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Bulldogs hope to stop streak

November 01, 2001|By ERIC GALVAN, Sports Writer

With less than two minutes in the game last year, it seemed as if Calexico High was finally going to snap its 20-year losing streak to Central Union High.

But as time was dwindling, Central found a way to steal the victory in a 15-14 come-from-behind win.

Calexico will try to end its losing skid against Central on Friday as the two battle in the fourth annual Willis Ward game in Calexico.

The teams enter the game after opposite performances last week.

Against Brawley Union High on Friday, the Bulldogs were hammered 40-0 and only netted 115 yards of offense.

On the flip side, Central put together one of its best performances of the year in beating Palo Verde 21-7.

"Our players are starting to come along and they're really focused right now. We just have to continue to keep them mentally focused," said Spartan coach Joe Apodaca. "Whenever we play Calexico it's always a competitive game. And we've heard that they're ready to go. So as far as we're concerned we're just going to keep on working and work on execution."

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While Apodaca doesn't like to dwell on past games, he said he would like to use the positive from last week's game and build on it. While his team played well, he said there are still things that need work.

"Right now we're still not where we want to be. We know we still have some work to do and our guys realize what needs to be done," said Apodaca.

One of the players who stepped up in last week's win and will be a factor in this week's game is Central running back/cornerback Anthony Hellum.

Last week Hellum finished with three touchdowns and three interceptions.

"This is a really big game for us. We want to have a good game so we can have momentum for our last game," Hellum said.

While Hellum is a big part of the Central offense, defense and special teams, Calexico coach Richard Gonzalez said he can't focus strictly on Hellum.

"They definitely feature Anthony Hellum, but they still have a lot of other really good players we have to look out for," said Gonzalez. "So it's not just Anthony Hellum and our guys know that."

Gonzalez's squad has been consistent in mixing up the running and passing games. But last week, quarterback Odin Ayala finished with only 18 yards passing and threw four interceptions.

Instead of abandoning the passing game altogether this week, Gonzalez said he will continue to throw the ball to try to put together a solid all-around offensive game.

"We have to be efficient on offense. We want to continue to mix it up on offense and stay balanced. We still consider ourselves a balanced offense and we're not going to let last week affect us," said Gonzalez. "Central has a really good defense. They've played some really solid defense this year. If you put their record aside they're a pretty good team.

"We really want to win this game because it's a league game. Right now everyone wants to be in second place to help our chances of making the playoffs. We just can't afford to lose," said Gonzalez.

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