Journals of Players Help Provide Insight
You’ve read about their heights and weights, strengths and weaknesses, records, streaks and struggles. Now, high school football fans, we offer further insight into the Orange County teams and players involved in last weekend’s Southern Section championships.
We asked several county players to keep a daily journal last week, to keep track of their innermost thoughts, hopes and worries (concerning football, that is). Here are the results in three divisions:
Division III. Esperanza, the overwhelming favorite, versus Los Alamitos. Narration provided by Marcus Tayui, Esperanza’s small but speedy senior wingback, and Tim Carey, Los Alamitos’ fast-improving junior quarterback.
Tayui: Five days away from game day . . . what a drag! The intensity and excitement of playing league rival Los Al for the crown is quite a rush! For the Griffins, we’re always ready. We’d play them any time, anywhere, in the streets, if you please. As usual, they’re talkin’ the talk . . . yeah, we’ll see!
Carey: Been thinking about our loss to Esperanza earlier this year (and) new plays we’ve learned today. They should help.
Tayui: Sitting in Economics, I begin to reflect on this past season . . . The weights, the running, the fund-raisers and the hope . The hope of being where we are today. But in reality, the vision we once had did not include Los Al. Hart was the opponent we expected. But Los Al is even better.
Carey: I realize our game plan is for the team to pass more than usual. I now realize I have to put together everything I’ve learned and everything we as a team have worked toward. I know the offensive line has improved immensely, and they’ll give me time to pass. I don’t want to let the team down.
Tayui: I think beating Los Al for the title would be a great way to thank the coaches. Before last year, the Griffins had owned the league. In ’91, it was a team goal to defeat Los Al . . . accomplished. In ’91, it is also a goal to beat Los Al but also to win the CIF championship. Ergo, by gaining the title, the team would accomplish two goals at one time, and I know the coaches would be most pleased. . . .
Carey: George Sagen (Los Al wide receiver) called me tonight. We talked and pumped each other up. It got me thinking of old times with George. We’ve been great friends and have played ball together since first grade. We’ve had our share of wins together, and I know George will be ready.
Tayui: Yesterday’s practice was nothing like the normal practice we have. There were times of joking and laughter, yet the concentration level never dropped. . . . Coach (Gary) Meek said something about some Los Al players being interviewed on OCN. We’re all excited to see it on Saturday before the game. Yeah, they can talk! So?
Carey: I keep thinking of the team and especially the seniors. I hope I don’t let them down. I’m telling myself not to think of the game too much so I can get some sleep.
Tayui: We are always reminding each other that second is never good enough! Heck, I’d rather lose in the first round than in the finals! A lot of people ask me if we’re overconfident having beat Los Al already. Well, in regards to confidence, yeah, we’re confident. But I think our nervousness before kickoff (will show) that we are not overly confident.
Carey: Today’s the day. I feel good. I feel we’ll win this one. Just hoping time goes by quickly today so we can get the game going.
(Los Alamitos was the winner, 8-0).
Tayui: What a terrible feeling. I don’t know what to say. Sorry.
Division II. Irvine versus Dana Hills. Junior running back Scott Seal was the workhorse for Irvine all year, and Dana Hills senior linebacker David Erikson was among those out to stop him. Their thoughts:
Seal: Last game of season, no matter what, win or lose. We happen to be playing one of the two teams that beat us during the regular season. We’re after revenge.
Erikson: The game is always in the back of my mind. It comes up (sporadically) and with suddenness. I dream about the game. . . . I’m expecting Seal to run hard.
Seal: This is what it all comes down to. All the hours in the weight room, all the extra time running, and all the time we spent watching films has prepared us for the Big 1.
Erikson: Today is game day, and I’m anxious to play. I’m filled with anticipation. When I let my mind wander, hundreds of scenarios flash through. I see the different plays with different possibilities and visualize sticking the ballcarrier each time. I see the blocking and the open holes. I see the blitzes and the other stunts. . . . All I can do now is wait until 7:30.
Seal: Today is the last game and most important. I feel it’s going to be the most exciting game I ever play. We’ve prepared and are ready.
(Irvine was the winner, 22-11.)
Erikson: Didn’t feel like writing last night. We lost. Last night when the gun fired, a feeling of sadness gripped the team. Later, on the bus, the feeling had left me. I was void, numb, empty.
Division VI. Valencia, featuring its corps of talented running backs, versus Tustin. Our journal keepers? Marc O’Brien, Valencia quarterback, and Dusan Ancich, Tustin linebacker.
Ancich: Had a good practice. The team seemed real confident. I think we are going to win. I’m real worried about the speed they have. But anyone can be stopped.
O’Brien: There are many things going through my head. I don’t think the game has hit me yet. I’m not too nervous. But I understand the situation. All the years of Pop Warner and high school come down to this. I begin to wonder whether we can live up to all the expectations. Whether we will come out flat.
Ancich: Average practice. Now it seems like everyone is scared and too worried to play. Hopefully that is just because that was our last practice. I’m starting to get real nervous. I’m going to play in the biggest game of my life Friday. We have to win.
O’Brien: The last day of practice of my high school career. I am sad but at the same time happy that it is almost over. The one thing that would make the year great is a CIF ring. . . . Tustin is the best team we will have seen this year. I am starting to get nervous. . . .
Ancich: Good pregame. Everyone is back to being ready and not too worried. I’m real confident. . . . I feel anyone can be beat. . . . I have never been this nervous for a game before. I haven’t really slept all week. I have to show everyone the Tillers are best.
Friday (after a 27-7 Valencia victory)
O’Brien: I’m so happy words cannot describe! WE WON!!!
Ancich: WE LOST!!!