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Frisky Colts are 2-0

09/06/2013, 11:53pm PDT
By Kirk Kenney, U-T

Beyond the End Zone: "We're a different Crawford," coach says.

Final score: Crawford 49, Julian 0.

Key plays: The Colts jumped to a 21-0 first-quarter lead Friday on 44- and 4-yard TD runs and a blocked punt returned 14 yards for a TD — all by RB/DL Brandon Thai. Teammate Musa Musa busted off 77- and 70-yard scoring runs (and was 7-for-7 on PATs) in the home win.

Key stats: The Colts finished with 365 yards rushing on 25 carries. Musa’s big runs helped him to a 34-yard average (five carries for 171 yards).

Quotable: “We’re proud,” said Thai. “We’re trying to go undefeated. Our heads are up there. Our mentality is up there. We’re trying to go all the way.”

Quotable, too: “Crawford hasn’t been 2-0 in nine years, so this is what we wanted,” said second-year Colts coach Michael Wright. “We wanted to show that we’ve improved a lot. We’re a different team. We’re a different Crawford.”

Numbers game: Julian lineman Dustin Lytle, who also punts for the Eagles, suffered a serious leg injury 10 minutes into the first quarter. The game was stopped for more than 20 minutes for what was feared to be a broken left fibula. Lytle was transported by ambulance to Mercy Hospital. After the game, Julian coach Tim White said X-rays were negative. That was a break for a team whose 22-man roster was already down to 17 active players because of early-season injuries.

News flash: Julian’s 55-mile drive to the game nearly ended before it began. “We almost got struck by lightning coming out of the parking lot,” said White. It’s been like that all week up on the mountain. “We only got on the practice field for about two hours this week because of lightning,” said White. “It’s a good rule by CIF. If we hear thunder or see lightning, you have to go inside until 30 minutes have passed (since the last strike). ... The thunderstorms start at 2:30 and we practice at 2:35. It’s a perfect storm, no pun intended.”

Weight and see: Only one Crawford player could bench press more than 200 pounds a year ago. Wright said 21 players can now bench more than 200 after committing to a weight program. “Our slogan this year is ‘Hard Work Pays Off,’?” said Wright. “We preached that from Day 1 and put it on T-shirts. We told them the payday was not going to be in April. It was not going to be in July. Paydays were not going to start coming until September.” Two weeks. Two paydays. The 2-0 start is the team’s best in a decade. One more win will give the Colts their most victories in a season since the 2004 team went 9-2.

Shudder bug: In last week’s game against SD Southwest, Crawford yearbook photographer Peter Mekonnen realized how one can get lost in the moment looking through the camera’s viewfinder. He nearly got plowed on a rushing play as ballcarrier and tackler swept toward the sidelines. “I had to stiff arm one of the players to get him off me,” said Mekonnen, who still got the shot.

Who needs Rosetta Stone: If you want to learn a language, just go to Crawford. There are 34 languages and 37 dialects spoken on the campus of approximately 1,100 students. Wright said the 26 Colts players speak six languages. An influx of students from Burma has introduced the Karen language, which raises the question: How do you say, “Go! Fight! Win!” in Karen?

Bring on the night: Wright said Crawford will play what is believed to be the first night home game in school history for its Oct. 18 Homecoming against Calipatria. “We’re going to rent lights,” he said. “Our kids raised the money and our ASB chipped in the extra that we needed. It’s something I wanted to do for the seniors and get the excitement of having a real Homecoming at night. That’s huge.”

Hydration station: The concession stand had only Gatorade and water. For a between-meal game (3:30 start) on a day that was 98 degrees at kickoff, that was enough. Give them four gulps on our five-gulp scale (we would have given them a five if they turned on the sprinklers to run through).

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