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Mayfair football embracing 'uncommon' circumstances en route to first CIF State final

Mayfair's 'uncommon' mantra has helped forge its winning culture, but it also ironically describes its practice situation the last seven weeks

Mayfair High football coach Derek Bedell explains his program's mantra easily.

"Uncommon," Bedell said. "That's something we've been saying for a while. It basically means you can't be common. Because to be great at football, you can't be common."

"We have a group that buys into inner competition," Bedell added. "These guys try and better themselves, and they're constantly competing with each other."

Culture matters, and it's helped to forge a historical season for the Monsoons, which won the program's first CIF Southern Section title since 2001 when they defeated El Dorado 31-28 in the Division 7 final on Nov. 25.

Mayfair (12-3) etched a deeper groove in its history when it won the program's first-ever regional championship last weekend, topping Mount Miguel 52-21 for the Division 3-A title.

Last stop: The CIF State 3-A final against Marin Catholic (13-1) on Saturday at 7:00 p.m. at El Camino College -- another history making opportunity in Bedell's ninth season at the helm.

"We're not exactly surprised," Bedell said. "We created an 18-week calendar at the beginning of the year, and the players began to play for Monday through the postseason. ... We reached the last Monday (for practice) of the year."

Reaching this point of the season is uncommon enough, but Mayfair is also dealing with uncommon circumstances each day when it practices.

"For the past seven weeks, we have not practiced at Mayfair. We have to bus to Bellflower High. We don't have lights," Bedell said.

Due to day light savings and darkness, the Monsoons of Lakewood have to pile into a bus and get to Bellflower for practice from 5 to 7 p.m. every day.

"We've completely embraced it," Bedell said. "It actually keeps us focused. Less distractions. One time we practiced at St. John Bosco because of the rain," said Bedell, whose son played at the prominent football school.

Mayfair football's UNCOMMON mantra/theme.

Mayfair's team mantra is UNCOMMON, which has forged a winning culture.

Mayfair is led by a crop of non-seniors, highlighted by speedy sophomore wideout Chaz Gilbreath, who has 1,249 yards receiving and 11 touchdowns, along with junior quarterback Jeremiah Calvin, junior tailback Louis Johnson and sophomore linebacker Miles Mitchell.

Speed is where Bedell believes his Monsoons will have an advantage over Marin Catholic.

"We have six players that can reach 20 miles per hour (sprinting)," Bedell said. According to a post on Twitter/X, Gilbreath reached 21.5 miles per hour just a few weeks ago.

Mayfair has its foundational upper classmen, too, specifically seniors Ryan Heredia (running back) and linebacker Marcell Kemp. Junior center Michael Cazares drew high praise as well.

Marin Catholic is known for its stout defense, which has only allowed 106 points all season and 28 of those came against Oakland McClymonds in the regional final. The Wildcats' defense is led by linebacker Zach Taylor and defensive end Mario Crocitto, according to Bedell. 

Tailback Charles Williams is a big threat offensively.