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VALLEY / VENTURA COUNTY SPORTS: PREP EXTRA

Pierce Basks In Afterglow of Victory

October 06, 1998|VINCE KOWALICK | TIMES STAFF WRITER

It's been a long time since Bill Norton spent the day talking about a victory.

But on Monday, the Pierce College football coach did just that, fielding one congratulatory phone call after another.

"Former players, former coaches, a couple of guys from out of state . . . even the vice president of the college," Norton said. "It's been so long, even I've forgotten what it feels like to win."

Thirty-one consecutive losses can do that.

More than three years of futility came to an end Saturday, when Pierce rallied for a 34-28 overtime victory over Compton to end the state's longest losing streak.

The Brahmas' streak also ranked as the second-longest in the nation, as well as among the most painful.

Twice during the skid, Pierce needed a mere extra-point in the final seconds to claim victory.

Against Glendale, the snap sailed over the holder's head. Against Santa Monica, the kick was blocked and returned for a two-point conversion.

One second remained Saturday after Brahma quarterback Calvin Zinck scored a two-point conversion on a keeper, capping a 22-point, fourth-quarter comeback.

"All I kept thinking was, 'The way our kickoff team has been playing . . .' " Norton said.

While Pierce's program has struggled to stay afloat because of budget cuts and dwindling players, Norton has done his best to downplay the streak. But this week, the coach acknowledged feeling relieved.

"I wanted to protect the players," Norton said. "But when I saw it in their eyes after we won, I could see that they had been carrying some of this around with them."

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