Scots spoil Tigers' homecoming with rout

November 03, 2001|By JON HINSHAW, Sports Writer

IMPERIAL — The last time the Vincent Memorial High football team took the field Oct. 26, quarterback Miguel Montaño turned the ball over four times and the Scots' potent offense still handed Holtville a 33-0 drubbing.

One can only imagine what Vincent could accomplish if Montaño and the rest of his squad were in sync. On Friday, Imperial High found out first hand.

The Scots limited their turnovers to one and scored using five different players in a 54-0 rout of the Tigers to spoil their homecoming. Vincent got in the end zone eight times to improve its overall mark to 6-1 and its Desert Mountain League record to 3-0.

"And it was a difficult week for us," said Scot coach Jaime Santos, referring to the loss of a few players due to grades and some sub-par practices. "I'm glad we came through."


Added Montaño: "We started cold, but after we got into a rhythm everybody played great."

After an interception and a punt ended Vincent's first two drives, it scored on eight of its final 10 possessions. The Tigers (1-8 overall, 0-3 IVL) were consistently looking at the backs of Scot jerseys after a variety of long passes and quick runs got the scoreboard moving.

"Vincent is a very good football team," said Imperial coach Mike Swearingen. "They played well and they deserved to win. They have good athletes and are well-coached. (The outcome of this game) is the way our year's gone."

Vincent racked up 486 yards of total offense, 263 through the air and 223 on the ground. Montaño passed for 233 yards and two scores, including catching a 30-yard strike himself, and Eric Ruiz carried 13 times for 126 yards and a touchdown.

While the Scots' offense was having a field day, their defense was enjoying the contest just as much. Led by linebacker Manuel Padilla, who set a team record with 20 solo tackles, Vincent held the Tigers to only 63 yards of offense and forced two turnovers. The Scots, in a span of 26 seconds during the third period, turned both turnovers into touchdowns.

"We practiced really hard and we were well-prepared," said Padilla, whose solo tackle total eclipsed his own mark of 16. "They're a good team, but we went out and showed that we're better."

Vincent began the scoring with only 1:25 remaining in the opening quarter on a 12-yard run by Ruiz. The Scots began with the ball at the Imperial 12-yard line after a fumbled snap on a Tiger punt attempt resulted in a failed fourth-down run attempt by D.J. Hastings. Montaño's extra-point attempt was blocked, but Vincent was in the end zone again on its first possession of the second quarter.

Following the second of seven punts by the Tigers, the Scots put together their first big-play score — an 81-yard touchdown pass to Juan Lopez from Montaño, who then hit Jose Lopez for a two-point conversion and a 14-0 lead.

"We're just (not) playing well as a team," said Swearingen. "We have some individual players that are doing well, but as a team we're not."

A short possession by Imperial gave Vincent's receivers a quick rest and then it was off to the races again. Not to be outdone by his brother, Jose Lopez was the next recipient of a huge passing play from Montaño, who found Jose Lopez open down the sidelines. A quick cut to the middle of the field by Jose Lopez fooled a couple Imperial defenders playing deep. The 75-yard catch-and-run pushed the Scots' lead to 20-0 with just over six minutes to play in the first half, but Vincent wasn't done.

Another punt by Imperial gave the Scots the ball back at their own 40-yard line. Montaño hit Julian Escalera for a 30-yard pass play in Tiger territory and Vincent followed with some of its offensive chicanery. Montaño flipped a lateral to Jose Lopez and immediately streaked outside and toward the end zone. Lopez then lofted a floater to Montaño, who beat an Imperial defender for the catch and ran 20 yards for another score and a 26-0 halftime edge.

"Sometimes (Montaño) puts too much pressure on himself," said Santos, referring to his quarterback's four turnovers more than a week ago. "We have a lot of confidence in him and he came back with a good game. He's our captain and he wants to do the extra stuff that allows our team to win."

The Scots' offensive dominance through the air in the first half was replaced with a running attack in the second half that fared just as well.

After an interception of Tiger quarterback Ceaser Ramos that was returned for a 29-yard touchdown by Juan Lopez for a 32-0 lead, Vincent used four different ball carriers to post three more touchdowns. Another turnover by Ramos, this time a fumble which was recovered by Juan Lopez, gave the Scots a chance to showcase their speed out of the backfield beginning with Jose Lopez.

On the first play from scrimmage, Lopez carried for a 23-yard scoring run and Montaño ran in the two-point conversion for a 40-0 advantage.

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