(CBS/Rahshaun Haylock) — One is a legend in the game of high school football, the other is cutting his teeth after wrapping up just his third season as a Varsity head coach.
One has won, won, and won some more, while the other took on the tough task of trying to get his program to the mountain top. After the 2010 season, both can stake claim to the title of Champion.
Oaks Christian’s Bill Redell and Monrovia’s Ryan Maddox are our CBSLA co-Coaches of the Year.
For Redell, its been there, done that. He can almost be called the Joe Paterno of Southern California high school football.
Over the last few seasons, the question directed to him the most is: will this be his last year?
If you ask him, he’ll tell you he’s been retiring every year for the past ten years.
2010 was, again, believed to be the final season, but now its a no. Had it been a yes, it would have been one, storybook ending.
It’s not often that you mention Oaks Christian and storybook in the same sentence.
For the program that has been long regarded by most as “the school that doesn’t play anybody,” in 2010 the Lions played somebodies and surprised plenty on thier way to a Northern Division title.
2010 was supposed to be a down year for Oaks Christian. “Down” for Oaks Christian still would have likely been good enough to make it through the Tri-Valley League and possibly win the Northwest Division, but Oaks no longer belonged to the Tri-Valley or the Northwest, they instead moved up to the Marmonte League and the Northern Division. Depth was a huge concern for Redell entering the season.
Lo and behold, after starting the season 2-2, Redell was stuck with the task of trying to break in a new quarterback in backup Richie Harrington after Trevor Gretzky was lost with a shoulder injury.
As the injuries mounted, it appeared lining up against physical competition week in and week out was starting to take its toll on tiny Oaks.
It was Harrington that engineered a magical finish against St. Bonaventure as the Lions came back from a 19 point deficit to avoid starting the season 0-2.
It was the same Harrington that took over the offense and guided the team to ten consecutive wins, highlighted by playoff triumphs over Thousand Oaks, (Valencia) Valencia, and Westlake.
Valencia starting tailback, Steven Manfro, entered the Northen Division semifinal matchup averaging 12 yards per carry. The Lions held him to 116 yards on the ground –87 yards below his season average.
It’s hard to beat a good team twice in the same season.
Oaks Christian did it, defeating Marmonte League foe Thousand Oaks twice, and failed to have it done to them with a one-point win over Westlake in the Northern Division Final.
In, perhaps, the gutsiest call of the season, Redell, with the game and the season on the line, sent star wide receiver Blair Holliday out on the field with the Lions an extra point away from tying Westlake in the Northern Division Championship.
Holliday lined up as the Wildcat quarterback and rushed in a two-point conversion to give Oaks Christian the lead and eventually the title in a 29-28 win.
In a game that’s been billed as the Game of the Year, it was Redell’s bunch prevailing to win their seventh CIF Title.
They did so as a underdog at home and defeated their neighbors, who many believed was the top team in the state. In its very first season exploring new heights, Oaks reached new heights.
For Maddox, the toll was perhaps more daunting.
At Monrovia, you can attain a level of success, but there’s always the proverbial elephant in the room. The program had been to the big game in the past but had always come up short. Monrovia made the Buffalo Bills look pedestrian.
Nine times a Monrovia team made it to a CIF Title game and nine times Monrovia left with a runner-up plaque, entering the 2010 season.
Maddox, for his efforts contributed once to the state-record streak.
In 2009, the Wildcats were back in a sectional final for the first time since the school made three consecutive appearances from 1997-1999.
In ’09, Monrovia made it to the Mid-Valley Division Title game to face a San Dimas team it had beaten by 19 points earlier in the season, but with the title on the line, San Dimas would get the best of the Wildcats and handed Monrovia its only loss of the season.
Monrovia started the 2010 campaign 1-2, including a one-point loss to San Dimas. As fate would have it, it wouldn’t be the final time they would have to line up against the Saints in the season.
The two teams squared off in the Mid-Valley Semifinals and that time it was Monrovia coming away with a win with the season on the line, handing San Dimas a 47-14 defeat and propelled themselves into the CIF Final for a 10th time.
This is a streak that dates back to 1935. Monrovia is the only school to advance to nine sectional finals and not win a championship.
It could be compared to the “Curse” of the Boson Red Sox, if only, Monrovia had a championship in their past –they hadn’t.
Indeed, the 10th time was the charm for the school that opened its doors in 1893. Monrovia defeated Whittier Christian 38-8 for the Mid-Valley Divsion Title.
In the school’s 117-year history, its Maddox, who ended the dreaded streak and and lifted Monrovia to a CIF Title.