OCVarsity’s reader-submitted photos from National Signing Day

There were National Signing Day ceremonies big and small on Wednesday, Feb. 7, as athletes celebrated the opportunity to lock in their college choices.

Check out the Register’s slideshow of reader-submitted photos of the day’s fun and memorable moments.

  • University High’s Jimmy Choi (soccer, Whitworth University) is lifted up by friends while having fun at a Signing Day ceremony on Wednesday, Feb. 7. (Photo courtesy of University High)

    University High’s Jimmy Choi (soccer, Whitworth University) is lifted up by friends while having fun at a Signing Day ceremony on Wednesday, Feb. 7. (Photo courtesy of University High)

  • Marina honored a group of students at its Signing Day event on Feb. 7, Among the athletes honored were Leyla Locken (softball, Briar Cliff), Luke Sutherland (cross country, track, Biola), Erika Sosa (soccer, Sacramento State), Madison Woolbert (soccer, Southern Wesleyan), Payton Woolbert (soccer, Southern Wesleyan), Terra Matsushima (siwmming, New York Univeristy), Amanda Dunton (soccer, Wheaton College-Massachusetts), Autumn Opperud (soccer, Jamestown University-North Dakota), Jennifer Swartz (softball, Southern University-Baton Rouge), Julia Carreon (softball, Pomona Pitzer), Brianna Byerley (golf, Nebraska Kearney). (Photo courtesy of Marina High)

    Marina honored a group of students at its Signing Day event on Feb. 7, Among the athletes honored were Leyla Locken (softball, Briar Cliff), Luke Sutherland (cross country, track, Biola), Erika Sosa (soccer, Sacramento State), Madison Woolbert (soccer, Southern Wesleyan), Payton Woolbert (soccer, Southern Wesleyan), Terra Matsushima (siwmming, New York Univeristy), Amanda Dunton (soccer, Wheaton College-Massachusetts), Autumn Opperud (soccer, Jamestown University-North Dakota), Jennifer Swartz (softball, Southern University-Baton Rouge), Julia Carreon (softball, Pomona Pitzer), Brianna Byerley (golf, Nebraska Kearney). (Photo courtesy of Marina High)

  • Capistrano Valley’s Haley Herberg (cross country, track, Oklahoma) and Alyssa Bautista (cross country, UCLA) take part in the schools Letter of Intent Signing Day on Feb. 7. (Photo courtesy of Capistrano Valley High)

    Capistrano Valley’s Haley Herberg (cross country, track, Oklahoma) and Alyssa Bautista (cross country, UCLA) take part in the schools Letter of Intent Signing Day on Feb. 7. (Photo courtesy of Capistrano Valley High)

  • Servite held a ceremoney to honor the athletes in football and boys soccer who signed a letter of intent on Wednesday, Feb. 7: Football: Delon Hurt, UCLA; Julius Irvin, Washington; TJ McMahon, Mississippi State; Clayton Martin, Western State Colorado University; Parker Thomas, Colorado Mesa University, Luke LaCilento, University of San Diego. Men’s soccer: Corbin Mercado, LMU; Jose Sosa, University of the Pacific. (Photo courtesy of Servite High)

    Servite held a ceremoney to honor the athletes in football and boys soccer who signed a letter of intent on Wednesday, Feb. 7: Football: Delon Hurt, UCLA; Julius Irvin, Washington; TJ McMahon, Mississippi State; Clayton Martin, Western State Colorado University; Parker Thomas, Colorado Mesa University, Luke LaCilento, University of San Diego. Men’s soccer: Corbin Mercado, LMU; Jose Sosa, University of the Pacific. (Photo courtesy of Servite High)

  • Beckamn’s Jessica Ruggieri (soccer, UC San Diego) is joined by her teammates as she signs a letter of intent during a ceremoney Feb. 7. (Photo courtesy of Beckman)

    Beckamn’s Jessica Ruggieri (soccer, UC San Diego) is joined by her teammates as she signs a letter of intent during a ceremoney Feb. 7. (Photo courtesy of Beckman)

  • Capistrano Valley held a ceremony Wednesday, Feb. 7, to honor the students who a letter of intent: Alyssa Bautista (cross country, UCLA), Tyler Beckley (baseball, Univ. of Puget Sound), Mary Brascia (tennis, Univ. of Dayton), Ryan Daugherty (baseball, St. Mary’s College), Madi DeVries (lacrosse, University of Findlay), Blake FitzGerald (baseball, UC San Diego), Jasmine Freed (softball, Univ. of Oregon), Haley Herberg (cross country, track, Oklahoma), Joey Holman (baseball, Denison University), Connor Martin (baseball, UC Riverside), Andrew McSweeney (volleyball, UC Santa Barbara), Dane Nakatsuka (baseball, UC San Diego), Nolan Reeve (football, Colorado School of Mines), Zach Ritner (football, Univ. of Hawaii), Josh Solomon (baseball, Columbia University), Bryce Willits (baseball, St. Mary’s College). (Pho to courtesy of Capistrano Valley High)

    Capistrano Valley held a ceremony Wednesday, Feb. 7, to honor the students who a letter of intent: Alyssa Bautista (cross country, UCLA), Tyler Beckley (baseball, Univ. of Puget Sound), Mary Brascia (tennis, Univ. of Dayton), Ryan Daugherty (baseball, St. Mary’s College), Madi DeVries (lacrosse, University of Findlay), Blake FitzGerald (baseball, UC San Diego), Jasmine Freed (softball, Univ. of Oregon), Haley Herberg (cross country, track, Oklahoma), Joey Holman (baseball, Denison University), Connor Martin (baseball, UC Riverside), Andrew McSweeney (volleyball, UC Santa Barbara), Dane Nakatsuka (baseball, UC San Diego), Nolan Reeve (football, Colorado School of Mines), Zach Ritner (football, Univ. of Hawaii), Josh Solomon (baseball, Columbia University), Bryce Willits (baseball, St. Mary’s College). (Pho to courtesy of Capistrano Valley High)

  • Villa Park’s Hunter Ancich (football, San Diego University) is joined by his father, Coach Dusan Ancich, and his family as he signs his letter of intent on Wednesday, Feb. 7. (Photo courtesy ot Villa Park High)

    Villa Park’s Hunter Ancich (football, San Diego University) is joined by his father, Coach Dusan Ancich, and his family as he signs his letter of intent on Wednesday, Feb. 7. (Photo courtesy ot Villa Park High)

  • Rancho Alamitos’ Destiny Aragon signs a letter of intent to play women’s soccer at Cal State San Bernardino on Wednesday, Feb. 7. (Photo courtesy of Destiny Aragon)

    Rancho Alamitos’ Destiny Aragon signs a letter of intent to play women’s soccer at Cal State San Bernardino on Wednesday, Feb. 7. (Photo courtesy of Destiny Aragon)

  • Trabuco Hills held a Signing Day ceremony On Wednesday, Feb. 7, to celebrate the letter of intent signings by: Sean Lee (track and field, UCLA), Paige Krenik (volleyball, University of Maryland, Baltimore County), Abby Estes (soccer, Cal State San Marcos), Sophia Garrido (soccer, UC San Diego), Audi Shutler (soccer, University of Chicago), Aubrey Fergeson (soccer, Biola University), Garrett Pinvidic (football, Benedictine College). (Photo courtesy of Elizabeth Krenik)

    Trabuco Hills held a Signing Day ceremony On Wednesday, Feb. 7, to celebrate the letter of intent signings by: Sean Lee (track and field, UCLA), Paige Krenik (volleyball, University of Maryland, Baltimore County), Abby Estes (soccer, Cal State San Marcos), Sophia Garrido (soccer, UC San Diego), Audi Shutler (soccer, University of Chicago), Aubrey Fergeson (soccer, Biola University), Garrett Pinvidic (football, Benedictine College). (Photo courtesy of Elizabeth Krenik)

  • Tesoro’s Skylar Smith (soccer, Santa Clara) is joined by friends and teammates as she signs a letter of intent during a ceremony on Feb. 7. (Photo courtesy of Carey Smith)

    Tesoro’s Skylar Smith (soccer, Santa Clara) is joined by friends and teammates as she signs a letter of intent during a ceremony on Feb. 7. (Photo courtesy of Carey Smith)

  • JSerra held a Signing Day ceremony on Wednesday, Feb. 7, to honor the athletes who signed a letter of intent: Jake Parks, Football, UC Davis; TJ Medina, Football, Air Force; Jack Bolduc, Football, University Nevada-Reno; Malik McClain, Football, USC; Jake Haggard, Football, University of Pennsylvania; Nelson Lopez, Football, Puget Sound; Matt Robinson, Football, Illinois; Taylor Gosselin, Girls Soccer, Auburn; Mahea Hemuli, Girls Soccer, Yale; Skylar Giaccobetti, Football, Purdue; Sam Guinane, Boys Soccer, Notre Dame; Dylan Shockey, Boys Soccer, Loyola Marymount; Nick Aquino, Boys Soccer, Concordia University-Irvine; Morgan Hebard, Boys Soccer, West Point; Joe Miraglia, Boys Lacrosse, Belmont Abby. (Photo courtesy of JSerra)

    JSerra held a Signing Day ceremony on Wednesday, Feb. 7, to honor the athletes who signed a letter of intent: Jake Parks, Football, UC Davis; TJ Medina, Football, Air Force; Jack Bolduc, Football, University Nevada-Reno; Malik McClain, Football, USC; Jake Haggard, Football, University of Pennsylvania; Nelson Lopez, Football, Puget Sound; Matt Robinson, Football, Illinois; Taylor Gosselin, Girls Soccer, Auburn; Mahea Hemuli, Girls Soccer, Yale; Skylar Giaccobetti, Football, Purdue; Sam Guinane, Boys Soccer, Notre Dame; Dylan Shockey, Boys Soccer, Loyola Marymount; Nick Aquino, Boys Soccer, Concordia University-Irvine; Morgan Hebard, Boys Soccer, West Point; Joe Miraglia, Boys Lacrosse, Belmont Abby. (Photo courtesy of JSerra)

