One month ago, Trey Kell was a tragic story. The San Diego native was a key part of a vaunted recruiting class that disappointed, producing diminishing returns every single season. The tragedy was capped with a cruel senior campaign that saw him injured and sick and injured again.
Today, the first-year head coach and the hometown senior capped off one of the most stirring comeback stories in San Diego State sports history, beating the New Mexico Lobos in an excruciating-thrilling-horrible-wonderful 82-75 come-from-behind victory in the Mountain West Tournament title game in Vegas. The Aztecs will go to the NCAA Tournament for the first time in three seasons thanks to an improbable nine-game winning streak that had the kind of redemption arcs you only see in sports movies where the main character is a golden retriever or a field goal kicking mule.
As confidently predicted by yours truly several times, the Aztecs cruised to a comfortable victory against technically Power Five Arizona State in Tempe this weekend. It really happened. I was there. Here’s a crappy video I recorded to prove it:
I sat on the couch at lemonverbena‘s pad for about an hour, re-watching highlights and trying to convince myself that what we’d watched in real time wasn’t some sort of mirage conjured by the windswept Nevada desert. As I drove home, past the crowds of Santa-hat wearing revelers packing trendy North Park watering holes, I still couldn’t shake the feeling of disbelief.
San Diego State had a moment to shine in the national spotlight today. It responded by shrugging off an early gut punch to blast one of the most hyped college football teams of 2016 into the stratosphere.
Oh, and the best Aztec football player in a generation broke a hallowed record and got drooled over on national network television. That happened too.
The San Diego State Aztecs football team won its 21st conference championship on Saturday with a thrilling 27-24 win over the Wyoming Cowboys. That seems like a lot!
Now, I may be mistaken, but I believe about 17 of those 21 championships occurred when SDSU was in a league with Patrick Henry High School and the Camp Pendleton Marines, but who cares? Banners are banners so let’s bask in some glory.
Here are the 21 most awesome things about the Aztecs clinching their 21st title.