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Fryer: Santa Ana rivalry needs positive outcome
It might get loud. But the din won't include the ringing of a bell.
Santa Ana Valley plays Segerstrom on Friday night, at Segerstrom, in a Southern Division first-round game of the CIF-Southern Section football playoffs.
The city of Santa Ana used to award a trophy, the City Bell, to the Santa Ana public school with the best record at the end of the season. This bell (there are other bell trophies in Southern California football) replaced the Mayor's Cup, for which Santa Ana private school Mater Dei was allowed to compete until the cup went defunct in the early '90s.
The bell was retired, too. Valley was the last team to win the bell, in 2002, and it still is Valley's property.
Valley's coach in '02 was Mike Maceranka. Now he is the coach at Segerstrom, and he wants the bell back in play for this Valley-Segerstrom playoff game.
"When I saw on Sunday that we paired up with Valley," Maceranka said, "I told Larry (Mohr), 'Bring the bell.'"
Mohr is Valley's coach. But the Santa Ana Unified School District made the decision that the bell would not be part of the playoff game.
This game does not need a bell anyway. These schools are only 2 miles apart, but they have never played each other in varsity football.
Valley is the older of the two, becoming Santa Ana's second public high school in 1959. Segerstrom was built on former beets and bean fields, and opened in 2005.
So Valley has more tradition, and Maceranka is seeing plenty of it.
"A lot of our players' parents went to Valley," Maceranka said, "So, here they are, wearing their Valley stuff and rooting for Valley although their kids are here at Segerstrom."
Some people will say there is no need to add a bell to this game, because that would be like adding gas to a fire. Yes, there have been some Facebook postings by Segerstrom kids insulting Valley kids, and Valley kids being rude to Segerstrom kids.
But the same things happen when Edison plays Fountain Valley, Mater Dei plays Servite, or when anybody south of the El Toro "Y" plays Mission Viejo. Then there's USC-UCLA, Cal-Stanford, Harvard-Yale ... and ever been to a Raiders-at-San Diego game?
If one bad incident happens at Valley-Segerstrom, even if it is identical to what at happens at a rivalry game in any other city, it will be magnified because it will have happened in Santa Ana.
This is an opportunity for Segerstrom and Valley kids and parents to represent their hometowns in a positive way. The rest of Orange County will be watching, especially the gated-community types who don't know how good things have become in downtown Santa Ana and are unaware of the city's great neighborhoods and people.
You can do this, Santa Ana.
As "Star Trek: The Next Generation" Captain Jean-Luc Picard says, "Make it so."
Taking a look around Orange County high school sports:
•An easy rule to remember when figuring out who plays where in the playoffs: When two teams meet after the first round of the playoffs, the team with the fewest number of home games at that point of the playoffs is the home team. If the teams have played the same number of playoff home games, a coin flip determines the home team.
•Why do the 10 people who vote on the county football top 10 have so much respect for Trinity League teams? Maybe this is why: Trinity League teams so far are 8-1 against non-Trinity county teams this season.
•Continuing that theme, the five best county football teams that did not make the playoffs were (in alphabetical order) Dana Hills, JSerra, Orange Lutheran, San Clemente and Servite.
•Mission Viejo football two-way star Max Redfield withdrew his commitment to USC. He made a recruiting visit last month to Notre Dame and returned very impressed.
•The score of the Edison-Mater Dei Division 1 water polo playoff first-round game Wednesday: Mater Dei 21, Edison 10. The score of the Edison-Mater Dei football game in September: Mater Dei 20, Edison 14.
•The biggest upset of the water polo playoffs, so far, was El Toro's 15-11 loss to Harvard-Westlake of North Hollywood in a Division 1 first-round game Wednesday. Our best research shows that the previous time El Toro lost in a first-round water polo playoff game was in 1995.
•Nine of the 16 teams that played in the girls volleyball Division 1AA playoffs second round Thursday were county teams.
•The first round of the girls volleyball 1AA playoffs featured some great comebacks by county teams. Huntington Beach trailed Peninsula of Rolling Hills Estates, 2-0, and rallied to win, 3-2, including a 25-12 victory in game three to start the comeback. Santa Margarita trailed Notre Dame Academy of Los Angeles, 2-1, and pushed ahead for a 3-2 victory.