The scuttlebutt before kickoff of the Central Coast Section Division IV football championship game Saturday night was that the winner was rumored to be in line for the CIF Division III Northern California bowl game — and one win away from the California state championship title game.
Following Sacred Heart Prep’s 56-21 dismantling of Pacific Grove, Gators coach Peter Lavarato was asked about playing in the Nor Cal title game.
“I’d love to play another game,” Lavarato said.
He and his Gators will get their chance. Sacred Heart Prep, along with CCS Open Division champion Serra, became the first two San Mateo County teams to be chosen to play in the Nor Cal championship game. Serra (10-2) will play Del Oro-Loomis (12-2) in the Division I title game, while the Gators (12-2) will face El Cerrito (12-2), the North Coast Section Division III champion.
The winner of the Nor Cal championship games in Divisions I, II, III and IV will play their Southern California counterparts in the state title game. The teams that play in the regional games are selected by a 16-member panel, which is charged with choosing the teams. The main criteria being that all representatives must be section champions.
This is only the second year regional championship games will be used to determine state bowl participants.
Serra will host Del Oro at San Jose City College 7:30 p.m. Saturday. The Golden Eagles play in the Sierra Football League in the Sac-Joaquin Section. They’ve won 11 straight since a 41-3 loss to De La Salle in Week 3. They own wins over James Logan-Union City, Grant-Sacramento and league powers Granite Bay and Rocklin.
In El Cerrito, SHP will face the most athletic team they’ve seen this year – by far. The Gauchos won their first-ever NCS championship behind the play of a quartet of Division I commits.
The game is scheduled for 7:30 p.m. Saturday at De Anza High School in Richmond.