Holtville Vikings 13, Classical Academy Caimans 27

After going 0-4 their first 4 weeks of the 2015-2016 season, the Classical Academy Caiman’s scored their first win against the Holtville Vikings (0-6). This non-conference match-up would have been either teams first win of the season tonight, but the Caiman’s came in from to the get-go making sure they finished on top.

Sophomore wide receiver, Jake Gilbert, must have had his Wheaties this morning. He started off the game with a huge 48-yard touchdown run, scoring the Caiman’s first points of the night. Just a couple minutes later, the sophomore had another huge run of 39 yards to score the Caiman’s second touchdown of the night and put the icing on the cake with an interception during the second quarter.

In the second quarter of the game, the Holtville Vikings scored their first points of the night. Anthony Castro threw a 19 yard pass to Braden Abatti, which eventually set up a 1-yard quarterback keep touchdown from Anthony Castro himself. The Vikings never give up against the Caiman’s, but were never able to catch up.

The final score was 27-13 Classical Academy.

Classical Academy (1-4) will face Army-Navy (4-1) next week at Orange Glen High School. Holtville High School will host Mountain Empire (2-4) and hopes to get their first win of the season on their home field.

PREVIEW: If there’s one thing both the Holtville Vikings and the Classical Academy Caimans can appreciate this week, it’s that one of them will head home to their respective campuses this Friday with a win. Beyond that, it’s difficult to know what to expect between two winless teams without a history of playing each other.

The Vikings will enter this Week 6 match-up with an 0-5 record. Holtviille coach Keith Smith says that although his team has been wracked with injuries, he feels it could be hitting its turning point.

"Going into last Friday, we were about where we would have been in previous years at game one," Smith said, noting the differences in teams’ abilities to fully prepare for the season with the "no-contact" rules now in place across the state, which prohibit full-contact practices during the offseason.

His players, Smith said, used to attend each year a pair of full-contact team camps at the University of San Diego, benefiting from scrimmage play against other teams as offseason practice. But with the new rules on offseason contact play going into effect at the start of this year, those camps weren’t an option for the Vikings leading into this season, and Smith thinks that hurt his team’s development.

"It wasn’t until like this last week where we started feeling like we were, as a team, where we were at in game one or two in years we went to that camp," Smith said.

For the Caimans, coach Jon Goodman said he’s not trying to view his team’s 0-4 start as the worst thing possible. He calls it a part of the process he’s instituted to build Classical Academy’s standing as a school with a higher caliber football program.

"If you’re defining a successful season on wins and losses, then yeah, we’ll call it a struggle," Goodman said. "But what I’m look at with our team is that … we base success on our young men building strong character, and learning how to work hard as a team. As far as the win-loss record, obviously we’ve had a tough start. But we keep finding ways to find joy with what they’re doing and getting better. Every week, we’re getting better."

Facing tougher teams than it had in the past, the Caimans entered this season knowing it would be a challenge. Two seasons ago, Classical Academy failed to make the playoffs despite a season with only two losses — a result of the team’s relatively weak strength of schedule — and last year only made the playoffs based on winning the Pacific League title.

But this season, rather than playing a non-league schedule including Chula Vista’s Lutheran High School, Ocean View Christian, Vincent Memorial, Newport Beach’s Sage Hill and Calvin Christian — as the team faced in 2013— the Caimans’ non-league schedule this season includes Crawford, La Jolla Country Day, Orange Glen, Santa Fe Christian and Holtville.

"What we’re trying to do is prepare our kids for what they’re gonna see when they hit playoffs," Goodman said. "You’ve got to be able to play some of the big teams in order to prepare your team for a playoff run. You look at some of the smaller schools, like La Jolla Country Day and Santa Fe Christian — very similar numbers. But obviously they went through their growing pains of building up a football program over the years. I try never to look at a successful season based on win and losses, but based on where these young men will be 15 to 20 years from now."

Classical Academy and Holtville are set to begin play Friday at 7 p.m. at Orange Glen High School.

Categories: 2014 PPR Archive, 2015 PPR Features, 2015 PPR Features Part 2, Week 6: October 2, 2015