December 18, 2010

NorCal teams make big statements

For complete northern California coverage, visit NorCalPreps.com.

When Concord (Calif.) De La Salle pounded in score after score in the first half of the Open Division CIF bowl Saturday night - five in all - it did more than just wrap up its game with Anaheim (Calif.) Servite early.

It put an exclamation mark on what was a stunning display of football superiority by Northern California over Southern California this weekend.

It started on Friday night, when unranked, unheralded and seemingly unappreciated Palo Alto (Calif.) High shut down the high-powered offense of No. 13 Corona (Calif.) Centennial to produce a 15-13 victory in the Division I game.

It was thought to be as big an upset as the five-year bowl series had produced. Saturday, however, showed it may not have been an upset at all.

No. 47 Folsom (Calif.) High dominated No. 28 Gardena (Calif.) Junipero Serra, 48-20, in the afternoon.

Then No. 12 De La Salle did its damage, racing out to a 35-0 halftime lead on the way to a 48-8 destruction of No. 9 Servite.

All three Southern California schools went into the bowl games undefeated - a combined 42-0 on the season. And all had reasons to believe it would continue.

Centennial entered the game averaging more than 54 points per game.

Serra had a 31-game winning streak.

Servite had just come off a convincing 41-27 victory over what was considered the state's top team, Mission Viejo (Calif.) High.

But none of that mattered this weekend as the North rolled in convincing fashion.

"This weekend was more than a statement for NorCal football," RivalsHigh Senior Analyst Dallas Jackson said. "It was a perception changer.

"The teams in Northern California have always had to fight to gain respect from its Southern neighbors let alone nationally. This weekend, and these three convincing wins, put the country on notice of how good the North has gotten."

Bragging rights? There's no doubt which part of the state has them now, especially when you consider this: It may not even had its best team in the lineup.

Sacramento (Calif.) Grant, which pounded Folsom in the opening game of the season, perhaps only fell short in the rematch due to key injuries.

With that, a look at the games:

Open Division: No. 12 De La Salle 48, No. 9 Servite 8

Lucas Dunne ran for 242 yards and four scores - giving him a school-record 40 on the season - and De La Salle ran all over Servite.

Servite, which saw its 25-game winning streak come to an end, avoided a shutout with a fourth-quarter touchdown run by Cody Pittman.

"We prepared for them all year," De La Salle head coach Bob Ladouceur told television reporters after the game. "Servite is an outstanding football team. We were lucky to catch them on a night like tonight I think."

How big a rout was this? Consider these first-half stats, according to the Orange County Register:

De La Salle led in first downs (14-0) and total yards (246-22).

The only category Servite was leading? Three-and-outs. It had one on all seven of its possessions.

If that wasn't enough, De La Salle opened its first possession of the second half with a 67-yard TD run by Joe Te'o.

"We relied on our strengths," Ladouceur said. "Our offensive line and our running."

Division II: No. 47 Folsom 48, No. 28 Junipero Serra 20

It was rainy. It was muddy. But that didn't stop a record-setting performance - a performance that reportedly ended with players sliding across the slippery field in celebration.

Quarterback Dano Graves passed for three touchdowns and rushed for three more - setting a state championship record for most touchdowns in one game - to give No. 47 Folsom (Calif.) High a victory over No. 28 Gardena (Calif.) Junipero Serra.

Graves finished with 214 yards in the air and 83 yards rushing as the Bulldogs (14-1) ended Serra's 31-game winning streak.

Graves finished his senior season with 62 touchdown passes, one less than the state record of 63 set in 1999 by Richard De La Cruz of Los Angeles (Calif.) Cathedral.

Connor Preston threw for two touchdowns and 237 yards for the Cavaliers (14-1). George Farmer caught four passes for 113 yards and a touchdown. Sahquielle Richard ran for 131 yards and another touchdown.

Folsom clung to a 21-20 at the half before scoring three touchdowns in less than 30 seconds in the fourth quarter to run away with the win.

Division I: Palo Alto 15, No. 13 Centennial 13 (Friday)

Palo Alto took advantage of a multitude of miscues by Corona (Calif.) Centennial to triumph.

Centennial kicker Ezequiel Rivera had a chance to win the game on a 42-yard field goal with 35 seconds remaining, but the kick was wobbly and short.

Here is RivalsHigh's complete game story .

The Associated Press contributed to this report.




 

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