Los Angeles Preps: Chris Caballero
December, 10, 2011
By Pedro Moura | ESPNLosAngeles.com
West Covina celebrates its second consecutive CIF-SS Southeast Division championship, which came Friday in a dominating 84-21 win over La Serna.
WHITTIER -- Thursday night, roughly 24 hours before Friday's CIF Southern Section Southeast Division title game between favored West Covina and upstart La Serna, West Covina star running back Chris Solomon and his father went to a local shop to get a custom hat designed and made.
West Covina, it read on the front. 2010-2011 back-to-back to champs.
His number -- 20 -- was on the right side and 'Solomon' was written on the back. Solomon, a senior being recruited by the likes of Arizona State and Arizona, was the only player to have one, but he told all his teammates during pregame drills that his plan was to run over to his dad in the stands at the final whistle and wear the hat throughout the postgame celebrations -- just like the professionals do.
It was that kind of championship game for West Covina. There wasn't even a thought that they could lose Friday's game against La Serna. And the Bulldogs didn't come close, pulling off a monstrous 84-21 win at California High to finish off a championship run in which they were never challenged in the playoffs.
"Thank God we won," Solomon said afterward, laughing. "And I'm glad I'm wearing this hat."
As his coach, Mike Maggiore, talked to the team afterward in an emotional final huddle for the 2011 squad, Solomon kept taking off the hat, looking at it, and putting it back on again. It was as if he was slowly realizing that his goal for the past 12 months had just been met -- forcefully and in incredible fashion.
"We knew we were going to dominate," Solomon said. "But we didn't know we were going to dominate like this."
Truthfully, the Bulldogs (13-1) dominated to levels never before seen, breaking the all-time record for points scored and margin of victory in a CIF final. La Serna (10-4), making their first CIF title appearance in 44 years, didn't have a chance after the first half, when they trailed, 49-7. But Lancers coach Margarito Beltran refused a running clock until the fourth quarter, and West Covina kept piling it on.