East County Sports

CIF State Football: Matadors fall in D-4

Courtesy, Long Beach Press Telegram



CIF State Championships
Southland Regional Final – Division 4


From staff and wire reports

BELLFLOWER – In a similar fashion to another CIF Southern California regonal, Mount Miguel took the opening kickoff and drove the length of the field for a game-opening touchdown. However, the balance of the contest went the way of the hosts, as the Monsoons of Mayfueld High of Lakewood took out the Matadors, 52-21, in Saturday’s (Dec. 2) Division 4 contest held at Bellflower Middle-High School stadium.

The result was almost mirror-like to Fridays Granite Hills loss in Division 1-AA at Mission Viejo, when the Eaglestook a quick 14-0 advantage beforeL falling.

For Mount Miguel (12-2 overall), the result is just a small blemish on the school’s best season in the 21st Century. The Matadors established a school record for victories in captring the school’s first San Diego Section championship since the region split off from the Southern Section in 1960.

The only other span of greatness by Mount Miguel in football came in the 1980s, especially the 1987 season when the Matadors raced to an 11-0 record before falling in the CIFSDS finale to Morse.

The head coach that season was Gary Cooper (1985-90; not the Academy award winning actor), who benefited by the program’s improvement under Brian Smith (61-25-2 career record from 1976-84; not the world-reknown British chemist), who resigned to take an administratove roll in the district.

Currently guided by first-year head coach Verlain Betofe, a revamped offense is now based on passing the football following decades of kepping the ball onthe ground.

Meanwhile, a sturdy defense posted four shutouts this season, matching the season’s best since 2013.

The school record for shutouts is six, set in 1987 when the Matadors yielded just 61 total points(4.1 pts/game) in an 11-1 campaign.

Meanwhile, this seasons edition of the Matadors also set a school mark by posting 599 total points, sincluding 40 or more in 10 of 14 contests.

Early on

Going against the passing attack, the Matadors shocked Mayfair in the first drive, whn Christian Lopez scooted 45-yards for the opening touchdown to cap a 79-yard march just 3:10 into the game.

The similar to the Granite Hills-Mission Viejo ballgame, the Monsoons counted with TDs on its first five possessions to earn thritr way to the state title game against Kentfield-Marin Catholic (13-1).

Mayfair answered with 35 staright points, including a pair of rushing TDsof 11 and 10 yards yt Ryan Heredia to claima 14-7 lead.

The margin reached 35-7 before Mount Miguel answered on a pair of Paris Vernon TDs late in the half. He had a 1-yard rush into the end zone, then made a sweet, 18-yard pinball catch with 32 seconds left before intermission.

The ball deflected off Vernon, bounced off a defender, then back into the hands of Vernon.





CIF State Championships
SoCal Regional Final
Division 4
(At Bellflower Middle-High School)

Mount Miguel (12-2)........ 7 14 0  0 – 21
Lakewood-Mayfair (12-3)... 21 14 0 17 – 52

First Quarter
MtM – Lopez 45 run (Castro kick)
M – Johnson 2 run (Mercado kick)
M – Sullivan 26 pass from Calvin (Mercado kick)
M – Heredia 11 run (Mercado kick)

Second Quarter
M – Calvin 15 run (Mercado kick)
M – Heredia 10 run (Mercado kick)
MtM – Vernon 1 run (Castro kick)
MtM – Vernon 18 pass from Barton (Castro kick)

Thurd Quarter
No scoring.

Fourth Quarter
M – FG Mercado 31
M – Daniel 26 pass from Calvin (Mercado kick)
M – Johnson 1 run (Mercado kick)

The Year of Multiple O.T.’s

EL CAJON – In the 21st Century, East County schools (including Christian and Patrick Henry high schools) played seven gmd hicxh extended into multiple overtime period. Entering the 2023 season, there were seven such contests,.

However in 2023, four games reached a second overtime, including a pair by Helix High; the Scoties lost to both Granite Hills (for the second straight season) and then in th CIFSDS playoffs to Lincoln.

The others saw Santana win at El Capitan, while Mission Bay won at Patrick Henry.