Offensive Lineman Dominate in IVL Opener

Brawley Union High linemen Marcos Martinez (left) and Isaiah Martinez receive 'The Rock' after their Imperial Valley League win over Southwest High. Photo by: Lloyd Miller
Brawley Union High linemen Marcos Martinez (left) and Isaiah Martinez receive ‘The Rock’ after their Imperial Valley League win over Southwest High. Photo by: Lloyd Miller

The Brawley Union High School Wildcats had another impressive performance by its offensive line helping pave the way to another 300+ yards of rushing.

Last Friday against the Southwest Eagles the Wildcats rushed for 379 yards on 49 carries. The linemen making it possible were offensive tackles Isaiah Martinez and Marcos Martinez who were recipients of “The Rock” that is presented to a player(s) at the conclusion of each game.

Offensive guards are Isaac Delgado and Alex Campbell and are separated by the Center Justin Gonzalez. This linemen combo has almost three games with 300+ yards coming up four yards short in the season opener with 296 yards rushing.

Brawley evens its record at 3-3 with four remaining games left in the Imperial Valley League title chase.

Leading the Wildcats in rushing with the first 200 yard game of the season was senior Nathan Suits. He carried the ball 24 times for 201 yards and three touchdowns. Austyn Gutierrez followed with 91 yards on seven carries and two touchdowns. George Mickle (11 carries for 51 yards) stepped in as backup quarterback when starter A.J. Grijalva (five carries for 27 yards) was injured early in the second half.

Defensively the Wildcats only allowed one long drive of 68 yards for an Eagle score. The other score came on a short 25-yard drive when an errant punt provided Southwest with great field position.

Even then it took six plays of which three were needed to gain one yard for a score. The defense provided a shutout in the second half with the offense hitting on all cylinders. Generating stats for the defense is a formula in which 13 different categories are given point values from one to 12.

There are three different tackling point values, which include solo tackles (3 points), first hit (2 points) and assists (1 point). Extra points (4 points) are given when tackles are made and a loss of yardage occurs. Other points are earned for interceptions, fumbles caused or recovered, quarterback sacks and hurries, blocked kicks, batted passes and scoring a touchdown or safety.

While some of the plays are obvious as to what and who gets credit for defensive points, there are times when it is not obvious. Things like a tackle with three or more players, judging whether a player was assisted on a play or made the play on his own, confuse the scoring.

Defensively Blake Zeleny was on fire against Southwest. His total of 45 points was the best performance of any Wildcat this season. Daniel Crankshaw also had an outstanding game in which he totaled 31 points. Nathan Montalvo was third in points with 16 and a big interception in the fourth quarter was a major factor.

The Wildcat’s defense has improved each game, and with the offense generating points, it is the reason for their three wins in the last four games.

Homecoming Friday evening will pit the Brawley Wildcats against the Calexico Bulldogs at Warne field at 7 p.m. It will be the first game at Warne Field since Sept. 4. This is the first of three straight home games, the ‘Cats endured four games on the road and a “Bye” week.

They face the 0-6 Bulldogs who have struggled in this rebuilding season with Coach Sean Johnson at the helm of their 100th Anniversary of Calexico Bulldog history. They have failed to put four quarters of good football in one game but have had spurts of success. On offense they have had 360 yards against Orange Glen but in a losing battle of 27-26 on a late field goal.

They also lost in overtime against the private school of Francis Parker losing 20-14. The Bulldogs enter the game as huge underdogs (pun intended) but history has taught us that high school football can have strange things happen that computer programs cannot foretell.

Calexico has had some interesting upsets against the Wildcats, although winning in Brawley hasn’t occurred since most likely the 60’s, in the era when the Bulldogs were nearly unstoppable. The three wins the Bulldogs have had over the Wildcats were in 1981, 1987 and 1993. All were at Ward Field in Calexico. It will be “An Evening in Neverland” this Friday night with the Bulldogs hoping to spoil a Wildcat Homecoming.