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Scots to face state's No. 1 team

November 30, 2001|By ERIC GALVAN, Sports Writer

Ask any member of the Vincent Memorial High football team about the team's main goal is and almost every one will say he wants to play in Qualcomm Stadium in San Diego on Wednesday.

By playing at Qualcomm, Vincent will have advanced to the CIF San Diego Section Division IV finals.

First things first. The Scots have a date with No. 1-seed Santa Fe Christian at 7:30 p.m. Friday at La Jolla High.

The task won't be easy for the Scots as they as they also take on the division's top-ranked team in the state.

"We know that they're a pretty good team. They're not No. 1 in the state for nothing," said Scots' running back/linebacker Eric Ruiz, named to the Desert Mountain League's second team at both positions. "But we want to win CIF. Every day after practice when we break, we all say ‘CIF champs.' So we've gotten this far and we don't want the hard work that we put in to mean nothing. We want to make it worth it.

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"We have a really good offense and defense. The thing about them (Santa Fe Christian) is that nobody's really hit them. I think our defense can," said Ruiz, a junior. "But we have to make plays and just give it 110 percent. If there's a team that will beat Santa Fe Christian, it's us."

If there's any team that could match the Eagles' firepower it would be the Scots. During the regular season both teams played Calipatria and Imperial and finished with similar results: the Eagles won 56-6 while the Scots downed the Hornets 36-12. Both squads also had no trouble disposing of Imperial, ending up with shutouts. Santa Fe Christian walked over the Tigers 49-0 while Vincent buried Imperial 54-0.

The person designated to try to stop the Eagles' wing-T offense is Vincent defensive coordinator Joe Bielma.

While his squad hasn't seen an offense as effective as Santa Fe Christian's, he is confident about his team's ability to take on the Eagles.

"We're going to go at them one-on-one and toe-to-toe. I think one of our advantages is our size, so we're going to try to overpower them up front," said Bielma. "I believe we have the pass covered with two of the best corners in the league with the twins, (Juan Roman and Jose Ramon Lopez) and in the middle we have Manuel Padilla. So there's a lot of pressure on our defensive line. I think it's going to come down to them."

In the Lopez brothers, the Scots have Desert Mountain League first-team corners and in Padilla they have the league's defensive MVP who averaged a little more than 15 tackles per game.

Last week against defending CIF San Diego Section Division IV champion Horizon, the Vincent defense held Horizon to six points and 180 yards of total offense. Padilla finished with nine solo tackles and Jose Ramon Lopez picked off three passes and recovered a fumble. Juan Roman Lopez finished with two interceptions.

During the regular season, the Scots only gave up a San Diego CIF Section best 4.38 points per game. Not counting special teams touchdowns and opposing team's defensive scores, Vincent defense only gave up 2.7 points a contest.

Anchoring the D-line that Bielma thinks will be the difference are tackles Eric Rodriguez at 6-foot-3, 260 pounds, Eddie Olivas (6-0, 230) and Fernando Goycoolea at 6-foot-3, 310 pounds, all three of whom were named as DML first-team offensive linemen.

With the size and strength in the middle, Bielma will utilize the speed and quickness of running back Daniel Soria (5-11, 180) and receiver/defensive back Alfonso Vidales (5-9, 165) to play at defensive ends.

Offensively, Vincent will stick with the game plan that has worked all year as it will play a balanced offense, mixing the run and the pass.

Last week the Scots racked up 403 yards of offense, 221 yards on the ground and 182 in the air. Juan Roman Lopez finished with 160 yards of offense (110 receiving) including touchdown receptions of 53 and 33 yards.

Quarterback Mickey Montaño finished 7-for-14 with 182 yards passing, 38 rushing, three touchdowns (one rushing) and wasn't sacked.

In nine games this year, counting the playoff game, Montaño only has been sacked twice.

"That's been our goal all year … we never want to let anyone touch Mickey. I think this year, our line is more united, that's why we've been playing as good as we have," said Goycoolea. "I think the line is the heart and soul of the team. You can't do much without the line.

"We've been working our butts off and have been preparing all year to win it all," Goycoolea said. "This is going to be our most difficult game so far and I think we have the team and the talent to win it all."

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