CIF state bowl preview: Sierra Canyon highlights Friday play
A look at the top CIF state football bowl games on Friday and Saturday at Cerritos College:
Division 1-AA: Chatsworth Sierra Canyon (14-1) vs. Fresno Central (14-0), 8 p.m.
This will be the biggest test yet for a Sierra Canyon defense that has been effective all season. Central has lots of speed and athleticism. Receiver Jeremiah Hunter caught 10 passes for 132 yards and two touchdowns last week. Sierra Canyon’s defense features three outstanding linebackers in JD Hernandez, Drue Watts and Cole Bullock. Quarterback Chayden Peery has had only one pass intercepted this season. The pick: Sierra Canyon.
Division 2-AA: San Bernardino Aquinas (13-2) vs. Concord Clayton Valley (9-5), 4 p.m.
Running back Terayon Sweet has led the surging Falcons, the Southern Section Division 5 champions. This game features two teams few expected to reach this far. Clayton Valley also relies on running the ball but pulled out a 28-26 win over Elk Grove in the regional finals with two late touchdown passes by quarterback Jake Kern. The pick: Aquinas.
Open Division: Bellflower St. John Bosco (12-1) vs. Concord De La Salle (12-1), 8 p.m.
The Braves knocked off unbeaten Santa Ana Mater Dei 39-34 two weeks ago, coming back from a 28-5 deficit, so you know they have plenty of firepower with quarterback DJ Uiagalelei and their collection of outstanding receivers. The key to that win was the defense applying pressure in the second half, and they’ll need another strong game from linemen Kobe Pepe and Nathan Burrell. De La Salle will place its trust in versatile junior quarterback Dorian Hale, along with a defense that will try to prevent big plays. The pick: St. John Bosco.
Division 1-A: Corona del Mar (15-0) vs. San Mateo Serra (13-1), 4 p.m.
Corona del Mar’s defense saved the season last week in a 14-7 win over Oceanside, but look for quarterback Ethan Garbers (67 touchdown passes) and receiver John Humphreys (31 TD catches) to rebound in a big way in their final game together. Serra will offer a strong challenge. The school that produced Tom Brady has been in two state finals over the last three seasons and has a big-play weapon in receiver-defensive back Terence Loville. The pick: Corona del Mar.
Division 2-A: Oxnard Pacifica (14-1) vs. Oakland McClymonds (11-0), noon
Pacifica has never gone this far in football and doesn’t want to see its magical season end without a state bowl win. Quarterback RJ Maria has directed a high-scoring offense that features running back Malik Sherrod, a strong offensive line and several big-play receivers. McClymonds recorded five consecutive shutouts when playing Oakland-area opponents this season. They are battle tested, having won three consecutive state titles. Running back Montrell Smith rushed for 179 yards in the regional final. The pick: Pacifica.
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