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Football fans dial in ‘John and Vic' for Bulldog games

September 16, 2001|By AARON CLAVERIE, Staff Writer

CALEXICO — During most of the week they are known as "Vice Principal Moreno" and "Mayor Carrillo" but to an audience of high school football fans from the Chocolate Mountains to the Sea of Cortez and all along the border, they are known as "John and Vic."

For the past seven years, this city's mayor, Victor Carrillo, and Calexico High Vice Principal John Moreno have called home games for Calexico's Bulldog football program on KICO-AM 1490.

What started as a passion for football and a love of the radio for Moreno has turned into a years-long announcing gig that he enjoys each week.

Moreno does the play-by-play, describing action on the field while weaving in the ad copy of the show's sponsors.

He said his style has been influenced by former Bulldog announcers and the "Hacksaw," San Diego broadcaster Lee Hamilton.

Moreno's call "Touchdown Calexico" bears a striking resemblance to Hamilton's "Touchdown San Diego" although Moreno extends the "touchdown" part a bit a la soccer announcer Andres Cantor.

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Moreno's call sounds like, "Touuuuuuccchhhdown Calexico!"

When Moreno was younger he listened to radio broadcasts for hours, memorizing song lyrics, titles and artists. He also has experience on the stage and no problem speaking in front of an audience.

"I'm a ham," he conceded.

Carrillo joined Moreno as a color commentator during home games when they started working together but now covers home and away games in addition to carrying out his responsibilities in City Hall and teaching at Calexico High.

The cousins have known each other all their lives and are both Calexico High School grads — Carrillo in 1968, Moreno in 1978.

Their familial repartee and combined knowledge of former Bulldog teams factors into their coverage.

During Friday night's game against Coachella Valley High, they compared former players and offenses of Bulldog glory days to today's team and told a story about a Coachella Valley player who is related to a former Bulldog great they both knew.

Carrillo said he looks forward to each game because, "I get a chance to hang out with John on a Friday night and watch the game from the 50-yard line."

Although he never planned on getting into broadcasting, Carrillo takes special pleasure breaking down strategy and watching his alma mater play.

"I never thought about it (broadcasting) in high school because I was always busy on the field," Carrillo said.

In addition to his seasons in the trenches of the Bulldog offensive and defensive lines, Carrillo was a standout pitcher for the Bulldog baseball team.

Foreshadowing his election to the Calexico City Council, he was busy in a number of school clubs and student government.

During football season, he takes hours out of his week to scout the team the Bulldogs are scheduled to play so he can tell his audience which opposing players are expected to play college ball or what sort of offense will be run.

During the broadcast Friday, Carrillo explained why Calexico's passing attack was so conservative and ineffective.

He said Calexico's junior quarterback playing his first year on the varsity needs to develop better timing with his receivers.

Almost all the wide receiver patterns run during the game were short — five yards and out — because the QB didn't have enough experience to go downfield, according to Carrillo.

At other times, Carrillo wondered aloud why a speedy Bulldog punt returner wasn't getting more touches.

During his partner's commentary, Moreno would get a quick drink of water or leaf through the notebook full of ad copy he has to read throughout the game.

Using hand signals, they cued each other so they didn't end up talking at the same time.

"Let's talk about that defense, Vic," Moreno said.

Carrillo started talking about the defense and as he did, Moreno scanned through his collection of ads.

When Carrillo had made his point, Moreno would break in with the ad copy.

As he read, Carrillo would watch the players set up for another play and signal for Moreno to speed up or would cut in and start describing the play.

When the action became fast- paced, the two helped each other get the proper names of the players and accurately describe what was happening.

To make that part of the job a little easier, they both stood in front of a yellow board with stickers affixed to it as they called the game.

The stickers bore the names and numbers of the various starters and backups for both teams.

As a play would unfold, Moreno described the action, "Romo (the quarterback for Coachella) rolls to his right — Oh! a blindside hit! — he gets maybe a yard on the play."

Carrillo ran his finger along the board and looked out toward the field. He then read off the names of the Bulldog defenders who made the hit.

Once everyone was acknowledged, Carrillo would put the play into context and Moreno would get ready for the next one.

They kept up the back-and-forth for three hours straight — no commercial breaks since Moreno provided the commercials and no break at halftime since they broadcast a halftime show complete with two guests.

On the postgame show, "John and Vic" capped off Friday night's Bulldog broadcast by complimenting Coachella Valley's offensive scheme, lauding the tough effort from the "stubborn Bulldog defense" and naming Raul "The Rock" Ochoa player of the game.

"The team is 1-1 and they're hosting Imperial (on Friday.) That's not too bad," Carrillo said.

"Should be a good game, Vic," Moreno added.

Staff Writer Aaron Claverie can be reached at 337-3419 or claverie7@hotmail.com

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