  • Esperanza High held a ceremony Wednesday, Feb. 7, to honor the athletes who signed a letter of intent: Avery Stowell, Volleyball, US Naval Academy; Hailey Bosley, Softball, Middle Tennessee State; Chris Hildebrand, Softball, San Jose State; Jason Fox, Baseball, Point University; Erika Hall, Soccer, University of Northern Colorado; Madison Kline, Soccer, North Carolina State; Isabel Dehakiz, Soccer, Arizona State; Jillian Erwin, Soccer, Cal Poly Pomona SLO, Savannah Pierce, Soccer, San Bernardino. (Photo courtesy of Keri Walters)

    Esperanza High held a ceremony Wednesday, Feb. 7, to honor the athletes who signed a letter of intent: Avery Stowell, Volleyball, US Naval Academy; Hailey Bosley, Softball, Middle Tennessee State; Chris Hildebrand, Softball, San Jose State; Jason Fox, Baseball, Point University; Erika Hall, Soccer, University of Northern Colorado; Madison Kline, Soccer, North Carolina State; Isabel Dehakiz, Soccer, Arizona State; Jillian Erwin, Soccer, Cal Poly Pomona SLO, Savannah Pierce, Soccer, San Bernardino. (Photo courtesy of Keri Walters)

  • Rosary’s Kayla Figueroa is joined by her family as she signs a letter of intent to play soccer at Concordia University in Irvine on Wednesday, Feb. 7. (Photo courtesy of Rosary)

    Rosary’s Kayla Figueroa is joined by her family as she signs a letter of intent to play soccer at Concordia University in Irvine on Wednesday, Feb. 7. (Photo courtesy of Rosary)

  • Capistrano Valley athletes have fun during a ceremony at the school on Wednesday, Feb. 7. Among the athletes to take part were: Alyssa Bautista (cross country, UCLA), Tyler Beckley (baseball, Univ. of Puget Sound), Mary Brascia (tennis, Univ. of Dayton), Ryan Daugherty (baseball, St. Mary’s College), Madi DeVries (lacrosse, University of Findlay), Blake FitzGerald (baseball, UC San Diego), Jasmine Freed (softball, Univ. of Oregon), Haley Herberg (cross country, track, Oklahoma), Joey Holman (baseball, Denison University), Connor Martin (baseball, UC Riverside), Andrew McSweeney (volleyball, UC Santa Barbara), Dane Nakatsuka (baseball, UC San Diego), Nolan Reeve (football, Colorado School of Mines), Zach Ritner (football, Univ. of Hawaii), Josh Solomon (baseball, Columbia University), Bryce Willits (baseball, St. Mary’s College). (Photo courtesy of Capistrano Valley High).

    Capistrano Valley athletes have fun during a ceremony at the school on Wednesday, Feb. 7. Among the athletes to take part were: Alyssa Bautista (cross country, UCLA), Tyler Beckley (baseball, Univ. of Puget Sound), Mary Brascia (tennis, Univ. of Dayton), Ryan Daugherty (baseball, St. Mary’s College), Madi DeVries (lacrosse, University of Findlay), Blake FitzGerald (baseball, UC San Diego), Jasmine Freed (softball, Univ. of Oregon), Haley Herberg (cross country, track, Oklahoma), Joey Holman (baseball, Denison University), Connor Martin (baseball, UC Riverside), Andrew McSweeney (volleyball, UC Santa Barbara), Dane Nakatsuka (baseball, UC San Diego), Nolan Reeve (football, Colorado School of Mines), Zach Ritner (football, Univ. of Hawaii), Josh Solomon (baseball, Columbia University), Bryce Willits (baseball, St. Mary’s College). (Photo courtesy of Capistrano Valley High).

  • Trabuco Hills’ Audie Shutler (girls soccer, University of Chicago), Aubrey Fergeson (girls soccer, Biola University) and Sophia Garrido (girls soccer, UC San Diego) pose for a photo iwth friends and teammates during a Signing Day ceremony on Wednesday, Feb. 7. (Photo courtesy of Trabuco Hills High)

    Trabuco Hills’ Audie Shutler (girls soccer, University of Chicago), Aubrey Fergeson (girls soccer, Biola University) and Sophia Garrido (girls soccer, UC San Diego) pose for a photo iwth friends and teammates during a Signing Day ceremony on Wednesday, Feb. 7. (Photo courtesy of Trabuco Hills High)

  • Corona del Mar water polo players Joe Rosensitto (University of Toronto) and Henry Wilde (UCLA) sign their letters of intent on Wednesday, Feb. 7. (Photo courtesy of Michelle Rosenitto)

    Corona del Mar water polo players Joe Rosensitto (University of Toronto) and Henry Wilde (UCLA) sign their letters of intent on Wednesday, Feb. 7. (Photo courtesy of Michelle Rosenitto)

  • Sage Hill’s Taylor Magliarditi signs with UCLA to play women’s soccer on Feb. 7. (Photo courtesy of Megan Cid)

    Sage Hill’s Taylor Magliarditi signs with UCLA to play women’s soccer on Feb. 7. (Photo courtesy of Megan Cid)

  • University High held a ceremony Feb. 7 to honor a group of athletes for signing a letter of intent: Paige Metayer (soccer, Cal), Jimmy Choi (soccer, Whitworth University), Remy Kaufman (soccer, Colgate University) and Klaire Thoman (volleyball, Arizona). (Photo courtesy of University High)

    University High held a ceremony Feb. 7 to honor a group of athletes for signing a letter of intent: Paige Metayer (soccer, Cal), Jimmy Choi (soccer, Whitworth University), Remy Kaufman (soccer, Colgate University) and Klaire Thoman (volleyball, Arizona). (Photo courtesy of University High)

  • Yorba Linda’s Emma Deane signs a letter of intent to play women’s soccer at Oregon State on Feb. 7. (Photo courtesy of Jennifer Deane)

    Yorba Linda’s Emma Deane signs a letter of intent to play women’s soccer at Oregon State on Feb. 7. (Photo courtesy of Jennifer Deane)

  • Yorba Linda held a ceremony on Wedneday, Feb. 7, for the athletes who signed a letter of intent: Nick Ding, University of Chicago, Swimming; Allie Gardiner, University of Texas Arlington, Softball; Emma Deane, Oregon State, Soccer; Liz Geraghty, Chico State University, Soccer;Emely Buckley, Northern Arizona University, Lacrosse; Allison Castro, San Diego Christian College, Softball; Blake Faddoul, Santa Clara University, Baseball; Lauren Fitts, Oberlin College, Volleyball; Kyle Smith, Culver-Stockton College, Football; Derrick Yen, Brandeis University, Swimming; Alicia Vos, University of Toronto, Water Polo; Kate Puentes, Baylor University, Cheer; Ashley Loera, Cornerstone University, Softball; Alex Bost, Cornell College- Iowa, Basketball (Photo courtesy of Greg Kemp)

    Yorba Linda held a ceremony on Wedneday, Feb. 7, for the athletes who signed a letter of intent: Nick Ding, University of Chicago, Swimming; Allie Gardiner, University of Texas Arlington, Softball; Emma Deane, Oregon State, Soccer; Liz Geraghty, Chico State University, Soccer;Emely Buckley, Northern Arizona University, Lacrosse; Allison Castro, San Diego Christian College, Softball; Blake Faddoul, Santa Clara University, Baseball; Lauren Fitts, Oberlin College, Volleyball; Kyle Smith, Culver-Stockton College, Football; Derrick Yen, Brandeis University, Swimming; Alicia Vos, University of Toronto, Water Polo; Kate Puentes, Baylor University, Cheer; Ashley Loera, Cornerstone University, Softball; Alex Bost, Cornell College- Iowa, Basketball (Photo courtesy of Greg Kemp)

  • JSerra’s Mahea Heimuli signs a commitment letter to play women’s soccer at Yale on Wednesday, Feb. 7. (Photo courtesy of Steve Heimuli)

    JSerra’s Mahea Heimuli signs a commitment letter to play women’s soccer at Yale on Wednesday, Feb. 7. (Photo courtesy of Steve Heimuli)

  • University High’s Klaire Thoman (volleyball, Arizona) is joined by teammates and friends after signing a letter of intent on Feb. 7. (Photo courtesy of University High)

    University High’s Klaire Thoman (volleyball, Arizona) is joined by teammates and friends after signing a letter of intent on Feb. 7. (Photo courtesy of University High)

  • Trabuco Hills’ Paige Krenik (volleyball, University of Maryland, Baltimore County) is joined by friends during the school’s Signing Day ceremony on Feb. 7. (Photo courtesy of Elizabeth Krenik)

    Trabuco Hills’ Paige Krenik (volleyball, University of Maryland, Baltimore County) is joined by friends during the school’s Signing Day ceremony on Feb. 7. (Photo courtesy of Elizabeth Krenik)

  • JSerra’s Taylor Gosselin signs to play women’s soccer at Auburn on Feb. 7. (Photo courtesy of Gosselin family)

    JSerra’s Taylor Gosselin signs to play women’s soccer at Auburn on Feb. 7. (Photo courtesy of Gosselin family)

  • Marina honored a group of students at its Signing Day event on Feb. 7, Among the athletes honored were Leyla Locken (softball, Briar Cliff), Luke Sutherland (cross country, track, Biola), Erika Sosa (soccer, Sacramento State), Madison Woolbert (soccer, Southern Wesleyan), Payton Woolbert (soccer, Southern Wesleyan), Terra Matsushima (siwmming, New York Univeristy), Amanda Dunton (soccer, Wheaton College-Massachusetts), Autumn Opperud (soccer, Jamestown University-North Dakota), Jennifer Swartz (softball, Southern University-Baton Rouge), Julia Carreon (softball, Pomona Pitzer), Brianna Byerley (golf, Nebraska Kearney). (Photo courtesy of Marina High)

    Marina honored a group of students at its Signing Day event on Feb. 7, Among the athletes honored were Leyla Locken (softball, Briar Cliff), Luke Sutherland (cross country, track, Biola), Erika Sosa (soccer, Sacramento State), Madison Woolbert (soccer, Southern Wesleyan), Payton Woolbert (soccer, Southern Wesleyan), Terra Matsushima (siwmming, New York Univeristy), Amanda Dunton (soccer, Wheaton College-Massachusetts), Autumn Opperud (soccer, Jamestown University-North Dakota), Jennifer Swartz (softball, Southern University-Baton Rouge), Julia Carreon (softball, Pomona Pitzer), Brianna Byerley (golf, Nebraska Kearney). (Photo courtesy of Marina High)

