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North players lookins for one last chance to shine

December 14, 2001|By CHRIS GRANT, Sports Editor

HOLTVILLE — Walking around the North all-star team's practice Thursday, one got the feeling the players weren't just readying themselves for your normal all-star game.

While there was plenty of laughter and joking, there was a serious undertone as the North prepares to battle the South on Saturday in the Imperial Valley Football Coaches Association's second annual senior all-star football game.

"You've got the best players from the Imperial Valley representing the north," said Brawley Union High School quarterback Dominic Aguirre. "It's a privilege to play with these guys. There's a lot of talent on this team."

Said Holtville High running back Frank Lopez: "I think we'll do pretty good. We have a pretty strong team. We have a lot of guys who really want to play."

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The North team is comprised of players from Brawley, Calipatria, Holtville, Imperial, West Shores and Palo Verde. The team is coached by the Viking coaching staff, which means Holtville head coach Jim Sturgeon is charge … sort of.

"My coaching staff has done everything," said Sturgeon. "I'm really proud of them. This is good for us and this is a good bunch of kids."

Sturgeon said his team will run the Brawley veer offense as well as mix in some of the Holtville passing attack. He expects the south to throw the ball with a West Coast offensive set.

What Sturgeon and all of the players on the field Thursday seem to know is going to happen is that Saturday night's game is going to be a barn-burner.

Aguirre and Holtville's Jon Singh will share time at quarterback behind a line dominated by Brawley Wildcats. One solid addition to the line is Calipatria's Alex Fairley, who at 6 foot 4 inches and 255 pounds would make a solid addition to just about any line.

One thing Aguirre thinks will work in his favor is he's quite familiar with most of the offense the team is running.

"Most of the plays are veer so a lot of us already know them," he said. "There's not too much stuff to take in such little time."

Lopez and Brawley's Mitchell Ruiz will be just two of the backs behind Aguirre. Lopez likes the idea of playing on the same team as some of his former adversaries.

"Everything is pretty cool," he said. "I like it because everybody gets to know each other. You get to see what the competition was all about and who's tougher."

While last season's North team suffered a 20-0 loss, Aguirre thinks there is no pressure on this year's group to right that wrong.

"I'm sure everybody's thinking about it, but nobody's worried," he said. "You just go out to play and hopefully win, which I think we will."

Win or lose, you get the feeling the North team will leave everything on Warne Field in Brawley on Saturday night.

"It's hard to explain," said Lopez. "This might be the last game of your career or it could be the start of something else. I just want to go out and play hard, just like it's a real game."

The IVFCA's all-star game kicks off at 7 p.m. Saturday. The game will be broadcast on 1490 AM starting at 6:30 p.m.

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