CIF announces pairings for regional bowl games


The elation of winning a CIF championship isn’t a sensation that necessarily fades overnight. Players and coaches alike are likely still on cloud nine, and it’s a moment they’ll forever cherish.

Come this afternoon, though, the county’s four champs will set that memory aside as they return to the practice field, preparing for yet another challenge.

The CIF State office released its pairings for the Regional Football Championship Bowl Games on Sunday afternoon, with Mission Viejo, La Habra, Canyon and Saddleback Valley Christian all being rewarded with bids for taking home Southern Section titles this past weekend.

The Diablos and the Warriors received home games for their regional contests. Mission Viejo will play Helix High of La Mesa on Friday night at 7:30 p.m. SVC has yet to determine a site for its matchup, but the Warriors will meet Kennedy of Bakersfield Saturday at 7:30 p.m.

The Highlanders and Comanches will hit the road for their Friday night games. La Habra travels 75 miles north to take on Camarillo High, while the Comanches make the trek 110-plus miles south to play Bonita Vista at Southwestern College in Chula Vista. Both games are also set for 7:30 p.m.

“We’re just happy to be playing another week,” Canyon coach Mike Ogas said. “It’s a special group of guys we’ve got and it’s another opportunity to spend more time with the seniors and the coaching staff. It’ll be a fun week. We’re going to scale back practice a bit, try a few fun things.

“It’s really the cherry on top of the sundae.”

Of the county’s four championship squads, Canyon and Saddleback Valley Christian were the two that captured their first-ever CIF titles.

The Warriors were notified on Friday afternoon that Grace Brethren forfeited their right to play in the East Valley final after self-reporting the use of an ineligible player, meaning their team celebration took place inside of a meeting room on campus.

Canyon’s party started at Brea Olinda High moments after topping its North Hills League rival in the final. Even though the reality still hasn’t sunk in with Ogas, the Comanches coach said he knows there’s several more firsts to be had with this team as it begins its quest for a state title.

“It’s super special anytime you can represent your region and play against a quality team like them (Bonita Vista),” he added. “We’re going to try and enjoy it. But we know we’re seeing a really good football team.”

The winners of next weekend’s north and south regional games will advance to play in the CIF State Championship Bowl Games on Dec. 18 and 19.

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