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Eagles open playoffs at Lincoln

November 15, 2001|By ERIC GALVAN, Sports Writer

In Southwest High's season opener against Lincoln Academy in August, the game was dominated by Southwest.

The Eagles outgained Lincoln 138-64 on the ground and 216-139 in total yardage. Southwest should have walked off the field victorious. Instead it left with a sour taste in its mouth as it fell 16-0.

At 1 p.m. Saturday, the Eagles have the opportunity to redeem themselves as they take on the Hornets in the first round of the CIF San Diego Section Division III playoffs in San Diego.

"We're very excited about this game. We felt like we took it to them in that first game," said Eagle coach Jerry Storts. "We're not going to change a thing at all offensively or defensively. There's really no differences between this game and the last game. The only differences are that we're playing at Lincoln and it's a day game."


In the last month the Eagles (4-6 overall) have been playing as well, going 3-1, with that one loss coming in overtime against Calexico last week.

In the three wins, Southwest shut out all its opponents — Central Union High, Palo Verde and CETYS of Mexicali — outscoring them 73-0, including a 36-point drubbing of Palo Verde.

Things will more than likely be different against Lincoln, which finished with a 7-2 record. As was the case in their first meeting, Storts points to the Hornets' speed as a concern.

"We know they have a lot of team speed and that was a concern of ours going into our first game," said Storts. "But I think defensively we can match their speed."

Storts thinks he can move the ball on Lincoln and he proved that in their first meeting. On one possession the Eagles drove 97 yards but failed to come away with a score.

One thing Southwest needs to avoid is turnovers. It was a turnover that broke a scoreless tie in the second quarter of the earlier game, an interception returned 75 yards for a score.

To avoid any passing mistakes, the Eagles will look to continue to move the ball on the ground, using their "committee" of backs led by senior fullback Chris Gonzales.

Gonzales said if there's any pressure on anyone, it would be all the seniors, who are playing in their final post-season.

"I think a lot of this is on the seniors. It's mostly seniors starting and we really want this," said Gonzales. "We think of this as a new season. Whatever happened during the year is behind us."

Even with the opportunity for Southwest to redeem itself, and even with the motivation of seniors playing in their final post-season, there's still one thing Gonzales and Southwest offensive tackle Justin Ernest point to as the biggest inspiration.

"We have a chance to play Brawley again. I think that is probably our main motivation. We don't want to look past Lincoln, but we know that if we win, we have another shot at Brawley," said Ernest. "When we played Brawley last time (a 13-9 loss) we felt we played them pretty good. And we'd like another shot at them."

Should the Eagles get past Lincoln, they would meet the Wildcats in Brawley Nov. 23.

Added Storts: "We're not looking past Lincoln at all. But having the chance to play another game in the Valley gives us some more motivation."

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