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Red Devils rally behind heroic QB runs, Spartans done in by two-point conversion Phillip Brents | Fri, Sep 09 2011 01:53 PM

Legacy of Pride Game preview

The Chula Vista Spartans finished 2-8 last season while the Sweetwater Red Devils were 1-9. But that was last year and both teams, as evidenced by last Friday’s season openers, are much improved in 2011.

But regardless of each team’s record, the schools’ longtime rivalry endures. For the 65th time, they will meet Friday at CVHS in what stands as the longest continuous rivalry in San Diego County history.

The Spartans lead the series 37-24-3.

“There will be a lot of fans, so it will be exciting,” Chula Vista coach Judd Rachow said. “A lot of alumni will be there … people who have seen a lot of these games and know just what this rivalry is about.”

The Red Devils carry a 1-0 record into the game after defeating visiting El Cajon Valley, 30-21, last week on the strength of two breakaway touchdown runs by quarterback Sal Nasser.

The Spartans are 0-1 in the most unkind way after watching host Granite Hills score a touchdown with 39 seconds left in the game and then tacking on a two-point conversion to claim a dramatic come-from-behind 22-21 non-league victory.

Both teams expect to light up the scoreboard with offensive play.

“Aside from some crucial mistakes, I thought the team played well,” said Rachow, whose team fought back from a 7-0 deficit to take leads of 14-7 and 21-14 over the Eagles, a Division I playoff qualifier last year. “The  guys played hard and physical. We just had penalties at the wrong time. We turned the ball over three times and, on all three, they converted the points. We’ve got to eliminate the mistakes.”

CV quarterback Ricky Estevez completed 20 of 29 passes for 250 yards, two touchdowns and two interceptions. Richard Walker scored on a 27-yard pass in the second quarter while Ray Holden scored on a 31-yard pass in the third quarter. Donovan Mendez (10 carries, 34 yards) scored the second go-ahead touchdown on a three-yard run in the fourth quarter.

Walker had nine receptions for 113 yards while Holden had seven catches for 100 yards.
Isaac Martinez led the Spartan rushing attack with 103 yards on 29 carries.

It was a tale of two halves for Sweetwater in last Friday’s opener against the Braves. ECV led, 13-6, at halftime. But the second half completely belonged to the Devils, who stormed back with four touchdowns to prevail in the non-league match-up.

Nasser overcame a 20-13 Braves lead by scoring on runs of 50 and 80 yards and Kristian Garcia added an insurance score on a nine-yard run.

Nasser threw a 20-yard scoring pass to Daniel Castro in the first half.

“We went into halftime and came out with a different mind-set,” Nasser told a television crew after the game.

Whichever team can play two consistent halves will likely have the upper hand in Friday’s match-up.

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