THE FINAL, FINAL GAME AT BALBOA STADIUM
by Lou Husted


It seems that the operative word for this year in the former Canal Zone is the word "final".  Every event is preceded by "Final...".  At BHS we have had a host of activities thus identified.

The final pep rally, the final homecoming parade, the final homecoming dance, the final Christmas program, the final drama production, and the list goes on and on and on ad nauseum.  Well, in keeping with this theme, we turn to the all-important sport of football.  The final football game ever played at Balboa Stadium was not the Shrine Bowl where the mighty Bulldogs went down to defeat against the Panajur Panthers, nor was it the Turkey Bowl.

The last official football game ever played at Balboa Stadium was the 13th Annual Christmas Bowl held on December 26, 1998.  This eagerly-awaited game closed the curtain on more than 80 years of football on the Isthmus. 40-plus former gridiron gladiators returned to their alma mater to "get it on" one last time.

THE PLAYERS:

The quarterbacks: PAT FAHY, DONNY HUSTED, FRED BALES, FRANKIE LINTON,
and KYLE HUSTED.


The running backs and receivers:  EDGAR TIRADO, BRUCE and DARREN CHASTAIN, WANFER ILUND, ROMEL DIAZ, CHRIS BOWMAN, MIKIE BOYLE, JOSE and RICKY ALVAREZ, and ALEX SOSA.

The linemen:  TREVOR VOGEL, ANDY DE LA GUARDIA, FRANK WESTGATE, JOHN
TRIM, ISH RIOS, DIRKSON BUSSIERE, JIMMY OAKLEY, RYAN TAYLOR, MICHAEL NORMAN, BUFORD BOWMAN, and SEAN WILLIAMS.


The linebackers and defensive backs:  GABE PRIETO, DANIEL HANNA, BUDDY
BOTTIN, ERIC HOLLAND, JEROME PRICE, ARMANDO GUNDIN, and DANNY MADURO.


This erstwhile collection of former gridiron greats (real or imagined) formed into three teams and did battle, butted heads, dodged bodies threw, caught, bobbled, and intercepted passes in a very unseasonal dry season rain which slowed down the field for the fleet of foot and caused havoc among the linemen.  By the time the mud began to dry, the team of  Frank Westgate, Dan Hanna, Kyle Husted, Pat Fahy, Jimmy Oakley, Wanfer Ilund, Gabe Prieto, and Ricky Alvarez walked off the field as the LAST CHAMPIONS ever at Balboa Stadium!  The true winners, however, were all those who participated in this final tribute in this closing chapter of a stadium replete with memories of former glory days.  The stadium in which the exploits of the Mays, the Batemans, the Frenchs, the Strombergs, the Sanders, the Clements, the Pattons, the Bazans, the Barkers, the Liptais, the Reeces, and the Haynes were accomplished.  It was a most memorable day. 

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Presented by CZBrats
February 11, 1999


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