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Fryer: Five O.C. teams keep title hopes alive
It’s not a Pac-5 Division championship game. But it is a championship game.
Edison qualified for its eighth CIF-Southern Section football championship game with a 22-16 victory over Foothill in a Southwest Division semifinal game Friday in the fog at Orange Coast College.
Most of the other seven championship games were in what ostensibly would be Division 1. It was a victory in the 3A final in 1970, when Edison was a new school. The other finals were in the Big Five Conference, which later became known as Division 1 and now is called the Pac-5 Division.
The Chargers and the rest of the Sunset League were lowered into the Southwest Division before this season. The Southwest is what used to be called Division 6 among the section’s 13 11-man football playoff divisions.
Edison coach Dave White was disappointed when he found out that the Chargers were no longer a Division 1 program. Edison still plays Division 1 teams in nonleague and will continue to do so. Those Edison-Servite and Edison-Mater Dei games are on the Chargers’ 2013 nonleague schedule and likely will be in the future.
Speculation the Sunset League would dominate the Southwest Division was wrong. Edison was the only Sunset team in the Southwest semifinals. Two Century League schools, Foothill and Villa Park, were in the Southwest’s final four.
Villa Park beat Tustin, 35-34, in the other Southwest semifinal Friday. An upset? Slightly, because Tustin is No. 6 and Villa Park is No. 10 on this writer’s postseason OC top 10.
Edison is No. 5 on that top 10. But a Villa Park victory in the Southwest Division championship game Friday at Angel Stadium would be, because of the recent history. In early September at Huntington Beach High, Edison beat Villa Park handily, 27-7.
Villa Park has to be more confident this time around, coming off of the victory over Tustin one week after taking control in the fourth quarter to defeat another Sunset League team, Newport Harbor.
Corona del Mar gets a chance to make it two CIF titles in a row. The defending Southern Division champion Sea Kings beat Pacific Coast League rival Woodbridge, 25-0, in one semifinal. Garden Grove topped Laguna Beach, 35-21, in the other.
When Garden Grove won the Southern Division title in 2010, the Argonauts beat a PCL team, Beckman, in the final. Corona del Mar beat Beckman in last year’s Southern Division championship game.
Mater Dei is back. The Monarchs beat St. Bonaventure, 21-0, in a Pac-5 semifinal.
Long Beach Poly is back, too. The Jackrabbits beat St. John Bosco of Bellflower in the other Pac-5 semifinal, 13-10.
Mater Dei and Poly have some playoff history. The teams met in three consecutive championship games in the late 1990s. In 1997 at the Coliseum, Poly beat Mater Dei; in 1998, it was a Mater Dei victory over Poly at Angel Stadium; and in 1999 at Angel Stadium, the teams played to a 21-21 tie.
There will be overtime in the Pac-5 final and all other CIF-SS championship games. Win or lose, it is an accomplishment just to get there --- no matter the division.