MISSION VIEJO, Calif. - Lafayette's Acalanes High School football players took to the field on Saturday against Birmingham of Van Nuys, CA, winning the 3-AA title.
Quarterback Sully Bailey threw four touchdown passes to lead Acalanes to a 35-23 victory in the CIF State Division 3-AA football championship game at Saddleback College.
The win marked the first state football title for the Dons.
Acalanes (11-4) ended the season on a five-game winning streak and became the first Northern California team to celebrate a title at Saddleback in the three years that the CIF started playing championship games there, the Mercury News reported.
The championship game was played at Saddleback College in Mission Viejo, California on Saturday, December 9.
There are 175 students in the football program at Acalanes High School, which includes first-year students to seniors.
But it was the 50 team members of the varsity football team that came home with the state championship after Saturday’s win.
Players who spoke to KTVU told us, winning the state title wasn’t without adversity throughout the year. Lots of time in the gym, running laps around the field and keeping up with assignments.
18-year-old quarterback Sully Bailey is a senior. He said, "Seeing the progression of the team this year was really special. We started 0-3 and really overcame adversity and had a great end to the season."
Bailey took a hard hit in the second half of the game.
He said, "Right towards the end of the third quarter, his helmet went right into my knee! Fortunately, Kener gave me his knee brace and I was able to put enough weight on it to get back in there and finish the game."
Many players gave credit to the various coaches for the school’s first ever state championship.
Kian Marett plays defensive tackle. He smiled and proudly held up the large, dark wooden trophy, carved in the shape of the state of California with gold lettering.
He said, "The coaches did a great job of inspiring us and pushing us to be the best we can be. I worked with coach Doug, and although he was tough, he made us into the fearsome defensive linemen that we are!"
Team center Henry Hagel was thrilled to beat the Southern California team Burlington from Van Nuys.
He said, "It feels great to be the first team at Acalanes to win a state title. Hopefully it continues and we get a couple more soon."
These athletes aren’t just in the game for the sport. Most are academic standouts as well. Coach Floyd Burnsed smiled as he proudly said, "This team has an average grade point average of 3.3."
Several players honored the support from parents and family, as well as coaches, teachers, and the large boosters, who supported the team to victory this year.
Trevor Rogers plays wide receiver, corner and kicker and is grateful for the support the entire team has received. He said, "It meant the world to us to have the support we have, we never could have done it without all of them."
Rogers has his future laid out, having committed to playing football close to home next year at Cal Berkeley.
As for Coach Burnsed, he couldn’t be prouder! "It’s pretty exciting! That’s what you get as a coach; you don’t get paid a lot, but the rewards you get! Like texts from guys I’ve coached over the years, saying ‘Congrats coach, you were the greatest coach I ever had!’
Two other high schools in the Bay Area also won the state championship in their divisions. St. Vincent’s of Petaluma and Marin Catholic.
Correction: An earlier version of this article misstated where Trevor Rogers has committed to playing college track and football next year. Rogers has committed to Cal Berkeley for 2024. We apologize for this error.
Alice Wertz is a freelance reporter for KTVU Fox 2 News. She can be reached at Alice.Wertz@Fox.com