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CIF adjusts state football schedule after wildfires

11/19/2018, 8:10pm PST
By John Maffei

3065231_sd_sp_preps_fbopendiv_Cathedral Catholic vs Torrey Pines High School football open division played at Southwestern College.

This high school football season has been like no other.

An unprecedented early start, forfeits, lightning that forced games to be canceled and now wildfires that have ravaged parts of the Southern Section and hit the North Coast Section especially hard.

On Monday, the California Interscholastic Federation issued a statement outlining the rest of the playoff schedule.

It now appears most sections across the state will be able to complete their championships as scheduled. The exception is the North Coast Section, which will play its quarterfinals in five divisions Friday.

The CIF’s other nine sections, including San Diego, are playing championship games this weekend.

So the CIF will keep the Southern California Regionals on schedule for Nov. 30-Dec. 1. The Northern California Regionals are set for Dec. 7-8.

That pushes the state championship in all divisions but the Open to Dec. 14-15.

The Open Division, which doesn’t have a regional, will be Dec. 8 at Cerritos College.

The CIF said the North Coast Section, which has four entries into the NoCal Regionals, has been asked to do what’s best for its schools without regard for its entries in the regionals.

Should the North Coast Section elect to not finish its playoffs, its four playoff spots will be slotted as byes and the opponents will automatically advance to the state championship.

San Diego Section effect

San Diego crowned Cathedral Catholic as its Open Division champion last week.

The section’s other five championships will be played this weekend. Those champions will play a SoCal Regional game Nov. 30-Dec. 1.

Cathedral Catholic, which will not be in the Open Division for the state playoffs, has a bye this weekend, resuming play on the weekend of Nov. 30-Dec. 1.

All SoCal champions will have a bye Dec. 7-8 before the state championship.

That means a season that started on Aug. 17 will end on Dec. 14-15 for several teams.

Who will they play

San Diego Section Commissioner Jerry Schniepp said Cathedral will probably play down one or two divisions from the Open, either 1-AA or 1-A.

Helix, last year’s San Diego Open champ, played in Division 1-AA, the division behind the Open. El Camino, the Division I winner, played 4-AA. Steele Canyon, the Division II champ, played in 3-A. El Centro Southwest, the Division III champ, was 4-A at the state level. Monte Vista, the Division IV title winner, was a 5-A team. And Vincent Memorial, the Division V winner, played in 6-A.

So Cathedral, a two-time state champion in 2016 and 2008, would be looking at playing teams like Upland, Rancho Verde, Sierra Canyon or Cajon.

“This championship is huge,” Cathedral Catholic coach Sean Doyle said after a 28-17 win over Torrey Pines on Saturday. “It allows all our guys who were here for the state title two years ago to forget last year when it didn’t go well. We had 21 starters back from last year. I knew we would be real good this year.”

The Dons trailed Torrey Pines 14-0 Saturday before running back Shawn Poma took charge.

“We’ve been down before,” Poma said. “We know how to keep going. We were down 14 in the state playoffs two years ago, and we weren’t worried then either. I knew we wouldn’t lose this game.

“This has been a long road for me, considering where I was a year ago at this time. I knew this season was 100 percent possible.”

Poma had 153 carries for 1,338 yards and 19 TDs as a sophomore in 2016 when the Dons went 15-0.

He injured a knee last season and had 54 carries for 389 yards in three games and Cathedral went 5-7.

This season, he has 138 carries for 1,408 yards and 18 TDs, and the team is 11-1.

Impact on other sports

Pushing the state football playoffs back a week will have an impact on other events.

The Alex Spanos All-Star Football Classic is Dec. 15 at San Diego Mesa College.

The game pits top senior players against each other in a North-South format. Should the San Diego Section run the table and send all six teams to the state championships, the Spanos game would be without several star players.

There are several good basketball events scheduled for the weekend of Dec. 14-15.

Mission Bay, ranked No. 1 in San Diego and led by Duke-bound Boogie Ellis, hosts the Beach Bowl on Dec. 14, a doubleheader that matches La Jolla Country Day, No. 4 in San Diego, against Orange Lutheran and Mission Bay against Rancho Christian, ranked No. 33 in the nation and led by the Mosley brothers 7-foot Evan and 6-10 Isaiah.

On Dec. 15, Carlsbad hosts the 14-team BSN Showcase. The last two games are Mission Bay against Chino Hills, ranked No. 98 in the nation and led by 6-9 Onyeka Okongwu, and Torrey Pines, No. 2 in San Diego, against Bishop Montgomery, No. 33 in the nation, led by Gianni Hunt.

In addition, the 12-team National City Host Lions Club Frank Pekarek Classic at Sweetwater tips off with six games.


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