With the huge success of their deep playoff run this past football season, one that many believe the Jurupa Hills football team overachieved once they entered the playoffs. It would be quite easy to believe they did just that, overachieve, being that the team finished the regular season with a record of 8-5, and just 2-3 in league play.
But when the team entered the big stage of the CIF-SS East Valley playoffs, Head Football Coach Ed McMillon lead his team to an impressive run, one that unfortunately come to an end during an instant playoff classic in the semifinals. A close game throughout that they lost in overtime 34-33 against a then undefeated, 13-0 Ontario Christian team.
Even with that loss, Coach McMillon who has made prior coaching stops at La Puente, Rialto Carter, Compton Centennial and Fontana AB Miller believes his program has taken a major step forward in building a winning tradition that prior to this season was only a dream. But such a dream surely is not easy, considering the fact the school is nestled smack dab in Fontana.
And when it comes to Prep football, Fontana is a city that is littered with football royalty, beginning with Legendary Coach Dick Bruick’s Fontana Steelers in years past, and presently the Summit SkyHawks whom won a CIF title in 2011, and the Kaiser Cats who won a CIF title this past season. It was at CIF Championship game that Summit won, that Coach McMillon made a bold statement. “I went to Summit Championship game the year, and I said it would be nice to get here, but people laughed about it,” said Coach McMillon.
Looking back at Jurupa Hills resume of the past two seasons, it would be difficult to believe this program would be able to complete at a high level in the CIF playoffs. Seeing that his team went just 1-7 in their inaugural season in 2010, the year the school opened its doors; and just 1-9 the season after. But after spending just a few moments with Coach McMillon, his passion, his energy, his vision can be felt.
McMillon vision will ensure his career at Jurupa Hills will be defined by more than just wins and losses. “When you are a new program, there are a lot of growing pains. Learning how successful programs operate, so we can be a successful program,” said Coach McMillon.
His passion lead him through some of the dark days that were to be expected when building a program from scratch. When the school first opened its doors in 2010, his Varsity team was filled with underclassmen, as the school only admitted Freshmen and Sophomores. But, if building a football program, player by player, piece by piece, coach by coach were easy, then everyone would do it.
McMillon knows with all his recent success, he cannot slow down, as he still have a long way to go, saying “Seeing some of the kids overcome obstacles. How we looked when they were freshmen, and now, they put in serious effort. (This year is our) first class of seniors that have a chance, only thirteen seniors (from our first team in 2010) stayed. We still have a lot of room to grow. No one expected us to do this well, but we did.”