Inland Division winner should get state berth

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.

Bus issue didn’t derail Serrano football

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.”

John Mackesy an all-timer for Serrano football

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.

–Louis Brewster

A look back at Serrano-Oak Hills football

I love games where there’s a lot of extra stuff to talk about afterwards.

Oak Hills- Serrano had stuff that was fun to talk about, but also had plenty of stuff you hate to have to talk about.

First, the fun stuff:

  • Great crowd at Oak Hills on both sides. It was THE game in the High Desert on Friday and fans from all over brought a great atmosphere.
  • Serrano’s win was well-deserved with a defense that has been solid all year.
  • What is the fallout of the game? I haven’t seen newest CIF-SS football polls, but I know San Gorgonio is very interested. San G. should be the new No. 1 in the Eastern Division. Oak Hills was No. 1, San G. No. 2 and San G. is the only remaining undefeated team in the division. San G. will likely need to remain undefeated to earn the No. 1 seed for the playoffs.

Now, the not-so-fun stuff:

  • Oak Hills star RB De Zhontaey Flecher was injured on the first play from scrimmage with an apparent season-ending ankle injury. It was a blow to Oak Hills, certainly, but also affected Serrano. The Diamondbacks’ victory will be discounted by some because Oak Hills was missing its biggest offensive weapon. But Serrano still deserved to win. After the injury, Oak Hills rallied to take the lead, only to see Serrano rally for the win.
  • Penalties, penalties, penalties. Each team had over 100 yards in penalties. I spent a half on each sideline, and I can tell you neither coach was happy with the officiating. The call that drew particular ire of Oak Hills coach Robert Kistner was an unsportsmanlike conduct call that went against his team in the fourth quarter. The player had just recorded a sack that (I believe) would’ve ended a Serrano drive. He celebrated, but officials thought it was taunting. It did not appear so to this observer. The drive continued and while Serrano didn’t score on the drive, it limited the time Oak Hills had to try and score in the final minutes.