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St. Francis High football staying put in Mission League, Western Division

Football: Cathedral's appeal is passed with 46 votes, which creates six-team Mission League that still includes Golden Knights.

April 30, 2014|By Andrew J. Campa, andrew.campa@latimes.com
  • The St. Francis' football team, pictured on Friday, November 15, 2013 singing an alumni song to the fans after defeating Culver City with a score of 45-28 in a CIF Southern Section Western Division first round football playoff game at Culver City High School.
The St. Francis' football team, pictured on Friday,… (Tim Berger / Staff…)

LONG BEACH — On a morning in which the St. Francis High football team could have been moved into one of two different leagues and what most consider up three divisions, the Golden Knights instead found their position within the Mission League not only settled for the next four years, but significantly bolstered thanks in large part to rival Los Angeles Cathedral High.

The Phantoms appealed their placement within one of two four-team leagues set to participate in the Pac-5 Division, or the top division within the CIF Southern Section, proposed by the Catholic Athletic Assn. at a regular meeting of the Southern Section Council at The Grand Ballroom in Long Beach on Wednesday morning and won their right to stay within a Mission League that also included St. Francis.

“We appreciate the way Cathedral handled this and we were in agreement that neither team should be playing in Division I,” St. Francis Coach Jim Bonds said. “That was our argument and we’re both happy we’re able to stay. There aren’t eight teams that should be playing in Division I, there’s only seven and we’re happy with the outcome.”

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The CAA voted April 22 that Cathedral, a member of the Mission League along with St. Francis, would move up from the Mission League and Western Division (seen by most as Division IV) to the newly formed Pac-5 Division South Catholic League along with Bishop Amat, Loyola and Gardena Serra. The northern league squads would have consisted of Alemany, Chaminade, Crespi and Sherman Oaks Notre Dame.

Mission League stalwarts Serra and Chaminade finished first and second in league, respectively, and met in the Western Division title game in December for the second consecutive season. While both looked forward to the jump to the highest division, Cathedral did not.

Cathedral Principal Brother John Montgomery officially appealed to Southern Section Commissioner Rob Wigod in a letter on April 23. The correspondence was made available along with a Cathedral football fact sheet to all voting members present at the meeting.

“This is all about equity and what’s fair,” Montgomery said. “We don’t belong in the top division in the Southern Section and don’t believe we can compete. We would have been crushed for four years.”

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