What A Defense A Game Makes

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Tanner Rollins carried for yardage Friday night at Calexico

BRAWLEY – Week in and Week out, the Brawley Wildcats’ defense has been the backbone of its victories. In Calexico, the lack of defense by the Bulldogs and great defensive plays by the visiting Cats’ proved to be the game’s difference.

 Brawley allowed only one scoring drive of 5 yards that required four plays to accomplish by the Bulldogs. The rest of the evening the Wildcats defense prowled over the Bulldogs offense which included a goal line stance in the 3rd quarter.

Brawley’s offense managed to score 7 TD’s in the game but only 6 counted as one was called back. When it was all over the Wildcats had given their 2nd straight opposition its first loss of the year. Brawley 44 – Calexico 7

The game almost began on the right track as Calexico received the opening kickoff. What seemed to be a bad attempt at a pooch kick traveled about seven yards in the air and about the same height and took a forward bounce. As Bulldog players watched the ball pass ten yards it was a Wildcat player who recovered the live ball.

 Jared Mohammed opened up with two carries followed by an incomplete pass. On the next play, Player of the Week Bryce Alexander scored as he went in untouched from 37 yards out and around on the Calexico side of the field and into the end zone. It was 6-0 after the failed PAT and before the first bite of the famous carne asada tacos was taken at Ward Field.

It was almost déjà vu all over again, when the next kickoff was ignored by a Bulldog player, a mad scramble occurred, but another more alert Bulldog recovered for their first drive opportunity.

Not able to run the ball on the first two plays and gaining only 2 yards, QB Diego Moreno showed pinpoint accuracy by threading the needle on a pass between defenders for a first down. Another first down got the ball to and across midfield for the Bulldogs inside the 40 of the Wildcats. It was fourth and three, and Bulldogs coaching staff elected to punt rather than gamble and giving Brawley good field position. The punt went into the end zone for a touchback and the Wildcats began at their 20.

An 80 yard drive consisting of 9 running plays and an offside penalty followed. Runs by QB Josh Godinez, Zack Krigbaum, Bryce Alexander and Jared Mohammed ended when Mohammed scored on a 1st and goal at the three. A two point conversion was good and it was 14-0.

Calexico began their next drive with great field position on their 42. They were only able to go backwards and after a defensive sack on third down were forced to punt again on 4th and 14. A short punt of 22 yards gave the ball to the Wildcats at their 40 yard line.

The Bulldogs seemed to be finding a method of slowing the Wildcats offense but the quarter ended on a crucial 3rd and 6 conversion allowing the Wildcats to catch their breath and go full steam on another impressive drive.

Five different pairs of hands touched the rock as the Wildcats’ Zack Krigbaum ended with a 2 yard run for a score. Another two point conversion was good, Brawley lead 22-0.

The next drive for the Bulldogs again gained great field position. They managed to put some positive yardage and moved the ball well. A roughing the passer helped move them a bit closer to scoring. Precision passing was disrupted following two completions when a pass was deflected by Donovan Buck, intercepted by Josh Godinez and thus, ended the scoring threat.

The second play of Brawley’s next drive turned the ball over to the Bulldogs at the Wildcats five yard line. The Bulldogs were now, more than ever, eager to score. They did score, but the Wildcats defense made them work for every yard as it took four running plays for the Bulldogs to get there first and only score. A PAT was good and it was 22-7.

The clock showed 1:37 left in the half and after a touchback kickoff, Brawley began at their 20 yard line. The first play was a Mohammed huge gain of 28 yards. Two runs by Godinez and one by Tanner Rollins took the ball down to the 39 yard line of the Bulldogs. On the next play, Alexander ran around the right side again for the score. Two point conversion was again good and with 31.4 seconds left, it was Brawley leading 30-7. The half ended after two plays by the Bulldogs with no gain.

Rested and momentum back on the Wildcats side, it took only four running plays by Wildcat players which culminated with Bryce Alexander’s third scoring TD run, this time from 26 yards out. A two point conversion was good and at 10:21 left in third it was now 38-8.

The Wildcats were back on offense after Calexico’s second play when Brawley recovered a fumble at the Bulldog 34 yard line. The Wildcats would be starting their final scoring drive of the evening. After seven run plays, the Wildcats surprised the Bulldog defense with a pass from Godinez to Donovan Buck from 15 yards out. The two point try failed and the score increased to 44-7.

The Wildcats defense was more determined than ever to not allow another score by the Bulldogs. Calexico moved the ball to a first and goal at the Brawley 9 yard line. The Cats defense stiffened and did not let the Bulldogs  into the end zone. Bulldogs moved the ball to the five and on fourth and goal a pitch to the outside resulted in a loss of yards, a turnover on downs, and an end to the third quarter.

The fourth quarter would be a running clock due to the 35 point lead at the end of three quarters.

Brawley’s defense again played exceptional football this week. Donovan Buck, Hunter Wharton, Christian Gonzalez, Isaiah Quiroz, Abraham Lopez, and Jared Mohammed to name a few of the names often called out on tackles.

They will be facing possibly the best ever high school running back of the Imperial Valley when the Wildcats visit the Tigers in the game that could determine the IVL champs. The defense will have to play their best game of the season as the Tigers also have more weapons than last year’s team. That team had to come from behind and beat the Wildcats in Brawley.

Many are calling this the Game of the Year.

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