By Tim Peterson
“That’s all we do is fight. That’s all we know how to do. The La Serna Lancers are always here. We’re not going anywhere! But I tell you where we are going…to the CIF Finals!” – La Serna HC Andy George to his team after Friday night’s semi final win over St. Francis.
Yes, La Serna is going to the CIF Finals…again. For the fourth time in the last five years, La Serna is headed to the CIF Southeast Division Finals. The only time the Lancers didn’t go during that span was last year when they fell to Crescenta Valley in the semis. La Serna in the final game is becoming as routine as the sunrise in Southern California.
Two years ago La Serna won its only championship during the run in an epic win over Norwalk. Now the Lancers will go after another one Saturday night against La Mirada. The 2015 road to the title game may have been the most difficult yet.
The week before the first game of the season Margarito Beltran was dismissed as head coach for an incident on campus involving the physical restraint of a special needs student and assistant Andy George was suddenly thrust into the role of head coach.
Although Beltran has since reportedly been cleared of any wrong doing the talk at the time was that the the distraction would be too much for the Lancers. This is the year that they would fall. But instead La Serna hasn’t missed a beat. The Lancers went out and immediately beat Eastlake in Chula Vista before returning home to knock off Lakewood.
In week three I personally saw them destroy a good South Hills team and it looked like they had something special. Two weeks later they crushed Whittier on their way to perfect Del Rio League run.
And La Serna has gotten even better since the playoffs started. The Lancers rolled up 49 against Paramount and then dropped 68 on a Harvard-Westlake team that beat St. Francis and lost to Cathedral by just one point. Distraction? All there is is motivation.
Even last week a lot of people still weren’t convinced. St. Francis, especially at home, would be too much was the narrative. The Golden Knights were playing their best football of the year and would be able to wear down the La Serna in the end.
Actually in the end it was the Lancers who did the wearing down outscoring St. Francis 21-0 in the second half and emerging with a 24-10 victory. Johnny Ceballos and Matthew Marshall led the offense and Jonah Franco highlighted a huge defensive effort with a late interception as the Lancers advanced to the big game.
“Let’s hear it for the La Serna Lancers!” George exhorted his team and he was met with loud raucous cheers and hollers.
The Lancers were indeed in the Finals again. George was absolutely right. The Lancers indeed aren’t going anywhere…except to the Southeast Division Championship game.
That’s my principle.
Tim can be reached at firstname.lastname@example.org or Twitter @tspeterson40.\