CIFSS Doubleheader Has Big-Time Feel

There might not be a mythical state crown on the line, but you couldn't ask for more regarding the four teams who are playing Saturday at Edison International Field in the CIF Southern Section Div. I and Div. II football championship doubleheader.

Long Beach Poly, which has not lost in 39 of its last 40 games and has only lost to national and state No. 1 De La Salle, used a dominant defense to post a 28-7 win in last week's semifinals over Los Alamitos.

All-American tight end Marcedes Lewis lined up as a wideout and caught a 47-yard touchdown pass from Brandon Brooks to jumpstart the Jackrabbits. Brooks later threw a 74-yard touchdown pass to Jonathan Johnson and finished with 287 total passing yards. The Poly defense gave up an early touchdown, but completely sifled the Griffins the rest of the way and allowed only 83 total yards.

Poly (No. 2 in the state, No. 4 in the nation) advanced to this Saturday night's championship game against Edison of Huntington Beach (11-0-1), which moved up to No. 41 in this week's FAB 50 national rankings after an impressive 41-7 win in the other semifinal vs. Mater Dei of Santa Ana.

Some have said all year that the Chargers are the top team this year in Orange County (not Mission Viejo). They definitely have more of a claim to say that after their 41-7 victory last Friday over perennial power Mater Dei. Quarterback Tommy Grady, one of the top juniors in the nation, completed 8 of 10 passes for 293 yards and two scores to lead the offense. Defensive back Denny Flanagan led the defense with a 60-yard interception return. The Edison defense came up with eight sacks and completely shut down the usually potent Mater Dei offense in the second half. The Chargers played the Jackrabbits the last time they made it this far, too, back in 1985, and the two schools slugged it out to a 14-14 tie.

In one respect, the other title game on Saturday, involving Mission Viejo (13-0) and Chino (12-0), is even better that Poly-Edison since both are unbeaten and untied. In Mission Viejo's game last week, Joe Fleskoski intercepted two passes, returning one 58 yards for a touchdowns, and was part of a stellar defense that blanked Alta Loma, 41-0. Linebacker Ryan Powdrell, the leader of that defense, also starred once again on offense by scoring on a 31-yard run on Mission Viejo's second play from scrimmage. Robbie Dubois added two touchdowns rushing and Jordan Palmer had one touchdown pass and a touchdown run.

Chino ranks as a solid top 10 team in California as well as the unbeaten Cowboys fired solidly on all cylinders in their 32-8 victory last week over San Clemente. Mission Viejo may be ranked higher right now, but the Diablos' last loss was to Chino a year ago in the quarterfinals and the Diablos only beat San Clemente 21-18 earlier this season. The Cowboys were led against San Clemente by running back Jacob Flowe, who rushed for 228 yards and scored four touchdowns. Flowe benefitted from a relentless offensive line, keyed by 6-5, 295-pound Ryan Parks.

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