Unbeaten Marquez raises flag for each win. Will they raise it after championship game?

Marquez (13-0) has been led by seniors Erick Salas (left), a quarterback; linebacker Christian Diego; and lineman Aldo Sanchez.
(Eric Sondheimer / Los Angeles Times)

These are exciting times at Huntington Park Marquez, which opened in 2012. The football team is 13-0 and plays in its first City Section Division III championship football game against Gardena on Saturday at 11 a.m. at El Camino College.

Every Monday, coach Rudy Fortiz has had a flag-raising ceremony on the football field following a victory on Friday. He’d love to have a couple more.

There’s already one good sign for the Gladiators. They hadn’t had a close game all season until a 12-7 victory over Washington Prep in the semifinals.

“I was wondering how we would react to certain situations,” Fortiz said. “They responded well.”


Marquez has been relying on the leadership and play of senior quarterback Erick Salas, who has passed for 1,573 yards and 22 touchdowns.

Gardena has lots of speed and could present problems for Marquez. “Gardena is tough,” Fortiz said.

Gardena went 5-0 to start the season, then lost to Inglewood, plus four Marine League opponents. Coach Jim McElroy, who was a star football player at Washington Prep and UCLA, has the Panthers playing well in the playoffs with wins over Hollywood, Sun Valley Poly and Lincoln.

Marquez has been always known for its powerful soccer programs. The girls’ team owns the only City title won by the school. The boys’ team is also strong. Fortiz said the soccer teams kept asking when the field would be available.


“They can’t wait until we get off it,” he said.

They’re going to have to wait a little bit longer.