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Sports Then and Now



Armageddon For a Day: How Lakewood Lancer Football Ended the 15-Year Dominance of Poly High 4

Posted on October 10, 2009 by Jo-Ryan Salazar
The Lakewood Lancerscelebrate after ending the 15-year conference winning streak for Poly High.

The Lakewood Lancerscelebrate after ending the 15-year conference winning streak for Poly High. (Long Beach Press Telegram Photo)

I had this all planned out. I knew what I was going to do if it were one outcome, and if it were the other.

People who do this for a living call it contingency. As a graduate student closing in on a couple of degrees that I hope will make my employment situation secure like those safes from Dunbar Armored, I knew the the ins and outs of a strong, fail-proof contingency plan.

And my contingency plan went into effect the moment I stepped out of my house at approximately 4:00 p.m. on Friday, October 9, 2009.

I was not even born when my alma mater, Lakewood High School, last defeated the flagship school of the Harry J. Moore League, Long Beach Polytechnic High. But I knew about the heritage, their reputation as the “Home of Scholars and Champions” (or “Den of Gangsters and Criminals,” depending on your side of 1600 Atlantic Avenue) in other sports and disciplines on and off the field, and I knew that this was originally destined to be my school of choice.

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  • Vintage Athlete of the Month

    • Larry “The Zonk” Csonka
      January 29, 2022 | 4:43 pm
      Larry Csonka

      The Sports Then and Now Vintage Athlete of the Month was the leader of a running attack that was the cornerstone of two Super Bowl Championship teams, including the only undefeated squad in NFL history.

      With his distinctive headgear and a body suited for punishing contact, Larry Csonka looked the part of a fullback and for 11 NFL seasons delivered and took regular punishment on his way to the Hall of Fame.

      Following in the great tradition of Jim Brown, Ernie Davis, Jim Nance and Floyd Little, Csonka earned All-American honors at Syracuse while rushing for 2,934 yards.  He began earning a name for himself as the Most Valuable Player of the East–West Shrine Game, the Hula Bowl, and the College All-Star Game.

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