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  After two years of seeing the North and South eliminate one of their strongest candidates for the California Interscholastic Federation State Football Bowl...

  After two years of seeing the North and South eliminate one of their strongest candidates for the California Interscholastic Federation State Football Bowl Championships, the CIF announced Monday it would be doing away with the regional bowl for its Open Division. 

  The regional bowl games will still occur for Division I-IV, but participants for the Open Division State Bowl game “” meant to pit the top teams from NorCal and SoCal regardless of enrollment “” will be selected in a vote of section commissioners at the time they announce the regional bowl participants. 

  “Following two years of the expanded Open Division Football Regional Bowl Championships, the votes by both the football coaches’ advisory committee and the 10 section commissioners indicated the strong desire to return the Open Division Football Bowl Game to its original format,” CIF Executive Director Roger L. Blake said in the press release. “As with all state championship events, each year there is always a thorough review by various committees.”

  De La Salle-Concord has represented the North in each of the previous five Open Division bowl games at the Home Depot Center in Concord. The Spartans reached the previous two bowls by defeating Folsom in the regional playoff. Folsom entered both contests with perfect 14-0 records and were widely considered the NorCal’s second-best team. They lost to De La Salle 49-15 in 2012 and 45-17 a year ago. 

  If this new tweak existed during those seasons, there’s a strong possibility Folsom would’ve been heavy favorites in the Division I regional bowl playoff. 

  “We still have a long way to go before we even think about that for this year,” Folsom co-coach Kris Richardson said when reached by phone, “but I think that this is a step in the right direction. The reality is that this is the right thing to do to send the best two teams to State Bowl games. … You have to give credit to the CIF for listening and continuing to make tweaks.”

  With record-setting quarterback Jake Browning returning for his third year behind center, Folsom begins 2014 as the consensus choice as the No. 2 team in NorCal “” behind De La Salle, of course. Cal-Hi Sports’ preseason state rankings had De La Salle at No. 2 and Folsom No. 5. 

  “I think it is good news, and that the decision was well thought-out,” Folsom’s other co-coach Troy Taylor said. “We enjoyed playing De La Salle the last two years, but we felt like we were the second-best team in Northern California both years, so it was difficult to not be rewarded for that.”

  While this will obviously be a popular decision in the North end of the state, it’s likely to have a negative affect in Southern California where there are often many more top tier programs vying for the Open Division. This was a point raised Monday by Cal-Hi Sports editor Mark Tennis in the Cal-Hi Sports Insider blog at 

  “” Chace Bryson and Jim McCue


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