  • Tesoro’s James Williams (football, Cal Poly SLO ) and Skylar Smith (soccer, Santa Clara) take part in the school’s Signing Day ceremony on Feb. 7. (Photo courtesy of James Williams)

    Tesoro’s James Williams (football, Cal Poly SLO ) and Skylar Smith (soccer, Santa Clara) take part in the school’s Signing Day ceremony on Feb. 7. (Photo courtesy of James Williams)

  • Corona del Mar water polo players Henry Wilde (UCLA), Mitchell Cooper (Princeton) and Joe Rosensitto (University of Toronto) signed their letters of intent on Wednesday, Feb. 7. (Photo courtesy of Michelle Rosenitto)

    Corona del Mar water polo players Henry Wilde (UCLA), Mitchell Cooper (Princeton) and Joe Rosensitto (University of Toronto) signed their letters of intent on Wednesday, Feb. 7. (Photo courtesy of Michelle Rosenitto)

  • Edison’s Amanda Chadwick signs to play women’s soccer at Pace University on Feb. 7. (Photo courtesy of Jeff Chadwick)

    Edison’s Amanda Chadwick signs to play women’s soccer at Pace University on Feb. 7. (Photo courtesy of Jeff Chadwick)

  • Villa Park had four athletes who signed on Wednesday, Feb. 7: Malik Banks (football, UC Davis), Leigh Polson (girls soccer, UC Riverside), Hunter Ancich (football, University San Diego) and Gavin Jones (boys water polo, Air Force Academy). (Photo courtesy of Villa Park High)

    Villa Park had four athletes who signed on Wednesday, Feb. 7: Malik Banks (football, UC Davis), Leigh Polson (girls soccer, UC Riverside), Hunter Ancich (football, University San Diego) and Gavin Jones (boys water polo, Air Force Academy). (Photo courtesy of Villa Park High)

  • Marina’s Madison and Payton Woolbert signed to play soccer at Southern Wesleyan University in South Carolina. (Photo courtesy of Woolbert family)

    Marina’s Madison and Payton Woolbert signed to play soccer at Southern Wesleyan University in South Carolina. (Photo courtesy of Woolbert family)

  • St. Margaret’s held a Signing Day ceremoney on Feb. 7 for four of its athletes: Conrad Hampson (lacrosse, Colby College), Lauren McCaffrey (soccer, Northwestern), Andrew Maita (lacrosse, Washington and Lee University) and Sophie Payne (soccer, Oberlin College). (Photo courtesy of St. Margaret’s)

    St. Margaret’s held a Signing Day ceremoney on Feb. 7 for four of its athletes: Conrad Hampson (lacrosse, Colby College), Lauren McCaffrey (soccer, Northwestern), Andrew Maita (lacrosse, Washington and Lee University) and Sophie Payne (soccer, Oberlin College). (Photo courtesy of St. Margaret’s)

  • Crean Lutheran held a Signing Day ceremony on Wednesday, Feb. 7, for Lindsey Allen (softball, Hiram College), Ben Beavers (Football, Concordia University-Wisconsin), Anthony Cooper (football, Concordia University-Wisconsin), Louie Kim (baseball, Occidental College) and Abby O’Grattan (swimming, George Fox University). (Photo courtesy of Crean Lutheran)

    Crean Lutheran held a Signing Day ceremony on Wednesday, Feb. 7, for Lindsey Allen (softball, Hiram College), Ben Beavers (Football, Concordia University-Wisconsin), Anthony Cooper (football, Concordia University-Wisconsin), Louie Kim (baseball, Occidental College) and Abby O’Grattan (swimming, George Fox University). (Photo courtesy of Crean Lutheran)

  • Sunny Hills’ Alex Jung signs a letter of commitment with Penn University to play football on Wednesday, Feb. 7. (Photo courtesy of Jung family)

    Sunny Hills’ Alex Jung signs a letter of commitment with Penn University to play football on Wednesday, Feb. 7. (Photo courtesy of Jung family)

  • Santa Ana’s Damian Macias, joined by Coach Charlie Tegantvoort, signs to play football at Western State-Colorado University on Feb. 7. (Photo courtesy of Charlie Tegantvoort)

    Santa Ana’s Damian Macias, joined by Coach Charlie Tegantvoort, signs to play football at Western State-Colorado University on Feb. 7. (Photo courtesy of Charlie Tegantvoort)

  • Saddleback Valley Christian’s Mej Carpentier (girls soccer, Cal Poly SLO), Lily Dyer (girls volleyball, Pepperdine) and Jordan Taylor (boys basketball, Westmont) sign their letters of intent on Wednesday morning, Feb. 7. (Photo courtesy of Saddleback Valley Christian)

    Saddleback Valley Christian’s Mej Carpentier (girls soccer, Cal Poly SLO), Lily Dyer (girls volleyball, Pepperdine) and Jordan Taylor (boys basketball, Westmont) sign their letters of intent on Wednesday morning, Feb. 7. (Photo courtesy of Saddleback Valley Christian)

  • Buena Park football players Devon Cooley and AJ Alllen signed with Weber State on Wednesday, Feb. 7. They are joined by ex-Coyotes coach Anthony White. (Photo courtesy of Buena Park)

    Buena Park football players Devon Cooley and AJ Alllen signed with Weber State on Wednesday, Feb. 7. They are joined by ex-Coyotes coach Anthony White. (Photo courtesy of Buena Park)

  • Edison girls soccer players Michael Guptill (Dartmouth) and Amanda Chadwick (Pace University) sign their letters of intent Feb. 7. (Photo courtesy of Denise Guptill)

    Edison girls soccer players Michael Guptill (Dartmouth) and Amanda Chadwick (Pace University) sign their letters of intent Feb. 7. (Photo courtesy of Denise Guptill)

  • Tesoro’s James Williams signs a letter of intent to play football at Cal Poly SLO on Feb. 7. (Photo courtesy of James Williams)

    Tesoro’s James Williams signs a letter of intent to play football at Cal Poly SLO on Feb. 7. (Photo courtesy of James Williams)

  • Trabuco Hills’ Garrett Pinvidic signs to play football at Benedictine College on Feb. 7. (Photo courtesy of Leah Pinvidic)

    Trabuco Hills’ Garrett Pinvidic signs to play football at Benedictine College on Feb. 7. (Photo courtesy of Leah Pinvidic)

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OCVarsity Signing Day Updates: Get all of the news here

The Register has the latest on the Signing Day news in Orange County.

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Mark Cunningham to retire after 32 years as University’s football coach

IRVINE – Longtime University football head coach Mark Cunningham announced Sunday night, Jan. 28, at the team’s annual banquet that he will retire at the end of the school year after 32 years, saying, “it was just the right time to do it.”

No replacement has been made for the 67-year-old Cunningham, who started at University in 1986.

“It went really well. There were a lot of former players who showed up and I guess the boosters suspected it so they had something set up,” Cunningham said in an interview Sunday night.

“It was quite a tribute. It was an amazing night. It was emotional.”

  • University football coach Mark Cunningham speaks during the team’s banquet Sunday, Jan. 28. Cunningham announced at the banquet that he was resigning after 32 seasons as the team’s coach. (Photo courtesy of University football boosters)

    University football coach Mark Cunningham speaks during the team’s banquet Sunday, Jan. 28. Cunningham announced at the banquet that he was resigning after 32 seasons as the team’s coach. (Photo courtesy of University football boosters)

  • University football coach Mark Cunningham speaks as players leave the stage during the team’s banquet Sunday, Jan. 28. Cunningham announced at the banquet that was resigning after 32 seasons as the team’s caoch. (Photo courtesy of University football boosters)

    University football coach Mark Cunningham speaks as players leave the stage during the team’s banquet Sunday, Jan. 28. Cunningham announced at the banquet that was resigning after 32 seasons as the team’s caoch. (Photo courtesy of University football boosters)

  • Former University football players took part in the team’s banquet Sunday night, Jan. 28, to help honor Coach Mark Cunningham, who announced he was resigning after 32 seasons as head coach. (Photo courtesy of University football boosters)

    Former University football players took part in the team’s banquet Sunday night, Jan. 28, to help honor Coach Mark Cunningham, who announced he was resigning after 32 seasons as head coach. (Photo courtesy of University football boosters)

  • University football coach Mark Cunningham talks to his team’s players after a game during the 2017 season. Cunningham has stepped down as the team’s coach, ending a 32-year run. (File photo: Tim Burt)

    University football coach Mark Cunningham talks to his team’s players after a game during the 2017 season. Cunningham has stepped down as the team’s coach, ending a 32-year run. (File photo: Tim Burt)

  • Mark Cunningham announced Sunday, Jan. 28, that was resigning as University’s football coach after 32 seasons. (File photo: Orange County Register/SCNG)

    Mark Cunningham announced Sunday, Jan. 28, that was resigning as University’s football coach after 32 seasons. (File photo: Orange County Register/SCNG)

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Cunningham said he did not want word of his retirement to be released before he could tell his players, and he did so at the end of the banquet on campus. News of the retirement had reached the University boosters, who honored the coach.

“Thirty-two years, that’s quite an accomplishment, especially when you take a look at the merry-go-round that was there before I got there,” Cunningham said.

Updated list of Orange County football coaching changes 

Cunningham said that during the banquet he had “a deep appreciation for everything that Uni has given me and the players and the experiences that I’ve had.”

He added, “I couldn’t have been more happy about my time at Uni and I think it’s time for someone new to come in, and they’re going to have a pretty darn good team next year and they’re going to be excited about it. There is going to be some new blood and some new ideas.”

Cunningham said he will continue to teach, run the offseason football program and be athletic director until a new coach is selected.

“The timing is right as it will provide University the opportunity to hire the best possible coach and not be restricted as to what their credential is in,” Cunningham said.

“If I were to stay one more year, and believe me with next year’s team it would be very easy to stay one more year, the same opportunity (for a new coach) would not be available.”

Cunningham was tied with Newport Harbor’s Jeff Brinkley for Orange County’s most active tenured years as a football coach. Brinkley announced his retirement on Tuesday, Jan. 23.

