Whether they got breaks or they made them, Redlands East Valley got some opportunities that led to a CIF-SS Inland Division football title, beating Riverside Poly. Most importantly, the Wildcats took advantage, while Poly didn’t take advantage of theirs
Here is a list of the chances and what happened
Key play: REV’s Isaiah Armstrong intercepts a pass, 9:07 left 1st quarter
Result: Armando Herrera throws 5 yard TD pass to Malik Lovette, REV leads 6-0.
Key play: Bad Poly punt snap gives REV the ball at the Poly 2
Result: Lovette scores on the next play to put REV up 12-7
Key play: Poly led 31-29 and intercepted Herrera in the final two minutes of the third quarter, giving Bears the ball at the REV 13.
Result: REV defense held, and Poly missed a 28-yard field goal early in the 4th.
Key play: REV’s Carter Flowers intercepted a pass early in the fourth quarter.
Result: The next play, Herrera threw a 35-yard TD to Khris Vaughn with 8:28 left, giving REV the lead for good, 36-31.
Key play:Isaiah Armstrong intercepts his second pass of the game, with less than two minutes to play.
Result: REV was able to run off the remaining time off the clock without giving the ball back to Poly, giving the Wildcats a 36-33 win after a last-play safety.
First half highlights: REV scores. but Poly answers back with a long TD
Oregon-bound REV star Malik Lovette, who scored 3 TDs talks after winning CIF-SS Inland Division title
REV receiver CJ Harris talks after winning Friday
REV’s Isaiah Armstrong had two interceptions in the game, including the one that clinched the CIF-SS title
Armando Herrera, who threw for 302 yards and three touchdowns, talks after the win.
I only went 6-4 last week picking CIF-SS semifinal games, bringing by season record to 303-90-2 in picking winners and I have correctly picked the winner and exact winning margin correctly 10 times.
Here are my championship game picks
Redlands East Valley 27, Riverside Poly 24
Serrano 21, Palm Springs 17
Pomona 34, Paraclete 27
Colony 31, Los Altos 21
Nipomo 35, Arrowhead Christian 31
At what price will the price hurt attendance at CIF-SS championship games?
Admission to the CIF-SS championship games will be $2 higher than the three previous playoff games. While the admission prices for playoff games was $10 (up from the regular-season price of $8), that will go up Friday and Saturday.
Furthermore, for those attending the West Valley and Pac-5 divisional title games at Angel Stadium on Saturday, reserved seats will be available for $15. Following the West Valley contest, the stadium will be cleared and a new ticket required for the Pac-5 game.
According to CIF rules, 60 percent of the title game proceeds goes to the CIF before expenses. The teams each get 20 percent.
For some communities, the price increase won’t hurt so much. But I think if you get some schools in the finals that are disadvantaged economically. It probably won’t keep parents from going, but it will hurt students and casual fans, especially when CIF-SS championship games are available to view on the internet.
Malik Lovette, above, talks after getting his Semper Fidelis All American Bowl jersey on Thursday.
REV coach Kurt Bruich, talks about Malik Lovette
Malik Lovette talks after the school assembly in which he was awarded his jersey
Kurt Bruich talks about REV being in the finals.
So what school or school district has gone the longest without a title or an appearance in a championship football games?
Redlands East Valley is the first Redlands district school in the finals since Redlands lost a 55-0 contest to Edison in the 1979 Big Five Conference.
Colony last appeared in the finals in 2007, the second straight year it did so. Winning the Central Division title would make it the seventh time in the last nine years (since CIF-SS went from numbers to names on division) that a San Bernardino County school won the Central Division. Since 2007, a Chaffey Joint High School District school has won in 2008 (Rancho Cucamonga) and finished second in 2009 (Los Osos). Chaffey won the inaugural CIF championship in 1913, a 19-0 win against Santa Ana. Upland won in 2009, Colton in 2010 and Kaiser in 2012.
Serrano’s last title was 10 years ago against Palm Springs, the same school they’ll face Friday. That was also the last CIF-SS football title for the San Bernardino County portion of the High Desert. The Diamondbacks are 1-4 in title games, the last loss five years ago against Palm Springs.
Arrowhead Christian Academy won titles in 1996-97 and last played in the championship game in 2001, a 43-16 win over Mammoth in Division XIII.
There’s just no escaping the history of their football program when Serrano High School players walk into the Bennett Fieldhouse that serves as home away from home.
“I’m kind of a history buff,” said Diamondbacks head coach Ray Maholchic, who decorated the unique building with photos and clippings of past seasons. In fact, to enter his office, players must walk under a photo of the winning touchdown in the 2004 title game against Palm Springs.
Interestingly enough, Serrano will host Palm Springs Friday night at 7:30 for the Eastern Division title. It will mark the third time in 10 years the teams will vie for the title, with each having one game. Serrano also played Citrus Hill in the finals in 2012.
John Mackesy is a link to previous championship games. As a sophomore, he started both ways against Citrus Hill in 2012 and was a sideline witness in 2009 when older brother Anthony competed against Palm Springs.
It’s been two years since the loss to Citrus Hill, yet it remains fresh in Mackesy’s mind.
“It was very frustrating and sad. You work so hard for something,” Mackesy said at the CIF Championship Luncheon earlier in the week. “When you lose it’s a terrible feeling, but we just have to keep working.
“I just couldn’t wait to get back in the finals.”
Younger brother Kevin is a Serrano sophomore this year and there’s talk 11-year-old Brian may be the best of Tony’s kids, who started the tradition while growing up in Redlands.
Maholchic leaves no doubt where John Mackesy stands.
“He’s like a coach on the field, he’s very mature,” said Maholchic of his 6-foot, 200-pound center/linebacker. “He thinks like the coaches; he has a lot of football sense.
“We always have this conversation when we’re drinking a few Pepsis with the coaches and ranking the top 10 linebackers or naming the 10 top running backs. But as far as overall player on both sides of the ball, he’s definitely a top fiver.”
That’s an impressive statement considering Maholchic has been at the school for 23 seasons.