Saturday’s Division III regional final: Monrovia vs. Madison (San Diego) at Monrovia.
Controversial choice? Right up there as the most heated in the state with Edison over Oceanside and others in D2 South and McClymonds over Ferndale in D4 North. At 13-0, Wasco didn’t get the nod. It’s not surprising given the history of these picks for first-timers on the board that lack the strength of schedule of other teams on the committee that the voters have heard of before.
Bowl History: Monrovia is making its first bowl appearance. Madison is playing in its second bowl (lost in 2010 State Division III to Escalon).
Early Prediction: San Diego Madison 22, Monrovia 21. Guess you could call this an upset with the game at Monrovia. Madison’s win over St. Augustine on Saturday was pretty impressive and 3-point loss to Valhalla also has grown in significance.
Here are the Week 15 CIF Division IV North bowl game rankings (completed before this year’s bowl selections were made; after games of Saturday, Dec. 1; previous rank in parentheses):
DIVISION III SOUTH
1. (3) Monrovia 12-2*
2. (5) Madison (San Diego) 12-1*
3. (4) Wasco 13-0*
4. (9) Corona del Mar (Newport Beach) 11-3**
5. (1) Paraclete (Lancaster) 12-2
6. (2) St. Augustine (San Diego) 10-3***
7. (7) Nordhoff (Ojai) 13-1*
8. (8) Rim of the World (Lake Arrowhead) 12-2*
9. (6) North (Torrance) 11-3
10. (NR) San Dimas 11-2
*Indicates eligible for bowl game, section champion.
**Indicates eligible for bowl with forfeit win not included.
****Indicates ineligible for bowl with forfeit win not included.
Drops: Previous No. 10 Garden Grove lost to Corona del Mar (Newport Beach) 35-10.
Bubble Teams: Banning 11-2, Brawley 10-2, Garden Grove 11-3, Jurupa Hills (Fontana) 8-4, Laguna Beach 11-1-1, Mission Oak (Tulare) 9-3, San Marino 10-2*, Salesian (Los Angeles) 11-2, Valley Center 7-5.
*Indicates forfeit loss not included plus season complete, ineligible for bowl game. All others season complete and ineligible.
Case for Monrovia: Coach Ryan Maddox’s team won its third straight CIFSS title with its 23-7 triumph over previous No. 1 Paraclete in Friday’s Mid-Valley Division final. Ge Vontray Ainsworth rushed for 125 yards on 19 carries and scored once while Blake Heyworth connected on a 85-yard TD pass to Anthony Craft. The Wildcats do have two losses, but one was by one point in the first game to Ayala of Chino Hills with the second one by three points to South Hills of West Covina. Both Ayala and South Hills are Division I teams. Key wins in addition to the one against Paraclete were by 35-23 vs. San Dimas (9-1 regular season), 21-16 vs. San Marino (9-1 regular season) and 42-31 vs. Sierra Canyon (last year’s D4 state champion).
Case for San Diego Madison: It was an impressive 35-21 win for the Warhawks when they faced previous No. 2 St. Augustine in Saturday morning’s CIF San Diego Section Division IV final. Coach Rick Jackson’s team dropped its only game to Valhalla of El Cajon in week two, then reeled off 11 straight. Valhalla was a team good enough to have lost by just 31-28 to Oceanside in the San Diego D2 semifinals. The team features one of the top running backs in the state in Pierre Cormier, a Pac-12 recruit headed to Arizona.
Case for Wasco: The Tigers will go up on the board on Sunday morning as the only unbeaten team and also are the only unbeaten team in the CIF Central Section. They only won in their section final, though, 29-22, over Bakersfield Christian, which is a team that lost 31-7 to Ontario Christian in September. Earlier, Wasco beat Bakersfield Christian 49-0 and dominated against its opposition. In fact, the team will make the state record book in two categories with a current 688-151 scoring margin in its 13 games. While some who have seen the Tigers play say they are legit, there are no scores against tougher teams (unlike Washington of Easton last year) to look at. Both Monrovia and San Diego Madison have those scores.
Case for Corona del Mar: After watching the Sea Kings dismantle Garden Grove 35-10 in Saturday’s CIFSS Southern Division final at Anaheim Stadium, it’s obvious they belong in the mix for one of the two berths in this division as well. Three early losses (one was later changed to a forfeit win) will be tough to overcome for the selection committee, but all three were to teams that would be D1 or D2 for the bowl games. Plus, the way in which CdM rolled through its division was impressive. The first TD the defense gave up in four playoff games came when the Sea Kings were already leading Garden Grove 35-3 midway in the fourth quarter. Note: Griff Amies tied the state record for most field goals in a season with a 43-yard boot in the fourth quarter. He tied the record of 22 set in 1994 by Chris Sailer from Notre Dame of Sherman Oaks. Amies later tried a 57-yarder that would have broken the record but it was short.
Why not Nordhoff or Rim of the World: While we’ve had these teams higher in our rankings than Corona del Mar for most of the season, they just don’t have the strength of schedule against D2 or D1 teams that Monrovia, San Diego Madison or Corona del Mar has. Note: Nordhoff topped North of Torrance topped 31-14 in Saturday’s CIFSS Northwest Division final. This came one week after North Torrance defeated D4 SoCal No. 1 Bishop Diego 28-14 in the semifinals, which was the team that handed Nordhoff its only loss. Rim of the World won the CIFSS East Valley Division crown Friday 34-31 against Ontario Christian. Scots’ running back Jacob Taylor had 41 carries for 260 yards and three TDs and became just the second player in state history to rush for more than 4,000 yards in one season.
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