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Prep Football Previews: Central Spartans

The Central Spartans are already 1-0 on their quest to make another run into the CIF playoffs.

EL CENTRO, Calif. (KYMA, KECY) - The Central Spartans are already 1-0, beating Santa Fe Christian 19-14 in Torrey Pines.

The reigning Imperial Valley League champions lost a lot of talent from last years squad, but head coach Rookie Pena's team is primed for another playoff run.

"We lost a lot of talent last year, but this year we are really close," senior wide receiver and defensive back Arturo Estrada said. "We really worked in the offseason. Everyday, had them out here working. We were training in the mornings all day.” 

With so much roster turnover, it is crucial that the Central upperclassmen set an example for the younger players. 

"Everybody plays better when they play central," junior defensive end Jared Martin, a starter since his freshman year, said. "I want to be a composed team, a team that knows what they are doing, a team that doesn’t fire amongst each other.” 

Offensively, the Spartans will have a new quarterback under center this season, but Pena says that won't change their style.

"We are an up tempo, no huddle offense," Pena said. "We pride ourselves on pushing the ball vertical. Getting our athletes. So anytime you can get the ball in 5 different players' hands at any given time in space, that gives those kids to show their talents.”

Even with some new personnel across the defense, the identity of the Spartan defense remains the same. 

"The mentality has been the same since 2017 and that is bend but don’t break," Pena said. "This is a team that is going to stay disciplined and going to force teams to drive the length of the field. Its very hard to do, get 5 first downs in a drive.” 

Central's defense features one of the best players and most coveted recruits in the state of California, in junior 4-star Jared Martin. Martin has created a reputation across the desert southwest as one of the areas most feared pass rushers.

"I don’t feel like anybody can stop me at defensive end," Martin said. "If anything they have to go away from me and even if they do i still feel like i can impact the play.” 

Martin and the Spartans will be taking on Palm Desert in their home opener this Friday at Cal Jones Field. Tune into Friday Night Lights on News 11 for game highlights Friday at 10 pm.

Article Topic Follows: Sports

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Chas Messman

Chas Messman joined KYMA in July 2023 as News 11’s Sports Director. If you have any sports story ideas, send them to


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