Wednesday, September 26, 2012

Elijah Herrera-Edison Charger Overcoming Odds

Elijah Herrera #9 Scoring Game Winning TD against Servite- (all photos via

As Edison heads into another difficult game this time against San Clemente, which will be aired on FoxSportWest & Primeticket this Friday night at 8:30 pm PST, I can't help but take a look back at what Elijah's had to overcome. First he was hit by a car while riding his bike home from surfing. He was very fortunate and only received injury to his foot and achilles. He was pretty scraped up and ended up in a walking cast. But we felt so blessed that he was kept safe. Nine months later, before he was to start his first Edison High School Freshman football practice, Elijah came down with the VERY serious Meningococcal Meningitis virus. He woke up early in the morning with a severe headache. I gave him Advil but it continued to get worse. It wasn't until I saw his hands "posturing" that I knew something was seriously wrong.

I was very familiar with this as my younger brother passed away after he received severe head trauma in a car accident. While in the hospital with him I noticed his hands moving which the nurse replied, "It happens when there's brain's involuntary and called posturing."

This "clue" I feel ended up being a blessing and a life saver for my son. I asked Elijah, "What are you doing with your hands." When he replied, "Nothing, why?"  I immediately got him to the hospital, still unaware of what exactly was wrong with him. After a spinal tap, the doctor's and nurses rushed into the room at a frantic pace with masks & gloves on and immediately moved us into isolation as they prepared to take him by ambulance to the Children's Hospital (CHOC in Orange). That is when we got the dismal news that he had the worst possible type of meningitis, bacterial. The side effects are severe (blindness, deafness, brain damage, gangrene, paralysis, and death.) It is one of the most deadly diseases and rarely leaves it's victims without its effects, if they survive.

Elijah spent a week in CHOC hospital with severe unbearable head & neck pain, while they continued to pump him with an IV full of all kinds of antibiotics. They continued to watch for signs of any other problems he may be developing while the bacteria sat in his brain & spinal fluid. He received visits from the OC Infectious Disease doctors and several others as they tried to figure out how he contracted it. The only thing we could come up with was that while boxing with his friends the night before, he received a blow to his face from a boxing glove and there may have been bacteria on the glove that traveled up through his nose.

They waited for his specific initial culture to grow out completely to make sure he was receiving the right treatment. But in the meantime, tons and tons of his friends were sending out mass text messages to be praying for him. Then a miracle happened...the initial bacteria completely stopped growing! The OC Infectious Disease Doctor said she had never seen anything like it. They continued to treat him for the initial findings and he began to heal. Slowly he got better without a single side effect! He eventually regained his strength and was back playing football...the sport he loves and has been playing since the age of 5 (on the exact same Edison football field that he plays on today!)

During his sophomore year, two of the running backs got hurt and they called him up from the JV team after he had a phenomenal game running the ball against Marina & Huntington Beach. He impressed the coaches and finished out the year as a the varsity running back. Then by his junior year, he again stepped into the running back position and outside linebacker. He helped lead the Chargers to an undefeated Sunset League Championship, set a school record for the longest kickoff return for a touchdown~99 yards & led the team in touchdowns. As his Senior year gets started, he is currently a Co-Captain and leads the Chargers in tackles at the outside linebacker position and once again rotates in at running back.

His road hasn't been easy, but through a life threatening illness God has helped him to overcome the odds. He knows the importance of giving everything you have and never giving up, because dreams are too important and his story could have had a much different ending.
Elijah Running the ball against Mater Dei


Friday, September 21, 2012

Edison vs. Mater Dei

Elijah Herrera # 9~Sacking Villa Park H.S. QB

Tonight's BIG high school football match up against the two undefeated schools Edison (green/gold) & Mater Dei (white/red) begins at 7:00 pm tonight. It will be a battle. I'm so proud of my son #9 Elijah Herrera. He's been having an amazing season so far (Outside Linebacker/Running Back & Team Captain). The game will be on IBN Sports live sure to tune in & cheer for Edison & my son, #9. It's going to be a good one! LET'S GO EDISON CHARGER'S! TEAMWORK!! Watch it here:

Tuesday, September 18, 2012

Edison Defense Shuts Down Servite

Edison defeats Servite 6-0
Most football teams have a big standout superstar that all the media talks about & hypes up. Opposing teams then plan their game around a particular player and key in on and/or double team the player on offense. If the superstar is a defensive player, certain plays may be designed opposite of where they're lined up. This year Edison has a complete TEAM of standout players. The media hasn't really been talking anyone up too much, just constantly writing about their stifling defense.

