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Sunday, December 11, 2011
CIF D3 South Bowl Bid

By By Ronnie Flores

Here are the top 10 rankings for this division in Southern California by Cal-Hi Sports after all section championships are complete (previous ranking in parentheses; teams with asterisk are ineligible for bowl game):

1. (1) Lompoc 14-0

2. (2) Washington (Easton) 13-0

3. (3) Valley Center 12-1

4. (6) Corona del Mar (Newport Beach) 12-2

5. (5) Beckman (Irvine) 11-3*

6. (7) Madison (San Diego) 10-1-1*

7. (4) Paraclete (Lancaster) 11-3*

8. (NR) Monrovia 11-3

9. (NR) Covina 11-2*

10. (NR) Santana (Santee) 11-2*

Drops: Previous No. 8 Wasco, No. 9 San Gabriel, No. 10 Cabrillo (Lompoc).

Other section champs also eligible: Fowler 12-2, Mendota 12-0.

Case for Lompoc:

1. The Braves won their second consecutive CIF Southern Section Northwest Division title with a 21-0 win over fellow Los Padres League foe Cabrillo of Lompoc. If Lompoc is selected for this CIF bowl game, the Braves will enter riding a 20-game winning streak. Those two factors are a huge plus for the Braves, because they play tough competition relative to their state division.

2. What really stands out for Lompoc and makes it the top candidate for this division is a 38-28 win over Arroyo Grande to open the season. That team went on to finish 13-1 and win the CIF Southern Section Western Division title, which is traditionally considered a stronger division than even the one Lompoc plays in. In fact, Arroyo Grande is a solid candidate for the Div. II south bowl berth. Looking at the overall body of work, Lompoc has played well every game, winning many blowouts and also showing the determination to pull out close wins, such as its 24-17 overtime win over Pioneer Valley of Santa Maria and a 23-15 win over Santa Ynez.

3. Looking at its personnel, Lompoc has a marquee player in junior running back Lavon Coleman. He's rushed for over 2,000 yards and is complimented nicely by junior Taylor Cornejo, who has rushed for over 1,000 yards himself. Lompoc doesn't pass much, but quarterback Luciano Lopez brings the threat of the pass, plus he can run behind the Braves' strong offensive line. Lompoc's defense is stingy against the run, as linebackers Willie Iribarren and Joseph Valla get to the ball quickly. The 28 points Lompoc allowed to Arroyo Grande was the most allowed all season to any team.

Case for Washington Union:

1. With their 55-12 victory over Wasco, the Panthers won their second consecutive CIF Central Section Division IV title. Similar to Lompoc, if Washington Union is selected for this CIF bowl game the Panthers also will play with a long winning streak on the line. The Panthers have won 21 consecutive games.

2. Looking at its overall body of work, Washington Union's best win was its 20-16 victory over Kingsburg. That team went on to beat Ridgeview of Bakersfield in the CIF Central Section Div. III game, handing Ridgeview its only loss in the process. Although the win over Kingsburg stands out, Lompoc's win over Arroyo Grande stands out more. The talent level of Washington Union's opponents is not quite the level of Lompoc's, but to the Panthers' credit they dominated all their playoff foes and won in the championship game 55-12. Those were the only 12 points Washington Union allowed in three post-season games.

3. Looking at its personnel, Washington Union has arguably the most talented player in the division in wide receiver-safety Deontay Greenberry. He's physically dominant and would give Washington-Union a chance against any team in this division. With other players such as wide receiver-safety Donald Phelps and two-way standout Dashown Fletcher, the skill position players for the Panthers are comparable to those of Lompoc with the exception of the running backs. Coleman and Lopez can run between the tackles whereas Washington Union struggles to do so at times. That's two areas where Lompoc has a big advantage -- the talent of Coleman in the running game and the size and ability of its linemen.

Other possibilities:

*Valley Center won the CIF San Diego Section Div. IV title with a 20-14 victory over Santana of Santee to finish the season 12-1. The one loss to San Pasqual of Escondido hurts them in a comparison to Lompoc or Washington Union, both whom are riding long winning streaks.

*The other top ranked bowl eligible teams in this division all have more than one loss, effectively giving them no shot to be selected ahead of the top two contenders.