In a week full of anticipation for schools that are just four miles apart, just two days remain before it's revealed Friday which team secures the coveted trophy for the next 365 days.
The Edison-Fountain Valley football game, known in familiar circles as, The Bell Game, is about many things: pride, bragging rights and hardware, to name a few. The prized hardware the teams battle for is The Bell, which goes to the winner of this annual showdown.
It's what both the Chargers (6-2, 3-0) and Barons (3-4-1, 1-2) are gunning for.
"Since I've been here, this has always been the game," said Fountain Valley Coach John Shipp, who will experience his seventh Bell Game as head coach Friday. "It's such a huge rivalry. People who may or may not have been to a game for either team this year will be out there for this one. The communities of both schools really get into this game. It's a huge event.
"For the players, this is something that they'll never, ever, forget."
To accommodate the large crowd that annually flocks to the game — overflow, standing-room-only crowds were the norm in years past at Orange Coast College — the contest has been moved from OCC to Cerritos College in Norwalk.
Kickoff for the key Sunset League contest is 7 p.m.
"It's a bigger venue and better for everybody," Shipp said. "We'll be able to get more people in to watch the game."
Edison Coach Dave White has been part of this rivalry in several ways, from player to assistant coach to head coach. The game, he says, hasn't lost its luster throughout the years.
"It's been a big rivalry for 40-plus years," said White, now in his 25th Bell Game as head coach.
Shipp is the fourth Fountain Valley coach he has coached against in the game.
White said he first saw an Edison-Fountain Valley game in 1969. He was in eighth-grade and recalled watching an Edison team without any seniors upset a playoff-bound Fountain Valley squad.
White estimates he's only missed the Bell Game between 1975-78.
"It's hard to come up with a new way to describe it after 25 years, but this rivalry has maintained its passion all these years," he said. "It's the one game where students dress up and paint themselves in their school colors. The kids are very similar at both schools. Sometimes, the best team doesn't win in this game. It's a very emotional game. I've been a part of it in many ways and my two oldest boys have played in it."
Shipp and White said the teams will meet for an early-morning breakfast on game day Friday at Edison.
"It's to recognize the ASB programs at both schools," Shipp said of the 6:30 a.m. breakfast. "But at the end of the day, it's the Bell Game, at 7 p.m. That's what everyone is looking forward to."
White said that The Bell Game "got out of hand for awhile, in the "late-1990s, early-2000s."
"Things were being done on both campuses and the rivalry wasn't what it should've been," White said. "John and I have really made a conscious effort to make this a healthy, classy rivalry. I think it's the best public school rivalry around."
Edison is 8-2 in the series since 2000 and has won five straight since Fountain Valley last captured The Bell in 2004.
The Chargers lead the overall series, 25-14-1.
"They've had the Bell there for a few years and our guys will be fighting hard to get it back," Shipp said. "This is a special game that tends to bring out special performances from players on both sides. It should be another great game in the rivalry."
Last week, Edison rode an early touchdown run by quarterback Chase Favreau into an eventual 7-0 victory against visiting Newport Harbor. Their third straight win, and second shutout of the season, allowed the Chargers to keep pace with Los Alamitos atop the league standings.
Fountain Valley comes into the game having lost last week on a last-second touchdown at Huntington Beach, 14-9. The Barons' scoring came on the strength of the powerful leg of sophomore Derek Huynen, who hit field goals of 42, 47 and 35 yards, the last of which had given the Barons a 9-7 lead with 7:06 left in the game.
Shipp said that starting quarterback Josiah Fernandez, who has an MCL strain, is "questionable" for Friday's game, as is running back Cristian Calvillo, who, despite a wrist injury, "ran the ball well" last week in the second half against Huntington Beach.
Segerstrom (7-1, 3-0) vs. Ocean View (6-2, 2-1), 7 p.m. today, Westminster High: Last week, Ocean View picked up a rare victory against Golden West League rival Westminster, beating the Lions, 29-14, in the Seahawks' homecoming game. Today, Ocean View is presented with another rare opportunity when it takes on a hot Segerstrom team.
A win today would move Ocean View into a tie for first place in the league standings and put the Seahawks one step closer to securing a CIF playoff berth and clinching a league title for the first time since 1989.
