The Southern Section and City Section football championships have been decided, and once again, everyone needs to be reminded about the influence of transfers in deciding the outcome of games.
In high school sports, to figure out which team is going to win a championship at the highest level, follow the transfers.
In the Pac-5 Division final, Corona Centennial's 48-41 win over St. John Bosco was aided by quarterback Nate Ketteringham, a transfer from San Diego Westview, and running back Sammonte Bonner, a transfer from Corona Santiago who rushed for 242 yards and scored four touchdowns while filling in for the injured J.J. Taylor, a transfer from San Juan Capistrano JSerra.
In the City Section Division I final, Narbonne's 33-20 win over Carson was helped by running back Sean Riley, a transfer from Dorsey who returned a kickoff 89 yards for a touchdown. In Division III, Los Angeles won its first title since 1965 led by quarterback Kaymen Cureton, a transfer from Lakewood.
The Hamilton Yankees are example No. 1 about the impact of transfers. They won the City Division II championship, 58-20, over Sylmar. There were nine transfers on their roster, seven of which received immediate eligibility with a valid change of residence, according to City Section records.
"Something good must be going on over there," Sylmar Coach John Brazil said.
Russell Shaw, a transfer from Compton Centennial, had four touchdowns. Jericho Flowers, a transfer from Culver City, had three touchdowns. Armani Rogers, a transfer from Culver City, passed for three touchdowns.
John Aguirre, the City Section commissioner, said the transfers were all cleared to play under CIF eligibility rules, though the section continues to investigate when information is provided.
This school year alone, transfer paperwork has been filed for more than 4,000 students at Southern Section schools.
"You've got to try to get athletes in there some way," Sylmar's Brazil said. "I'm a firm believer [in] don't hold a kid back."
Eric Scott, the coach at Los Angeles, said about the movement of athletes, "A kid's ultimate dream is to get a scholarship. Sports is a way out. Kids are looking for opportunities. This is definitely a new culture. Everybody wants to win. These high schools want to win."
And, if you think football is being influenced by transfers, wait until you check the rosters for the basketball championships come March.
On Jan. 5, players who had to sit out the first month of the basketball season because they didn't move will become eligible. Team rankings will need to be adjusted, because the influx of talent will be dramatic.
What's interesting about this year's football playoffs is that 12 of the 13 champions in the Southern Section were public schools. Several were helped by the realignment of playoff divisions, though it also should be noted that public schools, like private schools, know how to play the transfer game.
This new transfer culture appears to be here to stay. There's only a handful of schools choosing not to participate. If you want to predict the City or Pac-5 champion for 2015, check the rosters for transfers next season.