By Nathan Mollat Daily Journal Staff
In 2016, Half Moon Bay topped Menlo School 41-24 in the Division V title game. This year, PAL Lake Division champ Carlmont, the No. 5 seed, will face No. 2 Burlingame, the PAL Ocean Division king, for the CCS Division IV crown at 7 p.m. Saturday at Sequoia High School.
“It will be good for our league,” said Carlmont head coach Jake Messina. “It will be good for our community.”
This is uncharted territory for Carlmont. The Scots last won a CCS game during the 1991 playoffs and won their only CCS football title in 1990. But that was during a time when San Mateo County essentially had a CCS playoff bracket to themselves. This is the first time in “the modern era” that Carlmont will be playing for a section title.
“I’ve been involved in these types of games before. … I’ve seen what it’s like to win at the very end and to lose on the last play of the game,” Messina said. “But you always walk away with a huge sense of accomplishment. Most teams have already turned in their pads.”
Burlingame’s drought hasn’t been nearly as long, having won the 2004 Small School title on a hook-and-lateral touchdown on the last play of the game. But Burlingame coach John Philipopoulos, who will be coaching in his third CCS title game, knows these opportunities don’t come around often.
“It really is a once-in-a-lifetime opportunity,” Philipopoulos said.