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Tessada Challenge raises over $1,000 for educator

May 20, 2002|By AARON CLAVERIE

Staff Writer

CALEXICO — A scrappy bunch of 16 — some middle-aged men and some young ringers, all staffers at De Anza Junior High School, took to Calexico High School's basketball court Friday night as underdogs in their match-up against a team of Willie Moreno Junior High staffers.

The De Anza team left the court as winner of the Tessada Challenge, a thriller that raised more than $1,000 for longtime De Anza physical education instructor David Tessada.

Tessada is recovering at his El Centro home from treatment for a rare blood disease.

Before the game Friday, Tessada was asked who would win the charity basketball game in his name.

He predicted, "Willie Moreno has a bunch of young ones. They will run over my De Anza staff. (He chuckled.) But … that's OK, we'll fight ‘em to the end. Willie Moreno will win by a basket."


It turns out Tessada's colleagues did fight to the end, tying Willie Moreno at 58-58 as the fourth quarter ended.

In a three-minute overtime, cheered on by the packed house inside Varner Gym, De Anza scored four points to Willie Moreno's two to win 62-60.

De Anza counselor Marci Rodriguez said there was a good reason Tessada predicted a Willie Moreno win.

"We played a few years ago and they smacked us really bad. There should have been a mercy rule," she said.

This year, under the guidance of math teacher turned charity basketball game coach John Glaser, the De Anza squad pulled together to pull out a win.

Glaser said each of the 16 staffers chipped in and played a crucial role.

Jose Briseno of Willie Moreno was a standout in a losing cause.

Next year Tessada said he should be able to watch the game in person instead of hearing about it.

"I feel slightly better each day," he said.

Tessada is looking at sometime in 2003 as a target date for when he might be able to return to teaching.

Hearing of that, Rodriguez, said, "I sure hope so."

>> Staff Writer Aaron Claverie can be reached at 337-3419 or

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