Read Articles Here: 
OC Varsity: Super-Charged Edison Defense Stops Servite
Los Angeles Times Article: Beware of Edison Swarm Defense

Edison knows that they do not need a superstar, they need teamwork, not one individual go to guy but an entire team of players bonding together in teamwork and brotherhood. Each one making sure that they are doing their part to propel their team to victory. When each and every player works to give 100+% at their individual position you create an unstoppable force. How do you key in on an ENTIRE TEAM of unselfish, devoted players who are striving to finish each and every play until the whistle blows, while encouraging their brothers to also perform at a higher level? It's impossible! No one can ever match up against teamwork. A superstar is the main focus of a team, if they aren't performing well, the team will suffer.

This year Edison has found that special ingredient ~ unselfish teamwork. They used this to defeat Servite 6-0! It was a battle from start to finish. Edison's defense continued to make a HUGE statement. Servite has not been left scoreless since it's 2004 season. It was a HUGE win for the Charger boys on their quest for a CIF Championship.
Edison downing the ball with a few minutes left in the game

 As they head into yet another media hyped underdog situation against Mater Dei this Friday, 7:00 pm at Orange Coast College, the Charger's will once again let their performance do the talking~one block, one pass, one run, one tackle, one sack, one interception, one field goal and one touchdown at a time. They know that in the end...they will stand tall as a complete TEAM of superstars who "believed in each other."
"Build for your team a feeling of oneness, of dependence on one another and of strength to be derived by unity." Vince Lombardi

"Talent wins games, but teamwork and intelligence wins championships." Michael Jordan

"The way a team plays as a whole determines its success. You may have the greatest bunch of individual stars in the world, but if they don't play together, the club won't be worth a dime." Babe Ruth

"In order to have a winner, the team must have a feeling of unity; every player must put the team first ahead of personal glory." Paul Bear Bryant

"If everyone is moving forward together, then success takes care of itself." Henry Ford

Watch Full Game Here:

Tuesday, September 11, 2012

9/11 Eleven Years Later

It's been 11 years since the horrific 9/11 attacks. It's hard to believe it's been that long. I'm sure each and every one of us has that day etched forever into our memory. Do you remember exactly what you were doing? I know I do and I will never forget the day that changed America forever.

The majority of us often look at all the inconveniences due to 9/11; longer lines at the airport, stricter security, more rules, guidelines and terrorist alert warnings. All of these add to the significant changes brought about after the attacks. But when you feel like complaining, let your mind wander to the families who's lives were truly changed forever...beyond the daily inconveniences that you and I experience; their loved ones never came home! They were left with broken, lost, shattered dreams and lives.

On this the 11th anniversary, remember to pray for all those who have lost their loved ones.

*Hope found in the rubble ~ Read 9/11 survivor stories a decade later: Click Here

Monday, September 10, 2012

Edison Beats Villa Park!

Elijah Herrera (OLB) takes down Meki Tafuna-ouch!
OC Varsity interview after the game

I wanted to give you a quick update on last weeks game: Edison vs. Villa Park. It was the first time we'd ever played them. Since our league (Sunset League) has been moved to a new CIF Division this year we got a little preview into the type of teams we'll be seeing in the playoffs.

We won...27-7! Our defense played AMAZING and held Villa Park's top running back, Meki Tafuna to only 64 yards the entire game.

This basically shut down their offense as they are a running team. Our offense is still working on a few kinks but once they get ironed out...we will be unstoppable. It's only a matter of time and we're looking for that timing to fall into place this week against Servite.

Elijah played incredible defense (outside linebacker)...he's been so fired up to have the best Senior season. Most of these boys have been playing together since they were 5 years old so there is such a since of "family" on the team. They never want to let their "brother" down. Each and every boy on the team is giving 100+%. With that kind of determination...they will be unstoppable! A lot of teams have talent, but to have talent in addition to a bond, determination, never quit, never give up, never let your brother down attitude will propel these boys to the best season Edison has ever seen.

Watch this short highlight video from OC Varsity about the game & they interviewed Elijah again. You can tell he was pretty fired up right after the game!

Next up: Edison vs. Servite- Friday, 9/14/12 @ 7:00 pm. LET'S GO CHARGERS!!!  This is your year. Make the best of each and every moment!!

Sunday, September 9, 2012

Almost Kidnapped at Walmart? SCARY!

My sister came down on Friday to stay the night so we could go kayaking and bike riding on Saturday. After going out to dinner we headed to Walmart to find her a bike (she wanted to buy a cheap bike to keep at my house to use when she comes down to visit.) It was around 9:30 pm when we pulled up to Walmart and all the bikes were set out near the garden center pretty far away from the main entrance. We took our time as she sat on a few to find the right size. After picking out the perfect one, she went inside to pay while I went to pull the car up.

We loaded the bike in and then looked for something to tie the trunk down with. After trying a long, thin cloth purse she had in the car to no avail, my sister headed back inside to ask for string while I stayed looking for a way to make it work. They didn't have string so they gave her several plastic bags to tie together. We spent more time tying them together and then we took the plastic rope and attempted to tie the trunk closed. It was dark outside and due to the late hour there wasn't anyone around.

