Week 14: La Habra! St. Paul! … CHAMPIONS!!

La Habra rolls over Fullerton, 16-6, to clinch the Southeast Division title, and at the same time, cleared up the Freeway League’s co-championship situation.
St. Paul left no doubt in dominating Palmdale, 42-14, in winning the Western Division crown.

Four teams – La Habra, California, Schurr and St. Paul, reached their division’s semifinals.
Ten area teams qualified for the CIF-SS divisional playoffs.
Area teams won outright or shared the championship in four of the seven leagues which have area representatives.

Not too shabby, especially considering that two of the area teams that reached the semifinals, California and La Habra, played each other, meaning only one of them would advance to the championship game.

The Del Rio League was the most balanced it has been in at least a decade. Five of the six teams had legitimate shots at making the playoffs going into the last week of the season, and the underdogs in all three regular season finales came up with an upset.

Interestingly enough, one of the two teams that were perhaps playing the best football at the time, Pioneer, was the odd man out in the chase for a playoff berth. Santa Fe, the other team, drew into the tournament as the league’s at large entry.

And most of the teams’ accomplishments were made without marquee players, rather it was a matter of blue-collar efforts from hard-working individuals who bought into their coaches’ programs and developed within the team concept.

And isn’t that what it’s all about.
It’s time fo forget all the stuff about transfers and recruiting and who’s stealing who’s players, the sour grapes and the chest-thumping and the rumors and responses, and get back to some semblance of reality.

It has been a good season all the way ’round. Enjoy it for what it was.
And look forward to what lies ahead, those who return and those who will join next season’s festivities.
And wish them well.

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WEEK 14: Area teams’ playoff sites set … finally.

The site for the CIF Southern Section, Southeast Division football championship game between Freeway League co-champions La Habra and Fullerton has been switched to the Santa Ana Bowl. The contest will be held Friday beginning at 7 p.m. Fullerton will be the home team.

The teams were to have played for the title at Cal State Fullerton, but reportedly a mutual financial arrangement could not be agreed upon.

With current weather reports forecasting possible heavy rains (1 to 3 inches) for Friday through Saturday morning, the recently refurbished Bowl’s artificial turf playing surface should not be a factor.

The site for the Palmdale-St. Paul Western Division championship game will be played at St. Paul Friday. Game time is 7:30 p.m. The agreement on the location was finalized Wednesday morning, according to St. Paul athletic director Marc Henandez.

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Week 13: and then there were three.

Fullerton’s impressive 26-0 over Schurr in Friday night’s CIF-SS, Southeast Division water-logged semifinal playoff Mgame reduces the number of area participates in the tournament to three – La Habra and California, which play each other tonight, and St. Paul, which will face Gahr in the Western Division tonight.

Not exactly sure what was proven in Schurr’s loss, other than Fullerton played better than the Spartans in the slop. Fullerton’s Michael Allain was impressive, with his agillity and refusal to go down, but it appeared the Spartans defenders, who often had in him their grasp, had difficulty closing the deal as they slipped off his body. And that’s not an excuse, rather just an observation.
The difference in the game was at the line of scrimmage. Fullerton’s line appeared to adjust to the the slippery footing more easily in giving Allain an opening just big enough (it didn’t take much, he’s listed at only 5-10, 165 pounds), and he did the rest once he got into the secondary.
Schurr’s Raul Pintado was met too often at the LOS by Fullerton defenders, and that took a toll.
To his credit, despite the pounding he was taking, he never quit trying on even one of his 21 carries (for 68 yards).
As for which is the best team, tough to say. Need to see them in dryer conditions. Fullerton adjusted to the conditions more easily and clearly was better Friday night.
More to come on this later.

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