Cunningham has been a high school coach for 41 years. He took half a season off to deal with cancer treatments in 2010 but returned that season for the league portion of the team’s schedule. He has been cancer-free for seven years, he said Sunday.

“What a year,” he said when looking back at that season.

University finished 6-4 overall and 2-3 in the Pacific Coast League this past season. The Trojans defeated Beckman 35-21 in what turned out to be Cunningham’s final game Nov. 2, but it wasn’t enough to help the Trojans qualify for the CIF-SS playoffs.

Cunningham said the highlights of his time as University’s coach include the 1991 season when the Trojans finished fourth in the league, got an at-large berth in the CIF-SS playoffs and upset No. 1 seed Garden Grove, which was undefeated.

Cunningham’s other top memories include three league championships and 14 CIF-SS playoff appearances.

He also mentioned the 1995 team which he called the “Dirty 30.”

“We made a decision that we would go with the players who really wanted to play and make a commitment,” he said. “We started with over 60 players but ended up with 30 and went to the playoffs that year. It was a great group and very gratifying season. There were more cheerleaders than football players.”

Cunningham also coached at Garey High of Pomona from 1977 to 1980, and held head coaching jobs at Chino from 1981 to 1982, Garey in 1983 and at Truckee from 1984 to 1985.

His family includes his wife, Cassie Parham, daughter Kelly Connor, son-in-law Kevin Connor, son Casey Cunningham and grandchildren Jamison Connor and Paisley Mae Connor.

Cunningham said he plans to ski, play golf and “maybe be an assistant football coach on a voluntary basis.”

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Mark Cunningham announces retirement after 32 years as University’s football coach;

IRVINE – Longtime University football head coach Mark Cunningham announced Sunday night, Jan. 28, at the team’s annual banquet that he will retire at the end of the school year after 32 years, saying, “it was just the right time to do it.”

No replacement has been made for the 67-year-old Cunningham, who started at University in 1986.

“It went really well. There were a lot of former players who showed up and I guess the boosters suspected it so they had something set up,” Cunningham said in an interview Sunday night.

“It was quite a tribute. It was an amazing night. It was emotional.”

  • University football coach Mark Cunningham speaks during the team’s banquet Sunday, Jan. 28. Cunningham announced at the banquet that he was resigning after 32 seasons as the team’s coach. (Photo courtesy of University football boosters)

    University football coach Mark Cunningham speaks during the team’s banquet Sunday, Jan. 28. Cunningham announced at the banquet that he was resigning after 32 seasons as the team’s coach. (Photo courtesy of University football boosters)

  • University football coach Mark Cunningham speaks as players leave the stage during the team’s banquet Sunday, Jan. 28. Cunningham announced at the banquet that was resigning after 32 seasons as the team’s caoch. (Photo courtesy of University football boosters)

    University football coach Mark Cunningham speaks as players leave the stage during the team’s banquet Sunday, Jan. 28. Cunningham announced at the banquet that was resigning after 32 seasons as the team’s caoch. (Photo courtesy of University football boosters)

  • Former University football players took part in the team’s banquet Sunday night, Jan. 28, to help honor Coach Mark Cunningham, who announced he was resigning after 32 seasons as head coach. (Photo courtesy of University football boosters)

    Former University football players took part in the team’s banquet Sunday night, Jan. 28, to help honor Coach Mark Cunningham, who announced he was resigning after 32 seasons as head coach. (Photo courtesy of University football boosters)

  • University football coach Mark Cunningham talks to his team’s players after a game during the 2017 season. Cunningham has stepped down as the team’s coach, ending a 32-year run. (File photo: Tim Burt)

    University football coach Mark Cunningham talks to his team’s players after a game during the 2017 season. Cunningham has stepped down as the team’s coach, ending a 32-year run. (File photo: Tim Burt)

  • Mark Cunningham announced Sunday, Jan. 28, that was resigning as University’s football coach after 32 seasons. (File photo: Orange County Register/SCNG)

    Mark Cunningham announced Sunday, Jan. 28, that was resigning as University’s football coach after 32 seasons. (File photo: Orange County Register/SCNG)

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Cunningham said he did not want word of his retirement to be released before he could tell his players, and he did so at the end of the banquet on campus. News of the retirement had reached the University boosters, who honored the coach.

“Thirty-two years, that’s quite an accomplishment, especially when you take a look at the merry-go-round that was there before I got there,” Cunningham said.

Cunningham said that during the banquet he had “a deep appreciation for everything that Uni has given me and the players and the experiences that I’ve had.”

He added, “I couldn’t have been more happy about my time at Uni and I think it’s time for someone new to come in, and they’re going to have a pretty darn good team next year and they’re going to be excited about it. There is going to be some new blood and some new ideas.”

Cunningham said he will continue to teach, run the offseason football program and be athletic director until a new coach is selected.

“The timing is right as it will provide University the opportunity to hire the best possible coach and not be restricted as to what their credential is in,” Cunningham said.

“If I were to stay one more year, and believe me with next year’s team it would be very easy to stay one more year, the same opportunity (for a new coach) would not be available.”

Cunningham was tied with Newport Harbor’s Jeff Brinkley for Orange County’s most active tenured years as a football coach. Brinkley announced his retirement on Tuesday, Jan. 23.

Cunningham has been a high school coach for 41 years. He took half a season off to deal with cancer treatments in 2010 but returned that season for the league portion of the team’s schedule. He has been cancer-free for seven years, he said Sunday.

“What a year,” he said when looking back at that season.

University finished 6-4 overall and 2-3 in the Pacific Coast League this past season. The Trojans defeated Beckman 35-21 in what turned out to be Cunningham’s final game Nov. 2, but it wasn’t enough to help the Trojans qualify for the CIF-SS playoffs.

Cunningham said the highlights of his time as University’s coach include the 1991 season when the Trojans finished fourth in the league, got an at-large berth in the CIF-SS playoffs and upset No. 1 seed Garden Grove, which was undefeated.

Cunningham’s other top memories include three league championships and 14 CIF-SS playoff appearances.

He also mentioned the 1995 team which he called the “Dirty 30.”

“We made a decision that we would go with the players who really wanted to play and make a commitment,” he said. “We started with over 60 players but ended up with 30 and went to the playoffs that year. It was a great group and very gratifying season. There were more cheerleaders than football players.”

Cunningham also coached at Garey High of Pomona from 1977 to 1980, and held head coaching jobs at Chino from 1981 to 1982, Garey in 1983 and at Truckee from 1984 to 1985.

His family includes his wife, Cassie Parham, daughter Kelly Connor, son-in-law Kevin Connor, son Casey Cunningham and grandchildren Jamison Connor and Paisley Mae Connor.

Cunningham said he plans to ski, play golf and “maybe be an assistant football coach on a voluntary basis.”

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Fullerton football co-coach Gus Martinez resigns after five seasons

Fullerton football co-coach Gus Martinez announced his resignation Monday night after five seasons.

Martinez served as co-coach with Ed DeAvila since the 2013 season. Martinez focused on coaching the offense while DeAvila ran the team’s defense.

“It is time to find a new home and challenge,” said Martinez, who posted the announcement on Twitter. “Just a fresh start.”

Martinez and Avila transitioned from being assistants to co-head coaches after longtime Indians coach Julian Smilowitz was placed on administrative leave before the 2013 campaign.

The duo led Fullerton to a 10-3 record in their first season and a trip to the CIF-SS Southwest Division semifinals. They later guided the North to victory in the 2014 O.C. All-Star game.

The Indians hovered around .500 the next three seasons before going 7-5 in 2017 and reaching the CIF-SS Division 7 quarterfinals. Fullerton lost to St. Margaret’s 34-28. Fullerton played the game without its top two players, who were suspended for leaving the team’s bench during a fight between other players in the first round of the playoffs against North Torrance.

Martinez recently transferred to Sonora High to work as a campus supervisor.

Please send football news to Dan Albano at dalbano@scng.com or @ocvarsitguy on Twitter

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JT Daniels’ reclassification endorsed by quarterback guru Bob Johnson

The best decision for JT Daniels.

That’s how former Mission Viejo football coach and private quarterback guru Bob Johnson views the decision by the Mater Dei junior signal caller to reclassify for the class of 2018 and enroll early at USC.

“He’s ready,” Johnson said Friday, several hours after Daniels’ announcement. “That’s a wise decision for him because of the credentials he has.”

But Johnson, who tutored multiple USC quarterbacks, including his son, Rob, said Daniels isn’t ready to start for the Trojans, who are currently led by Sam Darnold. Johnson believes the soon-to-be 18-year-old is ready to learn the collegiate game, and believes one season as an understudy would serve him best.

“He’s not going to learn anything more in high school,” Johnson said of Daniels, a three-year starter at Mater Dei.

Johnson knows what it takes to be a quarterback at USC. Besides his son, Rob, he coached former Trojan starters Mark Sanchez (Mission Viejo), Carson Palmer (Santa Margarita) and Cody Kessler.

Johnson saw Daniels (6-2, 210) play a lot this past season. In preparation for Mission Viejo’s clash against Mater Dei in the CIF-SS Division 1 semifinals, Johnson said he “watch a ton of film” on Daniels.

The future Gatorade National Player of the Year completed 10 of 18 passes for 199 yards and two touchdowns and also broke a 52-yard touchdown run in the Monarchs’ 49-21 victory, which ended Johnson’s legendary career.

“He’s really good,” Johnson said.

Daniels faces a rigorous academic road to reach USC but is expected to sign with the Trojans in February, shortly after his birthday.

“He’s going to have a lot of different things happen to him (at USC),” Johnson said. “To challenge himself is pretty nice. … He’s showing some guts.”

Read more about JT Daniels’ reclassification endorsed by quarterback guru Bob Johnson This post was shared via Orange County Register’s RSS Feed

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OCVarsity updates from tonight’s CIF State football championship games

OCVarsity has the scores and highlights from tonight’s CIF State football championship games. The championship games for Katella and Orange star at 6 p.m., and Mater Dei takes on De La Salle at 8 p.m.

The information updates automatically.

 

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OCVarsity Photos: See the thrilling wins, wild celebrations from the football regionals

Check out the Register’s photos from this weekend’s CIF Southern California Regional championship games. Three Orange County teams took part – El Modena, Katell and Orange – and two pulled off last-minute victories to advance to the CIF State championships.

