Did you see West Covina’s ghost at Walnut? He was there for a little while …

Here’s my column from Saturday, in case you missed it.

WALNUT – Sometimes there are teams so good, it’s understood nobody can beat them but themselves.

Ladies and gentlemen, I present to you the 2010 West Covina High School football team. Make that the 2010 CIF-SS Southeast Division champion West Covina High School football team.

Yes, the Bulldogs are champions this morning. Victors over Bonita in one of the Valley’s greatest-ever games Friday … but not before giving their fans a major scare and allowing the ghost of their only defeat this season into the stadium.

When the season started, it was obvious West Covina was something special. The Bulldogs had five running backs who could start just about anywhere in the Valley, a third-year quarterback and an offensive line so physical it eventually would lock up all five spots on the Hacienda League’s all-league team.

Just one problem. The Bulldogs self-destructed in Week 0 and suffered a stunning loss to Covina that served as a haunting reminder for 14 weeks even the best talent can fall victim to bad outcomes when mental doesn’t mesh with physical.

For almost an entire season, the Bulldogs kept the ghost of that Covina game at bay. But at halftime of Friday’s game, they invited him in and gave him a seat right behind their bench.

With the score tied 14-14 at halftime, West Covina was poised to get the ball first to start the second half and set in motion the final two quarters that would cement its place in history.

Then it fumbled and Bonita quickly cashed in for a 20-14 lead. On the next kickoff, the Bearcats squibbed the ball and recovered it. Soon it was 23-14 and the fear of the season ending the same way it began became all too real.

Next kickoff, West Covina fumbled again. You could see the lifetime of nightmares starting to pile up. This time, though, Bonita didn’t cash it in.

West Covina slowly turned the tide and used a safety followed by a 37-yard touchdown pass from quarterback George Johnson to Marcus Haigler to tie the score 23-23.

But the bad tidings weren’t gone. West Covina practically escorted Bonita into the end zone on its next possession, with two costly penalties leading to a 30-23 Bonita lead.

It was around this time that West Covina started doing the things champions do, and the ghost of the Covina loss soon was chased from the stadium.

A 39-yard touchdown by Chris Solomon tied the score 30-30. Bonita marched right down field, but the West Covina defense, as it did several times with its back against the wall, held firm. Bonita got only a field goal for a 33-30 lead.

Over the next 1:46, the West Covina offense that threw the game away against Covina took control and didn’t settle for anything other than the game-winning score.

Johnson’s 1-yard run with seconds remaining put the exclamation point on a 13-1 season and gave the Bulldogs their own special place in history.

Some of you might think it sad that a team so great had to be branded with such a label as “nobody can beat them but themselves.”

Well, this morning it’s a beautiful thing. West Covina was that good this season. The only team that could beat the Bulldogs was the Bulldogs.

But when it counted most, the Bulldogs faced their biggest weakness and instead of beating themselves beat Bonita. And for eternity, they’ll be champions because of it.

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  • Colt74

    I would take a loss to West Covina and a championship any day of the week as I am sure is how they look at our game in reverse. WesCo was destined for tonight. Pure and simple. Anything can happen on any night and that is why IMHO this is so right that this is how it turned out. WesCo took control of every game after week 0 and left their destiny in THEIR hands…not someone elses. Know what’s scary? They will be back next season wanting a ring for the other hand. I wouldn’t bet against them.

  • Week 0 geesh

    Colt 74 week 0 was over 13 weeks ago. let it go already.

  • Poppa K

    Um, did my eyes play tricks on me but didn’t I see in the highlight package a kid from Bonita flat out drop an interception during the final drive? Destiny? humm….
    Someone wins and someones losses….great game, two great teams, period.

  • Yes, Poppa K, you saw correctly. That kid was playing on the biggest stage while 99 percent of the other kids who played football this season were watching. These things can happen in big games on the biggest stage, but I hope Zach Brungard knows he’s a major reason why Bonita even got there in the first place. Cruel, yes. But a play isn’t won or lost on one play. Just another football lesson.

