Central's offense stalls against Cibola

September 08, 2001|By BILL KOPATICH, Special to this newspaper

YUMA — Armando Garcia and his Cibola teammates had to wait until the end of Friday night's game to do their celebrating.

Garcia, a senior defensive back whose birthday was Friday, came up with two key interceptions in the Raiders' 7-6 victory over Central Union.

Garcia's second interception came at his own 44-yard line after Central quarterback Erik Castro dropped back on a third down and nine play from his team's 30 with 1:27 left in the game. Cibola quarterback Cody Peterson ran out the clock by taking a knee a couple times after Garcia's second interception.

"I really wasn't thinking how it was my birthday and everything," Garcia said. "I just went out there and played the game the way I was coached."


Central led 6-0 for much of the game after the Spartans scored a touchdown on a broken play after a bad snap on a field-goal attempt. Running back and holder Victor Cesena, Central's quarterback last season, connected with Ricky Paleo for the nine-yard touchdown with 4:14 left in the second quarter. Central missed the extra-point kick.

Cibola scored its touchdown on a 53-yard drive capped by a one-yard touchdown run by senior Michael Jones with 6:36 left in the game. The drive started after senior lineman Marty McCamy returned a fumble recovery for 42 yards.

"We really needed that fumble recovery," Cibola coach Shawn Wehrer said. "We finally got a break in the game and we did something about it."

With Central driving on the Cibola 12-yard line, Castro completed a pass to a falling receiver. It looked like the pass might have been incomplete, but in the confusion, McCamy picked up a fumble at his team's 5 and raced down the left sideline before being tackled at his own 47 to set up the touchdown drive.

"I dropped back in pass coverage and saw the receiver drop the ball," McCamy said. "I didn't hear a whistle, so I just ran with it down the sidelines for as far as I could."

Junior quarterback Cody Peterson came up with two big plays during Cibola's touchdown drive. Peterson carried the ball for 24 yards on an option play to give the Raiders a first down at the Central 16. After getting sacked on the next play, Peterson connected with Victor Cifton on a 19-yard pass play over the middle to the 1 that set up Jones' touchdown run on the next play.

Peterson completed nine of 18 pass attempts for 105 yards and no interceptions. Sixty-two of those passing yards went to Clifton on four receptions.

"Cody is getting some experience back there," said Wehrer of his quarterback, who is starting for the first year. "He needs to do some things differently as far as throwing the ball when he maybe should be picking up the ball and running with it, but he's doing everything we expect out of him."

Peterson helped keep his team despite getting sacked eight times for a total of 55 yards in losses.

"That shouldn't happen," said Wehrer, who started on the offensive line at the University of Wyoming. "A few times they put pressure on us after bringing a lot of guys to the line of scrimmage, but sometimes they brought pressure after only bringing five guys on the rush."

The Spartans will be back in action at 7:30 p.m. Friday at Yuma High.

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