Pigs get down and dirty

February 16, 2002|By RICHARD MYERS, Sports Editor

At first glance, tonight's Pig Bowl XIV is all about charity and having a good time.

Proceeds from this year's annual football contest at 6:30 in Southwest High's stadium benefits Court Appointed Special Advocates, better known as CASA.

"We're here to help out the kids and have some fun," said John Dougan, a member of the public safety team the Pigs, which fields players from law enforcement agencies throughout the Imperial Valley, including police, deputy sheriffs, Highway Patrol officers and a few firefighters.

For the eighth year, the Pigs will tackle the Scorpions, a team made up of correctional officers from the Centinela and Calipatria state prisons.


The Scorpions lead the series 4-3 and have won the last three, including by a 12-0 count last year.

Acknowledging that fact, several Scorpions think tonight's contest will be a little more spirited than just a friendly contest.

"They want to win bad," said the Scorpions' Richard Oliveras. "It's for bragging rights."

In fact, Oliveras said, the Pigs want to win so badly they were spotted earlier this week watching and filming a Scorpions practice in El Centro.

"They were sitting right over there underneath that tree," he said, taking a break this week from practice at Stark Field in El Centro.

Of course the Pigs are quick to downplay the allegations.

"They're always saying we're up to some shenanigans," said the Pigs' George Moreno.

He added some of the Scorpions have been spotted at Pigs' practices in Imperial as well, including the Scorpions' star quarterback, Anthony Likos.

While both teams want to win, Likos said both sides know what's at stake, so players do not intentionally go out of their way to hurt someone.

Both teams still play a mean brand of football.

"It's like a Chargers game," Dougan said.

The hitting is just as hard as in the National Football League, he said.

"It's just that we're a little slower," he said with a laugh, noting the average age of the players is in the mid- to late 30s.

A few are even older.

The Pigs have the unique distinction of having a father and son playing in tonight's game. At age 45, Oscar Jauregui is the oldest player on the squad. He and his son, Daniel, both play nose guard.

Center Joe Coronado, 39, is the oldest player on the Scorpions.

"One year we had a running back who was 40," Oliveras said.

While they have all gone into law enforcement careers, many of the players enjoyed gridiron success earlier in life.

Likos played at both Imperial Valley and Hartnell colleges.

Other Scorpions with college football experience include fullback Kevin Crawford, who played at Southwestern College in San Diego, defensive end Ken Spence, who played at Chaffey College, and lineman Brian Clark, who played at University of West Virginia.

For the Pigs, the entire offensive line has college experience, Dougan noted. Those players include Moreno, Dougan, Ernie Hernandez, Chris Collins and Leonard Barra. Receiver Terry McIntosh played football at the University of Kentucky.

"We're out here trying to relive our glory days," Likos said.

Children under age 12 will be admitted free to the game. For persons 13 and older, a $5 donation is requested.

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