McClymonds prepares for 5th consecutive football game of State Championship

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McClymonds-Oakland football coach Michael Peters picked up the phone Sunday afternoon, not relishing another Northern California Championship – the Warriors won their fifth straight game on Saturday night with a 40-21 home victory 3- A against Campolindo-Moraga – or watching NFL action.

“We are studying Birmingham,” he said of next week’s final opponent from Lake Balboa (Los Angeles County). “They are huge. We’re all trying (the coaching staff) to figure out how we’re going to attack these guys.

Preparation is one explanation as the Warriors (11-1) make another appearance in the state title game.

With De La Salle-Concord surprisingly out of the mix – the Spartans were stunned 28-27 visiting Folsom on Friday in 1-AA – McClymonds is Metro’s new mainstay with a rich history. The Warriors, who won titles in 2016-17-18, are the only school in the state to reach a state final in five divisions.

The Oakland Athletic League powerhouse, with a squad under 400, is one of nine Metro teams that will play for the state titles on Saturday, one of seven home games.

Games at Saddleback College in Mission Viejo (Orange County)

Open division: Serra-San Mateo (11-1) v Mater Dei-Santa Ana (11-0), 8 p.m. Saturday

Division 1-AA: Folsom (11-3) v Cathedral Catholic-San Diego (9-2), Friday at 8 p.m.

Division 1-A: Liberty-Bakersfield (11-2) vs Serra-Gardena (9-4), 4 p.m. Saturday

Division 2-AA: Central Catholic-Modesto (13-1) v Mater Dei Catholic-Chula Vista (12-0), 4 p.m. Friday

Division 2-A: Wilcox-Santa Clara (10-4) vs. Scripps Ranch-San Diego (12-1), Saturday noon

Games at various venues (all are at 6 p.m. on Saturdays, unless otherwise noted)

Division 3-AA: Aquinas-San Bernardino (10-5) vs. Vanden-Fairfield Vanden (12-2), TBD

Division 3-A: Birmingham-Lake Balboa (9-4) at McClymonds-Oakland (11-1)

Division 4-AA: Central Valley Christian-Visalia (11-4) at Marin Catholic-Kentfield (13-1), 1 p.m. Saturday

Division 4-A: Northview-Covina (9-6) v Sacred Heart Cathedral (7-7) at Kezar Stadium

Division 5-AA: Independence-Bakersfield (9-6) at San Marino-Novato (12-1)

Division 5-A: Righetti-Santa Maria (6-8) at Sacred Heart Prep-Atherton (7-7), 1 p.m. Saturday

Division 6-AA: Quartz Hill (10-4) at Argonaut-Jackson (11-3)

Division 6-A: Arlington-Riverside (8-8) at Salesian-Richmond (10-2), 1 p.m. Saturday

Division 7-AA: Morro Bay (8-6) at Fall River-McArthur (12-0)

Division 7-A: Taft-Woodland Hills (7-7) at Balboa (8-4), 1 p.m. Saturday


“The kids and the coaches work hard,” he said. “And we have very talented players.”

Among them: Jaivian Thomas, a 5-10, 190-pound junior who only needed 10 carries to run 240 yards and three touchdowns. He won his first two carries 63 and 81 yards for scores, surpassing an outclassed Campolindo secondary.

As the Cougars (10-4) meticulously worked the ball behind short and middle passes from Dash Weaver (310 yards) to Robbie Mascheroni (seven catches, 130 yards, one touchdown), McClymonds broke a chunky game after the other. Especially Thomas, who replaced second Tajir Golden (broken wrist) earlier in the season and hasn’t missed a beat.

“He stepped up a lot of the time,” said Peters.

Campolindo coach Kevin Macy agreed: “If he’s Channel 2, I can only imagine their best guy. They just had too much speed and size. Not a good game for us. But the children fought to the end as they have done all year.

While McClymonds is a regular at the State Championships, the Cathedral of the Sacred Heart is not. The Irish (7-7) won their first NorCal title with a 31-7 4-A victory over Chico (9-4) as Ray-John Spears threw touchdown passes to RJ Miller (18 yards), Aidan Shea (20) and Jerry Mixon (18) and Bruce Upersa returned a 91-yard punt for another score.

Like Peters, CHS coach Barry McLaughlin spent Sunday studying his next opponent’s film. Northview (Covina) advanced with a 27-26 loss to Colony-Ontario.

“Looks like (Northview) has a hell of a back” to Cheo Medina, McLaughlin said. “It might be a load to stop.”

Just as surprising as De La Salle’s ouster is the way Pittsburg (9-3) was knocked out by Liberty-Bakersfield, 35-7, in the 1-A final at Bakersfield College on Saturday. The Pirates faced Clayton Valley-Concord, a team that beat Liberty earlier in the year. Liberty (11-2) took a 35-0 lead behind three touchdown catches from Jason Oliver before Kai Green escaped for a 50-yard touchdown in the fourth quarter.

That leaves just two Metro teams playing in the first five games for the division title at Saddleback College in Mission Viejo on Friday and Saturday.

Wilcox-Santa Clara hit his ticket to Orange County on Saturday with a 35-21 2-A home win over Manteca behind 172 rushing yards and two Luthern Glenn touchdowns and 175 total yards and two quarterback Armand scores Johnson.

It was the ninth consecutive victory for the Chargers (10-4), who topped a 344-yard rushing and three TD performance from Blake Nichelson of Manteca. Wilcox will go after his second state title. He won the 3-A crown in 2018.

Serra, chosen to represent Northern California in the Open division, will do so at 8 p.m. on Saturday against national powerhouse Mater Dei-Santa Ana.

Besides SHC, San Marino-Novato (5-AA) and Balboa (7-A) are the only other Metro teams to play their first state title games.

MaxPreps lead writer Mitch Stephens covers high school sports for The San Francisco Chronicle.


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