2017 Week 17: Cougars Were Steeled in Stretch Run.

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.

2007 II Oceanside 28-14 *Novato
2008 III Cathedral 37-34 *Stockton St. Mary’s
2009 V Francis Parker 40-44 *Modesto Christian
2010 IV Madison 14-30 *Escalon
2011 II Helix 35-24 *Loomis Del Oro
2012 IV Madison 38-35 *^Marin Catholic
V Santa Fe Christian 7-66 *Modesto Central Catholic
2014 I Oceanside 7-68 *Folsom
III El Capitan 28-35 *^Moraga Campolindo
2015 III-A Rancho Bernardo 35-14 ^*Atherton Sacred Heart
IV-AA Bonita Vista 21-33 **Hanford
V-AA Mater Dei 55-21 **Reedley Immanuel
VI-AA Coronado 6-16 *East Nicolaus
2016 I-AA Cathedral 38-31 *Stockton St. Mary’s
II-AA Madison 21-17 ^*San Jose Valley Christian
III The Bishop’s 0-47 *Oakdale
V-A La Jolla Country Day 17-20 #*Oakland McClymonds
VI-A Horizon 22-62 **Strathmore
2017 I-AA Helix 42-49 *Folsom
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….


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