Friday marks the end of league play for six local prep football teams. For some, it is the end of the road in the 2012 season. For others, it offers one final shot at earning automatic bids to the CIF Southern Section playoffs.
The Sunset League champion, or co-champions, will emerge late that night. The scramble for other top league finishes, as well as the possibility of coin flip scenarios being held to determine the fate and league placements for the postseason, also will be revealed.
The CIF-SS playoff pairings will be announced Sunday . Postseason play starts Nov. 9.
Huntington Beach (5-4, 3-1) vs. Edison (8-1, 4-0)
(7 p.m., Huntington Beach High)
The Sunset League championship is on the line in this showdown between Huntington and Edison. The Oilers can earn a share of the title with a victory. The Chargers, who last week clinched a share of the title, can earn it outright with a win here.
"We're excited for another big game," said Edison Coach Dave White whose team is coming off another key game. Last week, the Chargers downed archrival Fountain Valley, 21-3.
"We just beat Fountain Valley for the eighth straight year and clinched a piece of the title, and now we come right back to go up against a team (Huntington) that I think will be the best team we'll face in league," White said. "We have a lot of respect for Huntington and Coach (Eric) Lo's program, and I think it will be a very hard-fought game."
Just one week after suffering a disappointing loss at Newport Harbor, Huntington showed its resolve by taking down fourth-ranked Los Alamitos, 28-7. The win allowed the Oilers to climb back into a share of second-place with Newport Harbor (5-4, 3-1) and it dropped Los Alamitos (6-3, 2-2) from a share of second and left the Griffins a game behind both the Oilers and Sailors.
The win also vaulted Huntington back into the Southwest Division rankings. The Oilers, who have won four of their last five outings, come into the game ranked No. 6.
"This is definitely a reflection of their character," Lo said of his team's win last Friday. "Our backs were against the wall but the kids responded really well. We needed this, after that tough (Newport) loss. Now, we get to play for a championship."
Huntington's defense was spectacular the entire game. The Oilers intercepted five passes, four off Los Al quarterback Cody Marshall, and held the Griffins to a season-low in points scored. Three of the interceptions came in the third quarter when the Oilers took control of the game.
Senior lineman Milo Aviles and senior linebacker Jeff Wiederkehr also had big games for the Huntington defense which has held three league opponents to 10 or fewer points.
Quarterback Kai Ross threw for 111 yards with touchdown passes to Wyatt Marlow and Marco Valenzuela, and the junior, who also starts at cornerback, put the game away with a 72-yard interception return for a touchdown to take the score to 28-7 with 2:27 left to play. Senior running back Bo Breunig scored the game's first touchdown on a 22-yard run in the opening quarter, and racked up a game-high 144 rushing yards.
Ross' theft, which Lo said set a school record for longest interception return for a touchdown, ended a five-interception spree for Huntington which knocked off Los Al for the second straight year. Sophomore free safety Brayden McRae recorded the first pick late in the first half. Junior defensive back Tucker deCamp, senior lineman Sebastian Demartini, and McRae, again, had interceptions on each of Los Al's three possessions to start the second half.
Defending league champion Edison, the top-ranked team in the Southwest Division, broke away from a tight game with Fountain Valley by scoring two touchdowns in the fourth quarter to take a 21-3 victory in the Bell Game. Quarterback Aleksander Torgersen threw a touchdown pass to receiver Marcus Stepancich and running back Marquis Ross ran for a score in the fourth quarter. It was the second TD pass for Torgersen. Senior receiver Trevor Borkowski scored on a tackle-breaking, 39-yard pass on fourth down, on the first possession of the game.
Edison's defense has given up just three points in the last two weeks. The Chargers have outscored their previous four league opponents, 158-17.
The defenses of both teams could dictate play Friday.
"We played a tough preseason schedule and I think it has helped prepare us for league," White said. "We've played pretty well in the fourth quarter of every game this year.