A select group of high school football teams throughout Southern California got to enjoy a special Thanksgiving, holding practices in preparation for playing in championships games on Friday and Saturday.
As they thought about turkey, yams and pumpkin pie, players from 28 Southern Section teams and eight City Section teams kept their focus ahead of trying to win section championship games and gain automatic berths to next week’s CIF state championship bowl games that will be announced Sunday.
The Tonga brothers from Birmingham, Nick and Bo, are starting linemen who weigh close to 300 pounds. They showed up at 9 a.m. for practice but were excited about what awaits them when they return home — a Polynesian Thanksgiving with ham (maybe a whole pig) and two turkeys. Thank goodness Birmingham doesn’t play Garfield in the City Section Open Division final until Saturday at Valley College. They might need a day to recover from their feast.
Defending Southern Section Division 1 champion St. John Bosco, making its ninth appearance in the last 10 seasons in Friday’s final against Mater Dei at the Coliseum, held its annual morning practice with parents providing help in the kitchen.
A look at some practices and celebrations on Thursday: