BRAWLEY â€” The Brawley Union High Wildcats are on a mission. As the 2017 Imperial Valley football season emerges, the Wildcats are training to accomplish what no local team has done in nearly eight years: repeat as Valley champs.Â
But it will take huge contributions from a talented young group as the Wildcats look to make up for the graduation losses of some of their most skilled positions from last year.Â
“We’re a young group and we’re looking forward to the season,” said Wildcat Head Coach Jon Self.Â
“We’ve got a couple of returners on defense, one returning lineman on offense, but we’ve got a great group of guys. They were here last year ready to go,” added Self. Â
Offensively, the Wildcats welcome returning all-around back George Mickle. Mickle will be the grizzled veteran in the backfield, having started for the past two seasons in multiple backfield positions as well as punting the ball on fourth downs. Juniors Casey Kline and Michael Moreno look to inject some speed and power into the Brawley attack in their first years as starters, but both showed promise last year, contributing both defensively and offensively when needed.Â
Senior Michael Alvarez will anchor a young offensive line to open holes on the ground for Mickle, Kline, and Moreno, as well as providing enough time for Wildcat quarterback Casey Kline in the passing game.
“As a team, I’m looking to win IVL again and make it as deep into CIF as we possibly can,” said Kline, who stood out last year defensively and is now playing the point of the Wildcat offense.
“My personal goals and team goals go hand in hand. I’m trying to lead the team to as much success as we can possibly have,” he said.
A target Kline might look to hit with regularity is tight end Alec Aguirre, who has size and strength and can come through on short yardage downs and make catches in heavy traffic.
“As a team our goals are always the same, IVL, then go for CIF,” said Aguirre.
“We’ve got to work hard towards IVL, get ourselves up to speed and go hard every play,” he said.
Along with being a factor in the passing game, Aguirre will also play linebacker, having moved off the line where he played defensive tackle. The 6-foot, 215 pound senior will be on his toes, now looking to lead a defense that graduated multiple key positions last year.
“Personally, this season I’m at a new position. So just to learn and ball out as much as I can, and hopefully make All-Valley, but I can’t do that unless I learn and work hard,” said Aguirre of his personal goals for the season.
Games to Watch
OpeningÂ night August 25 versus Steele Canyon @ Brawley
The Wildcats will host CIF San Diego Section Division 1 Steel Canyon in the first game of the season. While not a “make or break” game for Brawley, it is a game that will provide opportunities for the young Wildcats to learn early in their season-long bid for both IVL and CIF division 2 standing.Â
October 27Â versus Imperial @ Brawley Â
The Wildcats will host the Imperial Tigers, their fiercest IVL rivals in recent memory, in another matchup that could determine league superiority — as it has for the last six years. Both teams have taken turns beating each other on home turf during that time span, but could this be the year the “home” team can finally pull it off?
November 3 @ Central Union HighÂ
Bell game… enough said.Â