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Old 11-08-09, 02:56 AM
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Chili Bowl rivalry comes to an end

Web Posted: 11/08/2009 12:00 CST
Chili Bowl rivalry comes to an end
By Lorne Chan - Express-News

Their football program finished, Fox Tech players were in tears after the 67th and last Chili Bowl.

Lanier players took notice and walked across the Alamo Stadium field moments after the victory to console their opponents.

Red jersey arm-in-arm with white jersey, they raised their helmets and said goodbye to the Chili Bowl together with a final shout:

“Brothers!”

A crowd of 16,077, including Mayor Julian Castro, watched as one of San Antonio's great high school football traditions ended with a 30-14 Lanier victory.

It was the end of the season for Fox Tech and Lanier, and the end of a Buffaloes football program that's believed to have played varsity football since 1905. For both teams, Saturday's saddest loss was the end of the Chili Bowl, Fox Tech and Lanier's annual rivalry game.

“This was my dream come true, to play in this game,” Fox Tech sophomore Marcos Moreno said. “I got it today, and now it's been taken away.”

The San Antonio Independent School District decided to shut down Fox Tech football on Tuesday as part of the downtown campus' transition to a Law and Health Careers magnet school.

Fox Tech ends its program with a 41-21-5 advantage in the Chili Bowl series. An on-campus mural that marks “Our Chili Bowl Victories” serves as a reminder.

The city's longest-running rivalry, that began in 1942 and took only one year off for World War II, was given its appropriate sendoff Saturday.

The line to enter Alamo Stadium started almost 10 hours before kickoff with Gino Gomez, a former Lanier quarterback and 2007 graduate, first to arrive at 9:30 a.m.

Fox Tech graduates Willie and Maggie Chacon were at the front of the line on the Buffaloes side at 10:45 a.m.

“This is the only bowl that matters,” said Willie, a 1967 graduate who couldn't remember missing a game in 40 years. “They can have Gucci Bowl (Churchill vs. Clark) and the Frontier Bowl (Harlandale vs. McCollum), but this game always means more.”

The meaning of the game hit SAISD school board Vice President Carlos Villarreal when he stepped on the field.

“I cried,” said Villarreal, a 1972 Fox Tech graduate. “You don't get this atmosphere anywhere else but this one game. I'm going to soak this all up. They're going to have to lock the gate and run me out of here.”

Fox Tech's attendance has struggled this season, with about 300 Buffaloes supporters at last week's 47-0 loss against Jefferson.

By 4 p.m. Saturday, more than 1,000 people were waiting outside both gates.

Some alumni showed up — barely able to squeeze into their old letter jackets. Signs all around Alamo Stadium marked various alumni sections: A red Class of '63 sign. A blue Class of 1971.

Lanier coach Don Gatian said he was proud to win the final Chili Bowl but saddened that “we can't defend it.”

Standing in a cramped locker room before the game, he made sure his players soaked in the moment before they ran out.

“Let this be the night to remember for the rest of your lives,” he said. “There will never be another one.”

Chili Bowl rivalry comes to an end

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