Cibola stops Calexico 20-6

September 30, 2001|BY IZZY GOULD, Special to this newspaper

YUMA — The final score looked beefy, the statistics appeared juicy, but the game was as dry as the Griswold's Christmas Day turkey.

For the first three quarters Friday, Cibola High of Yuma didn't look like an undefeated high school football team. Penalties and missed opportunities, which would have killed Cibola against more competitive teams, merely hampered the Raiders early.

Then on the first play of the fourth quarter, Cibola snapped out of the funk of a bye week and began playing like city champions.

After piling on two scores in the final 12 minutes, Cibola (4-0) players and coaches seemed to breathe a sigh of relief in a 20-6 win over Calexico (2-2) at Raider Field.


"We did some things well and some things kind of ugly," Cibola coach Shawn Wehrer said. "We fumbled one ball in the end zone, we threw a touchdown that was brought back on a penalty, and when we don't get scores out of that, it's killing us.

"When we're playing good football teams, we need to take advantage of those things to stay in ball games."

After jumping ahead 6-0 on a 3-yard run by Michael Jones in the first quarter, Cibola appeared to be headed for the slaughterhouse with Calexico firmly in its grasp.

On their next offensive possession following Jones' score, the Raiders put together an impressive eight-play, 60-yard march down to Calexico's 10-yard line. Then Michael Calderon made a costly mistake trying to plow the ball toward the Bulldog end zone, only to fumble at the goal line. The ball bounced into the end zone and was pounced on by Calexico defenders for a touchback, keeping the score 6-0.

Toward the end of the first half Cibola put together another long drive, this time taking the ball all the way to the Calexico 14-yard line. On the next play, Cibola quarterback Cody Peterson fluttered a pass to wide receiver Victor Clifton just past the goal line. But the play was called back on a holding penalty.

"Defensively we did a very good job," Wehrer said. "I don't think we gave them very much defensively. Even if we didn't get the other two scores, we're still in the ball game. But a few more mistakes and it's probably a lot closer than it was."

Overall Cibola's defense was solid yielding just one score, an eight-yard pass from Odin Ayala to Aaron Barrios in the third quarter to cap Calexico's sturdiest drive of the game. The Raiders held the Bulldogs to just 118 yards of offense, 29 of those on the ground.

Barrios led all Calexico rushers with 23 yards on eight carries. Ayala finished with 89 yards passing.

Cibola running backs put on a show, dancing around for a total of 150 yards on the ground. Most of the duties fell on the shoulders of Jones and Calderon, who both helped the cause with touchdown runs.

"I myself think I played poorly, but my running back right here, he played great," Calderon said of Jones' 90-yard, one touchdown performance.

Calderon finished with 28 yards and a score.

"All that matters is that we won and that's all that counts," he said.

The Bulldogs will return to action at 7:30 p.m. Oct. 12 at home against Palo Verde.

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