'Dogs end losing streak to Spartans

November 03, 2001|By ERIC GALVAN, Sports Writer

CALEXICO — As soon as the Calexico and Central Union high football teams concluded their game here Friday, Calexico's players gathered around head coach Richard Gonzalez and proceeded to pick him up and carry him off the field on their shoulders.

It was a special gesture for a "special moment" in Bulldog football's history as Calexico broke a 21-year losing streak to Central, beating it 32-14 in Imperial Valley League action.

"That was a very special moment when they carried me off the field like that. That was the only time in my coaching career that I've been carried off," said Gonzalez. "I can really say that this was one of the biggest wins in my career because of the jinx and the streak. It was a really big win for us."

Not only was it a big win for this Calexico team, but seemingly for the city of Calexico as fans and past players congratulated the team.


"I can't even describe the feelings of this win," said Bulldog linebacker/running back Raul Ochoa. "We expected this from day one. The very first day we started working for this, we wanted it. This whole thing, this win, everything, is something we'll remember the rest of our lives."

From the get-go Calexico seemed to do what it wanted against the Spartans, scoring on each of its first three drives.

In that span, which carried from the first quarter to the second, the Bulldogs outscored Central 20-0 and outgained it 212-11.

Scoring for Calexico were Odin Ayala on a 7-yard run at the 7-minute, 15-second mark of the first quarter, Ochoa on a 3-yard plunge with 2:06 in the first and Vicente Vasquez on a 35-yard pass from Ayala at 9:31 in the second. Ayala hooked up with Chris Ramsey following the third score for a 2-point conversion.

Up 20-0, everything that could go right for Calexico was going right.

It was then the Spartans woke up.

Following the Bulldogs third score, Central's Anthony Hellum returned the kickoff 82 yards for the Spartans' first score of the night. The extra-point try failed.

After stopping a Bulldog drive, the Spartans came back firing with another score. Three plays following a 35-yard pass to Hellum from Manuel Ponce, which put Central inside the Bulldogs' 10-yard line, Ponce connected with Paul Porter from 3 yards out for another touchdown. Marcos Navarro ran in the two-point conversion to cut the score to 20-14 with 3:29 remaining in the half.

"When they scored those two touchdown, we just started feeling comfortable when we shouldn't have," said Calexico defensive lineman Ralph Hernandez.

If the Bulldogs started relaxing in the second quarter, they came out of the half a totally different team.

On the Spartans' first three possessions of the second half, Calexico held them to -17 yards (-11 in the third quarter) and forced a fumble, which was recovered at the Central 3-yard line. In the half, Central could only muster 33 yards, all of which came on a 40-yard pass from Ponce to Hellum.

The Bulldogs only needed one play to score following the fumble recovery as Javier Alatorre went in for the score with 6:26 remaining in the game.

Calexico's first score of the half came when Alatorre reached pay dirt from 2 yards out with 5:21 left in the third quarter.

If there was any hope of a Spartan comeback it all ended when the Bulldogs' Manuel Gomez intercepted Ponce with 1:03 left in the game.

"Since it's been so long since Calexico's beaten Central, this is our greatest win ever," said the Bulldogs' Sergio Pesqueira. "This is just a great feeling. We all played as a team and showed that our hard work did pay off."

The Bulldogs (5-2 overall, 2-1 IVL) will play Southwest at 7:30 p.m. Thursday in El Centro and Central (2-7, 1-2) will host Brawley Union High at 7:30 p.m. Friday in the Bell Game.

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