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El Cerrito High's Marcellus Pippins (21) breaks away for a 56 yard catch and run for a touchdown against Salesian High in their Tri-County Athletic League Rock Division high school football game played at El Cerrito High School in El Cerrito, Calif. on Friday, Sept. 28, 2012. (Dan Honda/Staff)

EL CERRITO -- To beat a team with a 26-game winning streak, all the El Cerrito High football team had to do was play the same way it has all year.

Using big plays on offense, defense and special teams, the host Gauchos tightened their grip of the top of the Tri-County Athletic League Rock Division standings with a 42-6 win over Salesian on Friday.

The Pride (5-1, 1-1 TCAL Rock) entered with the state's longest active winning streak, but that mattered not to El Cerrito (6-0, 2-0).

That was evident on the game's first score. Faced with a fourth down deep in Salesian territory, Keilan Benjamin lofted a pass to the corner of the end zone. Jalen Harvey jumped, raised one hand and hauled in the pass for a jaw-dropping 21-yard touchdown.

The big plays continued to mount for the Gauchos throughout the first half. Benjamin found Marcellus Pippins on a short pass route, and Pippins turned it upfield for a dynamic 54-yard touchdown.

El Cerrito also benefited from a rather unusual score. After Michael Page scored Salesian's first points on a 5-yard run, a line-drive kickoff ricocheted to El Cerrito blocker Derik Calhoun. Normally a linebacker, Calhoun scooped the ball up, shook a defender and ran 42 yards for a score.

The Gauchos capped the half with a 6-yard touchdown pass from Benjamin to Harvey to lead 26-6 at the break.

"They wanted to stop us from getting the big plays," El Cerrito coach Kenny Kahn said. "I was really impressed with the production of my running back, Austin Harper, as well as Marcellus Pippins when he had the ball."


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Benjamin finished with an impressive line of 170 yards and four touchdowns through the air.

"We have a great chemistry, and I've seen him do nothing but blossom since he got the position in the summertime," Kahn said of his quarterback.

Harper also added 105 yards on the ground for the Gauchos. Michael Page led Salesian with 71 yards rushing but had to leave the game in the third quarter with a leg injury.