Football: St. Ignatius gets NorCal bid, will take on Granite Bay in Division I bowl

St. Ignatius players celebrate with fans after their win over Bellarmine in the CCS Open Division championship on Friday at San Jose City College. (Photo by Eric Sun)

By Jeremy Balan

There were several extended discussions during the meeting of the 10 CIF section commissioners to decide the regional football championship matchups on Sunday, but one didn’t even get a vote.

Due to the committee’s selection of De La Salle and Folsom for the Northern California Open Division championship, Granite Bay and St. Ignatius were the only eligible teams left to fill the two slots for the Division I game.

Granite Bay, the Sac-Joaquin Section Division I champion, and the Wildcats, the Central Coast Section Open Division champion, will face off in the Division I NorCal title game on Friday night at Sacramento State University.

The victor will then face the winner of the Southern California Division I regional game between Long Beach Poly and Clovis North of Fresno in the Division I state championship game.

In the first year of regional championships (since 2006, the CIF has had only state championships, with the committee deciding the best representatives from each division in the north and south to play in one game), St. Ignatius is the only San Francisco high school to play for a regional or state football title. Lincoln is the only other San Francisco high school to play beyond a section championship, when it faced off against McClymonds of Oakland in the first and only TransBay title game in 2007.

“We do understand the significance of that, to represent our school, our league – and it’s a great honor to do,” said St. Ignatius head coach John Regalia. “We also know that we’re a San Francisco school and we represent high school football in San Francisco. It’s an honor and we take that very seriously. There’s a lot of pride there.”

The Wildcats were the only CCS team selected to participate in a regional game, although Division IV CCS champion Sacred Heart Prep of Atherton was considered an outside contender to qualify for the Division III regional game (section divisions are not always compatible with the CIF bowl divisions). Lincoln, by winning the San Francisco Section title, was eligible for the Division II game, but was not considered a contender.

There are, however, Bay Area representatives in each division.

De La Salle and Folsom headline the slate, while Clayton Valley of Concord will take on Oakdale in Division II, Marin Catholic of Kentfield will face off with Sutter in Division III, and McClymonds will meet Central Catholic of Modesto in Division IV.

Despite the five Bay Area representatives, no NorCal games will be played west of Sacramento or Stockton, an issue that was addressed several times with CIF representatives in a teleconference on Sunday.

According to the CIF, eligible schools were asked to submit potential venues for games and Ron Nocetti, the associate executive director of the organization, hinted that not all schools complied.

“We’re not going to sell out any of the schools, but there was a deadline to submit a venue,” said Nocetti, who is a graduate of Sacred Heart Cathedral. “We even asked them if they were still interested in hosting games after the deadline . . . We’re not faulting any schools or organizations for not submitting . . . but with it being a new process, we’ll look at it and see what works and what didn’t. The schools will probably do the same, see what you guys wrote about and we’ll probably get more submissions next year.”

St. Ignatius athletic director John Mulkerrins admitted that the school did not submit an application to host a game.

“We were thinking about our facility only, not a venue bigger than our own,” Mulkerrins said. “With the seasons crossing over, and soccer and other sports using the field, as well as our capacity, it didn’t seem to make any sense for us to put in as a host site.”

Kezar Stadium, with a capacity near 10,000 would have likely been considered, but similar-sized venues at Diablo Valley College in Pleasant Hill and Dublin High School were not chosen in favor of Sacramento State, Lincoln High School in Stockton and Harrison Stadium in Oroville, which is nearly 70 miles north of Sacramento.

“It’s a difficult situation with games in the Bay Area,” said CIF executive director Roger Blake. “There aren’t high schools or stadiums that can handle the capacity. It’s a difficult task.”

The Wildcats, who have a tradition of winning huge games on the road in recent history, have no qualms with the trip to Sacramento.

“I think our guys are past all that stuff,” Regalia said. “We have a good group of guys who just like playing. Of our 13 games, 10 have been away from home and we understand what it takes to play on the road.”

