CALIPATRIA — The local semi-pro football team, the Imperial Valley Knights, is a club that knows the feeling of holding the trophy high above their heads, but as of late their record has shown 0-3. Their present status of bottom dwelling can be partially due to roster rebuilding.
The Grid Iron Football League, in which the Knights play, has teams located mainly in Arizona. The league consists of the Phoenix Outlaws, a rough team that proves defense is the best offense. They top the league with a record of 4-0, followed closely by the Phoenix Phantoms whose last year’s performance was on par to this year’s 3-1 record.
The Yuma Sun Devils made their debut this year and are proving to be a formidable adversary for our local Knights, a rivalry growing between the two, almost replacing the Outlaws’ and Knights’ rivalry of just a year ago.
The Knights’ game two weeks ago against the Northern Arizona Wolverines proved to be a close game, with a touchdown separating the two teams, showing the Knights have not yet given up this season.
The Knights’ game this week was against the East Valley Ravens at Calipatria High School. They battled it out for the Colorado River Bowl Trophy. Both teams have played since the league began.
The Knights won the coin toss and elected to kick to the Ravens.
The Knights scored early in the first quarter with a pass from QB Diego Grosso, then with a conversion, led 8-0.
The Ravens answered with their only touchdown of the night in the second quarter. The Knights regained possession after the touchdown and responded by slamming another touchdown through the end zone.
The Ravens began to show fatigue mentally and physically with one player going down to a dislocated shoulder.
In the final quarter, the Knights put up 14 points and took the fight out of the Ravens, which is something, as the Ravens have a reputation of a come-from-behind team.
The coaches met at the 50-yard line to exchange the Colorado River Bowl Trophy and Coach Johnson’s acceptance speech was encouraging for both teams saying, “We are two teams trying to rebuild. I hope we meet in the finals and the championship game.”
The Knights passed the trophy around, celebrating their big win and their first win of the season.
The final score came out to 30-6, Knights, with QB Diego Grosso throwing for 268 yards and 4 touchdowns. Grasso rushed for 27 yards.
This game ended up being a total air raid with receivers getting a lot of play. Marcellus Washington, #4, had over 100 yards and two touchdowns, a 2-point conversion and an interception. Jeremiah Silva had a total of 135 yards receiving and 2 touchdowns. Rene Angulo had reception for 48 yards, and running back Patrick Simon had 53 rushing and receiving yards combined and a 2-point conversion. The defense played well, with Steven Herra, #6, getting an interception return for 37 yards along with 5 tackles.
“They had the game in their hands,” said head coach and owner, Sean Johnson, “it was up to them to not drop the ball and give up the lead. The ravens are all heart and play hard out there.”