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By ERIC GALVAN and JON HINSHAW Sports Writers

September 14, 2001

It is one of the most storied rivalries in Imperial Valley high school athletics when Holtville and Imperial high schools get together the fans and players are almost always in for a barn burner.

At 7:30 Saturday night the school's football teams will get together for a non-league tilt at Imperial.

The game was originally scheduled for tonight, but the teams decided to move the game to Saturday to observe Friday's national day of mourning.

While it may not be the annual Imperial Valley Classic, it is still Imperial and Holtville, bitter rivals.

The Tigers enter the contest looking for their first win after falling 38-21 last week to Antelope High of Wellton, Ariz.

The Vikings enter riding the high of a 20-0 thumping of Army/Navy in Carlsbad last weekend.

"This is a big game no matter what. Even though it's not a league game, any time Holtville and Imperial get together, it's the biggest game of the year," said Viking coach Jim Sturgeon. "You can throw all the records out the window when Holtville plays Imperial. This is no different. I really expect an up-tempo game. I know our guys will get up for this game. It'd be a disappointment if they couldn't."

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The Vikings racked up 272 yards of total offense in their first contest.

Leading the Holtville ground game, which totaled 227 yards, will be senior running back Frank Lopez, who finished with 159 yards on 19 carries and a touchdown.

"This is just one of those games that gets to your heart. You always get up for this game," said Lopez, in his third year on the Viking varsity. "We beat them last year (34-16) and I think now we're starting to make up for losing to them six years in a row. Now we just want to keep the momentum going. I'm expecting a big game from our team."

Said senior running back Jared Brady, also in his third year on the varsity: "I'm very pumped up for this game. We started the season right and we want to keep it going. I just have a pretty good feeling about this game."

Imperial will try to get back on track in its first home game of the season.

Tiger coach Mike Swearingen said this week's non-league game doesn't carry the same intensity as the I.V. Classic, but he still thinks this week's matchup is an important one for his squad.

"We're trying to build things in a positive way. Last week is over. That's behind us. Now we have Holtville to worry about," said Swearingen. "We have a lot of inexperience on this team and our goal is to improve from week to week."

Leading the Tigers on offense will be quarterback Ceasar Ramos, who earned team offensive player of the game honors last week.

"I feel pretty good about our team right now. I know that we just have to play a good game," said Ramos. "Because it's Holtville we're all going to step it up. Holtville always plays extra tough in this game and so will we."

Another game Saturday night will be Brawley Union High at Palm Desert.

Coming off a 22-13 loss to Indio that saw Rajah running back Juan Torres carry the ball 44 times for 146 yards, Brawley will face another run-first offense similar to Indio.

"Palm Desert is big and physical. They play power football … smash-mouth football," said Wildcat coach John Bishop. "I think that Indio game may have helped us and has helped us in preparation for this game."

Leading the Aztec offense will be quarterback Jimmy Bohm and running back Chris Lopez.

"We've done some more studying, watching film, and I feel more prepared for this game than I did for Indio. I feel way more prepared," Bishop said.

Brawley will feature option quarterback Dominic Aguirre, who threw for 45 yards, and running back Andy Buckner, who finished with 54 yards rushing on 12 carries with two touchdowns.

Vincent Memorial High of Calexico also will play Saturday at Southwest High as it takes on Francis Parker High of San Diego.

Francis Parker will enter the game running an "ace" formation with John LaSalle featured as the single back.

Said Vincent assistant coach Joe Bielma: "We expect them to run the ball a lot. That's what we're prepared for. I really think this will be one of the toughest games we're going to play, so far."

In Yuma tonight, Calipatria High will take on Yuma Catholic, which is in its first year of competition.

Competing in the Desert West League, the all freshmen and sophomore Yuma Catholic squad is 0-2 on the season.

Lito Estrada will be the featured running back in the team's Wing-T offense. In two games this season Estrada has 159 yards rushing.

The Hornets (1-1) will look to quarterback Jacob Steele, who has rushed for over 100 yards in each of Calipatria's games, to lead the offense.

With a 14-7 win on the road against Yuma under its belt, Calexico High likes its chances to improve to 2-0 in its first game at home this season at 7:30 tonight against Coachella Valley.

The Bulldogs' defense was the story in week one as it forced two fumbles and limited Yuma to just 165 yards of offense and one score.

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