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Second-half explosion propels Hornets to win

September 16, 2001|By CHRIS GRANT, Sports Editor

YUMA — After a sluggish start, the Calipatria High School football team scored 24 second-half points in a 30-2 win over Yuma Catholic here Friday.

"We did not play up to our level until the second half," said Hornet coach Stuart Black. "We'll never be able to get away with anything like this ever again."

Jacob Steele led the Hornet attack, scoring two second-half touchdowns. Brian Williams added Calipatria's other second half score.

"The first half wasn't that great," said Williams. "We stepped up in the second half and played good football."

The first half was actually a tale of missed opportunities for both teams. Time and again Calipatria (2-1) advanced the ball into Shamrock territory, only to be unable to punch it into the end zone.

The lone Hornet score came courtesy of Zach Taylor, who capped a 20-yard drive by punching the ball in from the one-yard line. Calipatria was unable to convert the two-point conversion and took a 6-0 lead.

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Yuma Catholic responded to the score with a 50-yard drive to the Calipatria 13-yard line. Then that the Hornet defense stiffened, pushing the Shamrocks back to the 17 before reclaiming the ball on downs.

Things did not go so well for Calipatria on its subsequent possession. The Hornets ran three plays that netted negative six yards and were forced to punt. Calipatria punter Alex Fairley had a hard time handling a bad snap and was tackled in the end zone, giving Yuma Catholic two points. The half ended with Calipatria up 6-2.

"We were getting punked and we weren't going to get punked," said Taylor. "We were not going to let ourselves get pushed around."

The Hornets' new attitude was apparent on their first possession of the second half. They marched 53 yards in just over three minutes and scored when Williams bulled into the end zone from two yards out. Steele ran in the two-point conversion to put Calipatria up 14-2.

The Hornets executed a successful onside kick and were back in business at the Yuma Catholic 49. It only took Calipatria three minutes to score again as Steele capped the drive with a 13-yard scamper. Taylor ran in the two-point conversion to put the Hornets up 22-2.

"We didn't make too many adjustments," said Black. "This was a good team effort. The defense held us in the game until the second half."

Steele scored Calipatria's final points in the middle of the fourth quarter with a six-yard run. Taylor ran in the conversion to conclude the Hornet scoring.

Calipatria will return to action at 7:30 p.m. Friday at home against Silver Valley. Black thinks his team should be better prepared for the game as senior lineman Jay Watte will return from a broken arm.

"The key tonight was that we were hurt on the offensive line," Black said. "Next week we'll have our offensive line back together."

Taylor thinks that a stronger Hornet offense should lead to more wins.

"If our offense was playing as well as our defense we'd be undefeated right now," Taylor said. "We need to develop. We've got our strength. We just need to show it."

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