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Navarro proves to be the difference for Hornets

October 02, 2001|By ERIC GALVAN, Sports Writer
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Most football coaches always stress the importance of defense and special teams to their players.

When their coaches are saying things such as, "Defense wins games," and "Special teams win championships," many players listen, nod their heads and try to perform well in both facets of the game.

On Friday, Calipatria High School's Zeke Navarro was the epitome of special teams and defensive focus as he finished with two interceptions and an 85-yard kickoff return for a touchdown in Calipatria's 22-8 victory over Holtville.

"I felt pretty good with how I played. Going into that game I really didn't expect to do that well," said the 17-year-old junior. "I was pretty hyped up for that game. It was a really big game for us, but I just went out there and played."

Navarro didn't just play, he excelled. Both his interceptions came when Holtville had driven into Hornet territory. He also got off two punts that averaged about 35 yards.

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Then there was his kickoff return.

After the Hornets had taken an 8-0 lead in the first quarter, Holtville got on the scoreboard in the second and seemed to have momentum.

Enter Navarro.

He fielded the kickoff at the 15-yard line, ran up the middle then cut to the outside, broke a tackle and raced down the sideline for the score.

"Before they kicked it off I was just thinking that I had to at least get in good field position for the team, you know, just get something done," said Navarro. "Then when I was returning it, I broke a tackle and I knew that was it. I knew I was going all the way."

The kickoff return for a touchdown was Navarro's second special teams score in two weeks. In the Hornets' 18-13 win over Silver Valley on Sept. 21, he returned a punt 50 yards for a touchdown.

But the return against the Vikings may have meant more, considering it was the first time the Hornets had beaten Holtville in more than 20 years.

While Navarro may have been a big reason for Calipatria's win, he said the effort he put in was more for some of his teammates.

"This wasn't my game. I did this more for the seniors on this team. I'm really happy we won, but like I said, it was for the seniors," said Navarro. "It really doesn't matter what I do in a game, just as long as we win. That's all that matters."

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