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Pigs-Scorpions to renew rivalry

February 02, 2001|By ERIC GALVAN, Sports Writer

The rivalry is fierce, the play is as hard-hitting as it gets and the players don't play for millions of dollars but for bragging rights and charity.

It is the seventh annual Charity Bowl played between the Imperial Valley's police officers (Pigs) and state correctional officers (Scorpions).

The Pigs and Scorpions will do battle on the gridiron at 5:30 p.m. Saturday at Southwest High School in El Centro with proceeds going to the Calexico Neighborhood House.

Neighborhood House is a community center that offers services to Calexico such as recreation and after-school tutoring for children, day care and emergency assistance for homeless women and children.

While the game is for charity the players enter the contest with one thing on their minds — winning.

"Nobody comes in here wanting to lose," said Scorpion quarterback Anthony Lykos. "There's a lot of pride out there and winning gives us bragging rights.

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"You see these guys out in the town and if you lose, it's talked about for a whole year. So you go out there wanting to win."

Lately, though, it's been the Scorpions who have earned bragging rights, beating the Pigs in the last two meetings. In 1999, the last year the game was played, the Scorpions defeated the Pigs 14-12 and the year before the Scorpions shut out the Pigs 14-0.

With the two victories the Scorpions knotted the series at 3-3, making this year's game a bit more interesting. Should the Scorpions walk away victorious it would mark the first time either team has won three straight.

Still, both sides understand it is just a game.

"All the guys out there have respect for each other," said Scorpion defensive coordinator Mike Kullander. "We're not going out there trying to hurt one another because after the game ends we all have jobs to do."

Added Scorpion middle linebacker Lowell Buck: "There's definitely a camaraderie among everyone. Yeah, we want to win, but we want everyone to walk away healthy."

The 29-year-old Buck will be suiting up for his fifth Charity Bowl and said he could probably play in about four more. Buck, like many of the other players, has a bit of a football background, having had three years of high school varsity experience in Fremont.

Because of the physical nature of football it is important that the players have some kind of football experience and Buck said most, if not all, of the 35 players participating do.

Since the majority do have experience on the gridiron, Lykos thinks the game will provide entertainment for all those attending.

Said Lykos: "We expect a close game. These games are always real exciting and it's entertaining for everyone that comes out to watch."

Tickets are still available and can be purchased for $5 at the gate. Children under 12 get in free.

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