Full Schedule of Regional Games

Open Division
De La Salle (Concord) [14-0] vs. Folsom [14-0] @ Sacramento State – Saturday, 7:30 p.m.
Narbonne (Harbor City) [14-0] vs. Centennial (Corona) [13-1] @ at Cerritos College – Saturday, 7:30 p.m.

Division I
St. Ignatius [10-3] vs. Granite Bay [11-3] @ Sacramento State – Friday, 7:30 p.m.
Long Beach Poly [11-3] vs. Clovis North (Fresno) [12-1] @ Long Beach City College – Friday, 7:30 p.m.

Division II
Clayton Valley (Concord) [12-1] vs. Oakdale [13-1] @ Lincoln High School (Stockton) – Saturday, 7:30 p.m.
Serra (Gardena) [12-2] vs. Edison (Huntington Beach) [13-1] @ Orange Coast College (Costa Mesa) – Saturday, 7:30 p.m.

Division III
Marin Catholic (Kentfield) [13-1] vs. Sutter [13-1] @ Harrison Stadium (Oroville) – Saturday, 7:30 p.m.
Madison (San Diego) [12-1] @ Monrovia [12-2] – Saturday, 7:30 p.m.

Division IV
McClymonds (Oakland) [9-3] vs. Central Catholic (Modesto) [12-2] @ Lincoln High School (Stockton) – Friday, 7:30 p.m.
Santa Fe Christian (Solana Beach) [10-3] vs. Rio Hondo Prep (Arcadia) [12-1] @ Del Norte High School (San Diego) – Friday, 7:30 p.m.

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28 Comments

  1. Roll Cats says:

    Assuming the old formula, SI’s season likely would have been over as DLS would have gone Open with Folsom playing D1. Great opportunity for the Cats to represent San Francisco! Wouldn’t a game against Long Beach Poly be fun??

    • JJ says:

      If SI is able to beat GB, Long Beach Poly vs SI would be a great game. Snoop Dogg might even be at the game.

      • Lance says:

        I can just smell the “smoke” now.

      • Ari Gold says:

        I would like SI to beat Granite Bay and make the trip to Home Depot Center to face LB Poly (likely). I want this deserving group of young men who have pulled together since last season to play outstanding and fun football.

        Having said that I want them to lose to LB Poly in the state final so they know how it feels like to make it to the very end but have to watch someone else celebrate a championship. Larry Bird said it best when his Celtics beat the Lakers in 1984 when asked whats the best feeling about beating the Lakers for the NBA title. He said the best feeling is knowing in that other locker room that Magic is completely miserable and suffering. I would absolutely love for SI to feel that way also.

        But first things first, SI beat Granite Bay!

        • BigMikeDC says:

          Ari – Really? You really wish ill will for a bunch of kids? Here is where the joke is on you. Win or lose, these boys will hold their heads high. They know darn well, there is going to be a loser in each of these games. Sure, they caught a break against Bellarmine on Friday; it’s not the SI kids fault! They received an opportunity and they jumped all over it!

          Obviously, you know nothing about the school, the coaching staff, the kids or these kids’ parents. The values they have learned starting at home and continue to learn at SI (academically as well as athletically), far out way the notion of winning or losing. Winning is the icing on the cake.

          However, to wish miss-fortune on these or any kids is ridiculous.

          And no, I did not go to SI. I do know many of them and their parents. There is not a finer group of people to be associated with.

          • Lance says:

            And with that I think I’m going to puke.

            • M Air J says:

              BigMike, Ari and Drama have been going back and forth for quite some time. They are good for ratings. They are both passionate for their respective schools and fuel the rivalry fire, but most of what they say is in jest. I do not believe either of them wish ill will on kids but they do get a kick when one school doesn’t do so well. IMO, I believe it is all in fun.

            • IC Stars says:

              Concur with Lance… besides Granite Bay will beat SI.

          • Ari Gold says:

            BigMike, you misinterpreted. I would NEVER wish ill-will, physical harm, injury, or anything of that sort that you are thinking of on ANYONE, much less the rival HS. If you read the context of the comparison Bird vs Magic and know their rivalry, you would know EXACTLY what I meant by misery and suffering. Strictly and pureply competition and NEVER anything personal.

