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This week’s top CIF state championship bowl games

Mater Dei quarterback Elijah Brown scrambles for a first down.
Sophomore quarterback Elijah Brown, scrambling for a first down earlier this season, is 16-0 as a starter at Mater Dei.
(Jerome Miron / For The Times)

A look at this week’s CIF state championship football bowl games involving Southland teams:

Saturday

Open Division: Santa Ana Mater Dei (11-0) vs. San Mateo Serra (11-1) at Saddleback College, 8 p.m.

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The Monarchs are such an overwhelming favorite that it would be a surprise if there’s no running clock in the fourth quarter. CalPreps.com computer predicts Mater Dei to win 48-0. Of course, Serra welcomes the challenge representing Northern California. The offensive line will need to create opportunities to control the clock. Two-way athlete Petelo Gi is a key player for Serra. Mater Dei sophomore quarterback Elijah Brown is 16-0 as a starter. The Monarchs’ former quarterback, Bryce Young, also could win the Heisman Trophy on Saturday. The Monarchs are trying to stay focused despite continuing off-the-field revelations involving the football program. The pick: Mater Dei.

Division 1-A: Gardena Serra (10-4) vs. Bakersfield Liberty (11-2) at Saddleback College, 4 p.m.

Serra is always good when it is healthy, and the Cavaliers’ top players are healthy, including quarterback Maalik Murphy, running back Cincere Rhaney and defensive players Rodrick Pleasant and D'Angelo Davis. Liberty has an impressive duo in quarterback Carson Wood and running back Jalen Hankins. The pick: Serra.

Division 3-AA: San Bernardino Aquinas (10-5) at Fairfield Vanden (12-2), 6 p.m.

Freshman JoJo Solis has rushed for 1,445 yards to lead Aquinas. Vanden relies on quarterback Tre Dimes, who has passed for nearly 2,000 yards and 39 touchdowns. It will be running versus passing. The pick: Aquinas.

Division 3-A: Lake Balboa Birmingham (9-5) at Oakland McClymonds (11-1), 6 p.m.

The City Section Open Division champion Patriots have won nine consecutive games. They will need to play well on defense to deal with an opponent that has speed and scores lots of points. Birmingham’s three big weapons include receiver Arlis Boardingham, linebacker Delamonte Barnes and lineman Carlos Rivera. The pick: Birmingham.

Division 4-A: Covina Northview (9-6) at San Francisco Sacred Heart (7-7) at Kezar Stadium, 6 p.m.

Running back Cheo Medina has rushed for 1,876 yards to lead Northview. Sacred Heart is coming off a 20-0 win in the regionals. The pick: Northview.

Division 6-AA: Quartz Hill (9-4) at Jackson Argonaut (11-3), 6 p.m.

The Royals are in their first state final. Junior running back Ashtin Dupleasis has rushed for nearly 1,300 yards. Quarterback Chalin Crawford can run and pass. Argonaut has two 1,000-yard rushers. The pick: Quartz Hill.

Division 6-A: Riverside Arlington (7-8) at Richmond Salesian (10-2), 1 p.m.

Arlington advanced with a 24-14 win over Woodland Hills El Camino Real. Raymond Warhop rushed for 140 yards. Salesian is known for its strong basketball teams but also has had success in football. The pick: Salesian.

Division 7-A: Woodland Hills Taft (7-7) at San Francisco Balboa (8-4), 1 p.m.

Earlier this season, Taft was trying to end a 26-game losing streak. First-year coach Jeff Kearin is already a hero for getting the Toreadors this far, but it will be up to quarterback Wellington Bristow and his teammates to pull off a Hollywood ending. The pick: Balboa.


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