Long Winning Streaks on the Minds of Many
Two powerful Orange County football programs put streaks on the line tonight, and both could reach milestones not seen in a blue moon.
Mission Viejo brings a 31-game winning streak into its game against visiting Long Beach Poly, while 15 miles up the freeway, Santa Ana Mater Dei plays Huntington Beach Edison at Santa Ana Stadium. The Monarchs will be looking to avoid their first 0-4 start since 1951.
With a victory, Mission Viejo can tie Edison’s 22-year-old Orange County record for consecutive wins, but the Diablos, ranked No. 2 by The Times, meet one of their toughest opponents since the streak began at the start of the 2001 season.
Long Beach Poly, 2-1 and ranked No. 5, has won four Southern Section Division I titles in the last six years and is coming off an impressive 47-14 victory over Santa Fe Springs St. Paul.
“We’re going to have to play very, very strong in all phases,” Mission Viejo Coach Bob Johnson said.
Though coaches and players avoid mentioning the winning streak on the practice field and in the locker room, they say it’s a regular topic of conversation on the rest of the campus. That helps keep it fresh in everyone’s minds.
“It’s hard not to think about the streak, and not talk about it, and not think about what it would be like if we lost,” said Marty Tadman, a senior receiver-defensive back. “Everybody outside of football always comes up and says, ‘What about the streak?’
“We’re just trying to take one game at a time and focus on getting a win.”
The same can be said at Mater Dei, where the Monarchs have fallen from No. 4 in The Times’ preseason rankings to No. 25. Coach Bruce Rollinson said he and his staff are trying to figure out how to get the defense to play more cohesively and the offense to become more effective inside the 20-yard line.
“Whatever we’ve taught in the past is not getting across,” Rollinson said.
Even with the school’s first 0-3 start since 1968 and the first four-game losing streak during Rollinson’s 15-year tenure (Mater Dei lost to Los Alamitos in last year’s Division I championship game), the voices on campus are still positive.
“People have actually become more supportive,” said Rollinson, who has guided the Monarchs to five Division I titles. “They look at the bigger picture. I have an established track record and I do a good job of developing kids, not just athletically, but academically and spiritually as well.”
Rollinson said a victory against No. 15 Edison would be a nice way for his team to get back on track.
“Needless to say, this is one of those games that’s very pivotal in our season,” he said. “If we can get it turned around and get some confidence back, we’ll be OK. But it’s not going to be easy.”
When Edison won its 32nd consecutive game in 1981, everybody expected the streak to continue for at least one more week.
After all, the Chargers were facing a young Anaheim Servite team in the Big-Five Conference playoffs and were expected to win easily.
But Servite’s Brian Salerno returned the opening kickoff 95 yards for a touchdown, quarterback Doug Butler threw a pass to Eric Andrade for a 60-yard touchdown shortly before halftime and the defense made one final stand with 30 seconds left to hang on for a 14-7 victory.
Salerno, who lives in Trabuco Canyon and owns a nutrition business, remembers the aftermath clearly.
“It was really devastating to them and a shock for the entire crew,” said Salerno, who plans to attend tonight’s Mission Viejo-Long Beach Poly game.
“Quite a few of our guys had packed for the weekend and were planning to go out to a ranch in Hemet. Nobody had a comfortable feeling going in, but once you have the emotions building and go up, 7-0, a few seconds into the game, the whole tide turned.”
The following season, Servite defeated Long Beach Poly, 31-7, to win the Big-Five title behind senior quarterback Steve Beuerlein.
Although 32 victories are a lot, Temple City and Canyon Country Canyon share the Southern Section record with 46 in a row. Temple City set the mark from 1969-73 and Canyon duplicated it from 1983-86.
But the granddaddy of all winning streaks is the ongoing national mark of 141 by Concord De La Salle. And guess which team may have the chance to end it?
That’s right, Mission Viejo and De La Salle are close to lining up a game for next season.
De La Salle Athletic Director Terry Eidson confirmed that he had been in contact with Mission Viejo’s Johnson about filling Week 5 openings for both teams.
De La Salle, Eidson said, is mulling offers from more than one opponent to play that week.
“I’ll know everything in about two weeks,” he said. "[Mission Viejo is] definitely a school we’re interested in playing.”
De La Salle will play La Costa Canyon in Week 5, marking its only trip outside of Northern California this season, while Mission Viejo is scheduled to play Tustin the same weekend. Contracts between the schools end after this season.
Robert Boyd has apparently resigned as football coach at Lakewood Artesia High.
Kathy Frazier, director of school services for ABC Unified, confirmed Tuesday that Boyd did not show up for practice Monday, but that neither the school nor the district had heard from him.
“The school’s staff is running this week’s practices and games,” Frazier said. “We will be moving to name another coach.”
Boyd, who was 1-12 at Artesia, did not return calls.