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Disappointing end to grand entrance

09/05/2015, 12:05am PDT
By Don Norcross

Kearny plays first game in new stadium, but Santana takes charge for the win

With a new twist on an old tradition, the Kearny football team charged onto the field of its new stadium Friday. Once the game started, visiting Santana took charge for a 59-19 win.

During its gloried past, Kearny High’s football team walked outside the team room before games, across the back of campus, out a gate, along what once was called Artillery Drive, then into Mesa College for home games.

For a program that experienced only one losing season from 1958 through 1979, winning section titles in 1963, ’64 and ’73, the walk was as important a tradition as the team’s famed striped jerseys.

“What made that walk special is we were continuing the same walk as all the players before us,” said David Lou, a wide receiver on the ’73 championship team. “There was history to it. It was almost like our duty to uphold that walk.”

That tradition, like many others, has vanished for the Komets. The most notable custom long gone has been winning. When the Komets routed San Ysidro last week 55-10, the victory snapped an 18-game losing streak.

Friday night, Kearny penned a new chapter in its history, opening a new, brightly lit, on-campus stadium against Santana

“The kids are more than upbeat,” Kearny first-year coach Will Gray said before the Komets’ 59-19 loss to the Sultans. “Ecstatic is more the word.”

So excited were the Komets that they entered the stadium not once but twice. Sans shoulder pads, the Komets walked in 45 minutes before kickoff to the musical accompaniment of Frankie, Beverly and Maze’s “Before I Let You Go.”

Twenty minutes before kickoff, this time shoulder pads in place, the Komets marched in with senior lineman/linebacker SeVean Brown waving a KHS flag. The musical choice: Eminem’s “Lose Yourself.”

Kearny’s Takoda Browne did a fantastic job of losing himself on the Komets’ first play from scrimmage. Normally a wide receiver and cornerback, Browne lined up at quarterback in the shotgun with the Komets backed up on their 2.

Browne started up the middle, veered left, then sped down the sideline, not stopping until completing a 98-yard run.

“He is quick as they come, great hands, jumps out of the gym,” Gray said of Browne.

Browne is an uncommonly gifted player. Last week he accounted for five touchdowns, one via a run from scrimmage, a reception, a pass, an interception return and a fake field goal run.

“Crazy athletic,” said Gray.

Crazy also describes what the Komets’ schedule was like last season. It was bad enough that the team went 0-10. The Komets were also a team without a home, forced to play every game on the road.

“It was hard for a lot kids, coming back home loss after loss,” said two-way lineman Josiah Sa’o.

The Komets now have a home they can call their own. The team has also brought back its striped jerseys.

Said Sa’o, “We know about the school history. We’d love to bring it back.”

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