According to J.J. Lasley, losing doesn't always have to be that bad.
After the Crespi High running back saw his team let an eight-point lead slip away in the fourth quarter of a 32-27 Del Rey League loss to St. John Bosco, he opted to take the philosophical approach to losing. Perhaps it was the only way to keep himself from breaking into tears, like many of his teammates.
"To tell the truth, this is almost better than winning," he said not so convincingly. "We are going to come back even stronger than before. I really don't think we're going to lose another ball game."
Crespi entered the game with an 8-0 overall record and a 3-0 mark in league. That might intimidate some teams. Not St. John Bosco. The Braves had the same record and Friday night's game at Crespi was pretty much the title game. St. John Bosco still must face Alemany next week, while Crespi will play St. Francis.
For Crespi, ranked No. 2 in both the Big Five Conference and The Times Valley polls, it was a tough loss.
The Celts led, 27-19, after Jeff Kellogg's seven-yard touchdown run with 11:29 left in the game.
The Braves, however, came back to score two touchdowns in the next 10 minutes.
The crusher was running back Oscar Meza's 14-yard scoring run with 1:29 left.
Meza, who gained 151 yards in 23 carries, scored twice in the second half as St. John Bosco rallied from a 21-12 halftime deficit.
"That was the greatest second half we have ever played," Meza said.
Meza's winning run was set up seven plays earlier, when defensive back Cary Windes intercepted a Rob O'Byrne pass at the St. John Bosco 31-yard line.
"That hurt," Crespi Coach Bill Redell said. "But they made a couple turnovers that hurt them and we made some that hurt us. That's football."
The Celts still had an opportunity to come back, but Russell White, their standout sophomore tailback, injured his ankle on the first play, an 11-yard gain to the Crespi 27, and O'Byrne misfired on four straight passes. The injury was not serious, but kept him out of Crespi's final possession. Asked about the injury after the game, White indicated that the injury was not serious.
Before leaving the game with about a minute left, White totaled 155 yards in 14 carries, raising his season totals to 1,468 yards in 114 carries.
Lasley added 101 yards in 16 carries. Overall, Crespi gained 311 yards on the ground and 76 through the air.
St. John Bosco quarterback Jim Sterner completed nine of 14 passes for 210 yards.
Crespi took a 7-0 lead with 4:39 left in the first quarter, when quarterback Rob O'Byrne connected with Eric Kieling for a 32-yard touchdown pass.
The touchdown was set up four plays earlier, when Celt Mike Weller recovered Oscar Meza's fumble at the St. John Bosco 49.