Los Angeles Preps: Tom Goossen

Western: Arroyo Grande 42, Culver City 14

December, 10, 2011
ARROYO GRANDE -- The Arroyo Grande Eagles had been here before.

Clinching an at-large postseason bid out of the PAC-7 League a year ago, the Eagles rode a lightning-in-the-bottle hot streak all the way to the CIF-Southern Section Western Division final. But in arguably one of the biggest games for the program, the Serra Cavaliers knocked Arroyo Grande off its feet one step shy of making history.

This season, the Eagles made sure that didn't happen again.

"I never did imagine myself being a head coach and leading my team to a CIF championship, " Eagles coach Tom Goossen said after a 42-14 victory over Culver City. "We know that it starts and ends with the players. And they're the ones that did all the work, committed and did everything else."

The victory clinches the fifth title in program history. The Eagles had made two appearances -- in 2000 and 2010 -- in the past 11 years. Neither, however, ended with Arroyo Grande walking away victorious.

On Friday night, with two fists raised to the sky and a Gatorade-drenched blue and yellow windbreaker, Goossen and his team did.

"It's been a long time," Goossen said. "The kids have worked so darn hard."

One kid, in particular, stole the spotlight. Arroyo Grande's 5-foot-7, 145-pound running back Gabe Deleon scored three times -- from 22, 58 and 15 yards in the second half -- turning what was a 21-14 lead at the break to a 42-14 advantage.

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