Steele Canyon’s winning the State Division 3-A championships was comparative to an NFL team sneaking into the playoffs as a wild card and taking home the Super Bowl trophy.
The Cougars of Coach Scott Longerbone were 4-4 at midseason, got into the San Diego Section playoffs as a No. 7 seed, won 4 games in San Diego, and went on to the state championship with a 44-42 victory over Central Coast champion Half Moon Bay, which had won 14 in a row.
Steele Canyon (12-4) tied La Jolla Country Day’s 2016 state finalist and several others for the most games played by a California high school.
Sixteen games! It’s what they play in the big league.
San Diego Section teams won 2 of 5 state finals in 2016 and 1 of 5 this year. But the section was more competitive this season, no blowout losses compared to 2016, when The Bishop’s was beaten by Oakdale, 47-0, and Horizon was taken down by Strathmore, 62-22.
The most decisive score differential in 2017 was Calexico Vincent Memorial’s 38-20 loss to San Francisco Galileo.
The most recent CIF state format was adapted in 2015. San Diego Section teams are 5-8 in that period and 9-13 since state playoffs were reinstated in 2007.
|2008||III||Cathedral||37-34||*Stockton St. Mary’s|
|2009||V||Francis Parker||40-44||*Modesto Christian|
|2011||II||Helix||35-24||*Loomis Del Oro|
|V||Santa Fe Christian||7-66||*Modesto Central Catholic|
|III||El Capitan||28-35||*^Moraga Campolindo|
|2015||III-A||Rancho Bernardo||35-14||^*Atherton Sacred Heart|
|V-AA||Mater Dei||55-21||**Reedley Immanuel|
|2016||I-AA||Cathedral||38-31||*Stockton St. Mary’s|
|II-AA||Madison||21-17||^*San Jose Valley Christian|
|V-A||La Jolla Country Day||17-20||#*Oakland McClymonds|
|III-A||Steele Canyon||44-42||^*Half Moon Bay|
|IV-AA||El Centro Southwest||41-45||^*Milpitas|
|VI-A||Calexico Vincent Memorial||20-38||*#San Francisco Galileo|
*Sac-Joaquin. *^North Coast. ^*Central Coast. #*Oakland. **Central. *#San Francisco.
The Los Angeles Rams’ Jarrod Goff is one of the hottest quarterbacks in the NFL but five years ago, Goff’s Marin Catholic team from the North Coast Section was a 38-35 loser to Madison in the state D-IV championship…San Francisco Galileo, conqueror of Calexico Vincent Memorial in VI-A, is the alma-mater of many Italian-American baseball players of generations past and of prominent people in business and the arts but probably is best known as the school from which O.J. Simpson graduated and the school that baseball immortal Joe DiMaggio did not attend…DiMaggio never went to high school…San Diego State came hard at the last minute and received a commitment from Helix quarterback Carson Baker, who originally had chosen California-Davis….Baker completed 19 of 31 passes for three touchdowons and ran for another as Helix battled Folsom throughout before losing, 49-42…Highlanders sophomore Elejon Noa rushed for 1,013 yards in five playoff games…Galileo scored touchdowns on three of its first five snaps in the third quarter after trailing, 14-8, at halftime…Cameron Junger passed for five touchdowsn and rallied El Centro Southwest from a 34-14 deficit early in the third quarter but Milpitas scored the winning touchdown with 2:37 remaining in the game…Steele Canyon withstood a Half Moon Bay rally after the school on Highway 94 led, 34-15, in the third quarter…the championship was a breakthrough for Coach Scott Longerbone’s program…the Cougars had not moved beyond the San Diego Section semifinals in seven previous tries….