BELLFLOWER, Calif. -- The bleachers had thinned out by the time St. John Bosco broke its postgame huddle in a crucial non-league victory last week against Lakewood. Players raised their helmets in unison and let out a loud roar before walking off Father Frank Ribotta Field, while three of them stayed behind. They lingered there under the lights, sharing hugs and handshakes with the opponents they had just beaten by 47 points.
It was more than a display of good sportsmanship. It was, in a sense, a brief return to normalcy.
"It was a sad feeling to play against them," said Chandler Leniu, a Bosco linebacker who was part of the group that remained on the field. "Right now I really miss the feeling of wearing red."