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Yorba Linda savoring the feeling as a first-time finalist
LONG BEACH – Jeff Bailey had built a winner at El Dorado, leading the Golden Hawks to consecutive CIF-SS Southwest Division titles in 2006 and 2007, but when the opportunity to construct a program from the ground up presented itself, he jumped at the opening.
Seven years after accepting the Yorba Linda High job, Bailey has the Mustangs playing in their first CIF-SS title game. They will host Burbank on Friday night in the Division 8 championship game.
“We were here from the beginning – just freshmen and sophomores, putting together a JV schedule – the whole thing,” Bailey explained. “It’s special whenever you’re here. It’s kind of neat cause the whole first-time thing. I know it’s the kids’ first time, so it’s a fun experience for everybody.”
Yorba Linda (11-2) avenged one of its two losses this season when it topped El Modena, 28-21, in the semifinals last week. Junior running back Jaydyn Webb ran for 124 yards and two touchdowns, sophomore Ricky Lane caught five passes for 100 yards and junior Luke Wilson completed 12 of 16 passes for 176 yards while guiding the balanced Mustangs attack.
Webb, in particular, has been a crucial player for Yorba Linda in recent weeks, making the most of his opportunity when injuries sidelined running backs Mason Winter and Jonah Slack. Despite not getting a single carry until Week 4, Webb (977 yards) is on the cusp of a 1,000-yard season and has made the most of his opportunity behind a veteran offensive line that has seen three different players rush for 100-plus yards in a game.
“It’s been a crazy year, but the kids have persevered through it,” Bailey added. “It’s been next man up, but it’s been a great year so I can’t complain whatsoever.”
Burbank (10-3) and Yorba Linda have one common opponent in Brea Olinda. The Bulldogs topped the Wildcats, 52-32, in the first round of the playoffs, while the Mustangs own a 41-7 regular-season win over Brea.