Mike Herrera, head coach of the St. Bonaventure junior varsity, knew his team's game tonight against the Oaks Christian JV would be special the moment he heard that the Larrabee Stadium gates would open at 3 p.m.
Fans arriving early to ensure good seats for the "Game of the Century" nightcap would be captive for the preliminaries featuring Herrera's Seraphs and an Oaks Christian team unbeaten for three years.
The stands were nearly full and by the time the junior Seraphs took a 16-0 halftime team, prompting linebackers coach and former St. Bonaventure star Dave Garza to wonder if the Larrabee Stadium atmosphere late Friday afternoon beat the three CIF finals he experienced as a player.
"What an awesome feeling, being out there on a night like this," said Garza with a hint of jealousy. "This is the game we always dreamed of playing with Ventura."
Drew Gibson, Isiah Burton and Devon Blackledge scored touchdowns as the junior Seraphs held up their end of the bargan on this memorable night, 22-0.
"We feel this too," said Herrera. "It was difficult for the kids to keep their composure."
Blackledge's brother was the big star the last time Larrabee Stadium hosted a regular season game of this magnitude. D.J. Blackledge was part of the Buena backfield that rushed for nearly 400 yards and seven touchdowns against 9-0 Ventura in 1999.
"I was more nervous at halftime," said Burton."But everyone was prepared mentally for this day. It was a great experience."
The St. Bonaventure defense clinched the glory with a spectacular goal line stand late in the game.