Fields moves surprisingly quickly, and he barreled his way to the 5-yard-line before a bevy of Alhambra players wrested him down.

That's when Jorge Paredes wandered around the field waiting to try the game-winning field goal, as the Lions' coach called a time-out to try to freeze him.

Finally, it was time to perform.

Co-captain Gaby Montrero jumps into a mass of Falcons and fans after the big win.
Jamie Peachey
Co-captain Gaby Montrero jumps into a mass of Falcons and fans after the big win.

The snap, hold, and kick were perfect. The ball sailed through the uprights, coming to rest on the track about 20 yards beyond, and Hayden won by three points.

The Alhambra players collapsed in a heap.

The Carl Hayden players celebrated as if they had just won the Super Bowl, not finished with a 2-8 record that, for most schools, would signify a dismal season.

After the post-game handshakes with the Lions, Fields and fellow co-captains Gaby Montrero and Andres Renteria led teammates in one last group exercise of jumping jacks and squats.

The coaches, Dansby, Jeff Kunes and Paul Ferrero, hugged each other and watched their usually outmanned boys celebrate. Principal Ybarra stood there grinning and congratulating everyone in sight.

Coach Dansby finally gathered everyone around him at midfield and spoke from his heart. His career record at Carl Hayden is now 2-48, but this victory would be as big as any in his long and (before Hayden) successful coaching career.

"Guys," Dansby said, his voice raspy from coaching and from emotion, "I've been telling you all year that good memories were going to come out of this experience.

"This is the sweet stuff, the way you are feeling right now about your teammates, about yourselves, and maybe a little bit about us coaches. Whatever you do from this point on, wherever you go, you won't forget this. Ever, ever, ever, ever, ever! And I won't either, man."

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