David "Rookie" Pena and the Central Spartans prepare for Ramona this Friday in CIF SDS DII semifinals
EL CENTRO, Calif. ( KYMA, KECY-TV ) - The Central Spartans had a lot to be happy about following last Thursday's 28-14 playoff win over Brawley. One, they eliminated their rival Brawley from the playoffs in the first ever postseason showdown between the to schools.
Two, Central remained undefeated against Brawley in 2022 having defeated the Wildcats two weeks prior in the 79th annual "Bell Game" 20-16 with to late fourth quarter touchdowns.
Three, the Spartans advanced to the CIF SDS DII semifinals and in doing so, also handed had coach David "Rookie" Pena his 50th win as a Spartan head coach. After the game, Central Athletic Director Joshua Wise presented Pena with the game ball for his achievement.
"This says a lot about our coaching staff," Pena said. "The majority of the coaching staff has been with me for the past six years. Again, 50 wins together and I can't say enough about the coaching staff hete at Central."
Pena added what it meant to defeat Brawley for the second time in the same season.
"For our alumni it's bragging rights," Pena said. "For the city of El Centro it's bragging rights, so, it's bigger than the football program it's the whole community."
The Spartans are no strangers to making deep runs in the CIF playoffs. In 2019 they lost to Scripps Ranch 49-24 as a #5 seed in the DIII semifinals.
In 2018, also as a #2 seed, Central lost to Morse 22-16 in the CIF SDS DIII Championship game. That's as close to a CIF title as Central has come over the past decade.
Up next for the #2 seeded Spartans, a home game at Cal Jones Field this Friday against the #3 seeded Bulldogs of Ramona. Kickoff is set for 7:00 p.m. PST.
This will be the ever meeting between Ramona and Central with "Rookie" Pena as the Spartans head coach and the first meeting between the two schools in over a decade.
Tune into KYMA's "Friday Night Lights" at 10:15 p.m. MST this Friday for full highlights and postgame interviews.