July 18, 2024

OC Sports Zone: Community First

Portola Coach Peter Abe and his players had been waiting for a victory like this one

Portola coach Pete Abe acknowledges the efforts of his assistant coaches after the Bulldogs’ win. (Photo Fernando M. Donado, For OC Sports Zone)

Many of Portola’s football players had been waiting for this night for four years when the program started out with a lower level team.

Four years later the Bulldogs, now part of the varsity team, were able to hold a massive celebration in front of their home fans after capturing a 27-10 Pacific Coast League victory over Beckman Friday night.

“I’m very proud of how we performed on offense and defense and special teams,” Coach Peter Abe said after the game. “It was the most complete game we’ve played all year.

“We just played Bulldog football and it was a fantastic display. I’m very proud of these young guys and ready to get back to work for next week.”

The victory was the first league win for the program, which is in its second varsity season. Portola is 5-1 overall and will be out to battle for a PCL title and a CIF playoff berth.

Abe, who has led the program through ups and downs from day one remaining upbeat throughout, made it a point to praise his players, his assistant coaches, Portola students and parents and administrators as he met with his jubilant players and supporters.

“I’m proud of the staff,” he said in an interview. “These guys put in work. There’s been a little bit of shuffeling over the years, but the staff gets it done. My hats off to them.”

Abe also praised the performances of running backs Nova Kebeli (120 yards rushing, two TDs) and Trevor Yue (44 yards rushing) and quarterback Brandon Yue (165 yards passing, one TD pass).

“Kebeli does his thing, but you can’t forget about his boy Trevor Yue. You get those two rolling a little bit and it’s usually because those guys up front are doing their jobs on the O-line,” Abe said. “We’re just proud of the O-line and the backs get getting over 3 1/2 yards a carry.”

Abe said he realized his players deserved time to celebrate, but not for too long. He fully knows that a lot can happen in four weeks and there are big games looming.

“We’re hoping we can keep that fire going, we have four more games …. one game at a time, one play at a time and hopefully we’re establishing some championship habits,” he said.

“We are worried about the next play, and that’s all we can. I would love to think that we’re in the hunt. Our goal is not to think we’re in the hunt. Our goal is to prove it. If we’re going to be in that conversation, we have to prove it on the field. If we don’t take it a play at a time or a game at a time, then we’re going to start to lose sight of that and missed opportunities when they’re in front of you.”

Abe indicated that his team must put together the same kind of effort to get past University (0-6, 0-1) on Friday at Uni.

“They’ve had like four key injuries,” he said. “If all those guys are back, they’re a pretty good football team. So, back to work, tunnel vision with the coaches. The kids get to celebrate for 12 hours, get the game plan ready and go out and try and execute on game night next week.”

-Tim Burt, OC Sports Zone; timburt@ocsportszone.com