MONTEREY PARK - With the East Los Angeles College football team playing so well these past two seasons, it should be no surprise that three of its players got their initial training with longtime Schurr High coach Ben Negrete.While much has been written about star quarterback Aaron Cantu, two of his high school teammates now anchor the Husky offensive line: center Alberto Perez, a 2011 Schurr grad, and left tackle Marc Gonzalez, a 2009 graduate.
Perez said he took the winning attitude he got at Schurr and literally transferred it to ELAC.
"It was a good feeling: just keep on winning," Perez said. "We were winning at Schurr, so to come here with (Cantu) and (former ELAC and Schurr wide receiver Carlos Arredondo), we turned the program around."
Gonzalez said he was happy to come to ELAC this season.
"When I first transferred over here and I found out I'd be playing with Alberto and protecting Cantu, it was pretty cool because we're all from the same high school, pretty much the same neighborhood," Gonzalez said.
Gonzalez added he has a long history playing with Perez, and playing at this level that knowledge is invaluable.
"I've played with him for six years, so it's second nature," Gonzalez said. "I know what he's going to do and he knows what I'm going to do."
Add Perez: "Honestly, it's crazy. I never really thought I'd play with (Gonzalez). He went to another community college, but I looked up to him in high school. He was a good player."
In addition, Perez said the team is just going to get better.
"Coach (Steve) Mojarro has done a great job recruiting linemen," Perez said of the team's new coach. "He recruits the best linemen in the area. As a group we're very solid and (Gonzalez) just adds another piece."
And as for looking back at their days with Negrete at Schurr?
"He taught us to never give up," Gonzalez said. "You're always doing your best. He was actually really laid back and mellow. He's one of the most mellow coaches I've ever played for."
"It was fun playing for Negrete," he said. "We won three Almont League championships playing for him. He taught me to stay humble and stay hungry."
IN PREP FOOTBALL, the Schurr High of today remained in the CIF Southern Section playoff picture with an overwhelming 55-7 victory over visiting Mark Keppel High Thursday night in Almont League action.
The victory improved Schurr's record to 3-6 overall and 2-2 in league, meaning the Spartans will have to win Friday night when they host crosstown-rival-from-a-few-blocks-away-on-Wilcox-Street Montebello High.
The loss dropped the Aztecs to 0-9 overall and 0-4 in league play.
The Spartan offense was led by running back Eric Perez, who rushed for 111 yards on 13 carries that included two touchdowns.
Perez took Schurr's first play from scrimmage 66 yards downfield to the Aztec 15-yard line and eventually scored on a 10-yard TD scamper halfway through the first quarter and finished the first half with 86 yards.
Perez would find the end zone again on the Spartans' second half opening drive, this time on a 13-yard run.
Keppel got into the end zone late in the third quarter on a five-yard touchdown run by Alex Ramirez. That score was the icing on the cake of an 80-yard, eight-play drive.