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DIVISION VII CHAMPIONSHIP

Charter Oak is a Point Better

December 09, 2001|GARY KLEIN | TIMES STAFF WRITER

The Miramonte Bowl, otherwise known as the Southern Section Division VII championship game, was played Saturday night with league rivals Covina Charter Oak and Hacienda Heights Los Altos meeting in the final for the the third consecutive year.

Both teams expected the outcome to be decided in the final minutes and that's exactly what happened in Charter Oak's 7-6 victory over the two-time defending champion Conquerors at Mt. San Antonio College.

Charter Oak's victory was not secured until Los Altos' Gilbert Rodriguez missed a 32-yard field-goal attempt with 12 seconds left.

"I came in and dove for the ball, but I missed it and was laying on the ground praying it went wide," Charter Oak defensive back Rafael Falcon said.

Falcon, who kicked the extra point for Charter Oak (12-2) after the Chargers' first-quarter touchdown, made what proved to be the game-winning play in the second quarter.

After Los Altos had pulled to within 7-6 on Joe Rodriguez's 52-yard interception return of pass thrown by Charger quarterback Michael Perri, Falcon blocked Gilbert Rodriguez's extra-point try.

"I just came in and stuck my hand up," Falcon said. "I've come close to blocking other kicks this season, but that was my first one."

Los Altos (11-3) defeated the Chargers, 33-3, in the 1999 final, and 28-21 last season. But Friday's victory gave Charter Oak two one-point victories over Los Altos this season. The Chargers won the league game, 14-13, on Oct. 26.

"We won that first game, but we knew if we played the way we're capable, we could do better," said Charter Oak running back Keith Harris, who rushed for 155 yards in 33 carries and scored the Chargers' only touchdown on a six-yard run with 10:20 left in the first quarter.

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