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. 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. This year’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 Tyree’s program which contributed to their confidence. The coaching staff and assistants instilled the belief in the young gridiron players that every game is winnable.
A turnaround performance after last year’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.