Spartans want focus, playoff win

November 20, 2008|By MARIO RENTERIA, Sports Editor
  • IMPERIAL VALLEY PRESS FILE PHOTO Central Unions Ricky Smith runs the ball against Calexico High.

It’s d…jà vu for the Central Union High football squad.

In 2006, the Spartans won the annual Bell Game — the first time since 1996 — and then advanced to face Steele Canyon in the CIF-San Diego Section Division III playoffs.

After a bye the first round in the playoffs, the Spartans lost to the Steele Canyon Cougars 31-17.

Central head coach Kevin Bird said part of the loss stemmed from a loss of focus during the extra week of rest.

This week, the Spartans aren’t going to lose focus.

“We’re trying to be focused as much as we can,” Bird said. “We’re doing pretty good, just trying our best.”

After winning the 65th annual Bell Game last week 16-13 and clinching the Imperial Valley League crown, the Spartans (9-1, 4-0 IVL) are set to host the Cougars at 7 p.m. Friday.

The Spartans are relatively healthy with only one injury of concern. Junior running back Carlos Moreno has a slight groin pull and is listed as day-to-day.


Steele Canyon comes in with a potent rushing attack that is centered around junior running back Alex Perlin (6-foot-1, 187 pounds). Perlin has 1,369 rushing yards on 225 attempts. He averages 136 yards per game.

Perlin has been able to tally up those big numbers thanks to a big offensive line that has some big boys.

“They’ve got huge size. Four out of their five are over 300 pounds,” Bird said.

But the Spartans have studied the Cougars well and have some things up there sleeves.

“We’ve got a few things we’re going to try to expose and hope we can make things happen,” Bird said. “Like anything, you want to try and play error-free as much as you can.”

The Spartans will look for its stars to lead them to victory. Senior running back Ricky Smith (5-foot-9, 180) leads the Spartans with 809 yards on 99 carries.

Central’s quarterback, J.T. Adams (6-foot-4, 175) has thrown for 1,499 yards and is 78-for-142 with 16 touchdowns and only one interception.

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