High school sports

Number one in Division 14

LOARA and Rialto are playing Friday for the CIF-SS Division 14 championship (Shutterstock).

In this new era of  “competitive equity” for high school football, one of the premier success stories is Friday’s game between the Rialto Knights and the Loara Saxons at Glover Stadium in Anaheim at 7 p.m.

This is the Division 14 championship game between two teams with a total of 12 losses between them. But that’s sort of the point, isn’t it? The re-alignment of divisions is based not primarily on enrollment but on performance against similar teams throughout the season.

So Division 14 is the place for the best of those teams who are playing on a modest level.

Loara, for example, finished fourth in the Garden Grove League and completed its regular schedule with a 4-6 mark, which – in years past – would have meant sitting out the playoffs.

But the Saxons (7-6 now) qualified under those new criteria and have reeled off five wins in a row to make it to the big game.

Rialto (7-6) was second in the four-team Skyview League and also has a five-game streak. The Knights are primarily a running team. They’ve only completed 38 percent of their passing attempts but are strong on the ground.

The player to watch is Antoine Fowler, a 5-10, 150-lb. junior who’s rushed for 1,721 yards and 22 touchdowns. He’s had seven games in which he gained 100 yards or more.

So, kudos to Loara (and Rialto) for turning life’s lemons into lemonade, with a little help from the new “competitive equity” framework for the playoffs.

So who’s really number one?

In this brave new world, all 372 high school football teams (11-man only) in the CIF-SS are ranked before the playoffs started.

Just in case you were curious (as we were) about how our local teams were ranked, wonder no more.

Edison (12th) was the top-rated team from The Tribune’s coverage area of schools serving Garden Grove, Huntington Beach, Stanton and Westminster.

Next is Orange (44th), followed by Pacifica (96th), Huntington Beach (101st), Western (150th), Garden Grove (163rd), Marina (207th), Rancho Alamitos (223rd), Santiago (232nd), Westminster (244th), Los Amigos (294th), Magnolia (296th), Loara (302nd), Ocean View (318th), La Quinta (325th) and Bolsa Grande (334th).

“Prep Sport Spotlight” is posted on Tuesday’s during the high school athletic season.

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