“Thou still unraveled since week one in first game
Thou Wildcats doth prepared for IVL to begin
The Eagles flying mightily from the south they came
Mighty Brawley proved better but it was a tough win”
“Wildcats ran on the field as the game played on
Big play after big play followed cheers after scoring
When the time on the clock turned nil and was gone
Most in the stands had found it quite boring”
“Fans and alum came from close and from far
While the sells were astonishing at the Snack Bar
It was Homecoming on a field that was named after “Warne”
Where a King and his Queen had been crowned and were born.”
BRAWLEY – On a humid Friday evening that was a reflection of the past week’s weather, the Brawley Wildcats hosted the Southwest Eagles in the first game of their respective IVL Title Quests. The Wildcats were heavily favored but the Eagles were up for the challenge of crashing the “Big Fat Greek Homecoming” celebration. Southwest coaches had two weeks to prepare for the game that proved successful in the first half. Both teams showed their sluggishness from the week layoff and the scoreboard showed a totally unexpected 0-0 score.
Brawley received the opening kickoff and looked to be hitting all cylinders early with a long drive that began at their 33-yard line. Almost eight minutes of time was consumed in a drive that reached the Eagle 20-yard line. From the 20-yard line, disaster struck when a bad pitch on a QB option from Ross Rubio to Austyn Gutierrez went array for a 38 yard loss back to their 42. The Wildcats got most of the yardage back to the line of scrimmage but turned the ball over to Southwest on downs.
On their first drive, the Eagles only managed one first down, then punted after three plays. This was repeated by Brawley with the exception of earning one first down. At the end of the first quarter Southwest once again had the ball but with better field position. This drive began at their 40 and reached the 28-yard line of Brawley with Eagles ready to strike first in the scoring department. Just when it seemed like the Eagles were in control and utilizing their game plan, an incredible first carry by Nigel Rabb was tarnished when he was stripped and the Wildcats prevented an early deficit.
It was short lived, as the Wildcats on their next drive, with a fumble, handed the Eagles their best field position on the Brawley 30. The Wildcat defense tightened up and forced a turnover on downs to keep the game scoreless.
One last chance before the half to break the scoreless tie had Brawley starting at their own 32 and reaching the Eagle 18 yard line. Big plays by Andrew Ortiz (23 carries-237 yards), who had his best rushing game this season and Ross Rubio (14 carries- 120 yards) had them in scoring position for a second time. A couple penalties moved them back, making it tougher to put points on the scoreboard before the half.
Southwest defensive performance of not allowing any points to Brawley, left an eery quiet in the stands, and had the Eagles thinking upset. They had deferred the opening kickoff and would have the ball first in the second half. The strategy appeared to be working until Jacob Ordonez changed it all.
On a third and seven from their 33-yard line, Southwest set up a pass to the outside along the Eagle sideline. The only problem with the play was the big Blue and Gold #44 jersey stood in the way, grabbed the errant pass and took it to the house for a 30-yard TD interception. The point after made it 7-0 and the crowd was starting to show some life.
For the rest of the game, the Eagles had the same fate of not scoring like two other teams which faced the Wildcats. They reached the Brawley 32 yard line but that is as close as they would get for the remainder of the contest.
The Wildcats used a 4 play, 68 yard Andrew Ortiz drive, which increased the score to 14-0. In the drive, Ortiz had a huge 60-yard run, soon followed by the three yards he lacked to the goal line. Their next drive was also 68-yards long, but it took only two plays to complete, with two big runs by QB Ross Rubio. The lead increased to 21-0 in less than eight minutes.
The last scoring for the Wildcats came in the fourth quarter, with a drive that began at their 29-yard line with 7:46 left in the game. The drive used seven plays and less than three minutes of the clock. Big runs by #8 Moises Lazos moved the ball to the 15-yard line where Andrew Ortiz scored his second TD of the game. It was now 28-0 after another perfect kicking performance by Omar Celis.
The Southwest Eagles had a great game plan and were able to keep the score close. Holding the Wildcats at 0-0 at the half waypoint might put a wrinkle in the outlook for the rest of the IVL teams. Next week the Wildcats travel to Calexico, who were winners over the Palo Verde Yellow Jackets 35-30. The Southwest Eagles have another tough game in the Johnny Romero Fireman’s Helmet rivalry game against the Imperial Tigers. The Tigers were big winners over Central 40-7.