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Cameron Smith

California school ends 34-year drought against rival with a rout

Cameron Smith
Prep Rally

Teams across the country have to fight through prolonged losing streaks against opponents for which they're ill suited. Some streaks last five years, some even stretch to 10. In Northern California, one streak between two rivals lasted a full 34 years, until last Friday, when California (Calif.) High School finally knocked off Monte Vista (Calif.) High.

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It may not have been a 90-year drought, but California High's win was historic. In fact, according to the San Francisco Chronicle and Danville.Patch.com, the Grizzlies didn't just slip by Monte Vista to get off its decades-long slide, it absolutely obliterated it in an unprecedented 45-3 walloping. Considering the fact that California High -- at the time ranked No. 15 in the Chronicle Top 25 -- was a decided home underdog against Monte Vista (then ranked No. 11 in the same poll), 45-3 was a startling scoreline.

"Yeah, I must admit it shocked me too," California High coach Eric Billeci told SFGate.com after the win, which was just the third California High victory against Monte Vista in the past 40 years. "Guys just made plays. Guys just stepped up."

Making the feat all the more amazing was Monte Vista's in-season momentum entering the game. The Mustangs rolled up seven touchdowns the previous week in a 70-21 win over Hayward (California) High, a performance that made Monte Vista look like a potential thorn in the side of national power De La Salle, currently ranked No. 28 in the RivalsHigh 100.

Instead the Grizzlies established themselves as a Northern California contender, improving to 4-0 with the victory while steeling for a ridiculously tough road ahead. All of California High's six remaining opponents are 3-1 or better, and the Grizzlies finish with a face off against the aforementioned De La Salle.

Degree of difficulty aside, one area coach is confident California High will give all those teams fits, and it isn't even Billeci himself.

"They are big, they are physical and they play hard," Monte Vista coach Craig Bergman told SFGate.com. "It took a toll on us."

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