See the photos from this exciting games, and go to the OCVarsity pages to see more coverage from the regionals.

  • Katella players celebrate their CIF Southern Regional Division 6-AA championship at Glover Stadium in Anaheim on Saturday, December 9, 2017. (Photo by Bill Alkofer, Orange County Register/SCNG)

    Katella players celebrate their CIF Southern Regional Division 6-AA championship at Glover Stadium in Anaheim on Saturday, December 9, 2017. (Photo by Bill Alkofer, Orange County Register/SCNG)

  • Katella players celebrate their CIF Southern Regional Division 6-AA championship at Glover Stadium in Anaheim on Saturday, December 9, 2017. (Photo by Bill Alkofer, Orange County Register/SCNG)

    Katella players celebrate their CIF Southern Regional Division 6-AA championship at Glover Stadium in Anaheim on Saturday, December 9, 2017. (Photo by Bill Alkofer, Orange County Register/SCNG)

  • Orange’s head coach Robert Pedroza lifts up the championship plaque in the CIF Southern California Regional Division 6-AA championship game in Orange on Friday, Dec. 8, 2017. (Photo by Matt Masin, Orange County Register, SCNG)

    Orange’s head coach Robert Pedroza lifts up the championship plaque in the CIF Southern California Regional Division 6-AA championship game in Orange on Friday, Dec. 8, 2017. (Photo by Matt Masin, Orange County Register, SCNG)

  • Orange’s Jordan Schmidt catches a pass from Jason Wilkinson over Caruthers’ Ronaldo Delgado late in the CIF Southern California Regional Division 6-AA championship game in Orange on Friday, Dec. 8, 2017. (Photo by Matt Masin, Orange County Register, SCNG)

    Orange’s Jordan Schmidt catches a pass from Jason Wilkinson over Caruthers’ Ronaldo Delgado late in the CIF Southern California Regional Division 6-AA championship game in Orange on Friday, Dec. 8, 2017. (Photo by Matt Masin, Orange County Register, SCNG)

  • Katella head coach Fred DiPalma holds the trophy as he celebrates the CIF Southern Regional Division 6-AA championship at Glover Stadium in Anaheim on Saturday, December 9, 2017. (Photo by Bill Alkofer, Orange County Register/SCNG)

    Katella head coach Fred DiPalma holds the trophy as he celebrates the CIF Southern Regional Division 6-AA championship at Glover Stadium in Anaheim on Saturday, December 9, 2017. (Photo by Bill Alkofer, Orange County Register/SCNG)

  • Orange’s Jordan Schmidt reacts after beating Caruthers in overtime in the CIF Southern California Regional Division 6-AA championship game in Orange on Friday, Dec. 8, 2017. (Photo by Matt Masin, Orange County Register, SCNG)

    Orange’s Jordan Schmidt reacts after beating Caruthers in overtime in the CIF Southern California Regional Division 6-AA championship game in Orange on Friday, Dec. 8, 2017. (Photo by Matt Masin, Orange County Register, SCNG)

  • El Modena’s Justin Simpson, right, gets a hand on a pass but can’t hang on as Steele Canyon’s Robert Whitehead defends in the CIF Southern California Regional Division 3-A Championship game in Orange on Saturday, December 9, 2017. (Photo by Paul Rodriguez, Orange County Register/SCNG)

    El Modena’s Justin Simpson, right, gets a hand on a pass but can’t hang on as Steele Canyon’s Robert Whitehead defends in the CIF Southern California Regional Division 3-A Championship game in Orange on Saturday, December 9, 2017. (Photo by Paul Rodriguez, Orange County Register/SCNG)

  • Orange’s Christian Noyola, left, and Jason Wilkinson cheer and scream after beating Caruthers in overtime in the CIF Southern California Regional Division 6-AA championship game in Orange on Friday, Dec. 8, 2017. (Photo by Matt Masin, Orange County Register, SCNG)

    Orange’s Christian Noyola, left, and Jason Wilkinson cheer and scream after beating Caruthers in overtime in the CIF Southern California Regional Division 6-AA championship game in Orange on Friday, Dec. 8, 2017. (Photo by Matt Masin, Orange County Register, SCNG)

  • Orange’s Jason Wilkinson reaches the ball across the goaline in the CIF Southern California Regional Division 6-AA championship game in Orange on Friday, Dec. 8, 2017. (Photo by Matt Masin, Orange County Register, SCNG)

    Orange’s Jason Wilkinson reaches the ball across the goaline in the CIF Southern California Regional Division 6-AA championship game in Orange on Friday, Dec. 8, 2017. (Photo by Matt Masin, Orange County Register, SCNG)

  • El Modena’s Justin Simpson sits on the field after Steele Canyon’s Chance Johnson broke up a pass intended for Simpson on fourth down with minutes to go in the CIF Southern California Regional Division 3-A Championship game in Orange on Saturday, December 9, 2017. Steele Canyon took possession for good and won the game 26-28. (Photo by Paul Rodriguez, Orange County Register/SCNG)

    El Modena’s Justin Simpson sits on the field after Steele Canyon’s Chance Johnson broke up a pass intended for Simpson on fourth down with minutes to go in the CIF Southern California Regional Division 3-A Championship game in Orange on Saturday, December 9, 2017. Steele Canyon took possession for good and won the game 26-28. (Photo by Paul Rodriguez, Orange County Register/SCNG)

  • Katella’s Joshua Cedillo runs for long yardage during the CIF Southern Regional Division 6-AA championship at Glover Stadium in Anaheim on Saturday, December 9, 2017. (Photo by Bill Alkofer, Orange County Register/SCNG)

    Katella’s Joshua Cedillo runs for long yardage during the CIF Southern Regional Division 6-AA championship at Glover Stadium in Anaheim on Saturday, December 9, 2017. (Photo by Bill Alkofer, Orange County Register/SCNG)

  • Orange’s Jason Wilkinson, right, brings in Jordan Schmidt after beating Caruthers in overtime in the CIF Southern California Regional Division 6-AA championship game in Orange on Friday, Dec. 8, 2017. (Photo by Matt Masin, Orange County Register, SCNG)

    Orange’s Jason Wilkinson, right, brings in Jordan Schmidt after beating Caruthers in overtime in the CIF Southern California Regional Division 6-AA championship game in Orange on Friday, Dec. 8, 2017. (Photo by Matt Masin, Orange County Register, SCNG)

  • Orange’s Dylan Moses spins off a tackle attempt from Caruthers’ Imanol Arredondo to break into the secondary in the CIF Southern California Regional Division 6-AA championship game in Orange on Friday, Dec. 8, 2017. (Photo by Matt Masin, Orange County Register, SCNG)

    Orange’s Dylan Moses spins off a tackle attempt from Caruthers’ Imanol Arredondo to break into the secondary in the CIF Southern California Regional Division 6-AA championship game in Orange on Friday, Dec. 8, 2017. (Photo by Matt Masin, Orange County Register, SCNG)

  • El Modena’s Justin Simpson, right, is consoled after El Modena fell to Steele Canyon in the CIF Southern California Regional Division 3-A Championship game in Orange on Saturday, December 9, 2017. (Photo by Paul Rodriguez, Orange County Register/SCNG)

    El Modena’s Justin Simpson, right, is consoled after El Modena fell to Steele Canyon in the CIF Southern California Regional Division 3-A Championship game in Orange on Saturday, December 9, 2017. (Photo by Paul Rodriguez, Orange County Register/SCNG)

  • Caruthers’ Ronaldo Delgado picks a pass intended for Orange’s Jordan Schmidt in the CIF Southern California Regional Division 6-AA championship game in Orange on Friday, Dec. 8, 2017. (Photo by Matt Masin, Orange County Register, SCNG)

    Caruthers’ Ronaldo Delgado picks a pass intended for Orange’s Jordan Schmidt in the CIF Southern California Regional Division 6-AA championship game in Orange on Friday, Dec. 8, 2017. (Photo by Matt Masin, Orange County Register, SCNG)

  • during the CIF Southern Regional Division 6-AA game at Glover Stadium Anaheim, CA on Saturday, December 9, 2017. (Photo by Bill Alkofer, Orange County Register/SCNG)

    during the CIF Southern Regional Division 6-AA game at Glover Stadium Anaheim, CA on Saturday, December 9, 2017. (Photo by Bill Alkofer, Orange County Register/SCNG)

  • Orange poses for photos after beating Caruthers in the CIF Southern California Regional Division 6-AA championship game in Orange on Friday, Dec. 8, 2017. (Photo by Matt Masin, Orange County Register, SCNG)

    Orange poses for photos after beating Caruthers in the CIF Southern California Regional Division 6-AA championship game in Orange on Friday, Dec. 8, 2017. (Photo by Matt Masin, Orange County Register, SCNG)

  • El Modena’s quarterback A.J. Esperanza breaks through the Steele Canyon defense on a quarterback keeper to score a touchdown in the CIF Southern California Regional Division 3-A Championship game in Orange on Saturday, December 9, 2017. (Photo by Paul Rodriguez, Orange County Register/SCNG)

    El Modena’s quarterback A.J. Esperanza breaks through the Steele Canyon defense on a quarterback keeper to score a touchdown in the CIF Southern California Regional Division 3-A Championship game in Orange on Saturday, December 9, 2017. (Photo by Paul Rodriguez, Orange County Register/SCNG)

  • Orange’s Syrus Collins gets a hug after beating Caruthers in the CIF Southern California Regional Division 6-AA championship game in Orange on Friday, Dec. 8, 2017. (Photo by Matt Masin, Orange County Register, SCNG)

    Orange’s Syrus Collins gets a hug after beating Caruthers in the CIF Southern California Regional Division 6-AA championship game in Orange on Friday, Dec. 8, 2017. (Photo by Matt Masin, Orange County Register, SCNG)

  • Orange’s Anthony Garcia lays on the turf with his eyes closed after beating Caruthers during overtime in the CIF Southern California Regional Division 6-AA championship game in Orange on Friday, Dec. 8, 2017. (Photo by Matt Masin, Orange County Register, SCNG)

    Orange’s Anthony Garcia lays on the turf with his eyes closed after beating Caruthers during overtime in the CIF Southern California Regional Division 6-AA championship game in Orange on Friday, Dec. 8, 2017. (Photo by Matt Masin, Orange County Register, SCNG)

