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Praise for Edison's Dave White a big topic at CIF-SS finals event
LONG BEACH – Dave White was the most popular guy in the room, fielding countless handshakes from old friends, coaches he had never met before in his storied career, and the longtime Edison coach drew the highest of compliments from his peers in what could be his final week on the sideline.
White will retire at the end of this season, his 31st leading the Chargers, but at the CIF-SS championship luncheon on Monday, he made sure he appreciated the moment, acknowledging the work his team put in to get to Friday night’s Division 3 championship game against top-seeded La Mirada.
“It has been a great ride,” said White. “I knew we’d have a good year, but it has exceeded my expectations. We’ve stayed healthy, gotten better every week. The kids have been great. They’ve had such a great attitude, and they’re just a pleasure to coach. I’m enjoying every second of it.”
White will be coaching in his fifth CIF-SS title game, and a win would give him his second championship in the last five seasons. Edison won the Southwest Division crown in 2012, which was White’s first title at the helm.
Amongst the familiar faces at Monday’s luncheon was former Orange Lutheran and current Rancho Christian of Temecula coach Jim Kunau.
When given the microphone to introduce his players at the luncheon, Kunau first acknowledged and congratulated White on his team’s accomplishments.
“I’ve had the ultimate respect for Dave all the years that I’ve know him and known of him,” Kunau said. “He combines classiness with premier coaching. He cares deeply for his kids and provides them with such a great experience. He’s the epitome of competitive excellence.”
That sentiment was shared by Mater Dei coach Bruce Rollinson, who has made meetings with Edison a yearly affair.
“There were 26 teams in here today,” Rollinson said. “You could line up all those head football coaches and the really great ones like Dave White, they have the ability to make the average player play better. That’s what Dave did.
“His kids drank the Kool-Aid, they flew around, they’d hit you like a ton of bricks. Yet, they were led by a man, that anytime I called or had a question or wanted his advice, boom he was right there. I’m honored that he considers me a friend. I consider him to be a good friend and I have so much respect for him.”
THEY MEET AGAIN
As Rollinson wished St. John Bosco good luck in the CIF-SS Division 1 final on Saturday, he noted that he wasn’t surprised the Monarchs and Braves will meet for the second time this season.
“In honesty, when the game (in the Trinity League) was over, I said, ‘I have a feeling I’m going to see them again,’” Rollinson said.
“So it turns out that we have a rematch. I knew that they would be right there at the end and they found a way to get out of Cerritos College (in the semifinals) and here we go at (Angel) Stadium.”
Top-seeded Mater Dei (13-0) rallied to win the teams’ Trinity League game, 26-21, on Oct. 21, ending the Braves’ 23-game win streak in the league.
For the third year in a row, San Clemente and coach Jamie Ortiz enjoyed the meal provided at the CIF-SS football championship luncheon.
But rather than revel in the last two luncheons or dwell on the reminder that two championship losses followed, Ortiz and the Tritons were focused on the here and now.
“Every year it’s a pleasure and an honor to be here,” Ortiz said about Monday’s event.
Ortiz said the Tritons’ focus is on Friday’s game against Murrieta Valley.
“I think that the last 13 games prepared them for this game,” he said. “I think that’s the most important thing.”
ZACH CAVANAGH, Contributing writer