BRAWLEY – A Friday the 13th evening on Warne Field welcomed a very confident Coachella Valley Arab team who was fresh off an impressive win last week 41-28 over West Valley, especially since West Valley had beat them 70-0 the year before.
Unfortunately for the Arabs, Brawley had other things in mind to shake the bad memory of the heartbreaking loss in Valley Center.
There might not have been any road blocks on Highway 86 on the Arab’s trip south, but a “black cat” surely must have crossed their path. The Wildcat’s offense and defense controlled most of the traffic on the gridiron and coasted to a 42-7 victory.
After the announcement of players and their parents before the game, the Wildcats took the opening kickoff and started the first drive from the 42 after a twenty seven yard return by Isaac Comparan. The Wildcat offense clicked from the start, and clicked often, as the drive was comprised of ten plays and just over five minutes. Runs by Comparan, Bryce Alexander, Misael Soto, and Ross Rubio were mixed in with a couple passes by Rubio.
The first score was a 13 yard strike to Donovin Buck. The offensive linemen that helped pave the way to the 7-0 opening drive score were center Landin Currier, guards Isaiah Quiroz and Tony Ramos, tackles Demetrius Lobstein and Remington Campbell. Coach John Self inserted Christian Ramirez in one of the guard positions when Quiroz was injured in the second quarter, but the offense didn’t skip a beat.
Coachella Arabs opened up on their 20 yard line after a touchback. The first play seemed to be the beginnings of a long evening as the Arabs moved 11 yards for a first down. The Wildcat defense shut them down quickly after an offensive holding and had the Arabs punting one of many times during the game.
Drive two began at the Wildcat 46 yard line. Just as it did in the prior drive, the offense used more of the same and added Nico Aguirre to the recipe on the scoring drive that took it to 1:05 on the clock. The scoring play was a 9 yard pitch to the outside by Misael Soto who sped into the snack bar side of the end zone. Extra points on the evening were perfect for both teams this evening and Brawley led 14-0.
The Arabs offense did not have another first down until a few drives later. They punted with 11:13 left in the half. The bright side for Coachella Valley was when their defense forced the first turnover by the Wildcats of the season. The Arabs had forced 5 turnovers the week before at West Valley High, (2 fumbles and 3 interceptions). A fumbled pitch ended a Wildcat offensive drive at 9:44. Both teams traded punts, twice by Coachella and once by Brawley.
At 4:56, the Wildcats began scoring drive number three at its own 37. Nico Aguirre had a couple of carries for first downs as did Bryce Alexander. A big sack by the Arab defense was countered with a pitch to Comparan who then threw a perfect strike to Donovin Buck for a 32 yard TD pass. At 2:23 Brawley lead was 21-0.
Coachella finally showed signs of life and had their best drive of the game to that point. The Brawley defense needed First Responder services that were waiting to be honored at 9/11 halftime. The Arabs had three big passes for first downs. As they entered the Red Zone (inside the 20 yard line) CPR by way of a Remington Campbell interception at the 2 yard line with :22.3 seconds left in the half kept the shutout in place.
Weird things are happening on kickoffs this year. Brawley kicked off twice in the season opener and last night they received both kickoffs of each half. Whether or not there had been a change in rules for the coin toss, the Wildcats were looking for a fourth score. An unsportsmanlike conduct penalty while the offense huddled up gave them a loss of 15 yards and stalled on a QB sack with a loss of downs at 7:48 left in the third quarter.
After only allowing one Arab first down, the Wildcats took over on downs on its own 36 yard line. This scoring drive was by way of the Comparan Express. Getting six of the next eight carries, Isaac Comparan and the Wildcats were up 28-0 with 1:51 left in the third. Isaac had 51 yards on those six carries.
Luck shifted a bit and the Arabs began their only scoring drive 73 yards away from the Wildcat end zone. It was a two part drive as it extended on a roughing the kicker during a punt. They continued throwing with success. With 7:28 a TD of ten yards prevented the second shutout on Warne Field this season. Brawley led 28-7.
Backed up to its own 6 yard line to begin its final offensive scoring drive, the Wildcats used only three plays. Two runs by Comparan and an electrifying 64 yard run by Nico Aguirre ended any chance of a late comeback by the Arabs. With 6:01 the lead was 35-7.
The final score came with 4:48 left in the game. Still in the shot gun offense it used the entire evening, Coachella passed one too many times and it was converted into a TD when Sophomore Nathan Montalvo put the icing on the cake as he zigzagged his way 33 yards to the promise land for his first TD on Varsity.
The Wildcats, now 2-1, will travel to Arizona the next two Friday nights. Next week it is a battle with the Raiders of Cibola. They are 1-2 with a win over Calexico but a loss to the Imperial Tigers to open the season. Cibola’s QB Lucky Arvizu threw for 440 yards against the Tigers in a losing effort. Brawley held him to only 71 yards and handed Cibola a 33-13 loss last year.