De La Salle, Clayton Valley Charter and McClymonds will all help usher in a new era in California high school football.
The Spartans, Eagles and Warriors were among the 10 teams selected by section commissioners to compete in the inaugural Northern California regional championships, the California Interscholastic Federation announced Sunday. Winners of the five regional games go on to face the Southern California champions in state bowl games Dec. 14-15 at the Home Depot Center in Carson.
De La Salle, the three-time defending Open Division state bowl champion, will have a chance to get back to California's most prestigious bowl game. The Spartans (13-0) will play Folsom (14-0) in the NorCal Open Division game Saturday at 7:30 p.m. at Sacramento State.
"They have an excellent offense and a young QB that can wing it," De La Salle defensive coordinator Terry Eidson said of Folsom and its spread offense. "They pose a great challenge for us. What else do you want in a championship game?"
While De La Salle's inclusion comes as no surprise, both Clayton Valley and McClymonds will be breaking new ground for their programs.
Fresh off winning its first North Coast Section title in school history, Clayton Valley (12-1) will play Oakdale (13-1) of the Sac-Joaquin Section in the Division II game. McClymonds (9-3), which was passed up for a bowl spot in 2010 after going undefeated, was picked to play Central Catholic-Modesto (12-2) in the Division IV game.
McClymonds and Central Catholic were selected over a one-loss Ferndale team in what the CIF described Sunday as the toughest decision of the day.
"It's been a long time coming," said McClymonds coach Curtis McCauley. "This is history for our school and the Oakland community."
While game sites are considered neutral, all three East Bay teams will have to travel to their opponents' back yard.
In addition to De La Salle and Folsom playing at Sacramento State, Clayton Valley and McClymonds will play their games at Lincoln High in Stockton.
McClymonds plays Friday, and Clayton Valley competes Saturday. All regional games start at 7:30 p.m.
For the local teams, traveling east isn't a problem.
"It's no big deal, it doesn't matter where we're playing," Clayton Valley coach Tim Murphy said. "The games are a first-time thing, so the CIF has to make sure everything goes OK. In all honesty, we're just happy to be picked."
Said McCauley: "We'd play this game in Mississippi if we had to."
According to the CIF, Diablo Valley College and Dublin High put in bids to host the games but were not selected. Eidson said that with at least 10,000-15,000 fans expected for the De La Salle vs. Folsom game, there was likely no Bay Area venue with the ideal seating capacity.
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CIF Regional championships
Division I: St. Ignatius-San Francisco (10-3) vs. Granite Bay (11-3) at Sacramento State, 7:30 p.m.
Division IV: McClymonds (9-3) vs. Central Catholic-Modesto (12-2) at Lincoln HS-Stockton, 7:30 p.m.
Open: De La Salle (13-0) vs. Folsom (14-0) at Sacramento State, 7:30 p.m.
Division II: Clayton Valley Charter (12-1) vs. Oakdale (13-1) at Lincoln HS-Stockton, 7:30 p.m.
Division III: Marin Catholic-Kentfield (13-1) vs. Sutter (13-0) at Harrison Stadium-Oroville, 7:30 p.m.
Division I: Long Beach Poly (11-3) vs. Clovis North (12-1) at Long Beach City College, 7:30 p.m.
Division IV: Santa Fe Christian-Solana Beach (10-3) vs. Rio Hondo Prep-Arcadia (12-1) at Del Norte HS-San Diego, 7:30 p.m.
Open: Narbonne-Harbor City (14-0) vs. Centennial-Corona (13-1) at Cerritos College, 7:30 p.m.
Division II: Serra-Gardena (12-2) vs. Edison-Huntington Beach (13-1) at Orange Coast College, 7:30 p.m.
Division III: Madison-San Diego (12-1) vs. Monrovia (12-2) at Monrovia HS, 7:30 p.m.