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Fryer: O.C. teams thankful they're still playing


Hey, moms and dads. When your football-playing son tells you he has to practice on Thanksgiving morning, he’s telling you the truth.

The truth is, he is on a team that is playing in the semifinals. Give thanks that your boy in on a good team. Don’t forget, too, to give thanks that you’ve been blessed with a child healthy enough to run and jump and do all of those athletic things.

It’s on to next Friday’s CIF-Southern Section semifinals, the final four, for plenty of Orange County teams. The all-county Southwest Division has these matchups: Foothill vs. Edison, and Villa Park vs. Tustin.

Edison scrambled Valencia, 52-14. Chargers coach Dave White got his 200th career victory. White played on some great teams at Edison and has coached some great teams, too, at his alma mater.

Maybe that was the final game of Valencia coach Mike Marrujo’s 32-year coaching career at the school. Orange County football has not had a better gentleman. The adjective “graceful” is rarely used in football, but it applies to Marrujo’s coaching style.

There were times during Villa Park’s 26-21 victory over Newport Harbor that Harbor looked like the more physical team, the team that would take over in the second half. But in the fourth quarter, Villa Park was the more spirited team, and running back Meki Tafuna had one of those “he willed his team to win” games with some spectacular carries in the final minutes.

Tustin scored a lot. Running back Terence Martinez scored a lot, too, providing four touchdowns as the Tillers rolled over Huntington Beach, 49-18. The Tillers have scored 77 points over two playoff victories.

The Southern Division semifinals are Corona del Mar vs. Woodbridge --- an all-Pacific Coast League matchup --- and Garden Grove vs. Laguna Beach.

Woodbridge beat Katella, 21-19, ending a memorable season for Katella.

The Knights won the Orange League championship, their first league title since 1967. Or is it ’68? A banner in the gym has it as ’68, but either way it was a long time ago.

Corona del Mar played like the top-seeded team should. The Sea Kings shut out Los Amigos, 26-0, after blanking Anaheim, 35-0, last week.

Laguna Beach got a touchdown pass from quarterback Larry Stewart with four seconds left to beat Northwood, 28-21. Laguna Beach is one victory away from advancing to a CIF-SS football championship game for the first time since 1952.

Three Orange County teams played in Pac-5 Division’s second round Friday. Only one advanced to the semifinal.

Mater Dei put together a great fourth-quarter comeback to beat Alemany of Mission Hills, 53-42. The Monarchs play at top-seeded St. Bonaventure in the semifinals Friday. That’s 124 points over two playoff victories for Mater Dei.

St. Bonaventure advanced by beating defending Pac-5 champion Santa Margarita, 27-21, in overtime. The Eagles endured big injuries and outgoing transfers, finished third in the ultra-tough Trinity League, beat El Toro in a first-round game last week and just about defeated the division’s top-seeded Seraphs.

Mission Viejo lost to just about the hottest team in Southern California, Long Beach Poly, 21-16.

Mission Viejo was the No. 1 team in the final Orange County rankings. The Diablos’ season ended a couple of weeks earlier than they hoped, and that many expected.

You might not have expected this, that your son is practicing on Thanksgiving Day morning. It’s a good thing, parents.

Record the Macy’s parade for him. And he’ll work up such an appetite, he might actually eat yams.

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