Add this latest battle between the two as one of the greatest duels in history.
It all came down to special teams, a special moment, at an even more special opportunistic time.
With the score tied at 33-33 after Long Beach City quarterback Kenny Potter ran in for a one-yard touchdown with 1:56 left, the Vikings opted to go for the sure thing, a point-after-touchdown kick that always is as easy as it looks... right?
In this case... wrong.
Kicker Matt Mengel lined up for that 'sure thing', but a flying Warrior would come in hot pursuit of the kick and completely reject Long Beach City's hopes of regaining the War Ax as defensive back Taj Mathis would come out of nowhere to block Mengel's kick, and then Courtney Crockett would scoop up the ball and return it for a two-point conversion, the oddest of ways to win a game but, it turned out to be exactly what El Camino needed.
With the combined heroics of Mathis and Crockett coming to the forefront, El Camino would keep the War Ax for one more year with a dramatic, and exciting 35-33 victory over Long Beach City in front of a spirited crowd at Veteran's Memorial Stadium for this National Central Conference opener.
Once the Warriors (3-1 overall) ran the clock out after recovering the Vikings' onside kick, it would immediately let out the infamous 'War Chant' to the ECC fans, and hoist up the Ax, which is annually given to the winner of this rivalry battle every year since 1963. They even got to lift up their legendary 28-year head coach John Featherstone in the air to celebrate their hard-earned victory.
Not only was this game drawing massive interest from rabid followers of both programs, it also highly attracted the attention of the small, yet proud town of San Pedro.
El Camino quarterback Cole Webb, a former Mary Star High standout, would flourish in this game, as did Potter, the former 2011 CIF-Los Angeles City Section Co-Offensive MVP from San Pedro High. It wasn't a personal duel like most quarterback showdowns, but it sure did have that certain feeling of 'can you top this' in the third quarter.
Potter would toss a 50-yard touchdown strike to De'Quan Hampton to cut ECC's lead to 16-13 with 8:21 left in the third quarter, then Webb would answer right back 28 seconds later with a 59-yard strike over the middle to 6'7'', 255-pound El Camino tight end Jean Sifrin, who broke five tackles before crossing the end zone. Potter and Webb also scored on similar zone-read option run plays in the first half.
Early in the game when Webb was intercepted in the end zone by LBCC linebacker Marquis Lomax, Potter would score on the Vikings' first play from scrimmage with a 60-yard touchdown run, a play eerily similar to his game-winning 71-yard touchdown run two years ago for San Pedro in a wild victory over rival Narbonne of Harbor City. That play gave Long Beach City (1-3) its only lead of 7-0 with 12:13 left in the first quarter.
Webb would run for two touchdowns off a scramble for 10 yards in the first quarter, and a sudden, and perfect zone-read fake for a 37-yard score in the second quarter, staking the Warriors to an eventual 16-7 halftime edge.
Once the game shifted into the fourth quarter with the Warriors leading 23-20, Webb suffered an unfortunate right knee injury on a short running play, and would never return for the rest of the night. Backup quarterback Aaron Shockey would toss a five-yard touchdown pass to Michael Thompson for a 30-20 lead with 12:53 to play, but Long Beach City, and Potter, were far from done.
Potter would again find Hampton up the right corner for a 39-yard touchdown strike with 11:32 remaining to cut El Camino's lead to 30-27, but Eddie Garcia's 40-yard field goal with 7:59 left increased the Warriors' lead to 33-27.
The tension would build even greater.
Potter would drive the Warriors to tie the game with his third touchdown run of the night, three plays after being sacked by El Camino linebacker Kris Bass, his former San Pedro High teammate.
And then... came the greatest block that lifted El Camino to arguably one of the most frantic finishes ever.
Despite the injury, Webb was a valiant Warrior through and through, completing 15-of-27 passes for 276 yards with a touchdown and interception, while also rushing for 83 yards and two more touchdowns on 12 carries. Running back Kendell Sparks ran for a game-high 139 yards on 22 carries for El Camino.
Meanwhile, Potter, who sat out a year after grayshirting at Harbor College due to a volleyball injury suffered in May 2012, showed just how electrifying he still is on the gridiron with a near-flawless performance, completing 16-of-19 passes for 319 yards and two touchdowns, while rushing for a team-high 98 yards on 15 carries and three more touchdowns for the Vikings.
Bass, the 2010 CIF-Los Angeles City Section Co-Defensive MVP and member of the 2008 City Section co-championship team at San Pedro, had 15 tackles, four for loss, and a sack for El Camino.