  • Katella players celebrate their CIF Southern Regional Division 6-AA championship at Glover Stadium in Anaheim on Saturday, December 9, 2017. (Photo by Bill Alkofer, Orange County Register/SCNG)

    Katella players celebrate their CIF Southern Regional Division 6-AA championship at Glover Stadium in Anaheim on Saturday, December 9, 2017. (Photo by Bill Alkofer, Orange County Register/SCNG)

  • Orange’s Nick Guzman lines up the game winning field goal during overtime in the CIF Southern California Regional Division 6-AA championship game in Orange on Friday, Dec. 8, 2017. (Photo by Matt Masin, Orange County Register, SCNG)

    Orange’s Nick Guzman lines up the game winning field goal during overtime in the CIF Southern California Regional Division 6-AA championship game in Orange on Friday, Dec. 8, 2017. (Photo by Matt Masin, Orange County Register, SCNG)

  • El Modena’s Andrew Carvajal, right, gets around Steele Canyon’s Michael Munane before going out of bounds in the CIF Southern California Regional Division 3-A Championship game in Orange on Saturday, December 9, 2017. (Photo by Paul Rodriguez, Orange County Register/SCNG)

    El Modena’s Andrew Carvajal, right, gets around Steele Canyon’s Michael Munane before going out of bounds in the CIF Southern California Regional Division 3-A Championship game in Orange on Saturday, December 9, 2017. (Photo by Paul Rodriguez, Orange County Register/SCNG)

  • Orange’s Jordan Schmidt makes a deep catch over Caruthers’ Ronaldo Delgado on the second play of the gamw in the CIF Southern California Regional Division 6-AA championship game in Orange on Friday, Dec. 8, 2017. (Photo by Matt Masin, Orange County Register, SCNG)

    Orange’s Jordan Schmidt makes a deep catch over Caruthers’ Ronaldo Delgado on the second play of the gamw in the CIF Southern California Regional Division 6-AA championship game in Orange on Friday, Dec. 8, 2017. (Photo by Matt Masin, Orange County Register, SCNG)

  • Katella’s Andrew Pisani scores the game deciding two-point conversion to win the CIF Southern Regional Division 6-AA championship at Glover Stadium in Anaheim on Saturday, December 9, 2017. (Photo by Bill Alkofer, Orange County Register/SCNG)

    Katella’s Andrew Pisani scores the game deciding two-point conversion to win the CIF Southern Regional Division 6-AA championship at Glover Stadium in Anaheim on Saturday, December 9, 2017. (Photo by Bill Alkofer, Orange County Register/SCNG)

  • Orange’s Syrus Collins, left, and Dylan Moses celebrate a touchdown in the CIF Southern California Regional Division 6-AA championship game in Orange on Friday, Dec. 8, 2017. (Photo by Matt Masin, Orange County Register, SCNG)

    Orange’s Syrus Collins, left, and Dylan Moses celebrate a touchdown in the CIF Southern California Regional Division 6-AA championship game in Orange on Friday, Dec. 8, 2017. (Photo by Matt Masin, Orange County Register, SCNG)

  • Katella’s Nathan Arrington gets tackled by Monte Vista’s Terell Kyle during the CIF Southern Regional Division 6-AA game at Glover Stadium in Anaheim on Saturday, December 9, 2017. (Photo by Bill Alkofer, Orange County Register/SCNG)

    Katella’s Nathan Arrington gets tackled by Monte Vista’s Terell Kyle during the CIF Southern Regional Division 6-AA game at Glover Stadium in Anaheim on Saturday, December 9, 2017. (Photo by Bill Alkofer, Orange County Register/SCNG)

  • Orange’s Syrus Collins gets the outside corner on Caruthers’ David Castillo in the CIF Southern California Regional Division 6-AA championship game in Orange on Friday, Dec. 8, 2017. (Photo by Matt Masin, Orange County Register, SCNG)

    Orange’s Syrus Collins gets the outside corner on Caruthers’ David Castillo in the CIF Southern California Regional Division 6-AA championship game in Orange on Friday, Dec. 8, 2017. (Photo by Matt Masin, Orange County Register, SCNG)

  • Katella’s Miles Poland gets past Monte Vista’s Jack Walker during the CIF Southern Regional Division 6-AA game at Glover Stadium in Anaheim,on Saturday, December 9, 2017. (Photo by Bill Alkofer, Orange County Register/SCNG)

    Katella’s Miles Poland gets past Monte Vista’s Jack Walker during the CIF Southern Regional Division 6-AA game at Glover Stadium in Anaheim,on Saturday, December 9, 2017. (Photo by Bill Alkofer, Orange County Register/SCNG)

  • Orange enters the field in the CIF Southern California Regional Division 6-AA championship game in Orange on Friday, Dec. 8, 2017. (Photo by Matt Masin, Orange County Register, SCNG)

    Orange enters the field in the CIF Southern California Regional Division 6-AA championship game in Orange on Friday, Dec. 8, 2017. (Photo by Matt Masin, Orange County Register, SCNG)

  • Orange’s Anthony Garcia pauses for a moment before the CIF Southern California Regional Division 6-AA championship game in Orange on Friday, Dec. 8, 2017. (Photo by Matt Masin, Orange County Register, SCNG)

    Orange’s Anthony Garcia pauses for a moment before the CIF Southern California Regional Division 6-AA championship game in Orange on Friday, Dec. 8, 2017. (Photo by Matt Masin, Orange County Register, SCNG)

  • Orange’s defensive line waits for Caruthers to exit the huddle in the CIF Southern California Regional Division 6-AA championship game in Orange on Friday, Dec. 8, 2017. (Photo by Matt Masin, Orange County Register, SCNG)

    Orange’s defensive line waits for Caruthers to exit the huddle in the CIF Southern California Regional Division 6-AA championship game in Orange on Friday, Dec. 8, 2017. (Photo by Matt Masin, Orange County Register, SCNG)

  • El Modena’s Caleb Vanderwall, right, pulls down Steele Canyon’s Perry Steele after breaking free for a big gain in the CIF Southern California Regional Division 3-A Championship game in Orange on Saturday, December 9, 2017. (Photo by Paul Rodriguez, Orange County Register/SCNG)

    El Modena’s Caleb Vanderwall, right, pulls down Steele Canyon’s Perry Steele after breaking free for a big gain in the CIF Southern California Regional Division 3-A Championship game in Orange on Saturday, December 9, 2017. (Photo by Paul Rodriguez, Orange County Register/SCNG)

  • Katella qarterback Nathan Arrington pushes ahead for extra yardage during his game against Monte Vista in the CIF Southern Regional Division 6-AA game at Glover Stadium in Anaheim, on Saturday, December 9, 2017. (Photo by Bill Alkofer, Orange County Register/SCNG)

    Katella qarterback Nathan Arrington pushes ahead for extra yardage during his game against Monte Vista in the CIF Southern Regional Division 6-AA game at Glover Stadium in Anaheim, on Saturday, December 9, 2017. (Photo by Bill Alkofer, Orange County Register/SCNG)

  • Orange’s Joseph Martinez finds a hole in the defense during the first quarter in the CIF Southern California Regional Division 6-AA championship game in Orange on Friday, Dec. 8, 2017. (Photo by Matt Masin, Orange County Register, SCNG)

    Orange’s Joseph Martinez finds a hole in the defense during the first quarter in the CIF Southern California Regional Division 6-AA championship game in Orange on Friday, Dec. 8, 2017. (Photo by Matt Masin, Orange County Register, SCNG)

  • Orange’s captains Jason Wilkinson, Jordan Schmidt, Syrus Collins and Keion Craig prepare for the toss in the CIF Southern California Regional Division 6-AA championship game in Orange on Friday, Dec. 8, 2017. (Photo by Matt Masin, Orange County Register, SCNG)

    Orange’s captains Jason Wilkinson, Jordan Schmidt, Syrus Collins and Keion Craig prepare for the toss in the CIF Southern California Regional Division 6-AA championship game in Orange on Friday, Dec. 8, 2017. (Photo by Matt Masin, Orange County Register, SCNG)

  • Katella’s Nathan Arrington threw for 300 yards in the CIF Southern Regional Division 6-AA championship at Glover Stadium in Anaheim on Saturday, December 9, 2017. (Photo by Bill Alkofer, Orange County Register/SCNG)

    Katella’s Nathan Arrington threw for 300 yards in the CIF Southern Regional Division 6-AA championship at Glover Stadium in Anaheim on Saturday, December 9, 2017. (Photo by Bill Alkofer, Orange County Register/SCNG)

  • El Modena’s quarterback A.J. Esperanza, right, is brought down by Steele Canyon defenders 3 yards short of the goal line in the CIF Southern California Regional Division 3-A Championship game in Orange on Saturday, December 9, 2017. (Photo by Paul Rodriguez, Orange County Register/SCNG)

    El Modena’s quarterback A.J. Esperanza, right, is brought down by Steele Canyon defenders 3 yards short of the goal line in the CIF Southern California Regional Division 3-A Championship game in Orange on Saturday, December 9, 2017. (Photo by Paul Rodriguez, Orange County Register/SCNG)

  • El Modena’s quarterback A.J. Esperanza looks to recover from an errant snap from center against Steele Canyon in the CIF Southern California Regional Division 3-A Championship game in Orange on Saturday, December 9, 2017. (Photo by Paul Rodriguez, Orange County Register/SCNG)

    El Modena’s quarterback A.J. Esperanza looks to recover from an errant snap from center against Steele Canyon in the CIF Southern California Regional Division 3-A Championship game in Orange on Saturday, December 9, 2017. (Photo by Paul Rodriguez, Orange County Register/SCNG)

  • Orange’s Dylan Moses is wrapped up by Caruthers’ Erick Gonzalez along the sideline after a reception in the CIF Southern California Regional Division 6-AA championship game in Orange on Friday, Dec. 8, 2017. (Photo by Matt Masin, Orange County Register, SCNG)

    Orange’s Dylan Moses is wrapped up by Caruthers’ Erick Gonzalez along the sideline after a reception in the CIF Southern California Regional Division 6-AA championship game in Orange on Friday, Dec. 8, 2017. (Photo by Matt Masin, Orange County Register, SCNG)

