Perez vs. Del Valle 10/8/21

Central receiver, Elijah Perez, drops a set of dukes versus Del Valle High at Cal Jones Field in El Centro Friday, Oct. 8.

EL CENTRO — Central Union High School represented California football to the fullest Friday, Oct. 8, versus El Paso powerhouse, Del Valle, when the Spartans defeated the Conquistadores 36-28 at Cal Jones Field in El Centro.

Central relieved and took first possession of the contest. After picking up a first down on their opening drive, a screen pass was picked off by Del Valle who took over on downs near the 40-yard line. The Conquistadores capitalized on the turnover and cashed out on a 7-0 proceeding a 5-yard touchdown pass.

The tempo subsided for the majority of the first quarter as both units exchanged stops and forced punts.

With 3:52 mark left to play in the opening period, Central took over possession at their own 28-yard line after stopping Del Valle on fourth down. The Spartans drove 72 yards to knot up the contest at 7-7 by way of Sergio Garcia long bomb receptions and Charlie Sullivan’s downhill running. Garcia capped off the drive an 11-yard tip-drill TD reception in coffin’s corner. 

Early in the second quarter, Central recovered a fumble which situated prime real estate in Del Valle territory. Unwilling to botch the terrific field possession, the Spartans elected to kick a field goal instead of forcing a fourth down attempt. Mylas Rodriguez booted in a field goal from the 16-yard line which gave Central the lead at 10-7.

With 2:32 to go before halftime, Del Valle struck back and took 14-10 lead on a QB keeper.

Central did not let the last minute and change before intermission go to waste as Damian Rodriguez connected with Sullivan for a 59-yard TD strike. The Spartans took a 17-10 lead into the locker room at halftime.

In the third quarter, the pace picked up at the 8:01 mark when Central recovered a fumble at the 50-yard line. The Spartans strung together six plays, which resulted in a short TD punch-in by Sullivan who extended the Central lead to 23-14.

Del Valle Brough the contest to within a field-goal when the Conquistadores executed a fourth down scoring rush. The score stood at 23-21 Central with 11:20 to go in the game. 

Midway through the final period, the Spartans created a bit of breathing room when Garcia snatched down a jump-ball TD reception from 11 yards out.

Urgency began to set in on the Del Valle sideline, down two scores at 30-21 with 6:20 left to play.

As the Conquistadores began to move the chains, Central’s Elijah Perez picked off a Del Valle pass attempt and ran downtown to pay dirt which pushed the lead to 36-21, Central.

The Conquistadores hung up another score with 3:15 to go and closed the gap to 36-28 Central.

Down eight points, an onside kick was Del Valle’s next rational option. The Conquistadores managed to recover the kick and made it a do or die one drive game.

Del Valle Stan the ball first, then attempted a series of passes. On fourth down, Damian Nelson broke the would-be first down reception, and the Spartans took over on downs. 

With no time outs remaining, Del Valle was unable to stop the clock and Central finished the game off in victory formation ahead 36-28.

This was the second game of the Central-Del Valle series where California is up 2-0 versus Texas. Central won their previous series opener versus the Conquistadores 34-21 Friday, Sept. 6, 2019.

As per Central head coach David Peña, the Spartans intend on continuing this inter-state sequence with Del Valle in the future.

The Spartans have no more cross conference games scheduled and will resume IVL play at Cal Jones Field versus Imperial Friday, Oct. 15.

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