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A Night 33 years in the making

"Winning isn't normal"- Justin Simpson, senior (CB,WR,KR)

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the El Modena football team poses with their new hardware

the El Modena football team poses with their new hardware

the El Modena football team poses with their new hardware

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On Saturday December 2nd the El Modena football team played in the division 7 championship against Don Lugo high school. It had been 33 years since El Mo football had made it this far, and  Vanguard nation was more than eager to be back.

The away stands were packed for El Modena. It was standing room only, and there were so many people that the student section had to move into the stairs. The Rowdy Rooters arrived by the bus load to support their team, and although El Mo was away, it felt as though they had home field advantage.

The big story coming into the game was how was the Vanguard defense going to shut down the division 1 commit at the Don Lugo running back position but early that had proven not to be an issue. The El Modena defense committed from the beginning to stopping the run, and Don Lugo wasn’t ready for the speed at the El Mo D-Line.

The Defense held Don Lugo to just 53 yards rushing the whole game, but it didn’t just stop there. When a team commits to stopping the run, it can leave passing lanes open. But again, the Vanguards had the speed advantage and held Don Lugo to a mere 66 yards through the air.

The El Modena defense was lights out. They held the Don Lugo defense to only 7 points and 119 total yards, both by far their lowest of the season.

Right alongside the defensive show the Vanguards were putting on, was the El Mo offense. After a slow start in the first quarter, they went into overdrive.

Scoring twice in the last 8 minutes of the half, El Modena went into the locker room on a major high. A high that would continue well into the second half. The El Modena defense picked up right where they left off, putting up another 3 and out on Don Lugos first drive.

The Vanguard offense lit up the stadium with an impressive run game that relied on their bread and butter play, the read option.

Running back Andrew Carvajal finished the night with 185 yards and a touchdown on 32 carries.  The Lone Don Lugo score came in the third quarter when an El Mo punt out of the end zone was blocked and a 5-yard rush was converted on the following play.

However, it didn’t rattle the Vanguard offense. They scored three times in the second half with what felt like no passes. The game was finally iced by an interception from Colin Keefe on a Caleb Vanderwall tipped pass.

Chants of, “We are El Mo”  led by Athletic Director Ed Drzanek flooded the stands as the Rowdy Rooters attempted but failed to storm the Don Lugo field.

Immediately after the game, the Rowdy Rooters and all of Vanguard nation hurried back to the promised land of the El Modena quadrangle for the sacred ritual of ringing the victory bell.

Just before the ringing though when Matt Lester, the Fred Kelly field manager and son of legendary El Modena head coach Bob Lester, gave an emotional speech to a crowd of hundreds, followed by speech by head coach Matt Mitchell.

When the dust had settled, El Modena finished that night with over 400 yards of offense, five touchdowns, a defensive performance for the history books, thousands of happy fans, a division championship, and another week of practice as they prep for state semifinals.

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The student news site of El Modena High School
A Night 33 years in the making