22 years. That's how long it had been since Compton had defeated Dominguez before last week's 12-8 victory.
The Tarbabe players may not have been around that long ago, but they celebrated wildly at Dominguez as if the two-decade weight had been lifted directly from their shoulders. Tears were shed, disbelief filled the air and Coach Calvin Bryant got a ice cold shower courtesy of the water cooler.
"It's a great day to be a Tarbabe," Bryant said as he tried to change into a dry shirt and accept hugs from nearly every Compton fan in attendance.
It was an emotional scene that fans won't forget anytime soon and for a program that has been steadily built up under Bryant's tenure; this was a defining win they could point to.
Despite their recent success, the Tarbabes (2-0) had yet to win against a premier opponent under Bryant, except for a 27-20 win over Anaheim Esperanza in 2006. In Bryant's first four seasons, they had gone 0-3 against Dominguez, losing by a combined 97-8, and 0-8 against Moore League foes Lakewood and Long Beach Poly.
But in front of USC head coach Pete Carroll and linebackers coach Ken Norton, Jr., who watched from the sidelines, the Tarbabes beat the Dons at their own game – pounding the ball on offense and being aggressive on defense.
They were also aided by two big plays: an 84-yard touchdown run by James McConico on their first play of the game and a fumble returned 35 yards for a touchdown by James Randall with 1:02 left in the third quarter.
The defense forced Dons quarterback Aaron Williams into throwing five interceptions – including two to safety Chris Metcalf and one to Chris Jones with 12 seconds left to ice the victory.
Dominguez's (0-3) only score came courtesy of a Compton miscue in the third: punter Leon Manning caught a low snap and his knee touched the ground at the 5-yard line. Two plays later, Marcus Darden scored and on the ensuing two-point conversion, Marvin Thomas ran it in for a brief 8-6 lead.
In a football season where the underdogs have performed well but failed to come away with the victory, this ranks alongside with Garfield beating Birmingham as the biggest upset of 2008 so far.
"We're going to use this as motivation to get ready for league," Metcalf said, adding that the best was yet to come.
The win may have come at the expense of his cousin, Dominguez linebacker Marquis Simmons, but there will be many future joys the two will share as they suit up for USC after this season.
Tomorrow, the Tarbabes travel to Granada Hills to face Kennedy while the Dons face Redlands East Valley.