Central Spartans host local teams in 2017 Passing League Tournament

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Imperial Tiger Brandon Hueso makes a flying catch in the end zone against the Calipatria Hornets during this year’s Passing League Tournament held June 20-21 at Central Union High.

EL CENTRO – With Imperial Valley heading into the summer months and changing seasons, most students are taking a relaxing break for summer vacation. But for local high school football players, it is a time to prepare for the upcoming season, and begin practice for fall football.

To kick off pre-season workouts, the Central Union High Spartans hosted schools from around the Valley and Yuma to participate in the annual two-day passing league tournament held June 20-21. This year’s tournament also gave rise to a weight-lifting competition, demonstrating the commitment of local players to the sport for the 2017-2018 season.

Unlike regular games, the passing league football field is 45-yards long and requires the team to limit plays to throwing passes. Rules include the offense having 25 seconds to snap the ball before a delay of game charge, and the quarterback is only given four seconds to throw the ball, otherwise it becomes a dead play. The idea of the camp is to prepare players for real-time situations and for coaches to observe their top prospects for the season.

One of the games starting off the tournament was Imperial Tigers versus the Calipatria Hornets that saw the Tigers pulling ahead. Quarterbacks playing for the Tigers were Ryan Dale and Wyatt Rodriguez, who alternated in and out. Since the graduation of the Tigers’ previous quarterback, Imperial’s Head Coach Kerry Legarra will observe both young men before deciding who earns starting position for the season. On the field, the Tigers set the tone with passes completed in the end zone by Dale to receiver Santiago Del La Torre and Brandon Hueso. After two interceptions by the Tigers, the Hornets managed to get two passes into the end zone to close out the match.

Across the field, the Spartans took on the Southwest Eagles to test the waters for the upcoming season. The teams matched up evenly with both quarterbacks rifling the ball into the end zone. The quarterback for the Eagles is Cameron Jungers, who completed a pass to Tyler Saikhon. Both athletes are returning for their senior year for the Eagles.

The Brawley Wildcats faced off against Vincent Memorial’s Scots, where both teams threw down the field for completions. The Wildcats’ sophomore quarterback Nathan Torrez will lead his team this season as they try and match Brawley’s perfect league record. Also returning for the Wildcats are wide receivers Frank Cortez and Isaac Mercado.

Other schools participating in this year’s passing league included the Calexico Bulldogs, the Yuma Catholic Shamrocks, and the Yuma Criminals. Each team met on the playing field to test the waters against their future opponents for the upcoming season.