After Muir High School’s football team won its first CIF Southern Section title since 1989 and fifth overall, the school found out the next day that its next game would be played near the Arizona border.
On Saturday night, Muir (8-6) won the Division 10 title with a 21-0 victory over Salesian, and on Sunday, the team was chosen to compete in the CIF State Southern California Division 5-AA Regional final. However, the Mustangs have a 220-mile trip ahead of them on Friday night when they travel to Blythe to take on Palo Verde Valley (13-0).
Dr. Lawton Gray, Muir’s principal, said the institution was collaborating with the Pasadena Unified School District on the transportation strategy. The school is banking on the team being able to drive there on Thursday, stay overnight in a hotel, and then return after the game. The other option is to leave early on a Friday morning, travel for nearly four hours, watch the game that night, and then return home again.
Gray stated that the school would receive funding from CIF-State, but that it would not be sufficient to cover the cost of an overnight trip.
Muir would have to head up north, to the area around Modesto, for the state finals the following week should they win on Friday.
Muir head coach Lance Mitchell thinks his team deserves an overnight trip as a reward for their efforts and for winning the section championship. Mitchell also noted that getting to Blythe on game day by car would be a disadvantage.
Mitchell: “We are super pumped up for the game, but you know, it’s unfortunate to have that long of a ride and try to play a football game.” I’m a little leery of making the trip on Friday without the benefit of a full night’s rest.
We’ll be prepared no matter what, but I think it would be fun for the team to get a taste of what it’s like to take a road trip to the next level by going up the night before.
We have a great school administration and a great district, so we will see what happens as we move forward with the season. We’ll be prepared for either scenario.”
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With a 33-14 victory over Fallbrook, Palo Verde Valley claimed the Division IV title in the CIF San Diego Section. They use a Wing-T formation to gain 390 yards on the ground per game on average. It’s being led by two seasoned adults. Between them, Markus Macon and Xzavier Bejarano have rushed for 2,120 yards and 30 touchdowns on the ground.
Regional Bowl Games in Southern California
- Friday, Dec. 2, 7:30 p.m. unless noted
- Division 1-AA: San Diego Lincoln (11-1) at Sierra Canyon (10-4), 8 p.m.
- Division 2-AA: Mater Dei Catholic of Chula Vista (9-4) at Downey (12-2), 7 p.m.
- Division 3-AA: San Diego University City (11-2) at San Jacinto (12-2)
- Division 4-AA: Northwood (13-1) at Delano Kennedy (11-2)
- Division 5-AA: Muir (8-6) at Blythe Palo Verde Valley (13-1)
- Division 6-AA: Lancaster (9-5) vs. Escondido Classical Academy (10-3) at Del Norte HS
Saturday, Dec. 3, 6 p.m. Unless Noted
- Division 1-A: Bakersfield Liberty (11-2) at Yorba Linda (14-0)
- Division 2-A: Etiwanda (9-5) at El Cajon Granite Hills (11-2)
- Division 3-A: Laguna Hills (13-1) at Birmingham (9-4), 7 p.m.
- Division 4-A: Granada Hills (11-2) at Laguna Beach (11-3)
- Division 5-A: Shafter (10-4) at Walnut (11-3)
- Division 6-A: Granada Hills Kennedy (9-5) at San Gabriel (10-3)
- Division 7-A: Whittier Christian (10-4) at Crenshaw (6-7)
Bowl Games Of The State Championship
- Friday, Dec. 9, at Saddleback College
- Division 2-AA: South champion vs. North champion, 4 p.m.
- Division 1-AA: South champion vs. North champion, 8 p.m.
- Saturday, Dec. 10, at Saddleback College
- Division 2-A: South champion vs. North champion, noon
- Division 1-A: South champion vs. North champion, 4 p.m.
- Open Division: St. John Bosco (12-1) vs. San Mateo Serra (13-0), 8 p.m.
All Other Divisions
- Saturday, Dec. 10, 6 p.m., sites TBD
- Division 3-AA: South champion vs. North champion
- Division 3-A: South champion vs. North champion
- Division 4-AA: South champion vs. North champion
- Division 4-A: South champion vs. North champion
- Division 5-AA: South champion vs. North champion
- Division 5-A: South champion vs. North champion
- Division 6-AA: South champion vs. North champion
- Division 6-A: South champion vs. North champion
- Division 7-A: South champion vs. San Francisco Lincoln (9-3)
The girls’ teams are just as vocal in their displeasure as the boys’. Division V Stockton Brookside Christian was drawn to play the No. 1 seeded Oakland Bishop O’Dowd in the first round of the Northern California Open Division girls’ regional. On January 19th, Brookside Christian was defeated by Bishop O’Dowd by a score of 70-39.
Only six girls’ teams from Southern California were chosen to compete in the Open Division, with Los Angeles Windward receiving the top seed.
The girls on Etiwanda are the happiest I’ve ever seen them. The Eagles, who had previously beaten Mater Dei in the 1AA semifinals, were left out of the Open. Due to their placement in Division I, they will not have to deal with 1AA powerhouses like Mater Dei, Windward, or Corona Santiago.
Therefore, the Open Division does not feature the eight best teams in Southern California or Northern California, raising serious doubts as to whether or not the sacrifice was worthwhile.
Torrance Bishop Montgomery is 29-1 and has beaten Westchester and St. John Bosco, so why are they playing in Division IV and not the Open Division? The Knights were ineligible due to several factors. There definitely is a crisis in public perception.