CARSON -- Rick Martinez gathered his Le Grand football players on the turf of the Home Depot Center. The tears in their eyes reflected a cruel final display on the stadium scoreboard: Sierra Canyon, 34, Le Grand, 13.
The Bulldogs' bid for a CIF Division 4 State Bowl championship fell short on Friday night.
"You guys have nothing to be ashamed of," Martinez said. "You've given teams from here on out hope that we (small schools) can do it. We can get here."
Sierra Canyon (15-0) outscored the Bulldogs 20-0 in the second half to pull away. The loss didn't dampen the spirits of hundreds of Le Grand fans who made the 250-mile trek from Merced County to Carson. The Bulldog faithful gave their heroes a standing ovation as they walked off the field.