Get ready for public-school supporters to start believing that the sign of the apocalypse arrived Sunday, when for the first time in the 5-year history of the CIF state championship bowl games, two Catholic schools were chosen to play in the premier bowl game.
It will be Anaheim Servite (14-0) facing Concord De La Salle (13-0) on Saturday night in the Open Division championship at the Home Depot Center in Carson.
If you thought public-school coaches had insecurities before, just think about their sleepless nights ahead after watching these two big-time programs with unlimited attendance boundaries being featured on live statewide television in front of a large and vocal fan base.
Yes, there's reason to be concerned, but stop the panic mode. Just take a look at the Southern California representative for the Division I bowl game, Corona Centennial (14-0), which will face Palo Alto (13-0) on Friday night at the Home Depot Center.
Servite and De La Salle should be grateful they don't have to play the best team in the state, which I believe is Centennial. The Huskies are going to put on a show and expose what everyone knows is a flaw in the CIF state championship bowl system — it doesn't produce a true state champion.
Come next weekend, Centennial and possibly Gardena Serra (14-0), which plays Folsom (13-1) on Saturday afternoon in the Division II bowl game, will have just as much bragging rights as the Servite-De La Salle victor in claiming to be No. 1 in California.
A true state playoff system for football has been judged too complicated to pull off in California because of time, geography and other issues. Thus, 10 section commissioners went into a room Sunday and picked 10 teams to play in five bowl games from a pool of 27 section champions in the South and 22 in the North.
There's a proposal to create a regional playoff, which would add a 16th game to the season. To me, that's too long a season. The players have to be students first.
So this is the best we have, and it's far from perfect, but the games this coming weekend have a chance to produce great entertainment and memorable moments.
Servite Coach Troy Thomas has beaten three coaching icons this season — Harry Welch at Santa Margarita, Bruce Rollinson at Santa Ana Mater Dei and Bob Johnson at Mission Viejo. Now he gets to face perhaps the greatest of them all, Bob Ladouceur, who guided De La Salle to a 151-game winning streak from 1992 to 2004.
"Wow, what an opportunity," Thomas said.
On Saturday night, Servite showed how good it has become, beating previously unbeaten Mission Viejo, 41-27, in the Pac-5 Division final, with running back Malik Felton rushing for 184 yards and scoring four touchdowns. He had started the season as a receiver.
"He just doesn't want to let his team down," Servite cornerback Karlton Dennis said of Felton.
De La Salle has one of the top junior quarterbacks in the state in Bart Houston. Servite has perhaps the No. 1 two-way lineman in the state in Troy Niklas.
Serra, with USC-bound receiver George Farmer, plays a Folsom team that knocked off Sacramento Grant and features a 5-foot-9 wonder in Dano Graves, who has passed for 3,821 yards and 59 touchdowns.
And there's the chance to see Centennial's no-huddle shotgun offense, led by 6-5 quarterback Michael Eubank. It's as close to Oregon's quick-attack offense as you'll find at the high school level.
There are two bowl games for smaller schools. In Division IV, La Jolla Bishop's (13-0) will play Stockton Brookside Christian (12-0) on Friday, and in Division III, San Diego Madison (12-1) will play Escalon (13-1) on Saturday.
Still to be debated is what to do about the rise of the private schools and the decline of the public schools.
"All we can do is try to build the best program we can," Centennial Coach Matt Logan said.