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Citrus Hill kicker-punter Manny Berz puts the numbers up and they're good

Citrus Hill kicker-punter Manny Berz puts the numbers up and they're good
Citrus Hill kicker Manny Berz poses for a photograph with members of his family.

Not since the days Chris Sailer was an All-American kicker for Sherman Oaks Notre Dame in the 1990s has there been a kicker-punter in Southern California making an impact quite like junior Manny Berz of Perris Citrus Hill High.

His kicking and punting helped Citrus Hill win the Inland Division championship Friday night with a 29-10 victory over Menifee Heritage.

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"I try to help my team the best I can and seize that moment," he said.

He kicked field goals of 42 and 38 yards. He averaged 46.5 yards on punts and pinned Heritage down at the four, 12 and 10-yard lines. He went three for three on PATs.

On the season, he's 77 for 77 on PATs. He's 13 for 15 on field goals. He's recovered three fumbles either from onside kicks or from punts. He's one of the few kickers who doesn't mind trying to make tackles. He has nine.

"I love it," he said.

Add to that, he has a 4.0 grade-point average and will be returning next season as the kicker-punter to watch in Southern California.

Bowl games

The commissioners from the 10 sections that make up the CIF will meet Sunday to decide the CIF state championship regional bowl matchups in Southern and Northern California.

It's a revamped format this year, with every section champion in the state gaining an automatic berth.

About the only sure thing on the matchups is the Pac-5 champion will go against Concord De La Salle if the Spartans win their championship game Saturday night. They'll face off in the Open Division game Dec. 19 at Sacramento State.

In the Open Division small school regional, Chatsworth Sierra Canyon is expected to face either Chula Vista Mater Dei or Riverside Notre Dame for the right to play in Sacramento.

After that, it's all speculation. West Valley Division champion Mission Viejo could face La Mesa Helix in the Southern California Division 1A regional. Camarillo is a likely pick in 1AA, with a possible matchup against Harbor City Narbonne if the Gauchos win the City Section Division I championship.

The commissioners are supposed to create even matchups based on ability.

Showing appreciation

For 19 years, Gregg Barden stayed under the radar as a junior varsity football coach at Los Angeles Belmont and was perfectly satisfied.

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The varsity job opened up three years ago and he was selected. On Saturday afternoon, Belmont won its first City Section title, beating Hollywood, 24-7, in the Division III game to improve to 14-0.

Afterward, a humble Barden was hugging everyone and anyone and saying thanks to his principal and athletic director.

"Thanks for letting me be a part of this," he told them.

Follow Eric Sondheimer on Twitter @LATSondheimer

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