A palm tree fell in the Balboa Stadium parking lot Friday night before the Division V semifinal game between Palo Verde and Crawford. Nothing could block top-seeded Crawford’s path to the championship game, however.
A chain saw made short work of the tree in the first half. The Colts did likewise against Palo Verde during the game, rushing for 346 yards in a 29-3 victory.
A Crawford cheerleader turned to the crowd as the final seconds ticked away and asked: “What does CIF stand for?” She answered her own question: “Crawford In Finals.”
Crawford (12-0) will play Holtville for the championship on Saturday night at Mesa College. The Colts advanced to the finals for the first time since 1985. They seek the school’s first title since 1961.
“It’s very special because we’re going to leave a legacy for Crawford,” said Colts running back Ray Lyons, who had a game-high 148 yards rushing and two touchdowns.
Crawford forced a Palo Verde punt on the game’s opening drive, then moved down the field and took a 7-0 lead on senior Musa Musa’s 15-yard run. Palo Verde (5-7) came back with a 24-yard field goal by Felix Ruiz to make it a four-point game.
But the Colts followed with an eight-minute, 16-play drive that was capped by Lyons’ 4-yard touchdown run and two-point conversion. it provided a 15-3 lead that Crawford took into halftime.
“It’s amazing,” said Crawford coach Michael Wright after being hoisted on his players’ shoulders during a postgame celebration. “I’m overwhelmed. ... Last year was so tough, but the guys stayed together and I told them there would be brighter days to come.”
Holtville 27, Mountain Empire 22: The Vikings earned a second crack at Crawford after losing 21-14 last month.
Central 41, EC Southwest 0: The Spartans tossed a shutout, setting up a Division IV semifinal match with Sweetwater.