin Catholic, and they face Cardinal Newman in the CIF-NCS finals this weekend. The winner will likely get the nod, but don't sleep on Escalon. In Southern California, Valley Center's loss to Madison enabled Madison to move into the frontrunners spot for the D-III berth, and San Diego would like another rep in the state game for the fourth straight year and that could help Madison. Paraclete, should they pickup where they left off beating Chatsworth Sierra Canyon, also has a strong case.
SMALL SCHOOLS DIVISION
Northern California candidates: Stockton Brookside Christian, Middletown
Southern California candidates: Chatsworth Sierra Canyon, Boron, San Diego Francis Parker
The Prediction: Stockton Brookside Christian vs. Chatsworth Sierra Canyon
The Reason: Brookside Christian has won and now waits, and it's likely the winner of the D-IV title in the North Coast Section is their toughest competition. Middletown is the favorite there but they've already lost to a Richmond Salesian team who they'll face again . In the south, we liked Aquinas but they lost early. So now Sierra Canyon becomes the favorite with a revenge win over Paraclete.