By Amy Silverman
By Olivia LaVecchia
By Monica Alonzo and Stephen Lemons
By Chris Parker
By Michael Lacey
By Weston Phippen
The Falcons had cobbled together a rare offensive drive to the Bruins' 6-yard line. It looked as if the squad might score its first points of the young season.
But Trevor Browne Head Coach Randy Gross returned his first-team defense to the field, to try to preserve the shutout.
The Carl Hayden offense soon moved backward rather than into the end zone.
The teams shook hands politely when the game ended, but Cleveland Dansby then wanted a piece of Gross.
"What was that about, Coach?" he asked the younger man. "Is that about teaching your kids to rub it in? Last week, you were bitching about [César Chávez Coach Jim] Rattay running it up on you. Now this? It's bullshit!"
Gross replied, "I wasn't thinking about that."
"No, you weren't," Dansby said. "Stuff like that has a way of coming around."
All the bad moments, all the bad things were forgotten — at least for the moment — in the aftermath of Carl Hayden's historic September 17 win against San Luis.
The game actually was much closer than the final score, 44-21, would suggest. The Sidewinders had several early opportunities to grab the lead, which could have spelled trouble for the Falcons, whose players, consciously or not, seem to expect things to go wrong on the field.
But halfback Mario Valladares scored late in the first quarter to give Carl Hayden a lead it never would relinquish.
Holding a 20-6 lead at halftime, the Falcons sprinted to their locker room joyously shouting, "We're going to break this Streak!"
Assistant coach Paul Ferrero quickly cautioned them, "This ain't over yet, guys. You never been winning before."
But San Luis never seriously threatened to catch Carl Hayden in the second half.
Up in the stands, the school band set down its instruments and improbably began to sing an a cappella version of "Don't Stop Believin'," the early-1980s hit by Journey.
As the clock ticked down — the final five minutes seemed to last an hour — some of the Falcons' girlfriends sneaked down to the sidelines to hug their sweaty and smiling heroes.
The players surprised the coaches with ice-water baths, something they'd never had the chance to do before.
Finally, the horn went off, signifying the end of the game and the end of The Streak.
The on-field celebration after the game was unbridled, the tears flowing. The smiles wide.
The San Luis players were forced to watch for several minutes before the post-game handshakes. Some wanted to leave, but their head coach made them stay put.
"Hey, let them have their time; they haven't won in six damn years," the coach told them. "Let them have their party. They deserve it."
Back in the Falcons' dressing room, Francisco Bustillos — who played well — told his teammates, "We got to tell that guy from Virginia with cancer what we did!"
News of Carl Hayden's win went national.
Radio announcers from as far away as Alaska called the school the next morning, requesting an interview with Coach Dansby.
The damned Streak was over!
The next afternoon, the school's student body amassed at Falcon Field to celebrate.
Principal Steve Ybarra sat in a chair on the field, prepared to fulfill a promise he made to himself. When (or, perhaps more accurately, if) the football team won a game, he would allow the players to shave his head.
Wearing their uniform jerseys, a few of the seniors lathered Ybarra's pate with shaving cream under the bright sun and carefully began their task.
Gaby Monquero got into the act, as did Tre Fields, Andres Renteria, even Francisco Bustillos.
Steve Ybarra wound up with a quasi-Mohawk cut, and happy memories to last a lifetime.
Coach Dansby stood to the side in shorts and a ball cap, just beaming.
If this were Hollywood, Carl Hayden would have gone on a long winning streak after busting The Streak.
But Phoenix isn't Hollywood.
The Falcons have lost each of their five games since beating San Luis by a wide margin.
The simmering situation with Francisco Bustillos exploded after a disappointing 32-0 loss a few weeks ago to Camelback High, which had not won until that point.
Bustillos confronted Cleveland Dansby in the locker room after the coach angrily marched past his waiting team without comment (he usually says a few words to his players under the north goalposts).
"You quit on us!" Bustillos shouted at his coach, who was sitting at his desk, his head in his hands. "You can't do that! I played my heart out for you!"
Speechless for a moment, Dansby told Bustillos to get out, that he was off the team — for keeps this time. Bustillos stormed out of the locker room, trailed by a few teammates who would return a few minutes later.
Minutes passed, and the coach asked his players to gather around, which they did.
"You want to think about frustration, about walking out on somebody?" Dansby said, his voice seared with emotion. "If I had wanted to walk out, I would have done it years ago. I'm just pissed off, and I want you to know that. If I would have stopped out there and given you all a big wet kiss, what am I telling you?
It had it all. Congratulation to Paul Rubin. Your articles alone make me read Phoenix New Times. You are a Hit for that Paper.
Look forward to read from you - again...
