There was a contingent of former Franklin High football players in the stands at East L. A. College for last Saturday's City Section 3-A Division championship game between Franklin and Palisades. Some of them wore patches and rings from last season's team that later was stripped of its 3-A title because of the use of an ineligible player.
The emblems stood as reminders of a title won--and lost.
Franklin Co-Coach Robin Cardona hoped this season would end more happily. And Franklin regained the title with a 30-14 victory.
"The kids took it upon themselves to save the Franklin High School name and put some respectability back in the program," Cardona said. "Nobody will take this one away from us."
Franklin (10-1) was fortunate to be in the playoffs. The Panthers lost 16 starters from last season, including quarterback Ricky Lopez. His brother, Ronnie, replaced him this season and completed 13 of 21 passes for 176 yards and 2 touchdowns in the final. His counterpart, Perry Klein, the leading passer in the nation, completed 22 of 39 passes for 194 yards and 2 touchdowns.
Klein passed for 3,896 yards this season, the second-best all-time total (the national record is 4,098), and also threw 36 touchdowns. But Cardona seemed unimpressed.