North County school eyes first state football title in San Francisco

SAN DIEGO -- Four football teams from San Diego hit the road this week in hopes of bringing home a state title.

Among them, the Orange Glen Patriots of Escondido, who will travel nine hours by bus to San Francisco. The Patriots Cinderella season continues with a chance for the State 6-a title, a feat no other Orange Glen football team has ever reached.

"We're the first Escondido district school to make the state playoffs and certainly the first one to play for a state championship, so we are extremely excited for our city, our school and everyone involved," said Head Coach Jason Patterson.

"It's pretty cool because last year we ended so early and it's fun," said junior running back Cael Patterson. "Everybody else in Escondido is at home, resting for next year so it's pretty cool."

Orange Glen claimed their first San Diego section title in 51 years after finishing their season 10-3, a stark contrast from last year when the Patriots won just a single game.

"It just shows how much we've gotten better," said junior linebacker Julien Lesa. "We've gotten closer, we're more like a family now. We're not individuals now, we work together, we hang out together and we just bonded."

The Patriots travel to San Francisco Thursday morning to prepare for their Saturday championship game against undefeated San Francisco Lincoln, a team with 11 San Francisco section titles.

"The intensity steps up a little bit because it's the state championship, it's our last game of the season but we're just going to do what we do every week, watch film and study," said Lesa.

For many players, this will mark the first time visiting San Francisco and coach Patterson says he wants to make it an experience the guys will remember, so in addition to playing football, the team will also do some sight seeing.

"We're going to go to Pier 39, walk around Fisherman's Wharf," said Patterson. "We're going to go down to Ghirardelli chocolate Factory, we're going to hit the Golden Gate Bridge, walk around the park a little bit, so we're really just going to experience and walk around a little bit."

It is a once in a lifetime trip the Patriots hope to end with a state title.

"We have a motto: 'Do it for the 1-9's and the 0-10's.' So just giving back to the community. Everyone gives to us so just to give back would be awesome," said sophomore quarterback Ethan Villalobos.

Orange Glen kicks off at 12 p.m. against San Francisco Lincoln Saturday at City College of San Francisco.

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