CIF State Championship Bowl D-I Preview

The matchup everyone expected a year ago finally takes place tonight when Concord De La Salle returns to the CIF State D-I Championship Bowl to face the top-ranked team in Southern California, Corona Centennial in the nightcap of the state championship tripleheader...

During the first year of the CIF State Football Championship bowl games in 2006, the D-I game looked to be the top-ranked team in the nation, Concord De La Salle, and the top D-I school in SoCal, Corona Centennial.

But the Huskies lost a stunner in the CIF-SS Inland Division quarterfinals and never made it to the Home Depot Center.

De La Salle made it, but for the first time in 16 years, ended their season with a loss, dropping the title match to Canyons.

Now the matchup people expected last year will come to fruition tonight when the Huskies and Spartans meet in the final game at the Home Depot Center.

De La Salle was the easy, no-brainer choice for the Northern California berth. Corona Centennial, though, was one of three legitimate candidates, along with Van Nuys Birmingham and Long Beach Poly. The advantage the Huskies had was a win over Encino Crespi, the same team to hand Birmingham their only loss.

So its the North Coast 4A champs against the Southern Section Inland champs for state bragging rights.

De La Salle comes in with a perfect record and has outscored its three playoff opponents, 146-15 to earn the nod.

They've already played to Southern Section opponents, routing Los Angeles Loyola and Mission Viejo in early season action. They also have motivation since they were manhandled a year ago by Canyon. This is one of their more balanced teams, but as usual, its the ground where they like to control the offense.

Senior quarterback Mike MacGillivray has passed for 1,041 yards and 18 touchdowns, but the Spartans have used the running attack much more, rushing for over 3,000 yards as a team this fall.

Tito Pica has 1,135 yards rushing with 15 touchdowns and Kylan Butler has tallied 683 yards and 13 scores. Blake Wayne has nearly 500 yards rushing and nine touchdowns. Wayne has also thrown eight touchdown passes this season.

Michael Czyz has been MacGillivray's favorite target, catching 29 passes for 877 yards, but more impressive since 16 of his 29 receptions have gone for touchdowns.

Brady Amack and Andrew Garaventa lead the Spartans defense.

For the Huskies, they featured the high-powered offense that has averaged almost 55 points a game during the playoffs.

Matt Scott is the steady leader of the Husky attack, and he can beat you with his arm and his legs. In fact, Scott is arguably the best dual-threat quarterback in the West and has proven it over the year. Scott has ran for 1,010 yards and thrown for 2,326 yards. He's rushed for 13 touchdowns and thrown for 17, so the Spartans will need to stop him to stop the Husky offense.

Easier said than done, because if the Husky passing game isn't working, then Scott can just hand it off to Ryan Bass, who's ran for 1,849 yards and 29 scores. Bass is playing in the final game of one of the most storied careers in SoCal history, especially in the Inland Empire.

If Scott stays in the air, Marcel Posey figures to be his top target, as he's been all year. He has 71 catches for 854 yards and four scores and Ricky Marvray, with 31 catches for 545 yards, also figures to get his share of passes.

Defensively, the Huskies have tightened the unit since their lone loss, to Mater Dei, which was a nightmare for them.

The status of senior linebacker Brandon Magee is still up in the air after he was suspended for an off-the-field incident, but the Huskies have had the best linebacker corps in the state for a reason. Junior Vontaze Burfict is a budding star and has keyed the Husky defense with 130 tackles coming into tonight. Shelly Lyons, a senior, has 101 tackles and is coming off his best game against Corona Santiago in the Inland Division title game.

In the secondary, expect Kenny Anderson to be the key, with his eight interceptions a reason for De La Salle to stay away from him.

The coaching advantage has to go to Bob Ladouceur, the legendary Spartans coach. It's no knock against Centennial's Matt Logan, who is one of the best coaches in the state, but Ladouceur is a coaching legend and one of the finest to ever walk the sidelines in California.

This game features balanced offenses, stingy defenses and plenty of talent and should be the most entertaining game of the day.

Kickoff is at 7:30 and the game will be televised on both FSN Prime Ticket and FSN Bay Area's alternate channel.

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