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Alhambra Keppel ends its 40-game skid

The Aztecs' 36-0 triumph over El Monte Mountain View breaks a streak that was the longest in California and the sixth-longest in Southern Section history.

October 04, 2009|Ben Bolch

The band and cheerleaders rushed onto the field. Players milled about as if there were nowhere they would rather be. Congratulatory text messages started flooding in. Nobody wanted the celebration to end.

Alhambra Keppel won a football game Friday night, something that has happened this decade with the regularity of presidential elections.

The Aztecs' 36-0 triumph over El Monte Mountain View ended a 40-game losing streak that was the longest in California and the sixth-longest in Southern Section history.

Keppel's last victory, 36-32 over Mountain View, came on Sept. 23, 2005. The Aztecs lost 37 consecutive games before starting that season 3-0. Then came the most recent slide.

"You could tell it's been a long time since they had tasted victory," Bobby Madrid, who is in his first year as coach at his alma mater, said Saturday. "From the band to the cheerleaders, everyone was on the field. The kids did not want to leave."

Madrid said he thought the Aztecs should have ended their losing streak in the first two weeks of the season, but they suffered narrow defeats to City of Industry Workman and San Gabriel Gabrielino.

Friday, with all-purpose standout Edson Gomez catching a touchdown pass and running for two more scores, Keppel rolled to a three-touchdown lead in the first half. Defensive end Mason Siu and linebackers Abe Padua and Demis Gutierrez helped limit Mountain View to 31 yards. The Aztecs (1-3) play at South Pasadena (0-4) on Friday before attempting to end a 56-game Almont League losing streak Oct. 16, when they play host to San Gabriel (2-2).

Mental hex?

Lakewood will try to end a different kind of streak Friday when the No. 4 Lancers (4-0) play Long Beach Poly at Long Beach Veterans Stadium. The Jackrabbits (2-3) have won 80 consecutive Moore League games and haven't lost to Lakewood since 1982.

"It's in our heads that, yeah, we haven't beaten them in years," Lakewood senior lineman Justin Utupo acknowledged. "But it motivates us to know that we have to beat them this year."

Said Lancers Coach Thadd MacNeal: "Our guys have never been intimidated by the game, and when I got here people said they would be. They love the game, they get excited for it."

So why hasn't Lakewood been able to break through?

"They made the plays when they had to and we made mistakes," said MacNeal, whose team lost to the Jackrabbits in the playoffs last year after giving up 10 fourth-quarter points. "But I don't think there's any mental thing to it."

Officially mistaken

The San Gabriel Valley Football Officials Assn. board of directors will meet Tuesday to decide whether to impose sanctions on the crew that refused to allow Temple City and Arcadia to play overtime on Sept. 25.

"The officials involved are terribly embarrassed," said Joe Conte, the association's liaison to the Southern Section. "We just made a mistake."

Conte acknowledged that one official remarked, "Oh, you couldn't pay me enough to do overtime tonight," to someone on the Temple City sideline.

The association has apologized to both schools, and the officials involved will not be allowed to work Temple City or Arcadia games until 2011. The board could also vote to curtail the officials' playoff assignments.


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