St. Ignatius only San Francisco high school picked to play for NorCal Open Division championship

Eric Sun/Special to the S.F. ExaminerFan salute: Members of the St. Ignatius football team celebrate with spectators following Friday’s victory over Bellarmine that put the Wildcats in the NorCal title game.

There were several extended discussions in the meeting Sunday of the 10 CIF section commissioners to decide the regional football championship matchups, but one didn’t even get a vote.

Due to the committee’s selection of De La Salle and Folsom for the Northern California Open Division championship, Granite Bay and St. Ignatius were the only eligible teams to fill the two slots for the Division I game.

Granite Bay, the Sac-Joaquin Section Division II winner, and the Wildcats, the Central Coast Section Open Division champion, will face off in the Division I NorCal title game on Friday night at Sacramento State.

In the first year of regional championships (since 2006, the CIF has had only state championships, with the committee deciding the best representatives from each division in the north and south to play in one game), St. Ignatius is the only San Francisco high school to play for a regional or state football title.

“We do understand the significance of that, to represent our school, our league — and it’s a great honor to do,” St. Ignatius coach John Regalia said. “We also know that we’re a San Francisco school and we represent high school football in San Francisco.”

The Wildcats were the only CCS team selected to participate in a regional game, although CCS Division IV champion Sacred Heart Prep of Atherton was considered an outside contender to qualify for the Division III regional game (section divisions are not always compatible with the CIF bowl divisions). Lincoln, by winning the San Francisco Section title, was also eligible for the Division II game, but was not considered a contender.

There are, however, Bay Area representatives in each division.

De La Salle and Folsom headline the slate, while Clayton Valley of Concord will take on Oakdale in Division II, Marin Catholic of Kentfield will face off with Sutter in Division III and McClymonds of Oakland will meet with Central Catholic of Modesto in Division IV.

Despite the five Bay Area representatives, no NorCal games will be played west of Sacramento or Stockton, an issue that was addressed several times with CIF representatives in a teleconference Sunday.

According to the CIF, eligible schools were asked to submit potential venues for games and Ron Nocetti, the associate executive director of the organization, hinted that not all schools complied.

“We’re not going to sell out any of the schools, but there was a deadline to submit a venue,” said Nocetti, who is a graduate of Sacred Heart Cathedral. “We even asked them if they were still interested in hosting games after the deadline.

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