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Vikings knocked out of playoffs

November 25, 2001|By CHRIS GRANT, Sports Editor

EL CAJON — The Holtville High School football team's season came to a screeching halt as the Vikings fell 69-13 to Christian in the first round of the San Diego Section Division IV playoffs.

"I feel really bad for the kids," said Viking coach Jim Sturgeon. "If that team doesn't beat (No. 1 seed) Santa Fe Christian than Santa Fe really is the best team in the state."

Despite 100-yard efforts by running backs Frank Lopez (100) and Jared Brady (133), Holtville was unable to compete with Christian. The Viking defense struggled mightily, allowing the Patriots to score a touchdown on every possession except their final one when they downed the ball three times to end the game.

Despite what turned out to be a disastrous night, Sturgeon thought that the game might have turned out differently if not for one play in the first quarter.

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That play came on a fourth and one on the Vikings' first possession. Lopez, who was playing quarterback, pitched the ball to Luis Quiroga on the option but the play was stopped for a 2-yard loss, giving Christian the ball.

"If I could have one play back it would be that fourth down in the first quarter," Sturgeon said. "You never know if it would have changed the outlook of the game."

The look of the game from that moment on was mostly one of the Patriots running into the end zone. Two plays after the Holtville fourth down, Christian quarterback Joel Allen hit tight end Clint Gerlek for a 14-yard touchdown. With the extra point the Patriots led 7-0 and were off and running.

The score would set a first-half trend for Allen who finished the half with 266 yards passing and five touchdowns. He did not play in the second half.

Christian added a 9-yard touchdown run by Colby Shigley and two more touchdown passes from Allen, a 53-yard play to Michael Singleton and a 15-yarder to Brent Dongell before the Vikings managed to get on the board.

Holtville's first score came early in the second quarter and was the culmination of an impressive 82-yard drive by the Viking offense. Brady broke loose on a 23-yard run on the drive and took a screen pass from Jon Singh for 34 yards to set up Holtville's score. Lopez capped the drive with a 5-yard plunge. The Vikings missed the extra point and trailed 28-6.

Christian would score four more times before Holtville again found the end zone. Allen connected with Josh Paddock on scoring strikes of 43 and 21 yards and Paddock added a 13-yard run to close the Patriots first-half scoring. Shigley scored again late in the third quarter to put Christian up 56-6.

The Vikings answered this particular Patriots' score with one of their own. Lopez took a pass from Singh and rumbled 43-yards to pay dirt. Adan Mejia booted the extra point and Holtville trailed 56-13.

Christian went on to score two more times on a 2-yard run and a 53-yard run, both by Matt Jones.

"We shot every bullet we had," said Sturgeon. "Everybody played. We did everything we could for our kids and everybody gave a full effort."

The Vikings conclude their season with a 6-5 record and, despite the ugly end, Sturgeon thinks this season is another step in the right direction for the Holtville program.

"This season is a great season to build on," he said. "I believe we turned a corner. We've got a lot of sophomores who are going to be really good juniors. We lose two really good backs (Lopez and Brady), but there is a lot left to build on. The kids understand the commitment it's going to take."

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