It's going to be an amazing weekend of championship games [Video]
I know we're all supposed to get excited about regional bowl games Dec. 7-8, then the CIF state championship bowl games on Dec. 14-15, but truth be told, if you're a prep football fan living in Southern California, there's nothing better than the section championship matchups set for Friday night and the night of Dec. 1. They're going to produce some amazing games.
Who wouldn't want to have a front-row seat for Vista Murrieta-Corona Centennial, Long Beach Poly-Santa Ana Mater Dei, West Hills Chaminade-Gardena Serra and Narbonne-Crenshaw? And there's others, such as the battle of the unbeatens, Phelan Serrano (13-0) and Perris Citrus Hill (13-0) in the Eastern Division.
The Pac-5 final at Angel Stadium on Dec. 1 matches two programs that have come out of nowhere to return to the championship. Mater Dei, a nine-time champion, didn't make the playoffs last season. Poly, an 18-time champion, was forgotten after a 56-0 loss to Narbonne in Septemeber.
Vista Murrieta and Centennial renew their Inland Division rivalry. Vista Murrieta hasn't been beaten on the field in the last two seasons. Centennial's offense is in high gear.
I was at the first Chaminade-Serra game. Serra was going to win when the Cavaliers fell apart with turnovers and couldn't stop Chaminade's power rushing game, led by Terrell Newby. Both teams are much better and full of future college players. Junior quarterbacks Jalen Greene (Serra) and Brad Kaaya (Chaminade) are reaching peak form for the Western Division final.
As for Narbonne vs. Crenshaw in the City Section Division I final, all I have to say is, thank you for what could be the game of the year. These players have been so dedicated as teammates, with lots of unselfishness. They've been receiving great coaching from Manuel Douglas of Narbonne and Robert Garrett of Crenshaw. The defenses are fast and aggressive. The offenses can score points quickly. Their fans are proud, loud and fired up.
And so is this sportswriter for a weekend of great fun ahead.
Just please, no more fog.
-- Eric Sondheimer