Grueling two-a-day practices were the order of the day last week as local high schools prepared for the 2012 football season. It was less than eight months ago that San Clemente and Santa Margarita played for the Southern Section's Pac-5 championship.
In fact, in the state's marquee division—the Pac-5 is routinely regarded as the Southern Section's best from top to bottom—four South Orange County teams reached the semifinals.
Santa Margarita defeated Mission Viejo, 21-20, and San Clemente defeated Tesoro, 51-16. The Eagles then beat the Tritons for the championship, 27-13 before going on to win the Division I State Bowl Championship, 42-37, over San Jose Bellarmine.
In other divisions, local teams did well too. El Toro finished as the runner-up to Tustin, 35-28, for the Southwest title (El Toro is moving into the Pac-5 this season), and Corona del Mar beat Beckman, 14-13, for the Southern championship. They're all gearing up for a repeat performance—or to improve on last season's performance—in 2012.
The first local team to play this season will be San Juan Hills, which plays at Calabasas Viewpoint on Aug. 22. El Toro plays host to Huntington Beach at Trabuco Hills on Aug. 23, and then on Aug. 24—the first Friday night of the season—a number of local Patch-area teams play:
- Bellflower at Aliso Niguel
- Santa Ana Calvary Chapel at Sage Hill
- Compton at Tesoro
- Dana Hills at Trabuco Hills
- Fountain Valley vs. Foothill at Huntington Beach
- University at Capistrano Valley
- Mission Viejo at Bakersfield Centennial
- St. Margaret's vs. Los Angeles View Park at Rancho Cienega Park
- L.A. West Adams at San Clemente
The opening weekend closes on Aug. 25 with Saddleback Valley Christian at Big Bear, and the nationally broadcast ESPN2 game featuring Santa Margarita at Phoenix Brophy Prep at Phoenix Community College.