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Division V championship preview

11/29/2013, 7:20pm PST
By Kirk Kenney, U-T

Crawford vs. Holtville, Saturday at 7 p.m., Mesa College.


Crawford senior Musa Musa is a force on offense, defense and special teams for the Colts.

DIVISION V

Crawford vs. Holtville

When: Saturday, 7 p.m.

Where: Mesa College.

Preview: The top-seeded Colts’ closest game of the season came in a 21-14 Manzanita League win over No. 2 Holtville. These are predominantly run teams — Crawford with the double-wing and Holtville with the veer — that wear opponents down and invariably make a block that springs their backs for big gains. Though the pass is employed sparingly, it is used effectively. Crawford ran on 43 straight plays in the semifinals against Palo Verde, then passed for a 31-yard touchdown. Of Holtville’s 55 completions, 15 have gone for TDs.

Prediction: Crawford 28, Holtville 27.

CRAWFORD

Record: 12-0.

Coach: Michael Wright, 2nd year.

Players to watch: Senior RBs Ray Lyons (1,325 yards, 20 TDs) and Musa Musa (882 yards, 11 TDs) lead an offense averaging nearly 300 yards a game rushing. Musa also is a dangerous kick returner and leads the defense with five interceptions. Senior LB Brendan Gabriel (five sacks, three fumble recoveries, one interception) is a disruptive defender.

Season highlight: The Colts brought in portable lights against Vincent Memorial for homecoming, lighting up the night for the first time in the school’s 56-year history.

Quotable: “We’re definitely the two best teams in Division V,” said Wright. “This is the perfect championship. … If we do what we’re capable of, then we should be fine.”

Championship past: The Colts are in the final for the first time since 1985 (28-0 loss to Lincoln) and looking for their first title since 1961 (13-0 win over Kearny).

Little-known fact: There are 34 languages spoken on the Crawford campus and six languages spoken among the 27 players on the Colts football team.

HOLTVILLE

Record: 10-2.

Coach: Keith Smith, 5th year.

Players to watch: Senior QB Clay Bowler (1,811 yards, 24 TDs rushing/1,012 yards, 15 TDs passing) is among the county’s leaders in total offense. At 6-feet-5, TE David Lucero (36 catches, 803 yards, 11 TDs) is averaging 22 yards a catch. Senior Lance Angulo is a force on the line.

Season highlight: Smith points to the final two minutes in last week’s semifinals against Mountain Empire, when the Vikings made a stand near their own goal line on fourth-and-short to preserve the 27-22 win.

Quotable: “We went toe-to-toe with them for four quarters and I have nothing but respect for them,” said Smith, whose run-focused offense could make a difference through the air. “We’ve really worked on developing our passing. We don’t throw it a whole lot, but when we do it can be pretty big.”

Championship past: This is Holtville’s eighth finals appearance and first since winning four straight Class 1A titles from 1989-92. The Vikings also won in 1984.

Little-known fact: The city of Holtville promotes itself as the “Carrot Capital of the World” (the 67th annual Carrot Festival opens Jan. 31, 2014). The Vikings’ carrot for reaching the final was an opportunity to avenge their loss to Crawford.

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