Coach Lou Ferrar remembers well the last time that Covina Charter Oak High School qualified for a Southern Section football playoff berth. The year was 1962, and Ferrar was a sophomore starter on a team that was to be the school's last playoff team for the next 23 years. So it wasn't that surprising when Ferrar broke into tears Friday night after directing the Chargers to a surprisingly easy 36-5 victory over Diamond Bar High at Mt. San Antonio College to capture the Southern Section Southeastern Conference title.
"Maybe this was our turn," he said as he stood at midfield shortly after the final gun, braving the chilling temperatures in a short sleeve shirt. "Our kids did a super job."
Indeed. In finishing the season with a 13-0 record, Charter Oak shut down one of the most powerful offenses in the Southern Section. Diamond Bar (13-1) brought a 27-game winning streak--second longest in the state--into the game. But the Brahmas were held to just 45 total yards in the first half as the Chargers mounted a 15-3 lead.
"I wanted this one bad," said Ferrar, who, as a first-year coach, opened the season with the unenviable job of picking a starting lineup from the combined student body of Royal Oak High (now closed) and Charter Oak. "We needed this one."
Diamond Bar scored first. The Brahmas recovered a Mike Smith fumble at the Charter Oak three-yard line. Four plays later, Corey Kapano kicked a 21-yard field goal. It came with 4:12 to go in the first quarter and was the deepest penetration the Brahmas would have all evening.
Charter Oak dominated from there. An eight-yard touchdown run by senior running back Jeff Obert came with 8:39 left in the first half, and then Obert followed with a one-yard plunge with 2:16 remaining.
Obert, who scored a total of 11 touchdowns during the playoffs, added scoring runs of 1 and 2 yards in the second half.
Charter Oak ground out 162 yards rushing in the first half, as Obert gained 92 of his game-high 169 yards in the first 24 minutes.
So successful was the Brahma running attack, that Charter Oak quarterback John Strycula attempted just two passes in the first half and nine in the game. Diamond Bar never got on track after Obert ran for his first score. The Brahmas continually hurt themselves with poor ballhandling. The teams combined for 13 fumbles. The difference? Diamond Bar lost four of its six.