Kofa ends his streak at 39! Win your first football match since 2017
Kofa stuns the Alhambra on the road 32-29 and ends a 39-game losing streak
ALHAMBRA, Ariz. (KYMA, KECY-TV) — It was never a question of if, but a question of when. With all the fluid situations surrounding Kofa’s football team to start the 2022 season, the time when the team would finally get a win was more like the 2023 season.
“There were a lot of mixed emotions heading into the season,” said head coach Pablo Cota. “I went from the freshman role to the college role, that’s been a hell of a ride, hasn’t it?”
The Kings started the season without an official head coach after Alfonzo Brown was released just before the Kings’ opener for personal reasons.
Kofa sports director Joe Daily recommended Pablo Cota to the YUHSD board, but the recommendation could not be approved until the next board meeting on September 14. With Cota as the “unofficial” head coach, he and his team continued to work with the team. The team also points to Alfonzo Brown for helping turn the program around.
“He made a change for sure,” Cota said. “We had more kids coming out, the coaches all knew their roles. He definitely put us on the right track.”
Kofa Athletic manager Joe Daily praised the coaching staff for their vision and dedication during times of uncertainty.
“Our team of assistant coaches have done and continue to do a phenomenal job,” Daily said. “They kept our program moving forward and the energy of our student-athletes.”
With the tide turning within the program, player confidence has also started to rise.
“We really thought we had a good chance this year when we hosted Southwest,” senior running back Bryce Konen said. “I mean, that senior class beat them when we played JV. So that was a game that we thought could end the streak.”
Kofa would fall to Southwest in a 36-18 winless matchup on the last day of September, extending the team’s losing streak to 39 games. The last time the Kings tasted the sweet taste of victory was on October 20, 2017 in a 22-21 home win at Irv Pallack Stadium against the Lee Williams High School Volunteers. The Kings won three games that season.
“I mean, I went to high school last year in Gila Ridge, so I heard a little about the streak,” Junior Conrad Tuffly said. “I didn’t play there much so I didn’t pay too much attention to it. When I came here[KofaHighSchool}Iheardaboutitandwantedtobepartofthetransformationofthisteam”
Last Friday night, newcomer Tuffly and seasoned eldest Konen played big roles in helping the Kings end the streak. The result looked grim with the Kings trailing 29-6 at half-time on the road at Alhambra.
“We walked into the locker room crazy,” Konen said. “Nobody lowered their heads. It was a different feeling. Even though we were down, we were angry because they were playing dirty. Lots of low kicks.”
Also feeding the Kings was a score just before halftime.
“At halftime we made a little speech and I said to the players, I need 110%, 120%,” Cota said. “It resonated in their heads and throughout the team.”
To start the second half, on the opening kickoff, the Kings forced a turnover.
Kofa capitalized on their good fortune when Conrad Tuffly found Justus Humes for a 42-yard strike. The Kings’ defense held the Lions in check, allowing the offense more opportunities to cut the deficit.
Another special teams play, a blocked punt, put the Kings at the Lions three-yard line.
“The game-winning score was 32 iso right in the middle with our fullback,” Cota said.
Gabriela Rodriguez-Juarez stepped into the end zone, erasing a 29-point deficit, a 39-game losing streak and years of disappointment.
“Huge emotions came from me and the players,” Cota said. “My graduation in 2014 from Kofa High School, it was just, this is my team, this is my school, it meant the world to me. We broke that stigma of losing. People were saying it was 39 , then it’s gonna be 40 . Name it ended at 39.”
The biggest thing we have in this school is heart. These children come to train every day. Then come and play Friday night, the streak didn’t affect them. They still went out and continued to play football.
Kofa head coach Pablo Cota
“I was just filled with emotion,” Konen said. “It was an amazing feeling, especially the way we came back and won. I think we’re going to start a new streak, a winning streak. I honestly think we can win to end the season.”
“It’s great to be a part of it,” Tuffly said. “I’m so happy for the team and the players who have been here for so long, like the seniors.”
For Cota, the Kofa alum, he and his team not only broke the streak, but also earned his first college-level win as a head coach.
“It was an amazing feeling and the bus ride on the way back was also nice,” Cota said.
Cota and the Kings are hoping for another enjoyable bus ride this week as they travel to Carl Hayden to take on the 2-3 Falcons.
Kofa won’t be back at Irv Pallack Stadium until Nov. 4 against Maryvale.