A conciliatory Bill Workman addressed the annual CIF Southern Section football press conference luncheon Monday at the Ramada Inn in Norwalk.
In his 13th season as head coach at Edison High School in Huntington Beach, Workman was being showcased along with others involved in the nine Southern Section conference championship games this weekend.
But the veteran coach wasn't in the mood for small talk. His Big Five Conference opponent in the championship game at 7:30 p.m. Friday at Anaheim Stadium is Poly High, and that worried him.
The Big Five championship game is the plum of the Southern Section. It's highly promoted, always attracts a large crowd and is booked into places like the Big A, Rose Bowl or Coliseum. Workman gave the impression that he was awed by the situation.
"It's good to be back after several years," he said. Edison won Big Five titles in 1979 and 1980.
'Just a Bunch of Little Surfers'
"We're just a bunch of little surfers from down at the beach," Workman said. "I can't really figure out how we got here."
Workman must have been kidding.
Tradition-rich Edison is an Orange County offensive power that averages more than 25 points a game and brings a seven-game winning streak into the title game. The Chargers are making their 10th playoff appearance in 12 seasons.
Workman's overall record is 109-32-4. His name pops up routinely each time a college head coaching job opens in Southern California.
Football is serious business at Edison. The school recently announced plans to raise funds for a $150,000 campus football training complex complete with video room, sauna, whirlpools, kitchen and coaches' offices.
Poly, of course, is also a traditional power. At 11-1, the Jackrabbits are formidable opponents, with six shutouts by a defense that allows opponents less than 50 yards a game and an offense that converts the big play when necessary.
This is Poly's 12th appearance in a Southern Section final and the school has won 10, both Southern Section records.
Will Edison, with its high-powered passing attack, present a threat to Poly?
"I don't think so," said Jerry Jaso, Poly's first-year co-coach. "It should be a low-scoring game."
Both Advanced With Narrow Wins
The teams advanced to the finals after narrow wins. Edison stopped Westminster three times inside the Charger 10-yard line and won, 7-3, last Friday. Poly downed Marina, which shared the Sunset League title with Edison, 7-6. Two weeks ago, Poly beat Fontana, 10-9.
Edison quarterback Mike Angelovic set a school single-season passing record for most yardage. He needs two touchdown passes Friday to set a record in that category. Senior Rick Justice also has a chance to set school marks for most receptions and touchdowns by a tight end.
Poly's Leonard Russell has rushed for 1,348 yards and 13 TDs. Quarterback Michael Herring (101-212-15, 1,556 yards, 18 TDs)has mixed up his passes to Eric Morgan (34-562, 7 TDs), Chris Roscoe (30-404, 4 TDs), Andre Hill (16-308, 4 TDs)and Michael Vaughn (15-280, 4 TDs).
The schools met once previously, with Poly winning, 21-17, in the 1982 Big Five semifinals.