St. Anthony ending had to be seen to be believed

Almost every single football movie sucks.

There’s a few reasons for that: one, it’s really difficult to film a realistic football scene, with 22 actors on a field all needing to look like football players, and not like actors. Two, most football movies feature a completely unbelievable scene where the ball hangs in the air as the clock hits zero, or a diving defender hauls a receiver down inches from the goal line.

Those who watch football know: it’s usually much more boring than those Hollywood endings.

Unless, of course, you’re talking about the St. Anthony football team. The Saints will play for a league championship this Friday thanks to one of the most ridiculous, Hollywood endings a game could ever have.

St. Anthony, undefeated in Del Rey League play with just two games to go, was on the road playing against league power St. Genevieve, last Friday. The game was in overtime, and St. Genevieve had a running back headed for the goal line, ready to break the plane and hand the Saints their first loss in four weeks.

Then, out of nowhere, St. Anthony defender Victor Gomez dove into frame to tackle the ball-carrier, and successfully knocked the ball loose, where it was scooped up in the end zone by the Saints. The ball came out close enough to the goal line that the home crowd was actually celebrating what appeared to be the game-winning score for St. Genevieve while the officials deliberated and ultimately awarded possession to the Long Beach kids.

A few plays later, St. Anthony went from looming defeat to euphoric victory as running back Sone Aupiu scored the game-winning touchdown for the Saints.

It’s probably the most dramatic ending to a game we can think of since Long Beach Poly’s epic 2-0 Division 1 semifinal win over Orange Lutheran in 2007. In that game, the Lancers, down by a measly two points, had the ball 1st and goal on Poly’s one yard line late in the game. After two stops, Orange Lutheran tried it again on third down, only to have a Jackrabbit defender force and recover a fumble, giving Poly the 2-0 win in the lowest-scoring playoff game in CIF-SS history.

Game of the Week

Admittedly, it’s not likely to have the same theatrics as last week’s St. Anthony game, but the Saints do have a winner-take all Del Rey League championship game this Friday at St. Paul. St. Anthony clinched a playoff berth with the crazy win last week, but could officially crown themselves undefeated league champs with a win in Santa Fe Springs on Friday.

Volleyball Playoffs Begin

This week will mark the beginning of the CIF-SS girls’ volleyball playoffs, with the first round taking place on Thursday. Moore League champion Long Beach Poly headlines a group of six local teams that made the playoffs. For the first time, all six local teams headed to the postseason are ranked in the final CIF-SS poll of the season.

Healthy Hate

We love Ryan Pettway, the quarterback for 8-1 Wilson and also a star pitcher for the school’s baseball team. Pettway’s older brother, Zach, is an All-American pitcher at UCLA, and the family has deep baseball roots in town.

Ryan gave us one of our favorite quotes last year when, after beating Lakewood, he said that the win meant more to him than a regular game because he “hates” Lakewood. It’s a sentiment echoed by generations of Long Beach baseball players—the rivalry between the two cities’ baseball programs begins in T-Ball and extends up through high school.

Pettway’s comments last year earned him some ire from Lakewood administrators who felt it might verge on bullying. We’d classify it as “healthy hate,” something seen from time to time in sports and basically nowhere else. This isn’t a violent or disfiguring hatred: Pettway has tons of friends playing baseball and football at Lakewood—he’s neighbors with Lakewood coach Scott Meyer—but there’s also no school he’d rather beat.

Last week, after leading the Bruins to another win over Lakewood, and after scoring six touchdowns in the process, Pettway once again decided to leave the pre-packaged non-answers behind and instead told the truth.

“I have a tremendous amount of respect for Lakewood coach Scott Meyer. He lives five houses away from me and I’ve known him for a long time. His son and my brother were friends. But man, I’m so happy we blew them out for my last homecoming game. I hate Lakewood. It just feels good to beat Lakewood.”

Moore League Golf Finals

The Moore League will crown the best high school golfer in the city this Thursday as the league’s individual tournament championship wraps up with 18 holes at Skylinks, beginning at 11 a.m.

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Mike and JJ go together like mac and cheese: they’re best friends, business partners and Long Beach sports experts. They’ve been working together for over a decade covering Long Beach local sports and now run the562.org, a community-funded nonprofit media outlet.
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