The final push for the fall sports programs from local high school’s to claim that coveted CIF Southern Section Championship has been well underway over the last couple of weeks and as the excitement continues to mount for some, the agony of defeat has already been put in place for others.
Fifteen local teams went into the first round of the playoffs this past weekend, but only 8 came out on top. In Div. 1 action, Vista Murrieta (9-2), who used to own the Southwestern League title before this year’s stellar performance from Murrieta Valley, beat Bishop Amat on the road, 38-24. With the win, the Broncos will welcome the Mater Dei Monarchs Friday, Nov. 18. The Monarchs go into the outing with a record of 11-0 after winning 69-0 against Tesoro in round 1.
Division 2 was the busiest of the divisions with four local teams battling it out to move on. Sunbelt League Champs, the Heritage Patriots (11-0) trounced El Toro 42-13 behind a great ground assault led by running back Sherod White. White carried the ball 18 times for 131 yards and 3 TD’s. The Patriots will put it on the line next when they travel to San Clemente Friday, Nov. 18. Heritage will play a Tritons (8-3) squad coming off a 36-13 win over Chino Hills.
Murrieta Valley (9-2) was the other successful team on the night in the Division 2 brackets. The Nighthawks thwarted the visiting St. Bonaventure Seraphs football team 63-34 in round 1 action behind a phenomenal night on the ground by running backs Lika Palmer (224 yards, 3 TD’s) and quarterback Hank Bachmeier, who not only threw for two touchdowns but also scored two on his own with 57 yards rushing on 5 carries. With the win, Murrieta Valley will now travel to Norco to take on the Cougars (7-4) Friday, Nov. 18. The Cougars won 35-32 against Citrus Hill of the Mountain Pass League, ending the defending CIF-SS champ’s season in round 1. Great Oak was the final team in Div. 2 that lost, falling to Redlands East Valley 41-30.
Temescal Canyon (Div. 8), Calvary Murrieta (Div. 12) and Rancho Christian (Div. 13) were all victorious and will also move on to continue their season in round 2 action Friday, Nov. 18. Game times are set for 7 p.m. for most games.
The Elsinore Lady Tigers (31-7) had a great run in the postseason, but lost in the Division 4 Championship game Saturday, Nov. 12, against Sierra Canyon by a score of 3-0. Good news for Elsinore, the CIF-State playoffs begin this week and the Lady Tigers season continues, as does that of Great Oak. The Lady Wolfpack squad was surprised with their bid as they thought their season was finished when they were swept by Santa Margarita in the CIF-Southern Section Division 1 quarterfinals.
The CIF-State playoffs have expanded this season, with the addition of an Open Division and an extra round in the other five regional brackets. Southern Section semifinalists were guaranteed a spot in the state playoffs, and Division 1 quarterfinalists also were eligible for selection by the committee.
Great Oak (16-13) will make its state debut when they travel to Chula Vista’s Eastlake High School (22-8) to play a Division 1 first-round match. Eastlake lost in the first round of the San Diego Section’s Open Division playoffs.
Elsinore will travel to San Diego’s Del Norte High School for a Division 2 match this week. Del Norte (22-10) was the San Diego Section’s champion in Division 1.
With the fall of the Lady Nighthawks (back-to-back CIF-SS Final’s appearances) in the second round of the Div. 1 Southern Section Playoffs, it was up to Vista Murrieta in the Division 2 brackets to try and keep the Southwestern League well represented in the postseason, and that they did. The Lady Broncos prevailed through the semifinals and made their first-ever finals appearance after beating a Riverside Poly squad that has been a finalist three years running.
In the finals Vista Murrieta fell 11-7, to Palos Verdes but not without giving the Lady Sea Kings a run for their money. The previous best playoff run for Lady Broncos was a quarterfinal appearance in 2013, when current standout players Emma Vanderhyden, Therese Recidoro, Maddie Bush and Julia Weng were all freshmen.
Great Oak also gave the Southwestern League good representation in Div. 3, making it all the way to the semifinals where they fell to Walnut 10-8. Elsinore got the Sunbelt League some recognition as the Lady Tigers ran through the Div, 4 brackets where they also fell in the semi’s to Charminade in a 9-9 tiebreaker (77-72). Hemet (Mountain Pass League) was the final local team to bring some excitement to the area as they took their toll on the Div. 5 brackets, but fell in the Final’s, 16-6 to Rancho Mirage.
Boys’ Water Polo
Murrieta Mesa made a great charge through the 32-team Div. 4 brackets, making their first ever postseason appearances well worth the excitement for local fans. With wins over Beaumont (16-11) and Chadwick (10-8), the playoffs ended for the Rams when they fell to San Juan Hills in the quarterfinals, 10-9.
Murrieta Valley is the final local team remaining in the hunt with wins so far over Crecentia Valley (16-7) and Wilson/Long Beach (11-9). The Nighthawks are now preparing for their match-up this week against Laguna Beach in the semifinals at the Woollett Aquatic Center in Irvine.
It’s been a great year for many of the local cross-country programs as they all wind down for next week’s Finals.
The Chaparral Vista Murrieta boys took important steps in their own progress in the Prelims, which returned to the Riverside City Cross-Country Course last week for the second consecutive year.
For the Pumas boys last week’s results meant a first-ever trip to a final after qualifying sixth in their Division 1 heat as they seek a state-meet berth with one more solid run Nov. 19 at the Finals.
Vista Murrieta’s boys found their way to CIF Finals with a fifth-place finish in their heat. Three other teams in their heat also moved on, including Great Oak, whose teams are ranked No. 1 in the state and third (boys) and fourth (girls) in the nation.
Five others advanced individually, led by one of the Division 1 girls’ qualifiers, Chaparral senior Zoe Jarvis (fourth, 17:57.4) and Paloma Valley’s Tristan Sylva, who also moved on.
*All info supplied by local high school athletic directors, MaxPreps, CIF-SS, Schedule Star and contributing writers/photographers; David Canales, Andrez Imaging, Ed Faith, Amanda Schwarzer, Rob Davis Photography , Matthew Ressler, Paul Bandong, Alicia Salcedo, Annette Saenz, Kelley Clough, Kristi Jo Photography, Time Stood Still Photography and countless fans of the games via social media.