On Tuesday, Dec. 12, Mission High School head football coach and 49ers High School Coach of the Year, Joe Albano brought his team to San Francisco’s City Hall for a special meeting with Mayor Edwin Lee to celebrate their first CIF San Francisco Section title in 57 years. 49ers alumni Dwight Clark, Guy McIntyre and Dennis Brown were on hand as well to recognize the team’s wonderful season.
The day started out with a special congratulatory speech from the Mayor in his office along with 49ers alumni Guy McIntyre addressing the team. The Mayor then Proclaimed the day the “Official Mission High School Football AAA Championship Day”, to room full of stunned faces. Those faces quickly turned into smiles and an eruption of cheers.
What led to celebration was a season of ups and downs culminating in a historic win for the Mission High football program.
In a hard-fought game at Kezar stadium, the Bears came from behind in the last four minutes to defeat the Washington High (SF) in the 88th “Turkey Day Game”.
With a 7-3 record the heading into the playoff the Bears put up a monster win over Lowell High School 42-24 to propel the team into a Championship matchup against Washington (SF) who they had lost to only one month earlier.
In this rematch of familiar opponents the Mission High Bears limited Washington to only seven points and closed the game out in the final minutes with an Antione Porter touchdown run to put the game away.
This Championship is the second enormous victory for the team this season. The first came on September 3rd when they again were able to put a team on the field, and get the 2011 season underway. Two years ago Mission High School almost had to discontinue their football program because of poor grades and participation. Coach Albano took this challenge head on and has resurrected a program most thought would fall by the wayside.
Coach Albano realizes that football is not life, but rather a vehicle to teach young men life lessons as he so eloquently summed up in his post game speech.
"This shows what you can accomplish if you set your mind to something and follow through” Albano said, “ Now there are a million other things for you to accomplish in your life."