Football segues into basketball (and hockey) but the gridiron glory doesn’t quite seem ready to let go of the spotlight. The CIF-SS finals on Friday helped illuminate the success of two local prep football programs,
Edison High won the Division 3 title, easily besting top-seeded La Mirada 44-28 and earning a spot in the state regional playoffs, facing D-2 champion San Clemente. That’s a pretty good honor, especially as a “sendoff” for long-time Charger coach Dave White. He’s been at EHS for 24, the last 14 as head football coach.
Consistency and stability are among the keys to successful athletic programs at any level, whether it is on the high school, college or professional stage. Whoever takes White’s whistle will have a big job to do, and – we hope – enough time to do it right.
Not quite as visible but still noteworthy is the result of the CIF-SS Division 8 final. None of our local teams from the Garden Grove-Huntington Beach-Westminster area were playing in that contest, but the winner was Yorba Linda High. The Mustangs defeated Burbank 31-21 and will make the state playoffs, facing St. Anthony.
Note, please, that the team which gave YLHS the toughest time was Garden Grove. The Argonauts lost in the final seconds in the quarterfinal round 20-17 on a
30-yard field goal. Grove came within a whisker of knocking off the eventual champs. Who knows what might have happened if the red-and-white had won that game?
Grove has also been a model of consistency. The Argos have won five straight Garden Grove League titles and seven of eight. The streak might not be ending anytime soon, as the GGHS freshman team this fall won its sixth straight GGL title.
Of course, that’s no guarantee of events two or three years from now. “Some of those kids won’t be playing football at the varsity level,” cautions Argo head coach Ricardo Cepeda. True. But if winning is contagious, there are long-running epidemics at Edison and Garden Grove.
What more can be said about the Los Angeles Rams in their stumbling first season back in the City of Angels? They got thumped – predictably – by the New England Patriots. The score was 26-10, but the game was more one-sided than the score indicated.
Head coach Jeff Fisher, at the same time, got a contract extension, which would seem counter-intuitive. The team, after all, is 4-8 and has lost seven of its last eight games. Fisher has never had a winning record as coach of the Rams. Chances of making the playoffs at this point are roughly equal to Jill Stein’s White House hopes, and Fisher is close to becoming the losingest coach in Rams’ history.
Makes sense, right? Well, in a way. Read the small print in the reported contract extension and it states that the team can still fire Fisher at the end of the season if it chooses to, paying one more year’s salary. Translated: he’s got four more games to show improvement. Win three or four of the rest of the contests coming up and you’ve got a job for 2017. Lose three or four and you may find yourself as assistant linebacker coach at Midland State.
As we’ve said before, the NFL is not a sport; it’s entertainment big business. Southern California fans don’t find losing entertaining. They like the Dodgers, USC football, UCLA basketball and Hollywood blockbusters. Win or walk, Jeff.
Monday Morning Coach appears, usually, on Mondays.