  • Orange’s Dylan Moses drags a pair of Caruthers defenders for the extra yard in the CIF Southern California Regional Division 6-AA championship game in Orange on Friday, Dec. 8, 2017. (Photo by Matt Masin, Orange County Register, SCNG)

    Orange’s Dylan Moses drags a pair of Caruthers defenders for the extra yard in the CIF Southern California Regional Division 6-AA championship game in Orange on Friday, Dec. 8, 2017. (Photo by Matt Masin, Orange County Register, SCNG)

  • El Modena’s Justin Simpson, right, breaks up a pass intended for Steele Canyon’s Randy Jordan in the end zone in the fourth quarter to take possession of the ball in the CIF Southern California Regional Division 3-A Championship game in Orange on Saturday, December 9, 2017. (Photo by Paul Rodriguez, Orange County Register/SCNG)

    El Modena’s Justin Simpson, right, breaks up a pass intended for Steele Canyon’s Randy Jordan in the end zone in the fourth quarter to take possession of the ball in the CIF Southern California Regional Division 3-A Championship game in Orange on Saturday, December 9, 2017. (Photo by Paul Rodriguez, Orange County Register/SCNG)

  • Orange’s Jordan Schmidt runs past Caruthers’ Ronaldo Delgado in the CIF Southern California Regional Division 6-AA championship game in Orange on Friday, Dec. 8, 2017. (Photo by Matt Masin, Orange County Register, SCNG)

    Orange’s Jordan Schmidt runs past Caruthers’ Ronaldo Delgado in the CIF Southern California Regional Division 6-AA championship game in Orange on Friday, Dec. 8, 2017. (Photo by Matt Masin, Orange County Register, SCNG)

  • El Modena fans are feeling a little down as their team trails Steele Canyon in the CIF Southern California Regional Division 3-A Championship game in Orange on Saturday, December 9, 2017. (Photo by Paul Rodriguez, Orange County Register/SCNG)

    El Modena fans are feeling a little down as their team trails Steele Canyon in the CIF Southern California Regional Division 3-A Championship game in Orange on Saturday, December 9, 2017. (Photo by Paul Rodriguez, Orange County Register/SCNG)

  • El Modena’s Angel Alcala, right, and a teammate sack Steele Canyon’s quarterback Thomas Fishburne in the CIF Southern California Regional Division 3-A Championship game in Orange on Saturday, December 9, 2017. (Photo by Paul Rodriguez, Orange County Register/SCNG)

    El Modena’s Angel Alcala, right, and a teammate sack Steele Canyon’s quarterback Thomas Fishburne in the CIF Southern California Regional Division 3-A Championship game in Orange on Saturday, December 9, 2017. (Photo by Paul Rodriguez, Orange County Register/SCNG)

  • Steele Canyon’s Chance Johnson, right, tips the ball away from El Modena’s Justin Simpson on fourth down with minutes to go in the CIF Southern California Regional Division 3-A Championship game in Orange on Saturday, December 9, 2017. (Photo by Paul Rodriguez, Orange County Register/SCNG)

    Steele Canyon’s Chance Johnson, right, tips the ball away from El Modena’s Justin Simpson on fourth down with minutes to go in the CIF Southern California Regional Division 3-A Championship game in Orange on Saturday, December 9, 2017. (Photo by Paul Rodriguez, Orange County Register/SCNG)

  • Orange’s Jordan Schmidt looks toward a quartet of Caruthers defenders after a reception in the CIF Southern California Regional Division 6-AA championship game in Orange on Friday, Dec. 8, 2017. (Photo by Matt Masin, Orange County Register, SCNG)

    Orange’s Jordan Schmidt looks toward a quartet of Caruthers defenders after a reception in the CIF Southern California Regional Division 6-AA championship game in Orange on Friday, Dec. 8, 2017. (Photo by Matt Masin, Orange County Register, SCNG)

  • Katella’s Andrew Pisani scores the winning touchdown in the CIF Southern Regional Division 6-AA championship at Glover Stadium in Anaheim on Saturday, December 9, 2017. (Photo by Bill Alkofer, Orange County Register/SCNG)

    Katella’s Andrew Pisani scores the winning touchdown in the CIF Southern Regional Division 6-AA championship at Glover Stadium in Anaheim on Saturday, December 9, 2017. (Photo by Bill Alkofer, Orange County Register/SCNG)

  • El Modena coach Matt Mitchell signals his players during the CIF Southern California Regional Division 3-A Championship game against Steele Canyon in Orange on Saturday, December 9, 2017. (Photo by Paul Rodriguez, Orange County Register/SCNG)

    El Modena coach Matt Mitchell signals his players during the CIF Southern California Regional Division 3-A Championship game against Steele Canyon in Orange on Saturday, December 9, 2017. (Photo by Paul Rodriguez, Orange County Register/SCNG)

  • Caruthers’ Imanol Arredondo is stuck in place while being tackled at the ankles by Orange’s Christian Medina in the CIF Southern California Regional Division 6-AA championship game in Orange on Friday, Dec. 8, 2017. (Photo by Matt Masin, Orange County Register, SCNG)

    Caruthers’ Imanol Arredondo is stuck in place while being tackled at the ankles by Orange’s Christian Medina in the CIF Southern California Regional Division 6-AA championship game in Orange on Friday, Dec. 8, 2017. (Photo by Matt Masin, Orange County Register, SCNG)

  • Caruthers quarterback Jared Gilmore drops back to throw in the CIF Southern California Regional Division 6-AA championship game in Orange on Friday, Dec. 8, 2017. (Photo by Matt Masin, Orange County Register, SCNG)

    Caruthers quarterback Jared Gilmore drops back to throw in the CIF Southern California Regional Division 6-AA championship game in Orange on Friday, Dec. 8, 2017. (Photo by Matt Masin, Orange County Register, SCNG)

  • Monte Vista’s Jahmon McClendon drops a pass during the CIF Southern Regional Division 6-AA game against Katella at Glover Stadium in Anaheim, CA on Saturday, December 9, 2017. (Photo by Bill Alkofer, Orange County Register/SCNG)

    Monte Vista’s Jahmon McClendon drops a pass during the CIF Southern Regional Division 6-AA game against Katella at Glover Stadium in Anaheim, CA on Saturday, December 9, 2017. (Photo by Bill Alkofer, Orange County Register/SCNG)

  • Monte Vista’s Jahmon McClendon scores his fourth touchdown during the CIF Southern Regional Division 6-AA game against Katella at Glover Stadium in Anaheim, CA on Saturday, December 9, 2017. (Photo by Bill Alkofer, Orange County Register/SCNG)

    Monte Vista’s Jahmon McClendon scores his fourth touchdown during the CIF Southern Regional Division 6-AA game against Katella at Glover Stadium in Anaheim, CA on Saturday, December 9, 2017. (Photo by Bill Alkofer, Orange County Register/SCNG)

  • Caruthers’ quarterback Jared Gilmore, left, high fives Imanol Arredondo after a touchdown in the CIF Southern California Regional Division 6-AA championship game in Orange on Friday, Dec. 8, 2017. (Photo by Matt Masin, Orange County Register, SCNG)

    Caruthers’ quarterback Jared Gilmore, left, high fives Imanol Arredondo after a touchdown in the CIF Southern California Regional Division 6-AA championship game in Orange on Friday, Dec. 8, 2017. (Photo by Matt Masin, Orange County Register, SCNG)

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El Modena tripped up by too many near-misses, falls in CIF State regional final

  • El Modena’s Justin Simpson, right, gets a hand on a pass but can’t hang on as Steele Canyon’s Robert Whitehead defends in the CIF Southern California Regional Division 3-A Championship game in Orange on Saturday, December 9, 2017. (Photo by Paul Rodriguez, Orange County Register/SCNG)

    El Modena’s Justin Simpson, right, gets a hand on a pass but can’t hang on as Steele Canyon’s Robert Whitehead defends in the CIF Southern California Regional Division 3-A Championship game in Orange on Saturday, December 9, 2017. (Photo by Paul Rodriguez, Orange County Register/SCNG)

  • El Modena’s Andrew Carvajal, right, gets around Steele Canyon’s Michael Munane before going out of bounds in the CIF Southern California Regional Division 3-A Championship game in Orange on Saturday, December 9, 2017. (Photo by Paul Rodriguez, Orange County Register/SCNG)

    El Modena’s Andrew Carvajal, right, gets around Steele Canyon’s Michael Munane before going out of bounds in the CIF Southern California Regional Division 3-A Championship game in Orange on Saturday, December 9, 2017. (Photo by Paul Rodriguez, Orange County Register/SCNG)

  • Steele Canyon’s Chance Johnson, right, tips the ball away from El Modena’s Justin Simpson on fourth down with minutes to go in the CIF Southern California Regional Division 3-A Championship game in Orange on Saturday, December 9, 2017. (Photo by Paul Rodriguez, Orange County Register/SCNG)

    Steele Canyon’s Chance Johnson, right, tips the ball away from El Modena’s Justin Simpson on fourth down with minutes to go in the CIF Southern California Regional Division 3-A Championship game in Orange on Saturday, December 9, 2017. (Photo by Paul Rodriguez, Orange County Register/SCNG)

  • El Modena’s Justin Simpson sits on the field after Steele Canyon’s Chance Johnson broke up a pass intended for Simpson on fourth down with minutes to go in the CIF Southern California Regional Division 3-A Championship game in Orange on Saturday, December 9, 2017. Steele Canyon took possession for good and won the game 26-28. (Photo by Paul Rodriguez, Orange County Register/SCNG)

    El Modena’s Justin Simpson sits on the field after Steele Canyon’s Chance Johnson broke up a pass intended for Simpson on fourth down with minutes to go in the CIF Southern California Regional Division 3-A Championship game in Orange on Saturday, December 9, 2017. Steele Canyon took possession for good and won the game 26-28. (Photo by Paul Rodriguez, Orange County Register/SCNG)

  • El Modena’s Justin Simpson, right, is consoled after El Modena fell to Steele Canyon in the CIF Southern California Regional Division 3-A Championship game in Orange on Saturday, December 9, 2017. (Photo by Paul Rodriguez, Orange County Register/SCNG)

