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CHAMPS — The Highland football team and coaches pose with their championship plaque after defeating North Torrance 24-12 in the CIF-Southern Section Division 9 title game on Saturday.

Fresh off its first CIF-Southern Section Division title, the Highland football team will now look toward a state title.

The Bulldogs earned a berth in the State South Regional Division 4-AA bowl game with a chance to play for the state title in their division next week.

Highland (11-3) will play Selma (11-2) from the Central Section in the regional game at 7:30 p.m. at Antelope Valley College on Friday.

It’s the first time in the state tournament for the Bulldogs, who went to their first CIF championship game in Division 10 last season before falling to Eisenhower.

Highland played through rain, sleet and snow on a muddy field in frigid temperatures on Saturday night, but the Bulldogs came out on top with a 24-12 over North Torrance, which didn’t seem to handle the cold as well as the Antelope Valley team, for the Division 9 title.

It was Highland’s first title in their second straight championship game under second-year head coach Richard Lear. 

The Bulldogs scored all 24 of their points in the first half. They got on the board on Daniel Brown’s 37-yard touchdown run. He finished with 51 yards on seven carries.

Highland built a bigger lead on two straight scoop and scores — one by Jamal Jones for a 27-yard score and the other by Darius Wilson for a 38-yard score.

Both teams ran the ball the majority of the day because of the wet conditions.

Highland quarterback Damien Pecoraro completed 2 of 4 passes for 17 yards. One of those passes was for a touchdown to Damarius Jamison, who stretched out his 6-foot-6 frame for a phenomenal catch in the end zone.

Selma won the CIF-Central Section Division 4 championship with a 35-21 victory over Washington Union on Friday.

The winner will take on the winner of the Sutter vs. Ripon game, which will be played on Saturday.

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