IMPERIAL – The Tigers of Imperial once again showed how dominant of an offense, and defense, they are by posting a dominant 49-15 victory over the Calexico Bulldogs.
The night, which included a CIF San Diego section record being broken and a blitzing aerial attack, started off with Calexico receiving the ball and being forced to a quick three and out.
After taking over from its own 35 the Tigers marched down the field, behind runs of 21 and 23 yards from Chris Carter and Royce Freeman. The eight play, sixty-five yard drive was capped with a five yard pass from Carter to Austyn Smyth putting theTigers up 7-0 early in the first quarter.
The Tiger defense, which has been playing superbly over the last couple of weeks, forced another three and out in Calexico’s next possession which led to a horrible Calexico punt giving the Tiger’s excellent field possession on Calexico’s thirty five yard line.
After two runs of four and nine yards from Freeman, and a Carter ten yard quarterback keeper, it was first and goal from the nine yard line. After receiving a pitch from Carter, Freeman raced towards the end zone. After a couple of nifty moves on defenders closing in on him, Freeman was in the end zone for a nine yard touchdown run.
That run gave Freeman just enough yards to officially put his name on the CIF San Diego Section record book as the running back with the most total rushing yards in CIF San Diego Section history.
“First of all I want to thank God, my parents, for supporting me in everything I do, the Imperial coaching staff, my offensive line, my teammates, and the Imperial Community for the support they have given me,” said Freeman in the brief ceremony that followed the record setting run, which just so happened to put Imperial up 14-0.
And with that it was back to football as Calexico again could not get anything going on the Tiger defense and was again forced to punt.
Imperial took over at its own thirty and drove down the field again, this time picking up huge chunks of yardage in the air, using the Carter to Dajon Staton formula to a tee. The six play drive ended with a perfect precision pass from Carter to Staton to put the Tigers up 21-0.
On the next possession for Calexico they were finally able to earn a first down, but nothing else as the Tiger defense again clamped down and forced yet another punt. This time though a fake punt run by the Calexico punter would fail as the Tigers did not bite and took over on downs in Bulldog territory at the 46 yard line.
Again it was Carter’s passing ability and Staton’s speed and route running that chopped up the Calexico defense as it took only two pass plays, the latter of which was a 36 yard laser from Carter to Staton to put Imperial up with 9:44 left in the half.
After another stop from a Tiger defense playing on point on the night and it was time for yet another Royce Freeman Highlight as he received a handoff and ran through a parade of defenders and teammates and raced past everyone on the field for a sixty-four yard touchdown run to give Imperial a 35-0 lead. Before the half ended, Carter added another touchdown pass, this time to Austin Smyth to lead Imperil to a 42-0 lead heading into the break.
After the half, with Imperial resting most of its starters, Tiger’s up-and-coming quarterback, Aaron Bonillas was able to hit Smyth for a 34 yard touchdown pass on the first possession of the half for the Tigers. It was Smyth’s third and last touchdown catch of the night. After two late touchdowns from Calexico, the final score read 49-15, Imperial Tigers, in an impressive showing heading into their matchup with fellow league unbeaten, Central of El Centro.
“Tonight I thought the kids came out and played extremely, extremely hard. Next week we got to have the same intensity we’ve had the last two weeks,” said head coach Kerry Legarra after the win, looking forward to next week’s matchup.
On what will be remembered as a record setting night for Royce Freeman, Chris Carter also had one of his best overall performances of his high school career, rushing for seventy seven yards on eight carries, and passing for 107 yards and four touchdowns, completing seven of eight attempts.
Freeman added 134 yards on eleven attempts and upped his season rushing total to 1,995. Also adding two rushing touchdowns brings his season total to 32 rushing touchdowns so far with at least three games left to reach the Zay Shepherd mark of 45. His career rushing yardage total of 6776 is now the most any player has rushed for in San Diego Section History.
Imperial moves to 8-0 overall and 3-0 in IVL play. They will be on the road next week visiting the Central Spartans of El Centro.