Holtville football team getting new facilities

February 07, 2001|By JON HINSHAW, Sports Writer

When Holtville High School football coach Jim Sturgeon arrived in the Imperial Valley for the 1999 season, it seemed every other word that came from his mouth was "program."

While Holtville has struggled in Sturgeon's two years at the helm after nearly a decade of dominance in the Desert Mountain League and Desert League, "program" is still a big part of his vocabulary.

In preparation for the 2001 season, some key elements are being put together to return the Vikings to their heyday.

"That's where we're at," said Sturgeon as he surveyed construction around Holtville's football field and weightlifting facility. "We're continuing to build this program and we're starting from the ground up."

Through donations and at-cost prices, the Viking football program is receiving a shot in the collective arms with an upgraded weightlifting facility and outdoor locker room and a refurbished classroom and fieldhouse with two coach's offices. Holtville's plan calls for the combination of all four aspects in a facility that will almost double in square footage the previous quarters.


The Vikings' current facility is equipped only with a small, rectangular weightlifting facility, no classroom, a fieldhouse with little electricity and in need of a facelift and a locker room that is no more than a few mats thrown on the dirt and some beat-up lockers from the gym tossed aside years ago.

According to Sturgeon, the main objective is to provide more space to a growing number of athletes in Holtville's football program and to help with their physical and mental development in the sport. Sturgeon said the upgrade is a must to compete on the level of football he thinks the Vikings are capable of and which they will face.

"It's for the improvement of the kids," he said, "from strength to skill and from their knowledge to the preparedness of the coaching staff. We'll be creating a weight program that has some accountability and we'll be able to measure each kids' abilities in half the time."

Pouring of cement to double the size of the weightlifting area is under way and the rewiring, painting and cleaning of the fieldhouse is nearing completion. The weightlifting area will get new machinery and the fieldhouse will get furniture as well as a storage facility for football gear. The weight area will be fenced with chain-link and covered from the weather.

In coming weeks construction on the classroom and locker room will begin. The locker room will have a new cement floor as well as covering to protect occupants from weather extremes. The classroom will feature the same additions as the locker room and will be filled with desks and a chalkboard. Both the locker room and classroom will be surrounded by chain-link fence to protect both school property and the athletes' personal belongings during games.

Frank Lopez, a Holtville junior and returning letterman, thinks the new facilities will greatly improve the play of Holtville.

"It's going to help us get bigger, stronger and faster. We'll be ready to hit people," said Lopez, who performed for the Vikings last season as a running back, safety and linebacker. "Last year we didn't have much in terms of strength or conditioning and we were getting hit all over the field. With this new addition I think we'll be doing the hitting instead."

Sturgeon agreed and added, "We're behind in strength but with this program we'll be going full boar in the upcoming season and it will be the best year here in Holtville since I've started coaching."

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