            SI is a fine academic high school and great students become great men and women that come from there. Where do you get the notion that Im against them? Do I really need to explain this?

        • WCAL Alum says:

          Airy,

          What’s that saying???

          It is better to remain silent and be thought a fool, than to speak out remove all doubt…

          It’s one thing to be an advocate of one school over another as pure rivalry, but give credit where/when credit is due.

          All best to the Cats.

  2. Sammy says:

    You can’t take this game for granite.

  3. Lance says:

    Jeremy at what point will the public schools in the CCS opt out of the CCS altogeher after once again 3 WCAL schools won seperate divisons. Not to mention the final 4 in the open was all WCAL. Do you forsee a WCAL round-robin for football. I can’t see it is in the public shools interest to get into the CCS playoffs with the WCAL schools. Paly was the exception.

    • jbalan says:

      This is a bit above my pay-grade, as we don’t cover the CCS public schools on a regular basis, but I would be lying if I said I haven’t noticed a level of dissension between the two parties. And, if any group of public schools were to opt out of the CCS playoffs, I don’t think it would be all of them.

      • Crusader 88 says:

        Two CCS schools do opt out of the playoffs. Lincoln and Mission of San Jose, both would of qualified, but they play a game every Thanksgiving Day.

        • manifest Destiny says:

          Good call Crusader 88! This year was the 70th annual rivalry between the two schools. San Jose City College is usually sold out for this game. Kezar is the place to be on Thanksgiving but this is a close second for high school football fans. Good for them to keep the “bone game” going!

  4. Perry says:

    Is there any reason why SI didn’t submit AT&T???

    It will be in a football configuration for the Kraft Bowl, and it worked great for SI-SH last year.

    • jbalan says:

      I’m not certain, but I’m pretty sure AT&T would not be fully set up for football three weeks before the Kraft Fight Hunger Bowl. Kezar would have probably been the only viable local option.

  5. JJ says:

    Congrats to Jack Stinn for winning WCAL QB of the Year Vollert for WR of the Year, and Noah Bull for WCAL co-linebacker of the year. Kenneth Olugbode of the Bells won Player of the Year. I think Eric Redwood (RB) of Serra got shafted, as he didn’t win any individual awards, but broke a few rushing records.

    • JJ says:

      Also, Sullivan #70 of SI got shafted. He didn’t even make honorable mention, but without him, SI probably would not be playing this Friday night. Blocked FG attempt and game-saving tackle in consecutive games. 2 of the biggest defensive plays of the year.

    • Lance says:

      Hard to argue against Sverson from VC getting back of the Year. Redwood is a tough little guy who went toe to toe with Sverson. Redwood was part of that Offensive jugarnaut that put up close to 500 total yards in the 47-21 shellacking of the CCS open champion and NORCAL Div 1 finalist.

  6. Ari Gold says:

    Wheres the link JJ? WCAL doesnt have that up yet. Are you handing out your own awards?

    Jack Stinn: 130-263 (.494%), 1928 yds, 21 TD, 9 INT, 86 QB Rating, 56 rushes, 282 yds, 4 TD
    Mike Lauck: 171-320 (.534%), 2459 yds, 26 TD, 11 INT, 91 QB Rating, 59 rushes, 178 yds, 2 TD

    Lauck slightly better than Stinn. My nod is to Lauch. He broke all St Francis passing records this year.

    • JJ says:

      Go to wcalsports.org, click on All-league, then football

      • Ari Gold says:

        I did, they havent updated, but no worries, I saw it was on the Merc. Thankfully this wasnt the JJ Awards.

        Hey whats with SI losing to PAL schools? Step your game up Wildcats!

        • JJ says:

          It’s pretty embarassing when there’s more Westmoor fans at the game than SI fans. You could hear a pin drop when Westmoor was taking FT’s. Hopefully, Trevor Dunbar’s injury isn’t serious.

    • JJ says:

      Lauck would be a good choice too, but when SI faced St Francis, Stinn out-played him. Plus, SI finished higher in the standings and went further in the playoffs, facing stiffer competition.

  7. Prep Sports Observer says:

    As far as I can tell, the SI-Granite Bay game will not be televised, correct? Thanks!

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