  • jmcdonough

    The article is about west covinas ghost….hello their ghost was there loss to Covina, get it? Why do you put Colt 74 down for commenting that he would rather have a title ring than a win in week zero…..That is a compliment to West Covina, and an appropriate related commnent to this thread. Aram what about another ex vikings Georgie Johnson s success. I’m going to have to start charging commission on all the ex viking players my organization has put out in high school football newpaper articles and blogs. Lol. Just kidding but I have to say ther are a lot of them to date and many more to come. Aram please contact me on my email address, I have a great idea for the tribune I want to run by you.

  • WC Alumni Mom

    jmcdonough…get over your vikings already! There were more WC Bruins players on that team and Baldwin Park Roadrunners too!

  • Vikings Baby

    Covina Vikings is where the big boys play. Roger Paez was a covina viking also. Great Job Roger! Congrats!

  • Colt74

    First, you know you have made it when you have a stalker. To get under someone skin that much is truly a wonderful thing. šŸ™‚

    Second, Did I read it right in another article that last night was Mr. Johnsons birthday? If so, WHAT A BIRTHDAY PRESENT!
    Last night was a great team effort and I SERIOUSLY can’t think of a better candidate than COACH MAGGIORE for Coach of the year.

  • Jody,

    I don’t have your email address, but mine is aram.tolegian@sgvn.com

    That’s where everybody in the Valley shows their love. HAHAHA.

  • jmcdonough


    No doubt there were wc bruins on that team as well as bp roadrunners. But there is no denying the studs that have played for the vikings. When individual names are mentioned over and over again in one season such as George Johnson, paez, farmer,venegas, rio ruiz from bishop, ty france from so hills,gilcrest and vaughns from co. As well as a two time poy I forgot his name,slips my mind. Jamal james, tre mcnair, many esquvel, damian james from northeiw, damon kuklinsy and wayne goss marquis winbush from southhills, and many more that have made the all valley teams. I have viking pride and I have a right to be proud of them…ill close with this…….remember …..those wc bruins on that team …..and the bp roadrunners on that team…..they were yelling for the VIKING OF THE TEAM TO BE THE MVP OF THE GAME!!!!!!!!! In there own words. Ms wc alumni mom. Ps don’t tell me to get over being proud of my viking boys…I’ve watched them play football since they were little and now I am watching them win CIF TITLES. I’M PROUD AND I WILL SAY IT LOUD. SO IF YOU DON’T WANT TO HEAR IT …..BUY EAR PLUGS…OR STOP READING MY POSTS!
    Thank you WC Alumni Mom you have a nice day!

  • Big Football Fanatic

    Aram for every bit you were right about WC you were twice as wrong about Monrovia. You picked them to lose every week giving differnt reasons and or explanations every time. Well the Cats are Division Champs and you’re out of excuses.

  • GoodGod


    Please, for the love of God, spend more time worrying about your own family. Your constant blabbing on here is getting retarded.
    Maybe instead of worrying about other peoples kids and their accomplishments you should worry about what went wrong with your own son. Where is he again? College? Jail? I’m not sure.

  • Black Tooth

    No matter what you say about West Covina or Monrovia,
    they were crowned champs. The SGV should be proud of them for bringing a CIF Title. As far as SGV Teams, playing Divisin 1 upper division monsters, I say bring them on. We can only know for sure, after ‘The Fat Lady sings.’ Give West Cov. a chance to prove what they are made of. Look what happened to Mission Viejo! They were routed by Servite, a team I honestly think Bishop Amat could have beatened, if these two would have met. I saw Servite and I was not that impressed. So what, what I think, Servite is going for the state title.This is the only thing that matters! See you all next year, Unless I’m killed crossing the street,kidnaped, or should I say adultnaped or captured by the Talaban!

  • jmcdonough

    Aram where’s my reponse to good god? It wasn’t that bad not to post.

  • jmcdonough,

    I never saw it, so you’ve got me.

    Try re-sending it. I haven’t deleted on this blog for a long time.

    Maybe it just didn’t go thru.

  • Did I miss something?

    What did Jmcdonaugh say that was so offensive? As a Bulldog fan I appreciate both her and Colt 74 supporting our Bulldogs. Ease up Bulldog family!

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