Tailgate party prior to game at Villa Catrina
By Ryan Foran
For the first time in 40 years, the Arcadia High School Football team will be playing in the CIF Championship game on Friday night. The Apaches went on the road for the second straight week and came home with another impressive victory to set the stage for another historic night. Arcadia scored early and often on its way to a convincing 62-28 win over Alta Loma in the Division 8 game. This was the first semifinal appearance for Arcadia since its head Coach Andrew Policky helped lead the team to the penultimate round 21 years ago.
The Apaches (11-2) have now won 10 straight games after going undefeated on their way to the Pacific League Championship. The Apaches’ playoff run has been beyond astonishing thus far. They dominated Agoura 56-7 in round one at home, easily beat Temescal Canyon 38-17 on the road, and then followed that up with a 62-27 victory in the semifinal. The multidimensional offense has scored an average of 52 points per game in the postseason, while the defense has been equally impressive not to mention the team’s great kicking game and special teams.
Now the real test begins as the Apaches return to the CIF title game for the first time in four decades. Friday’s opponent, Kaiser (12-1), a powerhouse out of Fontana, has been just as accomplished as the Apaches this season. With only one loss, the Cats have reeled off 11 straight wins heading into this much-anticipated showdown. Last week, Kaiser beat Santa Ana 51-33 in the semifinals to earn its trip to Arcadia.
Arcadia was actually also in the title matchup 41 years ago. Both of those teams were led by NFL Hall of Fame lineman and former Apache Bruce Matthews. Even with a future Hall of Fame star on the team, the Apaches came up short in their championship opportunities in 1977 and 1978. Those teams were coached by the namesake of Arcadia’s beautiful state-of-the-art stadium that today’s Apaches call home, Dick Salter. As the Apaches return to their football glory days, two of Salter’s children are also playing for CIF Championships this weekend. Tim Salter is the head coach of Upland High School, with his team playing Saturday night in the Division 2 finals at Rancho Verde. Tom Salter is the athletic director at Culver City, with his team playing in the Division 7 championship game at San Jacinto on Saturday night. Both Salters were on hand along with Arcadia High players and staff at the CIF Championship Luncheon which was held on Monday in Long Beach. It will make for a CIF Championship weekend that the late Coach Dick Salter would be beyond proud of.
Tickets for the Arcadia High game will be available starting at 5 p.m. on Friday at the ticket booths on campus. Tickets can be purchased with cash only, credit and debit cards along with checks cannot be accepted. The game is scheduled to kickoff at 7 p.m. There is an Apache Tailgate being hosted for alumni and fans at Villa Catrina on Santa Anita from 3:30 until 6 p.m. just prior to the game.