The Tigers are looking to build off of big win over rivals Holtville last time out.
IMPERIAL, Calif (KYMA, KECY) - Last season saw the the Imperial Tigers playoff run end in overtime of the CIF Quarterfinals. This year the Tigers are replacing starters at numerous positions and with his team at 1-1, head coach David Shaw wants to see his team improve each week.
“Its a progression," Shaw said. "What didn’t work well in the first game, worked well in the second. So we are just going to try and continue to evolve. Right now our run game is pretty good. Last week our pass game actually opened up.”
VO: IMPERIAL OPENED THE SEASON WITH A 14-7 LOSS, BUT BOUNCED BACK WITH A BIG 34-17 VICTORY OVER HOLTVILLE. THE TIGERS ARE HOPING THAT THE WIN OVER THEIR RIVALS WILL HELP SPRINGBOARD THEIR SEASON.
Imperial opened the season with a 14-7 loss at West Hills, but bounced back with a big 34-17 victory over Holtville. The leaders in the Tigers locker room are hoping that the win over their rivals will help springboard their season.
“Holtville is our rival.," junior running back and linebacker JJ Jimenez said. "And that is huge motivation for us. So it is big for us. It feels great.”
“It felt like we earned it," senior linebacker and slot receiver Joell Villacampos said. "We wanted it. The first we half we messed up and the second half we went our there and got it done and we brought it home.”
Much of the offense's early success this season has come from the run game and it all starts in the trenches.
“Our five lineman are a very tight knit group and we do look for them to lead. They have kind of emerged. They have worked together all offseason, all summer to just be a cohesive group. And they are kind of the leaders of our pack right now.”
“Our offensive line, they are just pounding it," Jimenez said. "Making me huge holes. They are just getting me in that open field to make a move. They are working.”
VO: THE TIGERS HAVE A FIRST YEAR STARTING QUARTERBACK IN JAYDEN AYALA AND SHAW BELIEVES HE WILL CONTINUE TO MAKE STRIDES AS THE SEASON PROGRESSES.
With the teams offensive identity still evolving, the Tigers are breaking in first year starting quarterback Jayden Ayala. Shaw believes Ayala will continue to make strides in the passing game as the season progresses.
“He got so much better game two," Shaw said. "So, we are very pleased with that. Game one at times he struggled. He had some good throws but he missed a couple throws. But this next week he came back to practice he worked hard last week and he fixed all those problems this week.”
With some high powered offenses lurking on the horizon, the Tigers feel that they need to step it up on the defensive side of the ball.
“Our defense, we are in the right spots," Shaw said. "We are doing our correct assignments, we just need to get a little more physical.’”
"We need to be a lot more physical," Jimenez said. We need people come up and make plays on defense. On fourth down we need to come up and make plays. On fourth and short we have been struggling.”
The Tigers have placed physicality as a main priority at practice this week.
Imperial hosts the Cibola Raiders in their home opener on Friday. For highlights of this game and others across the desert southwest tune into Friday Night Lights on Friday at 10 pm on News 11.