Quarterback Jayden Daniels of San Bernardino Cajon, the all-time Southern Section passing leader, showed up to Monday’s championship luncheon in Long Beach wearing a classy black bow tie and white long-sleeve shirt. He looked the part of a star.
He has passed for 13,732 yards and 168 touchdowns in a prolific four-year career. He has helped Cajon make it to Friday’s Division 3 championship game against Chatsworth Sierra Canyon at San Bernardino Valley College.
“I’m just blessed I have receivers that have come through and helped me out,” Daniels said. “I go out there and have fun and make plays and try to win football games.”
There’s no dual-threat quarterback in California better than Daniels, who has rushed for 1,360 yards and passed for 4,240 yards in 13 games this season.
“He spins the ball as well as any quarterback we’ve had, but the ability to create more opportunities with his feet really separates him,” coach Nick Rogers said.
The only high school football championship game this weekend matching unbeaten teams has Highland Palmdale taking on Rialto Eisenhower in Southern Section Division 10. Who dared to predict this final?
Last season, Highland was 3-7 and Eisenhower was 2-8. Now they’re both 13-0 and set to play Saturday night at Eisenhower.
Highland offensive lineman Dante Adkins said credit for much of his team’s turnaround goes to first-year coach Richard Lear, who is trying to guide Highland to its first championship.
“He just flipped the program around,” Adkins said. “He taught us how to be leaders.”
Lear was coaching at Antelope Valley College following several years as head coach at Lancaster Eastside, where one of his players was UCLA running back Joshua Kelley.
“I walked into a program where the kids were hungry to win,” Lear said. “I’ve been in the Antelope Valley a long time. We’ve always known Highland had talent. These kids wanted some discipline and structure and bought in.”
Eisenhower used to have one of Southern California’s top football programs in the 1990s. Twenty-five years ago, Eisenhower defeated Santa Ana Mater Dei 56-3 in the Division 1 final. Then came socioeconomic changes. Two new high schools, Carter and Rialto, were built nearby.
Coach Al Brown said his current group of seniors stuck it out since they were freshmen and are being rewarded.
Top receiver in Culver City
Michael Bumpus was a big deal during his playing days at Culver City, graduating in 2004 and later playing at Washington State and in the NFL. Kevin McGuire has broken Bumpus’ school record for all-time receptions with 164. Culver City plays at San Jacinto on Saturday night for the Division 7 championship.
In the semifinals, McGuire made eight receptions and rushed for 177 yards and scored three touchdowns when Culver City upset No. 1-seeded Covina Northview 40-14.
College choice coming
Bru McCoy, a Santa Ana Mater Dei receiver and top uncommitted senior college prospect, said he’s considering USC, Texas, UCLA and Washington and will make his announcement publicly Jan. 5 at the All-American Game. But he’s likely to sign a letter of intent before then.