Christian receiver Kai Arvan eludes a tackler during the regular season. The Patriots were denied in their effort to be considered for a SoCal Regional Division IV game.
A hearing in Superior Court on Monday supported the CIF's interpretation of selection criteria for entrance into the state football playoffs, ruling against Christian High.
The Patriots (12-1), the San Diego Section Division III champion, were seeking to enter the Southern California Regional as a Division IV team.
"We're disappointed," said Christian Athletic Director David Beezer. "But we're proud of what the kids accomplished.
"What we accomplished was a great example of David vs. Goliath. At the end of the day we did the impossible. No one ever thought a school of under 500 students could accomplish what we did."
Christian defeated large public schools Morse, Hilltop and San Marcos in the playoffs en route to the title.
There were conflicting criteria saying the San Diego Section Division III champion would play up to Division II at the state level but also saying that if the Division III winner had fewer than 500 students it would play down to Division IV in state competition.
Christian has fewer than 400 students.
"It's extremely disappointing that the CIF had to spend thousands of dollars in this legal action that could have been better spent in providing educational programs to the 1,547 member high schools and nearly 800,000 participating student-athletes," CIF Executive Director Roger Blake said in a statement.
Judge William S. Dato presided over the hearing.
The CIF's 10 section commissioners chose West Hills Chaminade (12-2) and Newhall Hart (12-2) to play in the Division II Southern California Regional.
View Park (13-0), the L.A. City Section champion will meet Bakersfield Christian (11-2), the Central Section champion, in the Division IV regional.
"The bottom line is that we're a Christian school, a faith-based school," Beezer said. "So we accept the court's decision.
"Maybe God has a plan. Maybe we would have gotten a player seriously hurt if we had played.
"I think our players will handle the decision just fine. You can't have the kind of success we had without extreme-character kids.
"What we want to remember is that last time we were together," Beezer said of Saturday night's win over San Marcos in the Division III title game at Mesa College. "We were a family, and we were all smiles."
The selections and schedule:
North: Folsom (14-0, 5-0) vs. De La Salle (13-0) at Diablo Valley College - Saturday, Dec. 14 at 7:30 p.m.
South: Centennial, Corona (12-2, 5-0) vs. St. John Bosco (14-0, 5-0) at Cerritos College - Saturday, Dec. 14 at 7:30 p.m.
North: Del Oro (12-2, 5-0) vs. Serra, San Mateo (11-2, 6-0) at San Jose City College – Friday, Dec. 13 at 7:30 p.m.
South: Bakersfield (11-2, 5-0) vs. Mission Hills (12-1, 3-1) at Mission Hills HS (San Marcos) – Friday, Dec. 13 at 7:30 p.m.
North: Manteca (13-1, 7-0) vs. Enterprise (12-0, 6-0) at Lincoln HS (Stockton) – Saturday, Dec. 14 at 7:30 p.m.
South: Chaminade (12-2, 4-1) vs. Hart (12-2, 3-2) at College of the Canyons – Saturday, Dec. 14 at 7:30 p.m.
North: Sacred Heart Prep (12-1, 4-1) vs. El Cerrito (12-2, 6-0) at De Anza HS (Richmond) – Saturday, Dec. 14 at 7:30 p.m.
South: Nordhoff (13-1, 3-1) vs. Corona del Mar (14-0, 5-0) at Orange Coast College – Saturday, Dec. 14 at 7:30 p.m.
North: McClymonds (10-2, 5-0) vs. Central Catholic (13-1, 6-0) at Lincoln HS (Stockton) – Friday, Dec. 13 at 7:30 p.m.
South: View Park (13-0, 3-0) vs. Bakersfield Christian (11-2, 6-0) at Centennial HS (Bakersfield) – Friday, December 13 at 7:30 p.m.