“Final Final For Real This Time”: Mid-December in Southern California looks a world away from where I spent all of last week. I had the good fortune of spending last week in the home where football was borne, Canton, Ohio, home to the Pro Football Hall of Fame. The high temperatures were in the mid-thirties, and the lows were around 20 degrees. But, football was still being played with a fever, youth football that is. The Ohio high school football season ended one week prior with their championships.
December 15 and 16, California will end the high school football season with a series of championship bowl games. HSPN Sports will cover the California Interscholastic Federation’s 6AA State Championship Bowl Game between the 15-0 Strathmore [Bakersfield, CA] Spartans, and 13-2 Orange High Panthers on Saturday, December 16 at Fred Kelly Stadium in El Modena, California — 6:00 PM PST. One of these two teams will earn an early Christmas present with a win, and claim the California state high school football title outright at what will be the end of a long but prosperous, NFL equivalent season.
The Spartans will travel more than 200 miles from the Bakersfield area of California to play this weekend. They have a student body of approximately 771 students and I would not be surprised if each and everyone of them were at the game. If Strathmore wins the game, I’m sure no one will complain about the long ride home.
HSPN ‘Impact Players’ seniors Joseph Garcia [RB] and Nick Salas [QB] will certainly have to do what they’ve done all year if the Spartans are to win a state title. Garcia has run for over 2,600 yards and is averaging 175 yards a game this season. Salas, a 6-6 190 pound specimen at quarterback does not have overly impressive passing totals. He doesn’t have to with a talent like Garcia in the backfield. Salas has completed over 50 percent of his passes on the season, while also throwing for 17 touchdowns.
The Panther’s have the luxury of being very close to home for this final contest. They are only three and a half miles from Fred Kelly Stadium, their home stadium where the Panther’s have celebrated several signature and historic wins over the 2017 season. They won their first CIF Southern Section title since 1929 on that field and would love to win a state title there Saturday night. It would be historic for the program as it would be the first state football title in the program’s history. The entire Orange High School community has rallied around this football team’s success as well. Hear the Panther’s athletic director [Alicia Seevers], and principal [Dennis McCuistion] talk about the impact of athletics on the school community.
No matter what the outcome of Saturday’s title game, the City of Orange and many other sourounding communities have so much to celebrate with the success of this Panther football program this season. Watson’s Cafe and Soda Shop, a historic Orange landmark is hosting us [HSPN Sports] for a post-game season wrap-up show that we’ll tape and air on HSPN’s YouTube channel later in the weekend. We invite the Orange Panther and Orange community to come out to Watsons [116 East Chapman Ave Orange — At The Plaza 714-202-2899] and hear from coaches, players and fans at the conclusion of the championship game [approximately 9:00 PM].