CALIFORNIA STATE CHAMPIONSHIP GAME, Sat. at Chukchansi Park, Fresno, 1 pm.
EL CAMINO 11-2 vs. SAN FRANCISCO 10-1. It's the "Civil War" series, North vs. the South.
CC OF SAN FRANCISCO
W, 47-6 over Golden Coast All-Stars*
W, 41-20 over Cabrillo
W, 34-31 over Fresno
W, 28-14 over Chabot
W, 46-7 over Los Medanos*
W, 34-20 over Feather River
W, 41-24 over San Mateo*
W, 27-24 over Foothill
L, 34-35 loss to Santa Rosa*
W, 29-12 over Butte*
W, 26-10 over Fresno (NorCal Championship)*
W, 34-7 over Citrus*
W, 25-20 over Chaffey
W, 28-22 over Riverside*
L, 39-42 loss to Mt. San Antonio (3 OT)
W, 28-24 over Palomar
W, 31-17 over Orange Coast*
W, 33-1 over Santa Ana
W, 31-21 over Cerritos*
W, 31-0 over Golden West
L, 37-42 loss to Saddleback
W, 31-29 over Moorpark (1st Round Playoff)*
W, 30-28 over #1 Saddleback (2nd Round)
W, 23-20 over Bakersfield (SoCal Final in OT)
George Rush and his CCSF lads are used to checking into the State finals. After all, they have been there in eight of the nine years they have held the contest. They have split the wins, going 4-4 and have lost the last two, 38-42 to Grossmont last season and 32-39 at the hands of Canyons in 2004. One thing for sure, when the Rams play there will be some serious scoring. The average over their eight games shows a 35.1 to 22.9 tally, and the winning side was hyped by that horrendous 64-12 thrashing of Palomar on the eve of Tom Craft's announced departure to San Diego State in 2001. Look at the two matchups with Grossmont. CCSF won the first one in 2004, 38-35 and lost last year 42-38.
El Camino and John Featherstone will be dipping their toes in the title pool for the first time. Its not that the Warriors aren't used to bowl games, since they go virtually every year to one game or another. And to get to the big matchup this season they had to play Saddleback twice in the two weeks, then venture to Bakersfield and endure an overtime clash.
This is a tough one (as usual) to predict. ECC played a tougher schedule week in and week out, but CCSF closed strong with just a one-point miscue at the hands of a strong Santa Rosa eleven. ECC lost a triple OT at Mt. San Antonio and by 5 points when a Saddleback DB stole a pass on its goal line late in the game. Nothing to be ashamed of in either case. Our hunch is that both teams may have been a tad stronger last year, but they are survivors and win when it counts in 2006.
Both teams utilize a freshman QBs. Zack Lee's stats are a bit more impressive, 4th in the state in number of completions and a nifty 27-5 TD/Int ratio. 2,788 yards ain't bad either. Boo Jackson came on as a replacement in the Mt. San Antonio game and never left. His 171.7 passing yardage per attempt was 2nd best in the state. Each team has a super receiver. The Rams get great mileage out of WR Kenny O'Neill, a transfer from Florida State, who might be headed for Nebraska. The Warrior's Kayne Farquharson is a do everything-type, and he does it all well, accounting for 126 yards per game. Offensive tackles Alisana Alisana and Ako Poti, a couple of 305-pounders anchor the CCSF line. Ace of the Warrior gang on defense is Vuna Tuihalamaka, a 6-0, 225 Lber who flies from sideline to sideline, and don't get in his way.
Pressed to make a choice between these two teams, I would have to go with SAN FRANCISCO 35-31 simply based on the playoff experience factor and it is hard to imagine Rush losing three of these games in a row. Should be a dandy contest.
IN THE PREVIOUS EDITION we tabbed BLINN to edge PEARL RIVER 35 to 28. We are going to stick with that analysis, but man that Southern section of the Mississippi Conference had some bullets with Pearl, COPIAH-LINCOLN and GULF COAST.
The winner of this game will be crowned the NJCAA champ.
SOUTHERN CALIFORNIA PLAYOFF SCORES:
Two weeks ago we gave you the first round scores plus results of nine of the games. Since then:
El Camino 30, Saddleback 28 (We picked Saddleback 31-28)
Bakersfield 13, Grossmont 6 (We picked Grossmont 24-14)
El Camino 23, Bakersfield 20 OT
Actual score; predicted score in parenthesis.
DALTON DEFENDERS - Butler 57, Vermilion 0 (Predicted: 45-7)
HAWAIIAN PUNCH - San Francisco 26, Fresno 10 (24-21)
C.H.A.M.P.S HEARTS OF TEXAS - Kilgore 19, Fort Scott 7 (24-21)
SEA ISLAND - Copiah-Lincoln 21, Georgia Military 0 (28-21)
ZION'S TOP OF THE MOUNTAIN - Snow 26, Coffeyville 21 (35-21)
VALLEY OF THE SUN - Lackawanna 17, Glendale 16 (14-31)
CAPITAL SHRINE - Sacramento 31, Feather River 13 (21-37)