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Playoffs Add to Memory File

November 14, 1995

The Southern Section football playoffs begin with the first round this weekend, so The Times Orange County posed the following question to some of the participating players:

"What do the playoffs mean to you?"

*

As the regular season winds to a close, it leaves behind many memories. Quarterback sacks, diving touchdown catches and last-second victories are all part of the excitement of the regular season.

Those things are in the past, however. A new season is about to begin.

To players and coaches, it is the final part of a great journey to prove who the dominant teams really are. A year's worth of merciless hard work and complete dedication are on the line. Players seem to thrive on pure emotion for these four weeks. The stakes are high and every second counts.

A victory means a tougher contest with a more formidable opponent next week. A loss means becoming a spectator for the rest of the postseason. So let's try to forget the OCN "Game of the Week" because from now on, every game is the game of the week.

The top teams in Southern California are about to go head to head, and this year's competition will be the fiercest ever. It's going to be a battle from beginning to end, but someone's going to come out on top. The Southern Section playoffs are upon us once again.

--Ryan Wilkins, senior wide receiver, Esperanza

Going to the playoffs means that I get to be with my team longer. I get to be around people that I love and respect. I get to play a sport that I have played since the second grade for a couple more weeks . . . for the last time in my life. Football and my teammates mean a lot to me, and I want to be around both of them as long as I can.

As a program, it is great for us because we have a chance to come in first place in one of the toughest leagues [South Coast] in the county. We have a chance to redeem ourselves for not making the playoffs last year. This group of seniors has not won a Division I playoff game. In 1992, we lost to Redlands, and in 1993, we lost to Loyola. I want to prove that we can compete in Division I and make it past the first round.

The main reason I want to go to the playoffs, though, is that I want to stay with my team for as long as I can. I will remember this season for the rest of my life. All the coaches are like fathers to me, and all the players are like brothers. I will see my teammates after the season is over, around the campus and community, but being teammates gives us something special in common. After the season is over, we will lose that.

I don't want this season to ever end.

--Tyler Plewe, senior linebacker, Capistrano Valley

Making the playoffs and succeeding in them are the most important things in the world right now to me and my teammates. Last season, we made it to the playoffs and shocked a lot of people by reaching the semifinals. After we lost that game to Servite, going home on the bus we promised each other that we would return the next year and settle for nothing less than the championship.

We have dedicated our season to two great guys: Jeff Stenstrom, whom I admired and only dreamed about playing as well as, and Joe Leon, who was not only a teammate and classmate but a great friend. Joe joined us in making those promises on the bus last year, so we all want to keep our promise to Joe. I would love nothing more than to honor their memories by doing well in the playoffs and bringing home a championship to El Toro High School.

--Sean Vickers, senior linebacker, El Toro

Crack! Two helmets colliding into each other at a rampaging pace. The roar from the crowd anticipating a come-from-behind victory. The friendship and love one feels for his teammates as individuals unite as one. These are all part and parcel of my ongoing experiences as we embark upon our destiny to conquer whomever may challenge our progression in the Southern Section playoffs.

Somehow looking at the future, the upcoming games seem like minor trifles. Seven months of scrutiny has transcended into one final examination. Going into the season, we as individuals each had playoff intentions. Going through the season as a team, the playoffs appeared as a distant fog creeping steadily on the outskirts of the field.

Respect for our coach runs parallel with loyalty toward our alma mater. In victory, each player has given extra effort and received acknowledgment for a job well done. Our need for our coach ends here, however, as we must take the next step alone to maximize our potential to the highest degree.

For four years Pacifica has not participated in the playoffs for reasons that include lack of discipline, determination and motivation. This season has been rejuvenating, overflowing with a new-found spirit in players and coaches alike. Much of this is due to our senior leadership.

What does being in the playoffs mean to me? The world.

--Craig Chow, senior defensive back, Pacifica

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