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
If you believe CalHiSports.com, (and I tend to believe them), the winner of Friday’s CIF-SS Inland Division championship game, Redlands East Valley or Riverside Poly, will advance to the CIF State Playoffs.
Right now, CalHiSports has REV No. 1 and Poly No. 2 in Division II South rankings. The top two teams will play next week in the Division II South Finals, with the winner of that going to the state finals.
Each CIF-SS Division is linked to a state division, and the Inland Division is linked with Division II. Teams must win a CIF title to advance to state, so both REV and Poly won’t be able to go.
More of the rankings: No. 3. Bakersfield Ridgeview (11-1), No. 4 San Clemente (12-1), No. 5 Crescenta Valley (13-0), No. 6 Menifee Heritage (12-1), No. 7 Serrano (12-1).
So, if you believe the rankings, the only way Serrano makes it is if Serrano wins and Ridgeview, San Clemente, and Crescenta Valley all lose. Heritage’s season is already over and ineligible for state.
State playoff announcement comes on Sunday afternoon.
A note from Louis Brewster:
Last Friday, on the way to its Eastern Division semifinal in La Quinta, a bus carrying part of the Serrano footballl team experienced a flat tire. Rather than wait until the district dispatched a repair team from Phelan, coach Ray Maholchic piled all his players onto one bus.
The cheerleaders stayed with the bus.
“We couldn’t wait,” said Maholchic. “We had three to a seat, we had to get there. In fact, the cheerleaders didn’t arrive until after the kickoff.”
Such potential issues was a major reason Fontana utilized an extra bus during its title runs in 1987 and 1989.
“We weren’t going to take chances,” said then-coach Dick Bruich. “It erased a major worry from the coaching staff and athletic director.”
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.
REV coach Kurt Bruich, right, coaches his team in a practice this week.
Redlands East Valley coach Kurt Bruich has a lot of information at his disposal in the person of his father, Dick Bruich, who won four CIF-SS titles at Fontana and Kaiser.
So what has he learned from his dad about coaching in title games?
“We haven’t really talked about it,” Kurt Bruich said. “When I was playing (in 1987) I wasn’t paying attention to that. Then later, when he was at Kaiser, I was coaching myself.”
REV QB Armando Herrera, above, is questionable for Friday’s game
Who will play quarterback for Redlands East Valley in Friday’s CIF-SS Inland Division championship game vs. Riverside Poly?
REV coach Kurt Bruich is prepared to use everybody and anybody if starting star sophomore quarterback sophomore Armando Herrera can’t play this week after injuring his shoulder in last week’s win over Perris Citrus Hill.
REV coach Kurt Bruich said he didn’t know on Tuesday if Herrera would play, as Herrera missed at least the beginning of practice while his injured shoulder was being examined by REV’s team doctor.
Bruich said they are preparing to use as many as three quarterbacks if Herrera can’t go: sophomore Steven Garcia, senior Seth Bates and senior Malik Lovette.
Lovette gets snaps every game at quarterback in a wildcat formation, regardless of who starts, and also spends a lot of time at running back and wide receiver. He has attempted only six passes and completed one. Garcia completed one of five passes for 17 yards in last week’s win over Perris Citrus Hill, but had only one pass or carry in a game before last week: a 4-yard run against Eisenhower in Week 6. Bates had two carries for 18 yards last week, but has not attempted a pass since Week 5 vs. Miller, going 3 for 4 for 16 yards.
Bruich did add that Herrera would not need to get any reps in practice during the week in order to be able to play on Friday.
Could this be an advantage for REV?
It could, but would only slightly offset the disadvantage of not having Herrera. Lovette is the best runner, Garcia is the best passer and Bates is in between the two, so there are some different strengths among the trio.
But, Poly would already need to prepare for Lovette at QB, because that’s a package that REV uses in every game. And preparing for Garcia and Bates is not like preparing for Herrera, who has thrown for 2,917 yards, 36 touchdowns with only seven interceptions.