Undefeated Bell High School puts its 11-0 record on the line at 5 p.m. today against Eastern League rival Roosevelt High in the City Section CIF 2A football championship game at East Los Angeles College.
A win by the Eagles would give the school its first City Section sports title. Bell recently celebrated its 60th year.
Roosevelt is the defending 2A champion.
Bell handed Roosevelt (8-2-1) its only league loss, 24-15, last month, but Eagle Coach Tosh Nitta calls the rematch a draw.
"It's an even game," he said. "They're up for it. They're the defending champion."
First-year Roughrider Coach Dave Endow views it differently.
"In order for us to win, we have to control three components of the game," he said. He indicated Roosevelt must keep Bell out of the range of field goal kicker Waldir Guerra, put more pressure on quarterback Eliud Pacheco and control the ball with its defense.
"In order for us to win, we must play an outstanding game defensively," he said. Roosevelt has allowed its opponents an average of eight points a game, but its offense averages less than two touchdowns.
Guerra has been a key to Bell's success. The Salvadoran-born soccer player took up playing American football only this year. He booted field goals of 44, 33 and 31 yards in the first meeting between the schools.
Endow fears Guerra's range, which he classifies as "50-60 yards."
Bell quarterback Pacheco, who threw for 125 yards in the game, enters the rematch with 1,448 yards and 11 touchdowns. He has completed nearly 65% of his passes.
But Bell will be without running back Javier Mendez, who ran for 106 yards in the first game. Mendez has a broken shoulder blade. Running back Lino Ramirez is expected to shift to tailback from fullback. Ramirez has carried 118 times for 584 yards and 5 TDs. Linebacker Sergio Martinez, who started at fullback early in the year, is expected to return to that position.