EL CENTRO – The Central Spartan phalanx executed another victorious home-stand versus the Vincent Memorial Scots Friday in a 56-41 high school football battle where the Cal Jones Field scoreboard lit up more than a casino jackpot.
Both defensive units began the game with tight-fisted stances that resulted in minimal gains and punts.
With a little less than four minutes remaining in the first quarter, Central gained possession at their own 20-yard line following a Scots punt.
Three consecutive hand-offs to fullback Angel Nava-Esparza and two receptions by wide receiver Tyreese Marsh situated the Spartans within striking distance at the Scots’ 25-yard line.
Halfback Jonathan Medina gashed Vincent for 13 yards on a third and one carry that moved the chains down to the three-yard line.
Medina sealed the sequence as he scored a rushing touchdown from three yards out to take a 7-0 advantage with no time remaining in the opening period.
Central forced a fumble on Vincent’s opening drive of the second quarter that was recovered by defensive-end Jonathan Jazek at the Scots’ 36-yard line.
Vincent Memorial returned the favor three plays later as middle linebacker Adrian Navarro intercepted the ball at midfield and ran back to the Spartan 25-yard line.
On the ensuing play, quarterback Eduardo Valenzuela gunned one to the northwest corner of the end zone that found wide receiver Juan Pablo Ruiz for a 25-yard strike that made it a 7-6 game after the failed extra point.
The Spartans responded in three plays on a 20-yard shake and bake by Marsh, a 57-yard reception by running back Thadeo Campbell, and another two-yard TD flash by Medina. With 10:09 to go in the second quarter, the Spartans possessed a 14-6 lead.
Vincent Memorial’s zeal was evident on the next possession as they pieced together a 12-play drive that yielded a two-yard QB keeper by Valenzuela to close the margin at 14-13 Central.
On the next play from scrimmage, Medina broke loose on a 77-yard TD-trot to increase the Central lead to 21-13.
With just under two minutes remaining before halftime, the Scots called a slant route that was picked up and picked off by Campbell to pay dirt, making it a 28-13 Spartan advantage.
Vincent managed to one-minute drill the Spartan defense and snuck in a scoring pass to Briseno, making it a one possession game again at 28-20.
Halfway into the third quarter, Valenzuela tossed a 10-yard touchdown to Briseno. Vincent had the opportunity to tie, but Central’s defense denied the two-point attempt and the score board read 28-26 for Central.
The Spartans gained some space when Campbell out-jumped Vincent DBs and snatched down a 22-yard TD bomb for a 35-26 lead with three minutes to go in the third quarter.
But Briseno pounded in another one from a yard out, which brought the game to within a field goal at 35-33 as the fourth quarter commenced.
Vincent’s defense had no answer for Medina who cracked the Scots again, this time, on a 16-yard slicing score that stretched the lead back out to 42-33.
Nava-Esparza recovered a fumble on the kick off for Central, and Medina capitalized on the turnover and added another six.
After a stop, six minutes later, Nava-Esparza put the game away as he scored on a sweep to make it 56-33 Central.
The Scots did not go down looking as Briseno put one more touchdown on the board. Vincent’s gadget play attempt on the onside kick was thwarted by a crafty fair catch call.
The Spartans took a knee at the Vincent Memorial 10-yard line to drain the clock and stash the 56-41 win.
Central will head down the block to duke it out with the Eagles at Southwest High in a clash of the “undefeateds” October 6 in the City Championship.
The Scots open up Manzanita League action in Calipatria October 6.