What started as CIF, ended in “what ifs?”

On Dec. 5 at Glendale high school, senior Justin Huff (5) hurdles over one of Crescenta Valley’s players for a touchdown. “Seeing that play right in front of my eyes was so unreal, it was one of the memorable plays of the game,” said Stephany Gonzalez.

Vivian Buenrostro, Co-Editor-in-Cheif

On Friday, Dec. 6, Downey’s varsity football team competed for the CIF Southeast Division title at the championship game against Crescenta Valley at Glendale High School. The Vikings lost the game 21-14, but it was the way our fellow Vikes lost that sparked the wave of controversy.


After winning the CIF title two years prior, Downey players anticipated going home with a second CIF ring. An equal amount of pressure was on Crescenta being that it was their first CIF game in 41 years along with having a season of 14-0. Long before Friday night, it was promised to be an interesting game. While each side of the stadium filled with proud family, friends, teachers, and members of each community, each team came out hungry for a win.


By halftime, the Falcons were up 14-7. Running back Justin Huff, 12, hurtled over Crescenta’s defender tying the game 14-14. Crescenta Valley managed to score another touchdown at the beginning of the fourth quarter bringing the to score 21-7. With almost a full quarter left, the Vikes continued to fight. As quarterback Trevor Hill, 10, threw the ball to wide receiver, Ekene Chukwumezie, 12, a Crescenta player pulled off his helmet in the middle of the play which should have been flagged and given the Vikes an additional down. The referee counted Chukwumwzie’s clutch pass incomplete and did not take any note of the Crescenta player who removed his helmet. This left a little less the a minute left in the game.


It was as if two different worlds were on the same field once the clock ran out. As the Falcon’s celebrated their victory, the Vikes took knees, shed tears, threw their helmets, and comforted their emotional teammates.


Minutes after the game ended, game footage went viral among the Downey- Crescenta Twitter timeline; specifically, Chukwumezie’s play.


“The sad thing is even the Crescenta Valley players knew that Ekene caught that ball for a touchdown,” senior Israel Garcia said.


Sports columnist for the Los Angeles Times, Eric Sondheimer tweeted Downey players and fans saying that the referee had made a bad call, but it was not a call that would have won Downey the game. Some say the momentum from the touchdown would have carried over into overtime and gave Downey the win, and some say that Crescenta would have scored another touchdown, winning the game.


The list of possible outcomes is what leaves many players uneasy. Senior offensive linemen, Giovanni Deloera said, “This game will forever haunt me.”


Although Vikings showed their unconditional pride for the game our football players played, some still seemed to take the loss heavily.


Senior Manny Ramirez tweeted the following morning: “I woke up this morning hurt. It’s not even the fact that the ref cheated us, but the fact that we worked so hard to not be champions hurts.”


Now that football season is over on a more bitter than sweet note, many underclassmen players reassure fans that they will return and win their CIF title next football season.