By Aram Tolegian
After 14 years as head coach at Gladstone, Albert Sanchez’s tenure officially came to an end last Friday night at Citrus College when the Gladiators were eliminated from the Northwest Division playoffs by North Torrance.
“I get choked up still, because it’s been embedded in me,” Sanchez said of being the head coach at Gladstone. “It’s what I’ve known. I love the game of football and I love to coach.
“It was very emotional. I just wanted to go over to my guys and be with them. It was tough walking off that football field.”
Gladstone finished the season 10-2, earned a share of the Montview League and won the school’s first playoff game since 1977. Things figured to be real tough against North Torrance, but the Gladiators made a game of it, which further increased Sanchez’s pride in his players.
“We looked at North Torrance and figured it was back to playing Division X football the way we used to with their size and speed,” Sanchez said.
“Personally, I thought we were going to have our hands full with them. But it got to a point when the game was progressing where I thought `this is going to be like El Monte again’ and come down to the last possession.”
North Torrance eventually held on for a 42-34 win. Gladstone will now have to spend the early part of the offseason finding a replacement for Sanchez.