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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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      After waiting for 45 years after his retirement, the Sports Then and Now Vintage Athlete of the Month is finally taking his rightful place as a member of the Baseball Hall of Fame.

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      Discovered on the baseball fields of Cuba by a Minnesota Twin scout, Oliva came to the United States in 1961 and within three years the American League Rookie of the Year. There have been many great MLB players from Cuba, including a new generation of stars today, but it is hard to argue that there has been a better player from the island in MLB than Oliva.

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