Ocean View jumped on Westminster early and took a 29-7 halftime lead. Blake Walker started the early blitz by returning the opening kickoff 84 yards for a touchdown. Quarterback Nolan Tippy then rushed for a score and threw touchdown passes to Colton Johnson (63 yards) and Walker (36 yards). Tippy threw for 136 yards and junior running back Timmy Robinson rushed for 165 yards.
"It was a total team effort, from Blake Walker on the opening kickoff return, to our offensive line probably playing their best game," Ocean View Coach Harold Eggers said. "I thought Noland Tippy played his best game managing the offense, running the ball and threw the ball extremely well. Defensively, Michael Congelliere played very well."
Segerstrom leads the league at 3-0. In three wins, the Jaguars have outscored their league brethren, 124-19. Last week, they blanked Orange, 10-0. The running tandem of Gary Ferman and Robert Sevilla rushed for a combined 235 yards and a touchdown in the win over the Panthers.
The Jaguars have won five straight since a 48-16 loss Sept. 24 to Woodbridge.
Marina (3-5, 0-3) vs. Newport Harbor (4-4, 1-2), 7 p.m. today, Newport Harbor High: The Vikings and Sailors both need a win to remain in contention for a possible CIF berth.
In the past two weeks, Newport Harbor's offense has failed to score a point. The Sailors followed a 30-0 shutout to Los Alamitos with a 7-0 loss last week to Edison. The Tars do have running back Buzzy Yokoyama back. The junior played in the Edison game after sitting out the previous three games because of a dislocated right kneecap. Yokoyama rushed for 54 yards on 15 carries.
Marina was defeated, 41-7, by co-Sunset leader Los Alamitos.
"Los Al is very good and we played tough at times, but didn't do our assignments at other times," Marina Coach George Pascoe said. "For us to beat someone like Los Al, we must be perfect all the time. For us to beat Newport, we must move the ball on offense and keep our 'D' off the field. We must find a way to run the ball and move the chains."
In three Sunset games, Marina has scored 27 points.
Los Alamitos (6-2, 3-0) vs. Huntington Beach (5-3, 1-2), 7 p.m. Friday, Huntington Beach High: Huntington can further boost its Sunset League and CIF playoff chances with a win against co-league leader Los Alamitos.
The Oilers picked up their first league win since rejoining the league this year at the expense of Fountain Valley last week, rallying late to beat the Barons 14-9. Quarterback Michael Chislock took off up the middle in the spread formation and went untouched from six yards out for the winning score with 17 seconds left. Huntington had scored quickly on the opening drive of the game when Chislock delivered a nice pump fake and then laid out a perfectly placed pass down field to junior receiver Ramon Vargas, who caught the ball in stride at the 18 and raced to the end zone. The play capped a four-play drive that took less than two minutes.
"I was really impressed with our final drive," Huntington Coach Eric Lo said. "We lined up in different formations and caught Fountain Valley off-guard, and John Mata had some huge catches to get us down field. I was proud of the way we came back after they had taken the lead.
"We got our first league win against a good team, and that's what counts in the end. We scored on that first drive and I thought we'd keep on rolling. But we didn't, but that last drive was great. I also thought our defense did a great job all night."
Sage Hill (6-2, 0-1) vs. Brethren Christian (4-4, 1-0), 7 p.m. Saturday, Clark Field, Long Beach: A playoff berth hangs in the balance when Brethren Christian hosts Sage Hill in a key Academy League game in Long Beach.
It's homecoming for the Warriors.
Brethren Christian is seeking a 2-0 start to the league season. Last week, the Warriors toppled Crean Lutheran South, 46-6, to get league play off to a rollicking start.
"It was an overall great win for the team as many other players got to perform and show their talents," Warriors Coach Bruce Eien said.
In that 40-point win against Crean Lutheran, defensive end Jesse Walker intercepted a pitch and ran it back 63 yards for a score, Luke Carbonella caught three passes and recorded several tackles on defense and linebacker Daniel Lee was in on several stops.
Brandon White rushed for 144 yards and a pair of touchdowns and quarterback Sam Franklin had two touchdown runs, one from 52 yards out.
Sage Hill gave defending league and two-time defending CIF Eastern Valley Division champion St. Margaret's all it could handle last week before succumbing to the Tartans, 10-6. The Lightning's scoring came on two field goals from senior Taylor Ross. St. Margaret's took the lead for good with just four minutes left in the game.
"Sage is a powerful team with many skill players, led by Ross who is a fast, powerful runner," Eien said.