BRAWLEY – The Wildcats improved their record to 3-1 for the season with a big win over the Cibola Raiders last Friday. Players stepped it up a notch to fill in the void left by Nico Aguirre’s injury.
Cibola played a much better game than they did last year when they hosted the Wildcats, but it was not enough. They were blanked by the stellar team effort of a determined Wildcat defense. For the second week they kept the opposing team from entering the Red Zone (inside the 20) let alone the End Zone.
Last week, the Wildcats had two rushers for over 100 yards with Andrew Ortiz leading the offense with 150 yards on 25 carries. Ross Rubio had a huge 64 yard TD run that was part of his 136 yards on only 15 carries. Austyn Gutierrez had 55 yards on 6 carries and Moises Lazos also carried six times for 22 yards.
Defensively, Nathan Montalvo, Steven Baeza, Alex Campbell and Andrew Ortiz led the Wildcats. Taking advantage of turnovers from Blake Zeleney’s fumble recovery and Nathan Montalvo’s interception proved a key ingredient in the second shutout. Jacob Ordonez and Nathan Suits were again crucial players also on the defensive side.
The Gila Ridge Hawks come into this week’s game with an overall record of 2-3. They have wins over Central Spartans and Mojave High of Arizona. Their losses have been huge as they have given up 154 points in those three games.
The Hawks return a roster in which 2/3’s of the team is seniors. The big threat to Brawley is their #7 QB Brandon Kehl (6’2”-205lbs). He has thrown for almost 700 yards and is their leading rusher with just over 300 yards. Most of his rushes are designed QB keepers and not scrambles from passing. His go-to RB is #28 Michael Richeson who is second with 235 yards on 52 carries. Targets when QB Kehl is passing are #3 Isaac Monteon with 28 catches, also with eleven receptions each are #8 Jonathon Murray and #11 Randall Dorsey.
Defensively they are led by senior, #44 Ross Woford, junior # 30 Gemil Ali recording the most tackles at 26, and senior #65 Keith Julian close behind at 24 recorded tackles.
Last year, the Hawks made the Wildcats earn every yard gained in a game that was a lot closer than the 27-6 scoreboard would show.
The Gila Ridge Hawks are big and physical but don’t appear to show better team speed than any other team the Wildcats have faced. The game is won on the field and not on game film or a stats sheet.
Brandon Kehl gave the Wildcat defense headaches with his scrambles and they never showed evidence of a team deserving of an 0-5 record at midseason. One key thing to watch when the Hawks are on offense is that they run the same shotgun type offense as Brawley has faced. The big difference is that the snap from center to the QB seems to be a big problem for Gila Ridge. With the quickness and speed of the Wildcats defense, this could prove to be the Achilles Heal for Gila Ridge and duplicate their last visit to Warne Field. In that game they lost 41-7 giving up 41 points before scoring late in the fourth quarter.
The game still has to be played on the field and in high school football, one can never predict the final outcome.
This is the Wildcats’ last game before they enter the IVL games when they host Southwest Eagles in two weeks. Go out and support our Wildcats at Warne Field tomorrow at 7pm.
To the coaches and players, “Have a Great Game!”