After crushing Wilcox for the second time this season, Serra stands only two wins away from the Central Coast Section Division I championship.
But to get to the title game, the top-seeded Padres (9-2) will have to take down Milpitas (8-3) at Serra on Saturday.
“It’s going to be a tough game, but thankfully we’re playing at home,” Serra coach Pat Walsh said. “We need to prove we can get past this week. We don’t want another loss on Thanksgiving.”
Serra has played in the CCS Open Division semifinals two of the past three years, but has not won a section championship since 1990.
“We’ve never had a 10-win season and with the proud tradition we have [at Serra], it’s pretty unbelievable,” Walsh said. “It means everything to these kids to have a chance to do something not ever done at Serra. This group of kids deserves that moniker.”
Serra wreaked havoc on the Wilcox offense, collecting six sacks and set the tone early, Walsh said.
The Wilcox defense played a cleaner game, according to Walsh, than the team’s first matchup in September, slowing down running back Erich Wilson.
“We didn’t have those big Erich Wilson-type runs,” Walsh said.
But the University of Washington-bound Wilson broke for a 99-yard kickoff return touchdown to begin the second half and capped it with a 13-yard touchdown run.
Milpitas also won a rematch game against Santa Clara Valley Athletic League De Anza Division rival Mountain View
42-33, and comes in with much more experience than Serra.
The Trojans have won two section championships in the past five years, the last coming in 2009, and neither time did they win their league championship.
“They have a confident group of guys,” Walsh said. “Some games they could beat anybody in the section.”
Milpitas has been inconsistent and has not won back-to-back games since October.
Walsh is hoping his team leans on its senior leadership, which has carried them most of the season.
“We’ve only had one bad week [against Mitty] and I’m going to put my money on the senior class to put in the work,” he said.
Four Peninsula Athletic League also advanced in the CCS playoffs.
Aragon advanced in Division II by beating Sobrato 30-17 and will face top-seeded Los Gatos. The Dons last made it to the CCS semifinals in 2009 before losing to Los Gatos.
South City also moved on in Division II and will take on Pioneer on Friday.
Menlo-Atherton rolled to a Division I first-round victory over Santa Clara 40-22 and will host Salinas on Friday.
Sacred Heart Prep, which won the Division IV championship last season, is two wins away from back-to-back titles, but faces a stiff test against No. 1 Palma.
Games involving San Francisco and San Mateo County teams:
No. 6 Salinas (7-4) at No. 2 Menlo-Atherton (8-3), 1 p.m.
No. 4 Milpitas (8-3) at No. 1 Serra (9-2), 1 p.m.
No. 3 South San Francisco (9-2) at No. 2 Pioneer (8-3), 7 p.m.
No. 4 Aragon (9-2) at No. 1 Los Gatos (9-1-1), 7 p.m.
No. 5 Sacred Heart Cathedral (6-5) vs. Christopher (10-1) at Gilroy High School, 7 p.m.
No. 7 St. Ignatius (4-6-1) at No. 3 Valley Christian (6-5), 7 p.m.
No. 4 Sacred Heart Prep (8-3) vs. No. 1 Palma (9-1-1) at Salinas Sports Complex, 7 p.m.