Following a historic 21-14 victory over Liberty-Bakersfield on Friday night to earn its first Central Section Division I title in 39 years, Edison High is headed to the state championships.
“Our goal was getting the valley and winning the valley,” said second-year Edison coach Matt Johnson. “Anything that comes after that is a bonus and we’ll prepare accordingly. ... What’s next is to reward our student-athletes, players, with what they deserve. We’re going to give them the love and know that it’s an honor to be in the game.”
The Tigers, ranked 13th overall in the state by Cal-Hi Sports, were selected Sunday to play in the Division I championship for the South region at unbeaten Oceanside High. The game will be played at 7:30 p.m. Friday at Oceanside’s recently-christened John Carroll Stadium, named after its legendary football coach.
The state’s No. 5 Pirates (13-0) are led by Carroll, who since 1989 has led Oceanside to two state titles (2007, ’09), 247 victories and 13 San Diego Section championships, with the most recent coming in Friday’s 20-13 win over Helix High-La Mesa.
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“I already talked to coach Carroll (Sunday) and he prepared as much as we did,” Johnson said. “He’s a legend down there. It’s no different than when I meet Tim Simons.”
The Tigers (12-1) clinched their bid to the state regional bowl game with the help of Kamron Lewis, who caught a 63-yard touchdown pass from Hunter Swearingen with 6:02 remaining before intercepting a Hail Mary attempt in the final seconds as top-seeded Edison defeated No. 2 Liberty-Bakersfield before 7,000 fans at Sunnyside Stadium.
“This is a bowl game and bowl games you prepare properly for but also let your athletes know they earned the right to be in this game,” Johnson said. “We’re not trying to turn this into something it’s not. It’s another big football game and we’ll go do it again.
“Most of our guys think of themselves as college guys. They’re jacked up, like if they were playing in the Rose Bowl.”
Grant-Sacramento (14-0) will face Folsom (14-0) at Sacramento State for the Northern California regional championship. The winners from Edison-Oceanside and Grant-Folsom will play Friday, Dec. 19 for the state title at Carson’s StubHub Center at 8 p.m.
The only other team from the Central Section to make a bowl game was Ridgeview, which will take on Redlands-East Valley for the Division II South title at 7:30 p.m. Saturday.
OPEN DIVISION CHAMPIONSHIP
• Centennial, Corona (12-2, 5-0) vs. De La Salle (13-0) at StubHub Center, Saturday, Dec. 20 at 8 p.m.
• NorCal championship: Grant-Sacramento (14-0, 7-0) vs. Folsom (14-0, 6-0) at Sacramento State, Friday, Dec. 12 at 7:30 p.m.
• SoCal Championship: Edison (12-1, 4-0) vs. Oceanside (13-0, 4-0) at Oceanside High, Friday, Dec. 12 at 7:30 p.m.
• NorCal championship: Oakdale (13-1, 6-1) vs. Clayton Valley Charter (14-0, 5-0) at Clayton Valley Charter, Saturday, Dec. 13 at 7:30 p.m.
• SoCal championship: Ridgeview-Bakersfield (12-1, 5-0) vs. Redlands East Valley (13-1, 7-0) at Citrus Valley High in Redlands, Saturday, Dec. 13 at 7:30 p.m.
• NorCal championship: Sutter (13-0, 6-0) vs. Campolindo-Moraga (14-0, 6-0) at Acalanes High in Lafayette, Saturday, Dec. 13 at 7:30 p.m.
• SoCal championship: Paso Robles (13-1, 3-1) vs. El Capitan-Lakeside (13-0, 5-0) at El Capitan High, Saturday, Dec. 13 at 7:30 p.m.
• North: Capital Christian-Sacramento (13-0, 6-0) vs. Central Catholic-Modesto (10-3, 5-2) at Central Catholic, Friday, Dec. 12 at 7:30 p.m.
• South: St. Margaret's-San Juan Capistrano (14-0, 4-0) vs. Christian-El Cajon (13-0, 3-0) at Granite Hills High in El Cajon, Friday, Dec. 12 at 7:30 p.m.