By Steve Ramirez
LONG BEACH — La Habra, La Mirada and La Serna high schools fielded the top three football teams in the area this season, and all received their just rewards for that success Monday.
The three, who will play in respective division title games this weekend, were part of the 28 football teams honored by the CIF Southern Section as part of its 40th annual Football Press Conference and Luncheon at The Grand Event Center.
La Habra hosts San Clemente in a battle of the top two teams in the Southwest Division on Friday, while La Serna and La Mirada meet to decide the Southeast Division crown Saturday at La Mirada. La Habra’s title game will either be at Cal State Fullerton or Cerritos College.
“It’s really exciting to be here,” said La Mirada coach Mike Moschetti, sporting a shaved head for his team making the finals. “We’re humbled, blessed by this journey this football team has done. I was here in 1992 as a player; 2009 as a coach. There’s a lot of legends, a lot of gurus in this building. It’s truly an honor to be here.”
La Mirada( 10-3) is in the title game after some heart-breaking finishes during the past three seasons. They have won nine consecutive games and advanced with three blow-out wins in the playoffs.
La Habra (12-1), led by quarterback Eric Barriere, running back CJ Taylor and a defense that has shutout three of its last five opponents, is seeking its seventh division crown since 2002.
“It’s fantastic,” said La Habra coach Frank Mazzotta, who is here for the eighth time since 2000. “It’s always great to get to the championship game. The luncheon is always that first day of the week, then you go back to work and get ready for the game.”
La Serna (11-2), led by quarterback John Ceballos and running backs Anthony Garcia and Matt Marshall, comes into the Southeast title riding an eighth game winning streak. The Lancers have scored 141 points in three playoff games. They are making their fourth championship game during the past five years, winning in 2013. La Serna has advanced to at least the semifinals the past six seasons.
TX Body: “This is a terrific event,” La Serna coach Andy George said. “We’re honored to be here. We’re happy to be here with the best of the best. It’s a joyous time to represent La Serna football.”