BRAWLEY — After stepping up big-time in the last two football games of his sophomore season, Ross Rubio was now the official full-time quarterback of the Brawley Union High Wildcats, a position which required a lot of smart decision making, coaching ability, and nerves of steel. Although the Wildcats would go through the regular season 8-2, they finished in second place of IVL football play and dropped the first round playoff game of the newly reformed CIF Division II playoffs to eventual finalist, Mission Bay High. For the season, Ross rushed for 342 yards, with six td’s, and threw for 503 yards and three touchdowns.
“I’ve always thought Brawley should win league, no matter what. If not, it’s a let down,” said Ross of his yearly team expectations.
“I’m also disappointed in not getting a road win in the playoffs as quarterback for the Wildcats,” added Ross on a personal note for his Wildcat career.
After a tough junior season, Ross had one more year left in a Wildcat uniform, his senior season, a season that many Wildcat fans held in high expectations. But with a series of twists and turns, injuries, and off-nights, could Ross and the Wildcats find a way to salvage their season?
Their answer was a resounding YES, as throughout the year the Wildcats battled back through adversity, showing a warrior spirit and Wildcat heart en route to a 9-1 regular season mark and a semi-final loss to top ranked El Capitan, who went on to win the San Diego Section Division II title and finish as runner up in the State Playoffs.
After a rough offensive outing to begin the season against Hoover, the Wildcats got the ball moving forward, dominating opponents with their smash-mouth style football. On the season, Ross rushed for over 1,000 yards and 5 touchdowns, while throwing for 235 yards and two touchdowns. Senior running back, Andrew Ortiz added nearly 2,000 yards to the mix on a Wildcat squad that gained over 3,700 combined yards on the ground during the course of the season.
Perhaps the “Wildcat moment” of the season occurred during a game predicting them to win by blowout, the annual rivalry Bell Game against Central.
With injuries to both Aguirre and Ortiz occurring in game, the pressure was on Ross yet again to keep his team’s composure in check until a taped-up Ortiz could work his way back into the game. With the score, 10-21 Central, in the fourth quarter, Ross and a returning Ortiz systematically picked apart the Central Defense on the ground and led the Wildcats to an emotional come-from-behind 25-21 victory over Central.
“I felt like it was a fitting end to a regular season. We performed strongly, but nothing was ever given to us,” said Ross of the win, and of the struggles, the Wildcats endured during his senior season.
Ross finished his high school career with a 19-6 record under center and was part of two semi-final appearances for the Brawley Union High Wildcats in the CIF San Diego Section Playoffs, one in Division IV, and one in Division II.
Even with a successful record under center, Ross Rubio will be mostly remembered in Wildcat lore for his resolve and amazing ability to shrink the pressure on his shoulders to manageable size, whether its his first game coming in for an injured captain against a tough opponent, or keeping his head straight in a rivalry game with teammates falling around him to injuries. Ross Rubio has seen adversity, faced it, and soared above it.
Up next for Ross will be a new challenge, as he has elected to attend and further his playing career at William Penn University in Oskaloosa, Iowa.