By Mark Billingsley
For The Outlook
SACRAMENTO — Carson Glazier stood on the sideline Saturday night in street clothes, his San Marino High School letterman’s jacket keeping him warm from the Sacramento chill.
All he could do was watch as the Central Catholic Raiders from Modesto took apart his Titans and claimed their fourth consecutive CIF State Bowl game with a 56-21 win in the Open Small School championship game.
San Marino suffered its only loss in a magical season that included the CIF-Southern Section Central Division championship. The Titans finished 15-1.
The only solace in the blowout loss was that wide receiver JP Shohfi, 197 yards on eight catches, broke the national single-season receiving yards record, according to MaxPreps. His new mark of 2,464 yards eclipses the old record of 2,247 yards by Stephenville (Texas) High School receiver Cody Cardwell, who held the record since 1998. Shohfi’s streak of 28 consecutive games in which he scored at least one touchdown was snapped, though.
And had it been Glazier throwing the pass that broke the national record, then the blow from the loss could have at least been softened. After all, Shohfi and Glazier have been playing football together since the 3rd grade and share a bond they will enjoy well into adulthood. It was Shohfi who cried on Glazier’s shoulder as the championship trophy was handed to Central Catholic head coach Roger Canepa at midfield.
“My heart was broken for him,” Shohfi said of seeing Glazier on the sidelines in street clothes. “He’s one of my best friends, and he’s such a competitor.”
Glazier was prevented from playing in the biggest game of his prep football career due to a concussion suffered in last week’s 36-35 victory over Sierra Canyon, and by CIF concussion protocols, which state that a player diagnosed with a concussion must sit out of practice and games for seven calendar days from the initial medical examination.
“It was the worst time of my life,” Glazier said of watching the game from the sidelines instead of from behind his hulking offensive linemen. “It was absolute torture.”
Glazier is still angry at team doctors who diagnosed his concussion, and he disagreed with the CIF’s protocol.
“I was answering questions correctly in the second half of last week’s game,” Glazier said. “This is an absolute shame.”
Central Catholic, with an enrollment of just 369, has been a juggernaut for years. Since 2012, the Raiders have played more games (63) than any other team in the state and have now won 23 consecutive playoff games.
One play before the Titans’ first score, a 74-yard pass from Mark Wicke to Aiden Santino early in the second quarter, Wicke threw a fluttering pass over the head of Santino. Head coach Mike Hobbie yelled, “You can’t throw it that far! Get rid of it sooner!” So Wicke did, and delivered a dart to Santino over the middle on third down and 18. Santino took the pass and outran the Raiders’ defense for 55 of the 74 yards.
San Marino entered the locker room with momentum after Wicke scored on a 1-yard dive over the pile with 17 second remaining in the first half, which pulled the Titans to within 21-14. But Central Catholic took just three plays in the third quarter to go 64 yards for a score, then had a pair of interception returns for scores as it blew the game open with a 28-point third quarter. The game was played with a running clock for the final six minutes.
Raiders running back Justin Rice had 216 yards on 19 carries and two touchdowns and quarterback Hunter Petlansky, who threw just six times for 79 yards, had two scoring tosses.
But it was the Fresno State-bound Rice who had San Marino Hobbie yelling into his headset, “He’s just too strong us!” And after Central Catholic scored on a pass play to take the lead for good midway through the second quarter, Hobbie was overheard saying to no one in particular, “I wish I had the best team money can buy in Modesto.”
He was alluding to the age-old controversy of private-versus-public schools. Hobbie said the CIF should look into creating a separate private school division for the playoffs and state bowl games, because the comparison between public and private schools, which can recruit from outside their attendance areas, is not “apples to apples.”
“I would like the CIF to look at that,” Hobbie said. “I know New Jersey has done it (creating separate leagues for 2016). I only schedule private schools if I absolutely have to.”
Hobbie was careful not to appear to be taking away from Central Catholic’s dominating performance. Had Glazier been taking snaps, the outcome might not have been different, but the score might have been closer.
“Without Carson, it was a lot harder,” Hobbie said. “(Carson) is the kind of quarterback who is going to deliver the ball with velocity and deliver it sooner. Plus, he’s not going to make mistakes. But I’m proud of them. We gave it our best stuff without our best quarterback.”