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Football: Fresno Washington wins Division III title

December 17, 2011 |  3:04 pm

A banner pinned to the wall of the home grandstand at Home Depot Center read "Central Section Finally In The House!"

In a controversial decision, Washington of Fresno was selected over Lompoc to represent Southern California in Saturday's Division III CIF state football championship bowl game, thus earning the first berth by a Central Section school.

Whether or not the Panthers deserved the berth will be debated, but they can now call themselves state champions after beating a spirited Moraga Campolindo squad, 21-16, to finish the season 14-0.

"I think the kids played hard, represented the section extremely well and opened the door for other teams from our area in the next few years," Washington Coach Jeff Freitas said afterwards.

Quarterback Chris Cain ran for two touchdowns and opened the scoring with a 26-yard scoring pass to Deontay Greenberry. Washington's victory makes it three-for-three for Southern California with two more games today.

On Friday, Sierra Canyon of Chatsworth won the Division IV game 34-13 over Le Grand and Santa Margarita came from behind to take the Division I crown over Bellarmine of San Jose, 42-37.

Next is the Division II bowl game between San Diego Section champion La Mesa Helix (12-1) and Sac-Joaquin Section winner Del Oro of Loomis (13-1), followed by the Open Division game pitting Westlake against defending champion Concord De La Salle, which is making its record sixth state bowl appearance.

-- Steve Galluzzo