CALEXICO — The Calexico High School football team delivered a dominating defensive performance, blanking Holtville 39-0 in a nonleague matchup at Ward Field in Calexico on Friday, Sept. 16.
The Bulldogs (5-0 overall) didn’t allow a first down in the opening quarter and held the Vikings to 84 total yards of offense in the game. It is the second consecutive shutout for Calexico after a 55-0 win in San Diego the week prior against O’Farrell Charter School.
In their last three games, the Bulldogs have outscored their opponents 125-6.
“We try to learn something from each game and strive to be better for the next game,” said Fernando Solano, Calexico High’s third-year head coach. “We try to look at every game and every practice as a learning experience. This was a good win and now we have a bye to get some guys healthy and get ready for Imperial and the start of league.”
The Bulldogs were ready for the Vikings (3-2 overall) from the opening kickoff. Holtville took the kickoff and got stuffed on its first possession, going three-and-out. The Vikings punted to Calexico, giving the Bulldogs possession at their own 25-yard-line.
On Calexico’s first play, senior running back Zeus Pradis took a handoff up the middle, cut to his right and outraced the Vikings 75 yards for the touchdown. Senior kicker Luis Martinez booted the extra point and the Bulldogs were up 7-0 with 9:02 left in the opening quarter.
“I had an idea that play was going to work from the beginning,” said the 17-year-old Pradis. “We ran the play and there it was, opening up just like I thought and the guys made the blocks and I was open down the sideline. Credit the whole team, everyone played well tonight.”
Holtville failed to get a first down on its next possession, coming up short on a fourth-and-1 attempt to give the Bulldogs the ball at the Vikings’ 36-yard-line. Five plays later Pradis got his second touchdown with a 6-yard rush.
Pradis finished the night with 131 yards rushing on 12 carries and three touchdowns.
“Credit Calexico, they were a 4-0 team coming in and playing well,” said Jason Turner, Holtville’s sixth-year head coach. “I didn’t think they were that much bigger than us but they were a lot faster and aggressive. They play hungry and they were constantly beating us off the ball.”
The Bulldogs went up 19-0 early in the second quarter when sophomore quarterback Sean Torres connected with junior receiver Marco Esquer on a four-yard touchdown pass. The eight-play drive covered 58 yards.
Calexico’s defense made a fourth-and-goal stop at the 2-yard-line midway through the quarter to keep the Vikings off the scoreboard.
The second half was completely dominated by the Bulldogs as they scored on each of their three possessions.
Pradis got his third touchdown with a four-yard run to cap an eight-play, 50-yard drive that put Calexico ahead 25-0 with 7:34 left in the third quarter.
Torres threw for his second touchdown pass of the night late in the quarter when he hit senior Troy Marin for a 31-yard touchdown with 24 seconds left to put the Bulldogs up 31-0. Torres finished the game 5-for-7 for 77 yards and two touchdowns.
The final score of the night came with 6:56 left in the game when Andres Castro rushed in from four yards out and the Bulldogs converted the two-point conversion to make it 39-0.
“We see the guys growing into leadership roles with this team,” Solano said. “We tell them to hold the guy next to them accountable whether it’s in the weight room, at practice or in the game.”
The Bulldogs have a bye on Friday, Sept. 23, and won’t return to the gridiron until 7 p.m. on Friday, Sept. 30, when they open Imperial Valley League play hosting Imperial at Ward Field.