CALEXICO- The Calexico High School Bulldogs varsity football squad defied the odds after going 0-10 last year, and stamped its legacy in the history books by winning their way to a CIF Division VI semi-final appearance.
An undefeated 5-0, pre-season nonconference record, propelled the Bulldogs into first place in Division VI, out of 13 schools, heading into the month of October.
In a highly competitive Imperial Valley League regular season, Calexico was definitely battle tested heading into the playoffs.
The Bulldogs avenged a previous loss to Palo Verde, upsetting the Yellow Jackets on the road 35-6 in the CIF quarter final playoff.
Full back Alex Rivera rushed for over 130 yards and scored one rushing touchdown in the contest. Â Quarterback Frank Moreno III contributed to the win, throwing two touchdown passes to Andy Rojas, who also scored on a kickoff return.
In the semifinal game versus Tri-city Christian, seven turnovers, four fumbles, and three interceptions in the first half put the Bulldogs in a 21-7 hole they could not recover from, to eventually lose 41-14.
Back in 1982 was the last time Calexico competed in the quarterfinal. Â This yearâ€™s group of gentlemen was the first to ever reach a CIF semifinal.
The fourth coach in four seasons, John Tyree, is at the helm this year, who instilled a discipline that resonated more than previous seasons.
The returning 22 seniors from last year’s 0-10 team and the other players made the commitment to buy into Tyreeâ€™s program which contributed to their confidence. Â The coaching staff and assistants instilled the belief in the young gridiron players that every game is winnable.
A turnaround performance after last yearâ€™s discouraging record gave the Calexico hopeful a reason to expect more success next year with standout underclassmen Andy Rojas and Oscar Rodriguez coming back to rally up the troops once again.