When his South Gate High football team defeated Jefferson last Friday, Coach Gary Cordray earned his 100th victory.
But Cordray downplayed that milestone, placing greater significance on the Rams' home game Thursday night against Fremont with first place in the Southeastern Conference on the line.
And significant it was as the Rams pulled off their second big victory in a row with a 19-13 win over the Pathfinders.
"I didn't celebrate when we won number one or 25 or 50," Cordray said. "One hundred is just a number.
"This is the biggest win of the year."
South Gate improved to 9-1 overall and 8-0 in the conference; Fremont dropped to 8-1, 7-1.
The City playoff pairings will be announced today, and both teams are expected to make the Division 4-A field.
As usual for South Gate, defense was the story. The Rams, who give up only nine points a game, forced seven Fremont turnovers.
"The turnovers did us in," Fremont Coach Taja Rodisha said. "We're a young team, and we weren't ready to play championship ball."
Fremont, which had three turnovers in the fourth quarter, had its most costly mishap with 3:39 left in the game when defensive back Sergio Velasquez recovered a fumble by Vince Thomas--who scored in the first half on a 90-yard run--and returned it 21 yards for a touchdown giving South Gate a 19-7 lead.
The Pathfinders pulled within 19-13 on a 35-yard pass play from quarterback Robert Loera to running back Delonte Walker, but could get no closer.
South Gate running back Hoffman Cortes had 172 yards and two touchdowns in 25 carries.