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Dos Palos football feels pressure to continue Westside War streak against Los Banos

DOS PALOS -- Cody Green doesn't want to even think about it.

What would it be like for the Dos Palos senior to wake up Saturday morning with the streak over?

A run of 11 straight Westside War victories over your arch-rival Los Banos -- over just like that.

"If we lost, a lot of people would be pretty mad," Green said. "After 11 years, now it's something we have to do. It's expected.

"If we don't do it, I don't know what we're going to do."

It's tough to tell which team feels more pressure to win tonight when the two rivals meet at Ike Frankian Field at 7:15 p.m.

Is it Los Banos (1-1), trying to end 11 years of frustration against a school roughly a third its size?

Or Dos Palos (1-1) -- the small-school dynamo -- whose players don't want to be the team that loses to LB?

"There's a lot of people in the community who don't care how you do, they want you to beat Los Banos," Dos Palos coach Mike Sparks said. " I'm sure it's the same in Los Banos."

There are people like David Borboa.

"Since last Saturday, I've had the rosary out every day praying for the Broncos," said Borboa, who graduated from Dos Palos in 1973 and played with Sparks -- and is now editor of the local newspaper The Dos Palos Sun.

"I always care about the Broncos. How they're playing...key injuries."

You can bet Borboa and many others in Dos Palos care a little more this week.

"It's got to be one of the best, if not the best rivalry in our section," Borboa said. "It's great when you can go to Loftin Stadium and it's packed and you see a ring of people standing around the field.

"It'll be the same this year at Ike Frankian. I love it even more that we've got a win streak going."

Dos Palos players can't go anywhere in town without hearing about the streak and tonight's game.

"It's crazy out there," Dos Palos senior Hector Gomez said. "Everybody is telling us we better win.

"Everyone is coming to the game. They want to see a good game.

"There is a lot of pressure. We want to keep the streak going. We don't want to be the class that kills the streak."

Nobody knows the high expectations of the Dos Palos community more than Sparks.

Just look at the two programs last year.

After years of frustration, Los Banos was thrilled with a 5-5 season.

The program finally seems headed in the right direction under coach Dennis Stubbs.

With five wins in Dos Palos , Sparks had to deal with criticism of unhappy fans.

"That's how it is in Dos Palos," Sparks said. "When you win, you're supposed to win. When you lose, that's when it's rough."

There are many who feel this might finally be the year Los Banos breaks through.

Dos Palos can't win every year, right?

Stubbs' boys have scored 83 points in their first two games.

They're bigger and faster.

Will the streak end tonight?

"It's very scary to think about," Dos Palos two-way lineman Joseph Maldonado said. "We haven't lost to them in 11 years. To walk around town after a loss...

"I don't even want to think about it."

The Westside War

KICKOFF: Tonight at 7:30 p.m.

in Dos Palos

ALL-TIME SERIES: Dos Palos leads Los Banos, 42-22-6

THE STREAK: Dos Palos has won 11 straight. Here's a quick look at their run of dominance:

2007: Dos Palos 7, Los Banos 2

2006: Dos Palos 24, Los Banos 14

2005: Dos Palos 31, Los Banos 21

2004: Dos Palos 28, Los Banos 21

2003: Dos Palos 34, Los Banos 12

2002: Dos Palos 42, Los Banos 0

2001: Dos Palos 39, Los Banos 13

2000: Dos Palos 57, Los Banos 16

1999: Dos Palos 35, Los Banos 14

1998: Dos Palos, 21, Los Banos 7

1997: Dos Palos 26, Los Banos 14

Shawn Jansen is a Sun-Star sports reporter. He can be reached at 385-2462 or via e-mail at sjansen@mercedsun-star.com.

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