EL CENTRO — The Spartans of Central Union High School took on San Diego High last Friday night in the seasons most anticipated matchup for the year thus far. In a 36-14 win, the Spartans showed solidarity throughout the game with great defense, minor offensive mistakes and capitalization on San Diego’s errors.
In the first quarter, the two teams battled back and forth for the early edge. Jordan Ackie, one of Central’s running backs scored first when he put his team on the goal line with a 20-yard run. On the ensuing play, he scored with a five-yard scamper but failed the extra-point attempt. As were most of the Central’s extra point conversions.
Central then recovered an onside kick which they have been comfortably using the past few weeks. The drive proved to be lackluster however, and ended in a beautiful 40-yard punt that put San Diego on their own ten. San Diego scored a touchdown of their own.
With it being 7-6 at the end of the first, the game looked even, but it was the second quarter where Central slowly took control of the game. Using senior running back Alex Duarte as a power back, the line eventually opened a hole in the defense allowing for Duarte to enter the end zone on a 20-yard run. But yet again, they failed to convert on the extra point attempt.
With ease, San Diego returned a touchdown of their own.
Central marched down the field and scored from a 20-yard TD pass from Ricky Guzman to Ackie.
Mistakes plagued the San Diego team as multiple fumbles let the Spartans gain great field position. On the second fumble recovery of the third quarter, the Spartans put together a drive that ended in another Duarte touchdown, and put the Spartans up 27-14.
On the next kickoff, a line drive shot across the mandatory ten yards and nailed a San Diego linemen causing a fumble. When the Spartans came out to the field, a huge 50-yard sprint from Ackie put the Spartans up 33-14.
Having scored 13 points in under 45 seconds, this took the life away from the visiting squad and Central cruised its way to victory in the fourth quarter, stopping San Diego’s every possession and hitting one last field goal to end the game.
Duarte earned the player of the game, proving to be tough to take down and a force the whole night, with two touchdowns and 156 yards rushing, .
“We executed tonight. I give credit to the offensive line and our defense did an outstanding job,” Duarte said.
The Spartans have a group of seniors that have been making plays when needed and Duarte is one of them that has contributed to their success thus far.
“We came together as a team. We fixed the mistakes we’ve had the past two weeks and the whole team pushed themselves,” Central head coach Michael Hobbs said. “I told the guys to enjoy the win, but its back to work on Monday.”