Friday, October 9, 2009

James Poole dazzles in Cimarron-Memorial victory over Durango

By Anthony Fenech

Saturday, Oct. 10, 2009 | 12:28 a.m.

James Poole runs. He runs fast.

He spins, jumps, jukes, and when things are going well for him and his Cimarron-Memorial teammates, he finds himself standing on the sidelines, just the way he did for most of the second half Friday in the Spartans’ 54-7 homecoming win over Durango.

“I wanted to go back in, but coach didn’t let me,” Poole said afterward.

No, Poole’s work was done for the day when the Spartans walked off the field in the first half with a 34-point lead, just seconds after the senior running back dazzled the Durango defense for his fourth touchdown of the game.

There were 15 seconds to go in the second quarter when Cimarron lined up at its own 45-yard line, seemingly ready to run the clock out on the half, but Poole had other ideas.

He took the handoff, darted through a congested area of defenders with a series of jukes, busted right and went untouched down the sidelines for a score.

“James ran the ball extremely well tonight,” Cimarron coach Rod Vollan said. “He found the holes and made the plays we’ve come to expect from him.”

Poole totaled 259 yards in the game, scoring on runs of 47, 31, 79 and 55 yards.

The most exciting of those was a 79-yard touchdown with just over two minutes remaining in the second quarter.

After clearing the first level of Durango defenders by breaking tackles, Poole found himself at midfield with one man to beat, Trailblazers defensive back Keiffer Mancebo, who was closing in on the tackle.

Poole hurdled Mancebo, who watched from his knees, arms raised in frustration, and was home free from there.

“I just wanted to get in the end zone,” said Poole. “I was going to do whatever it took — hurdle, spin, whatever. I saw him go for the tackle and I just jumped.”

Cimarron opened the game in grand fashion when Stephen Nixon returned the opening kickoff for a touchdown, exploding up the middle and through a pack of Durango defenders, leaving no doubt the Spartans had forgotten about their heartbreaking overtime loss to Legacy of a week ago.

“That would have broken a lot of teams,” Vollan said. “But we practiced with great focus and intensity this week and it showed up tonight.”

Senior quarterback Kenneth Banks passed for 160 yards on 5-for-7 passing and connected on two long touchdowns of 68 and 69 yards to A.J. Morrison and Brian Dover, respectively.

Heading into the game, Durango coach Gary Maki knew the task at hand, namely stopping Cimmaron playmakers Poole and Nixon, and the duo didn’t prove Maki wrong.

“We were debating all week how to approach them,” he said. “They were phenomenal, breaking tackles and gaining yardage when we thought we had them.

“It just wasn’t a very strong performance on our part.”

Durango (5-2) hosts Sierra Vista next week, while Cimarron (4-2) hosts Mojave for Senior Night.

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