    El Modena’s Justin Simpson, right, is consoled after El Modena fell to Steele Canyon in the CIF Southern California Regional Division 3-A Championship game in Orange on Saturday, December 9, 2017. (Photo by Paul Rodriguez, Orange County Register/SCNG)

  • El Modena’s Justin Simpson, right, breaks up a pass intended for Steele Canyon’s Randy Jordan in the end zone in the fourth quarter to take possession of the ball in the CIF Southern California Regional Division 3-A Championship game in Orange on Saturday, December 9, 2017. (Photo by Paul Rodriguez, Orange County Register/SCNG)

    El Modena’s Justin Simpson, right, breaks up a pass intended for Steele Canyon’s Randy Jordan in the end zone in the fourth quarter to take possession of the ball in the CIF Southern California Regional Division 3-A Championship game in Orange on Saturday, December 9, 2017. (Photo by Paul Rodriguez, Orange County Register/SCNG)

  • El Modena’s quarterback A.J. Esperanza, right, is brought down by Steele Canyon defenders 3 yards short of the goal line in the CIF Southern California Regional Division 3-A Championship game in Orange on Saturday, December 9, 2017. (Photo by Paul Rodriguez, Orange County Register/SCNG)

    El Modena’s quarterback A.J. Esperanza, right, is brought down by Steele Canyon defenders 3 yards short of the goal line in the CIF Southern California Regional Division 3-A Championship game in Orange on Saturday, December 9, 2017. (Photo by Paul Rodriguez, Orange County Register/SCNG)

  • El Modena’s quarterback A.J. Esperanza breaks through the Steele Canyon defense on a quarterback keeper to score a touchdown in the CIF Southern California Regional Division 3-A Championship game in Orange on Saturday, December 9, 2017. (Photo by Paul Rodriguez, Orange County Register/SCNG)

    El Modena’s quarterback A.J. Esperanza breaks through the Steele Canyon defense on a quarterback keeper to score a touchdown in the CIF Southern California Regional Division 3-A Championship game in Orange on Saturday, December 9, 2017. (Photo by Paul Rodriguez, Orange County Register/SCNG)

  • El Modena’s Caleb Vanderwall, right, pulls down Steele Canyon’s Perry Steele after breaking free for a big gain in the CIF Southern California Regional Division 3-A Championship game in Orange on Saturday, December 9, 2017. (Photo by Paul Rodriguez, Orange County Register/SCNG)

    El Modena’s Caleb Vanderwall, right, pulls down Steele Canyon’s Perry Steele after breaking free for a big gain in the CIF Southern California Regional Division 3-A Championship game in Orange on Saturday, December 9, 2017. (Photo by Paul Rodriguez, Orange County Register/SCNG)

  • El Modena’s Angel Alcala, right, and a teammate sack Steele Canyon’s quarterback Thomas Fishburne in the CIF Southern California Regional Division 3-A Championship game in Orange on Saturday, December 9, 2017. (Photo by Paul Rodriguez, Orange County Register/SCNG)

    El Modena’s Angel Alcala, right, and a teammate sack Steele Canyon’s quarterback Thomas Fishburne in the CIF Southern California Regional Division 3-A Championship game in Orange on Saturday, December 9, 2017. (Photo by Paul Rodriguez, Orange County Register/SCNG)

  • El Modena’s quarterback A.J. Esperanza looks to recover from an errant snap from center against Steele Canyon in the CIF Southern California Regional Division 3-A Championship game in Orange on Saturday, December 9, 2017. (Photo by Paul Rodriguez, Orange County Register/SCNG)

    El Modena’s quarterback A.J. Esperanza looks to recover from an errant snap from center against Steele Canyon in the CIF Southern California Regional Division 3-A Championship game in Orange on Saturday, December 9, 2017. (Photo by Paul Rodriguez, Orange County Register/SCNG)

  • El Modena coach Matt Mitchell signals his players during the CIF Southern California Regional Division 3-A Championship game against Steele Canyon in Orange on Saturday, December 9, 2017. (Photo by Paul Rodriguez, Orange County Register/SCNG)

    El Modena coach Matt Mitchell signals his players during the CIF Southern California Regional Division 3-A Championship game against Steele Canyon in Orange on Saturday, December 9, 2017. (Photo by Paul Rodriguez, Orange County Register/SCNG)

  • El Modena fans are feeling a little down as their team trails Steele Canyon in the CIF Southern California Regional Division 3-A Championship game in Orange on Saturday, December 9, 2017. (Photo by Paul Rodriguez, Orange County Register/SCNG)

    El Modena fans are feeling a little down as their team trails Steele Canyon in the CIF Southern California Regional Division 3-A Championship game in Orange on Saturday, December 9, 2017. (Photo by Paul Rodriguez, Orange County Register/SCNG)

  • An El Modena cheerleader gets the banner ready for the team’s entrance before the start of the CIF Southern California Regional Division 3-A Championship game against Steele Canyon in Orange on Saturday, December 9, 2017. (Photo by Paul Rodriguez, Orange County Register/SCNG)

    An El Modena cheerleader gets the banner ready for the team’s entrance before the start of the CIF Southern California Regional Division 3-A Championship game against Steele Canyon in Orange on Saturday, December 9, 2017. (Photo by Paul Rodriguez, Orange County Register/SCNG)

  • Members of the El Modena marching band get ready to perform before the start of the CIF Southern California Regional Division 3-A Championship game against Steele Canyon in Orange on Saturday, December 9, 2017. (Photo by Paul Rodriguez, Orange County Register/SCNG)

    Members of the El Modena marching band get ready to perform before the start of the CIF Southern California Regional Division 3-A Championship game against Steele Canyon in Orange on Saturday, December 9, 2017. (Photo by Paul Rodriguez, Orange County Register/SCNG)

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ORANGE – A brilliantly-timed trick-play that glanced off the finger tips. A 2-point conversion attempt that fell inches shy of the end zone. The lone turnover in the game on the third play from scrimmage.

Those were just some of the narrow margins between winning and losing for El Modena in the CIF Southern California Regional Division 3-A championship game against Steele Canyon from the San Diego Section.

And unfortunately for El Modena, they went against the Vanguards on Saturday as Steele Canyon collected a 28-26 victory to end one of the best seasons in Orange County football.

“All those little plays add up in big games like this,” El Modena coach Matt Mitchell said. “When teams are good like that, you can’t do that.”

But El Modena (12-3) was quickly reminded by Mitchell about the success of its season, which delivered the Vanguards their first CIF-SS title since 1984.

“Our goal was a ring (and) we got a ring,” El Modena senior wide receiver/defensive back Justin Simpson said. “Still a very successful season.”

Video: El Modena comes up short in regional final

Simpson nearly helped send El Modena to the state final. Trailing 28-26 with about three minutes left in the fourth, El Modena called for a double-pass on first-and-19 from its 25 after a holding penalty.

The play surprised Steele Canyon and Simpson narrowly over-threw a deep pass to a wide open Ryan Smith. The pass deflected off Smith’s out-stretched hands.

Steele Canyon (11-4), San Diego’s Division 2 champion, forced El Modena to turn the ball over on downs at the Vanguards 33 with 2:31 left and then ran out the clock.

El Modena nearly tied the score early in the second half with an 8-yard TD reception by Andrew Carvajal from A.J. Esperanza. The score cut Steele Canyon’s lead to 14-12 but the Cougars narrowly stopped Carvajal’s run on the 2-point conversion just before the end zone.

Carvajal was hardly stopped, rushing for 167 yards on 37 carries and scoring three TDs.

El Modena trimmed Steele Canyon’s lead to two points twice in the fourth quarter, including 28-26 after a 16-yard TD run by Esperanza and a PAT by Eloi Barajas with 5:39 left.

Simpson broke up a fourth-down pass with 3:22 remaining to give the Division 7 champion its final scoring chance.

Steele Canyon led 14-6 at halftime thanks to an opportunistic scoring drive and a long march for a touchdown.

The Cougars recovered a fumble at the El Modena 24 on the third play from scrimmage and scored less than two minutes later on a 2-yard run by wide receiver Perry Steele on a sweep.

El Modena trimmed Steele Canyon’s lead to 7-6 early in the second quarter on a 1-yard run by Carvajal, who carried all nine times on a 41-yard scoring drive. The Vanguards featured their three-back, no-receiver formation for most of the drive but the point-after attempt failed.

Steele Canyon responded with 10-play, 76-yard drive punctuated by a touchdown run by DeOntae McKinney.

El Modena threatened to score just before half but Steele Canyon held on a fourth-and-19 from its 20 with 39 seconds left. Darin Walton sparked the defensive stand with a sack for a 10-yard loss on third down.

Walton also recorded two tackles for loss in the first half.

Carvajal carried 20 times for 94 yards in the first half.

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CIF State football championships schedule

Schedule for the CIF State football championship games on Friday and Saturday, Dec. 15 and 16.

CIF STATE CHAMPIONSHIPS

at Sacramento State
Friday, Dec. 15
Division 2-AA

Cajon (14-1) vs. Serra of San Mateo (12-2), 4 p.m.
Division 1-AA
Helix of La Mesa (13-1) vs. Folsom (15-0), 8 p.m.
Saturday, Dec. 16
at Sacramento State
Division 2-A
Grace Brethren (13-2) vs. St. Francis of Mountain View (10-4), noon
Division 1-A
Narbonne (11-3) vs. Pittsburg (9-2), 4 p.m.
Open Division
Mater Dei (14-0) vs. De La Salle of Concord (11-1), 8 p.m.

Championship games at home team sites
All games Saturday, Dec. 16, 6 p.m.
Division 3-AA
Shasta of Redding (12-1) vs. Bishop Diego (14-1), at TBD
Division 3-A
Half Moon Bay (14-0) at Steele Canyon of Spring Valley (11-4)
Division 4-AA
Placer of Auburn (13-1) at Crenshaw (11-3)
Division 4-A
Milpitas (12-1) at Southwest of El Centro (14-0)
Division 5-AA
McClymonds of Oakland (13-0) at Golden West of Visalia (12-2)
Division 5-A
Fortuna (12-2) vs. Katella (14-1), at TBD
Division 6-AA
Strathmore (15-0) vs. Orange (13-2) at El Modena High
Division 6-A
Galileo of San Francisco (10-2) vs. Memorial of Calexico (12-2) at TBD

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