Coming off its most impressive win, Montebello High School will need another stellar performance Friday night, when the Oilers take on Alhambra in an Almont League football game at home.
Montebello is 3-4 overall and 1-1 in league, and needs to defeat an Alhambra team that has rolled to a 6-1 record and is 2-0 in league to stay in the league title chase.
The Oilers two weeks ago had a disappointing showing in their league opener with San Gabriel, losing 48-17. They managed to regroup quickly and overwhelm Bell Gardens, 33-21, last Friday.
“After the San Gabriel game, we stressed to our players that it’s all about how you respond after you lose,” Montebello Coach Pete Gonzalez said. “It shows what kind of character you have as a team.”
The Oilers responded by playing what Gonzalez called their best game.
“We were able to establish our running game,” he said. “We’d been working hard all season to get it working.”
Marcos Portillo, who was switched from wide receiver to tailback, had a big night for Montebello as the junior rushed for 211 yards on 30 carries.
Portillo was the Oilers’ return specialist on kickoffs and punts. He moved to tailback because the team’s other tailbacks were benched for missing practice during the week.
Quarterback Matthew Saenz attempted only five passes and completed four with two of them going for touchdowns. The touchdown receptions went to George Romo and Gilbert Herrera.
Gonzalez singled out the play of linebacker Gabriel Guevara.
“He played a really good game,” Gonzalez said. “He flew around the field and made a lot of things happen.”
Last Thursday, Alhambra defeated Schurr 18-8, the loss dropping the Spartans to 1-6 and 1-1. They play Keppel (2-5, 0-2) Friday night at Keppel.
With the loss to Montebello, Bell Gardens (2-5) drops to 0-2 in league. The Lancers play San Gabriel (3-4, 2-0) Friday night at B.G.
By defeating Huntington Park, 42-15, South East (7-0, 3-0) remained unbeaten in the Eastern League.
Rivals Garfield and Roosevelt have also been two of South East’s victims and the Bulldogs and Rough Riders are in a tight race for second place. They both defeated Jordan, the team widely considered to factor in the race.
Roosevelt defeated Jordan, 44-25, last Friday at home, one week after Garfield won at Jordan, 35-21. A win by the Bulldogs and the Nov. 4 game between Garfield and Roosevelt in the East Los Angeles Classic at East L.A. College will likely determine second place.
In the Northern League, Lincoln (6-1, 1-1) travels to league-leading Marshall (5-2, 2-0) for a 3 p.m. game Friday. Franklin (4-3, 1-1), which edged Wilson, 26-25, last Friday is at Roybal (2-5, 1-1). Wilson (2-5, 1-1) is at Eagle Rock (2-5, 1-1) at 2 p.m. Saturday.