The first car that pulled right up next to us was a taxi driver with several men inside, (all of them were different nationalities) They all leaned up to the window to look at us. The driver rolled down the passenger window and said, "It's a crime for women to be as beautiful as both of you." Neither one of us said a word. There was a weird silence as they all continued to peer out the windows at us. The taxi driver finally said, "K, thanks," and slowly pulled away. "Wow! That was really weird...only at Walmart," I said. Little did I know that there was more in store for us.

We were crouched down continuing to try and make it work. Our car was parked close to the curb & parallel to the street. All of a sudden a white ("molester type") van pulled up vertically right behind us. A gray bearded, sketchy looking white man said, "I've been watching you for a while," in a low, creepy tone. Then went on, "Would you like to borrow a bungy cord, it's on the other side of my van." We both were startled and a little nervous because we realized he had boxed us in between the two cars. We replied in unison, "No, we're fine." He persisted and said, "Your trunk is going to bounce while you drive and that's not good. Just come around the other side and get it." I said, 'NO, we're fine."

He slowly backed up as I looked at my sister and said, "Let's go NOW. I don't care if it bounces up we have to get out of here!" We jumped in the car and as we started to drive he began following us. I floored it and squeezed in between two tanker trucks as the light changed red and stopped us. I quickly turned down the street because I knew he was stuck behind the last truck and probably couldn't see us turn. I sped up again and squeezed in between two cars to hide in case he turned after us. Luckily we lost him but we kept looking nervously behind us. I was prepared to drive him straight to the police department.

I feel pretty thankful that things turned out okay. After thinking about it, I realized that he and/or several guys could've jumped out of the car with a gun or knife at any point and tried to force us in the van, or gotten me when I was out there all alone for a while. I wondered at the coincidence of the first group of glaring men in the taxi and then the van driver quickly after. Were we being scoped out at close range before the van came in for the pick up?  I don't know if the two were connected or if my writer's imagination just clumped the weirdness together, but all I know is we were VERY scared!

California is a top area for human trafficking with the close proximity to the Mexican boarder and all of the local ports. Human trafficking is also one of the fastest growing lucrative crimes with statistics estimating $32 billion per year. UN recently released updated figures which showed the problem is growing worse "The only other crime that brings in more money is drug trafficking. To solve the problem, the UN is calling on governments to prioritize human trafficking cases and to target not just the pimps and sweatshops, but also the people who recruit, smuggle, and sell other people. The average cost for a human slave is $90.00 USD."

I just wanted to share what happened with everyone and tell you to be careful out there & pay attention to your surroundings! Please remember, human trafficking is not only happening in other's happening right in your city/state too. It is definitely more common for them to take younger girls or boys but they do not discriminate if they think you will fit nicely as a "package" they may need to deliver. Keep your guard never know who is watching you!

**Be sure to look for  "Prop 35" on this years ballot which would increase penalties for human traffickers.

Wednesday, September 5, 2012

Edison vs. Villa Park

Edison Team Captains: Derek Baljou, Alek Torgersen, Elijah Herrera, and Garrett Garcia

Last week Edison played Garfield for their first game. Edison won 24-0, but had a slow start offensively. They were able to find their rhythm in the second half. I was very impressed with the solid performance of the defense and of course my son, Elijah Herrera (OLB/RB). He's a 3 year starter and received All League Honors last year at both running back and outside linebacker. He's worked so hard as a two way starter and special teams. Last year he broke a 43 year old school record for the longest kickoff return for a touchdown- 99 yards. During last weeks game he received a break and played mainly defense, but he's been working hard all summer and is definitely ready to go both ways again this year.

He's been receiving some interest from University of Colorado Buffaloes, University of Miami, University of San Diego, University of Montana as well as contact with San Diego State, Harvard and Brown. He's looking to definitely have a breakout year and hopefully receive a scholarship.

Edison is coming off of a win last week and had a great summer where they won their passing tournament, "Battle at the Beach" going undefeated and beating Mater Dei in the final game. Across town on the same day their lineman won the Santa Margarita Lineman Competition. Edison is stacked with one of the biggest and most agile lines they've had in years. Alek Torgersen is a talented and smart quarterback with an incredible arm; add to that two speedy, skilled running backs, Elijah Herrera and Marquis Ross and you have a very balanced offense this year. The quick and experienced group of line backers will add to the strength of this years team. So, as Edison prepares to play Villa Park for the very first time, which is the, "Game of the Week," OC Varsity stopped by Edison and interviewed Elijah.
It should be a great match up and give us a look into the teams in our new CIF Southwest playoff division this year. So stay tuned...kickoff is Thursday @ Huntington Beach High School, 7:00 p.m.