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Servite's loss is Inland Division's gain

11/29/2011

Who cares where Tesoro High School is located, the card will get there in the mail.

The Inland Division owes a big thanks to the Titans for defeating Servite last week in the second round of the Southern Section Pac-5 Division playoffs, a monumental upset that blew the door wide open for an Inland Division team to steal the Pac-5’s seat at the state bowl championships.

(Big pause)

Nah, how can that be? The Pac-5 has been invited to the Home Depot Center four of the last five seasons. It's the perennial division in all of the state, stacked with private schools deep in tradition and loaded with Division I recruits. Not to mention the crowds they bring.

Well, the reasons are simple. You don’t need a computer, or even a calculator. A notepad will do. It’s all about common opponents, or shall we say, common divisional opponents.

The final four teams in the Inland Division; Corona Centennial, Upland, Vista Murrieta and Rancho Cucamonga, are a combined 3-0 this season against Pac-5 teams ... good Pac-5 teams.

That won’t change.

The Pac-5’s remaining contingent, Mission Viejo, Santa Margarita, Tesoro and San Clemente, are a combined 0-2 against Inland Division foes.

That won’t change either.

Mission Viejo lost to Redlands East Valley on Oct. 7, a week after Tesoro lost to Chaparral, two teams that couldn't get past the Inland Division’s second round. And then there’s Santa Margarita, which lost to Mater Dei, which lost to Corona Centennial.

Servite was the only team that had a legitimate argument to get a bowl nod ahead of the likes of Centennial, Upland or Vista Murrieta. Running the table in the Trinity League should be worth a trip to Carson in itself. But that’s not the qualifying criteria, winning a division title is, and the Friars will have to sit home this year.

The same should be said for the entire Pac-5.

Westlake, should the Warriors continue their impressive march and win the Northern Division, deserves the Open Division slot, no ifs, ands or buts. If for no other reason, they beat St. Bonaventure by 21 points earlier this month, and St. Bonaventure is the only outsider to post a quality win against the Inland Division this fall, a season-opening two-point victory at Corona Centennial.

The Inland Division responded by winning every major inter-division matchup its path.

Vista Murrieta drove 100 miles to Crespi on Sept. 30 and beat the Celts by 18 points, the same night Upland hammered Serra League runner-up Loyola by 15. The Serra League champion, Alemany, even felt the sting of the Inland Division, losing by a point to J.W. North, which got blown out Friday night against Vista Murrieta.

Do we have to go on?

The state bowl bids are determined by the 10 section commissioners from across the state. If they stick with past criteria and use common opponents as a major component in their selection process, they'll have a pretty clear map to connect the dots.

Let’s hope they don't get sidetracked on their way to the Inland Empire.