Devoux, Vik­ings ground Red Hawks

Imperial Valley Press - - SPORTS - BY MUR­RAY AN­DER­SON Holtville

HOLTVILLE — Adding a slight wrin­kle to its of­fen­sive at­tack, the Holtville High foot­ball team was able to keep Moun­tain Empire’s de­fense off bal­ance, and the Vik­ings de­feated the Red Hawks, 37-6, in a San Diego Sec­tion Divi­sion V quar­ter­fi­nal game here on Fri­day.

Holtville (9-2 over­all) dom­i­nated the line of scrim­mage from the first drive of the game and was able to avenge a 20-14 Man­zanita League loss to the Red Hawks in Pine Val­ley four weeks ago.

On Fri­day, the Vik­ings took the open­ing kick­off and marched 69 yards in 12 plays, all rush­ing plays, and fin­ished the drive with a 1-yard touch­down run from sopho­more Jose Devoux. Fran­cisco Gar­cia booted the ex­tra point and Holtville was up 7-0 and had eaten up more than seven min­utes of the first quar­ter.

“You couldn’t ask for a bet­ter open­ing drive,” said sec­ond-year Holtville head coach Ja­son Turner. “We wanted to come out and set the tone and set­tle every­body down and just kind of take the edge off with that long drive.”

The Vik­ings held Moun­tain Empire to a three-and-out on its first pos­ses­sion, and when they got the ball back, they went on a seven-play, 47-yard drive that ended with a 32-yard touch­down pass from ju­nior quar­ter­back Noah Jonge­ward to C.J. Nunez on the sec­ond play of the sec­ond quar­ter. Gar­cia again added the ex­tra point, and Holtville was up 14-0 with 11:16 left in the first half.

“We wanted to show every­body it was a fluke that they beat us up there the first time we played,” said Holtville se­nior Tino Bur­field. “We had two good weeks of prac­tice and the coaches had a good game plan, and we were able to ex­e­cute it tonight.”

Bur­field was a key to the Vik­ings’ suc­cess on Fri­day, rush­ing the ball 13 times for 105 yards. It was a point of em­pha­sis to get him more car­ries against the Red Hawks and he re­warded the coaches with 47 yards rush­ing the first two times he touched the ball.

“We were try­ing to space out their de­fense. We knew they’d come in fo­cused on stop­ping Jose (Devoux), and I was able to get a few good runs in there and help us tonight,” Bur­field said.

Devoux put an ex­cla­ma­tion point on the first half when he sprinted 74 yards for a touch­down with 51 sec­onds left in the sec­ond quar­ter to give the Vik­ings a 21-0 lead.

“On that run, I just saw a huge hole and was able to run through it and out­run them to the end zone,” said Devoux, who fin­ished the game with 20 car­ries for 212 yards and three touch­downs. “I gotta give all the credit to the of­fen­sive line; they did a great job all night long.”

Turner knew he was go­ing to keep the ball in Devoux’s hands for the fi­nal minute of the half.

“We were in a sim­i­lar po­si­tion at Moun­tain Empire, up 7-0 with about a minute left in the first half, and we threw an in­ter­cep­tion that led to a touch­down for them,” Turner said. “I had two plays called, and we went with the in­side counter know­ing he’d ei­ther get tack­led and the half would end or get lucky if he could break one, and he did.”

The third quar­ter didn’t start well for the Red Hawks (8-4 over­all) who mis­han­dled the kick­off and took over at their own 1-yard line. On the first play, Bur­field burst through the line and tack­led Moun­tain Empire’s Este­ban Castillo for a safety to put Holtville up 23-0.

The Vik­ings added two more fourth-quar­ter touch­downs, in­clud­ing a 39-yard run from Devoux and a 25-yard scam­per from Bur­field to go ahead 370, be­fore the Red Hawks got on the score­board late with a touch­down pass to set up the fi­nal score of 37-6.

Now the fourth-seeded Vik­ings will travel to Es­con­dido to take on top-seeded Or­ange Glen in the semi­fi­nals on Fri­day. Or­ange Glen de­feated Maranatha Chris­tian, 48-7, in its quar­ter­fi­nal matchup.

“Or­ange Glen is a very good team. They’ve got a strong of­fen­sive line and an out­stand­ing run­ning back that we are go­ing to have to find a way to slow down,” Turner said. “Our run de­fense is go­ing to have to be on point when we face them.”

Holtville High corner­back Daniel Be­jarano (right) tack­les a ball car­rier dur­ing the Vik­ings’ home CIF-SDS Div. V quar­ter­fi­nals game against Moun­tain Empire High on Fri­day night at Birger Field in Holtville. PHOTO VIN­CENT OSUNA

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