Two teams are aiming for state titles, another one is going bowling, and yet another, that bunch with a lightning bolt for a logo is streaking, too.
The year’s final month is here and ditto the convergence of prep, college and pro squads shooting for glory.
Cathedral Catholic High School, the Southern California Regional 1-AA champion, is one of four San Diego County teams going for a state crown. Two of them are from North County as Escondido’s Orange Glen, the So Cal 6-A representative, also looks to keep its thrilling season alive.
Orange Glen, which will trail the Orange Glen band at Saturday’s Escondido Jaycees Christmas Parade, plays San Francisco Lincoln on Dec. 15 at Washington High in San Francisco.
Cathedral Catholic, which consists of numerous North County teenagers, is a bit closer for its fans to follow by playing at Norwalk’s Cerritos College on Dec. 14. The Dons will face the winner of this week’s Folsom-Fresno Central game.
Earlier this week six Cathedral Catholic players were selected to the All-CIF first and second teams: Shawn Poma, Ross Maseuli, Logan Berzins, Jordan Allen, Miles McCormick and Ethan Smiley.
San Diego State saw its season extended when it was invited to the Frisco Bowl on Dec. 19. The Aztecs (7-5) will battle Ohio (8-4) despite them stumbling to the tape with three straight losses.
It’s clear SDSU was selected more for its track record than this year’s uneven performance. Despite a season in which the Aztecs didn’t achieve double-digit wins the Frisco Bowl called for a game to be televised on ESPN.
That SDSU was able to snag a bowl bid thanks to its past is a plus. That wasn’t the case before coach Rocky Long’s arrival.
“The reputation that the football program has built up over the last eight or nine years, I think people have recognized that,” Long said. “I think there are more people in the country who recognize our brand and know we have a good football team here, so that makes us attractive.”
It’s pretty obvious the Chargers (9-3) are on a roll. What’s just as clear is if they still hung their shingle locally, some 70,000 boosters would be packing Mission Valley to watch them play the Cincinnati Bengals on Sunday. Chargers pennants would be flapping on cars throughout the area and Bolts Fever, last spotted in 2013, would be back in vogue.
Instead the Chargers are at “home” in a Carson soccer stadium where they’ll be fortunate to lure 25,000 spectators as Los Angeles’ “other” NFL team.
But Sunday’s win over the Pittsburgh Steelers was spectacular as the Chargers rallied from a 16-point deficit for their eighth victory in nine games. They were led by Philip Rivers, the commuter who drives through Rancho Santa Fe each morning headed for work.
Getting worked up about the Chargers is hit-or-miss for some but they are the lone NFL team to be in the top 10 in total offense, scoring offense, total defense and scoring defense.
After securing their signature win of the season at Pittsburgh in dramatic fashion, maybe they’re primed for a deep postseason run. Although others know better than to trust them in the playoffs.
Contact Jay Paris at firstname.lastname@example.org. Follow him @jparis_sports
Sportswriter Jay Paris has written his “Sports Talk” column since joining the Coast News in 2013.
Paris, a Cardiff resident, is a longtime Southern California writer, getting his start with the Orange County Register before coming to San Diego in 1992 to cover the Chargers.
He had the Chargers beat for more than two decades with Oceanside Blade-Citizen, the North County Times and the San Diego Union-Tribune, before being named a sports columnist with the San Diego Union-Tribune.
Paris has won numerous awards voted on by his peers in the Pro Football Writers of America. He has also been a staple on countless media platforms, everything from the KPBS to MLB Network and various radio outlets.
Paris is also the author of three books, with his latest one being, “Shohei Ohtani: The Amazing Story Of Baseball’s Two-Way Japanese Superstar.” He has also written “Game Of My Life Chargers” and “Game Of My Life Rams.”
He currently covers the NFL in Los Angeles for Forbes. com and is a contributor to USA Today Sports Weekly.