You might have won San Luis one game, but come on you can not beat them in soccer. San luis is number one in soccer. Football is not known in san luis, it is not a big deal you have won one game to the weakest football team in AZ.
come on San Luis High School all always losing games. thehigh school is located in small poor community on the border of USA and Mexico. 100% of the population are hispanic were most work on the field or are illegals. They struggle every day to get enough money to eat, and football wasn't play there until five years ago when the high school was open. No ones know how to play football it isn't a big deal for them, as it is for this school that for just winning a game againstthis high school were no one knows how or have play football before high school. Come on get over it you are not the only school losing all games and just winning on game every 63 games. San luis high school only wins at maximum one game a year. And they don't make a big deal, because they know that they are more important thing in life than just a stupid football game that take five pages in newspaper.
Great story about a great man and his committment to kids. It is not always about wins and losses. It is about teaching young men about life and Dansby gets it. Men like him are not easily found. Far too many of these coaches are egotistical bastards who will chew kids up and spit them out to get a win. Most of them did not make it in their own quest and now want to live through the kids instead of for the kids. The simple thing is you can not bullshit the kids. If you care for them and show your love they will respond and play their heart out. All one has to do is look at the intensity on the field and you can usually tell if the players love and respect the coach.
Thank you for this artycle. My lil brother attends and Carl Hayden HS, and with regret to say that I'm part of the drop out stats from 2001. But I moved on to make a better person of myself.
It never really struck us to know the situations we lived in, untill reading the boldly stated words in your artycle.
It's great to know that everyone can see, we are not an ignorant race and can achieve what anyone else can, even if we have to work three times harder than everyone else, just to make it happen.
This story spoke to me on many levels. I am proud of what these young men are doing, and how thety are supportive. The circumstances of the entire CHHS community spoke to me through this story, and I have passed it to someone far away, but who is poised to come to the community and make a difference. Thank you, New Times.
it's high school football. who gives a shit. 99% will end up as used car salesmen or a circle k clerk or al bundy
And I'm sure you would turn it all around, right? I think the point of the story was that Carl Hayden even has a team, and that they try their hardest no matter what. I have no idea if the coach is a good one or a bad one, but he sounds like a decent enough guy and I loved what the players had to say. Great great story....
How can you give that head coach any credit, he has been with that school for how many years? and how many wins? what about the other squads, they HAVE WON GAMES. The coaches for the other squads are the ones who should get some credit, not this yahoo! Dansby should RESIGN!! and he should take nots from the other coaches on how to coach a squad!
Good article. I just wonder why race has to come up in every single article the New Times writes. I know that ever since Obama decided to run for office, it's been race, race, race, and race.
The players are "seemingly blind to skin color or ethnic origin." An example? They pitched in so another player would have enough money for a physical.
HUH? So the players don't "seem" racist, but they might be, and I'm just throwing this in there because they pitched in to help a teammate out. I JUST DON'T GET IT.
For a school entrenched in a crime-riddled community with a beleaguered outlook at best for most of these kids, a football program - even a losing one - can make the difference for these kids. It's nice to know they finally got that win. You have to feel for the coaches, though. Had to have been a tough haul. The biggest hero, though, is Principal Ybarra - I've seen a few news bits on him over the years, and he always manages to keep a positive perspective and unwavering support in these kids - knowing how necessary it is for schools to have programs that help kids reach beyond what is offered in their homes and neighborhood.
Great write-up & recognition. Kudos for seeing a sensational story doesn't have to have the sensationalized quality we've come to recognize as "news." Don't underestimate your readers - we do still like stories about real people.
Congratulations to the Carl Hayden players, fans and to Coach Dansby. Living proof that a winning record is not a reflection of character or heart. Coaches from other schools (like Cesar Chavez) should take note!
Greetings New Times: Many thanks to you and especially Paul Rubin for taking the time to recognize that one, single, solitary and possibly most important feat of triumph that some of these kids may ever experience. A single football win in some 67 attempts. Regardless of the turnout of the remaining games of the season, you guys at New Times granted them more than their (Warhol) alloted fifteen minutes of fame. What you've done for every one of these struggling young men goes far beyond the wrought iron and chain link confines that have become an unfortunate necessity for own their security. Your acknowledgment has touched their parents, their guardians and extended families, but beyond that it has reached even the local merchants and the general community, and in so doing has given us a small piece encouragement and hope in seeing some good come of this intentionally neglected area. In the grand and global scheme of worldly issues, Carl Hayden High and their Football Falcons have significance. In spite of their surroundings, Rubin's pen and ink will help carry them to the point of recognizing, they are important. Thanks again for noticing our community.
Sincerely, R.M. Pena,Carl Hayden, Class of '70
i know how hard it is.... i was on one those teams that was part of the losing streak.... keep ya head up falcons.....DAY BY DAY, WONT BE BEAT