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Southwest final to be played at Cerritos College

STAFF WRITER

After considerable debate, Cerritos College has been selected as the site of the CIF-SS Southwest Division championship game between San Clemente and La Habra on Friday at 7 p.m.

Preview of La Habra vs. San Clemente at 2:58 mark of video below:

La Habra, the home team for the game, was in charge of securing a venue and wanted the game at its on-campus stadium. CIF-SS officials toured the stadium Tuesday and decided it would not suffice. Seating capacity at La Habra High, according to La Habra football coach Frank Mazzotta, is 5,000 with 2,000 of that on the visitor’s side.

According to CIF-SS figures, San Clemente had 3,100 on its half of its on-campus stadium last year when San Clemente was the host for the Southwest Division championship game. Anticipating crowds for championship games, especially when a school’s following has to travel a good distance – it is 47 miles from San Clemente High to La Habra High - can be difficult.

Cerritos College became an option and was agreed to as the venue Tuesday. Cerritos College’s Falcon Stadium has a seating capacity of 12,000.

Site locations for the Southern and East Valley championship games were also selected Tuesday.

The Southern Division game between Canyon and Brea Olinda will be at Brea Olinda High on Friday at 7 p.m. Canyon initially had balked at the plan to have the game at Brea. Brea has a seating capacity of 4,000 but, according to Brea principal Jerry Halpin, will add temporary bleachers to boost capacity by at least another 1,000.

The East Valley Division final, Grace Brethren of Simi Valley vs. Saddleback Valley Christian, will be at Saddleback College on Saturday at 7 p.m.

La Habra also looked into using Fullerton High’s stadium, which can seat 8,000.

The Highlanders’ home field is natural grass. Cerritos College, like San Clemente’s home field, is artificial turf. Mazzotta said that is not important to him, but potential income from concessions is. Cerritos College controls the concessions for games at Falcon Stadium, whereas La Habra would keep whatever concession income that would result from a game at La Habra.

La Habra, though, could charge for parking at Cerritos College and retain all of the income from that.

It is not uncommon that CIF-SS football finals are played at the home teams’ on-campus stadiums. Mission Viejo will play Vista Murrieta at Vista Murrieta High on Friday in the West Valley Division championship game.

Mission Viejo beat Vista Murrieta last year in the West Valley final at Angel Stadium. Vista Murrieta has been the site of CIF-SS football finals before – CIF-SS football championship games were played there in 2009, ’11 and ’12.

Tickets for the East Valley, Southern, Southwest and West Valley division finals are $12 for adults and $5 for students with valid student identification and for children 3-13 years of age. Schools are having ticket presales; contact the schools for on-sale dates and times.

Contact the writer: sfryer@ocregister.com


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