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Salesian and Cathedral Give Peace a Chance

October 09, 1994|WILL ETHERIDGE | SPECIAL TO THE TIMES

Salesian High School won the game, 3-0, but the real victory last Saturday afternoon at Roosevelt High was that Salesian and Cathedral High restricted their battles to the football field.

Said a thankful Salesian coach Jerry Scott afterward: "The game was decided on the field, not on the streets."

Last year the game was decided in secret.

Fights on the field and in the stands and violent incidents related to games between the two all-boys Catholic schools had escalated so badly in recent years that the schools took a drastic step: They agreed to a self-imposed ban on fans and media attending all athletic events between the two schools. The site and date of last year's game (won by Cathedral 13-3 at Pius X High School) was kept a secret from fans and played in an empty stadium, with the coaches and players finding out the site only when they arrived by bus.

Several steps were taken to open the game back up to fans this year and to ensure a peaceful outcome.

Salesian alumnus Hector Alatorre recruited the services of 20 other Salesian grads for added security, Athletic Director Bob Mendoza collected host Salesian's student I.D. cards before the game, then waited 15 minutes after the game to return them, while Cathedral fans made their exit.

The estimated crowd of 1,000 was led in a prayer before the game. After, the teams met at midfield to shake hands.

Cathedral Athletic Director Lou Palapiano was pleased. "The game was wonderful, everything went well and there were no major problems."

Players and fans were treated to an intense, spirited contest, which wasn't decided until the fourth quarter on sophomore Albert Vasquez's 28-yard field goal.

The field goal was set up by junior quarterback Arturo Gonzalez's scrambling 70-yard run to the Cathedral 15-yard line.

The Phantoms gave up 130 yards on 11 penalties, one of which negated an apparent first-quarter touchdown.

There are no plans yet to renew fan participation in other Salesian-Cathedral contests.

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