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Fryer: Football season has reached dangerous length

STAFF COLUMNIST

The football season does not end with the CIF-Southern Section finals.

The CIF regionals and state championship games are coming during the following two weeks. Only CIF-SS champions are invited.

The state football championships have two open divisions, one for large schools with enrollments more than 1,250 and the other for schools under that enrollment level. The CIF State championships have expanded this year so that there will be 13 state champions.

Teams that reach the state finals this season will play 16 games – the same number of games as an NFL team in the regular season.

That is too much. It is ridiculous that CIF administrators talk about emphasizing safety while at the same time creating a system by which more concussions and other injuries can occur.

Taking a look around Orange County high school sports:

• Home teams for CIF-SS football championship games can have those games at their on-campus stadiums if the venues have sufficient seating capacity and parking. The exception is when the CIF-SS has divisional finals locked in at a large stadium like Angel Stadium, where the Pac-5 final (St. John Bosco vs. Centennial of Corona) will be played Saturday at 8 p.m.

• If CIF-SS member schools prefer that divisional finals should not be played at a home team’s on-campus facility, then the CIF-SS member schools can change that by forging a proposal on that topic and bringing it to the CIF-SS Council, made up of member league representatives, for vote. CIF-SS member schools can use that process to change just about anything they don’t like in the Southern Section.

• There is only one CIF-SS football game at Angel Stadium this season because lower divisional games there in recent years did not produce enough revenue to cover costs.

• La Habra will charge $5 for parking today when it is host to San Clemente in the CIF-SS Southwest Division championship game at Cerritos College. La Habra gets all of that money, so it will be a good fundraiser.

• If San Clemente has only a few hundred people on its side of Cerritos College then La Habra will certainly said “see, told ya we could have had the game at our stadium!” La Habra wanted that game to be played at its on-campus stadium, but the CIF-SS office concluded the game should be played at a larger venue. If San Clemente has a couple of thousand spectators on its half of the stadium, then peace will reign.

• That was fast. Valencia on Thursday announced that Shawn Racobs is the school’s football coach. He replaces Mike Marrujo, who announced his retirement this week after 35 seasons at the position.

• Racobs, who teaches physical education at Valencia, has head coaching experience. He was El Dorado’s head coach from 2009-12. The Golden Hawks qualified for the playoffs in three of those four seasons.

• Marrujo stayed out of the hiring process, but he was rooting for Racobs, one of his assistant coaches, to succeed him.

• JSerra offensive lineman Luke Wattenberg was selected to the U.S. Army All-American Game that will be played in San Antonio, Texas, in January.

• Foxsportswest.com will stream every CIF-SS game live. Tonight’s Mission Viejo-Vista Murrieta game (West Valley Division) and the Pac-5 final Saturday also will be on Fox Sports West.

• Santa Margarita president Andy Sulick said via email that the school hopes to begin interviewing candidates for its football head coaching position in two weeks, although that process could begin in early January. He expects a successor to Rick Curtis, fired by Santa Margarita last month after two years at the position, to be announced in mid- to late-January.

• Some recent baseball commitments and signings: Edison senior pitcher Kaz Akamatsu to UC Irvine; junior shortstop Kyler Arenado to UC Davis; Woodbridge senior pitcher/firstbaseman Zak Baayoun to Long Beach State; senior shortstop Aharon Modlin to Pepperdine, junior third baseman Spencer Weston to San Diego State.

• CIF-SS commissioner Rob Wigod, trying to get further support for a change to the section’s system of playoff bracketing, noted huge margins of victory in the first round of team playoff sports like football this season. Such as, a 38-point average margin of victory in the first round of the football Pac-5 playoff and a 28-point margin of victory in the first round of the football Southern Division playoffs. Go to cifss.org and click on “commissioner’s message” for more data and more on the playoffs competitive equity concept.

• For an opening game, and a November game at that, the Canyon and Servite student cheering sections were in midseason form for their basketball teams’ game at Canyon on Monday. Good, clean energy.

• In a Godinez Invitational boys basketball game Tuesday: Orange Lutheran 82, Century 8. Orange Lutheran coach Chris Nordstrom did not enjoy it, but he can’t tell his 12th and 13th players to not make layups or not play defense when those guys get a rare chance to play.

Contact the writer: sfryer@ocregister.com


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