CLAIRMONT MESA – The Brawley Wildcats, and well over a thousand fans, headed over the mountain to Madison High School Friday evening for San Diego CIF Semi-finals action. The winner would be playing for the Division IV title next Saturday morning versus the winner of the St. Augustine/Valley Center contest. This was the fourth Semi-final trip for the visiting Wildcats since entering the San Diego section. In 2001, they played Marion Catholic (now Mater Dei), 2004 versus USDHS (now Cathedral), and 2005, it was Point Loma.
As the fans rolled into the stands, so did the fog. By kickoff, the dense fog blocked the stands on the opposite side. The fog stayed the entire game, and unfortunately for the Brawley Wildcats, it added to the dismal feeling in a 35-18 loss.
Beginning the game with no idea who had won the coin toss, the Madison Warhawks received the opening kickoff and began their play at the Brawley 46 after a long return. It didn’t take long to get a feel for the potent offense the Warhawks displayed on the scrimmage line. In a shotgun spread and using a no huddle offense it took just over four minutes to score first. The eight play and 46 yard drive ended on a nine yard touchdown run. After a successful PAT it was 7-0 at 7:58 on the clock.
The Wildcats began on their 20 yard line after a touchback on the ensuing kickoff. Sophomore QB Ross Rubio led the Wildcats first drive with handoffs to Jared Mohammed and pitches to Isaak Comparan. Four straight runs by Rubio got the ball to the Madison 47, but on a 4th and 3, Brawley was forced to punt. A muffed punt pinned Madison at their four yard line.
The Warhawks seemed to slow down on their second drive, but on a 3rd and 5, a long pass gave Madison a 37 yard gain. Officials called back a TD run on a holding penalty; Madison faced a 3rd and 14 after an incomplete pass and the first quarter closed. A long option run for 15 yards put the Warhawks ahead 14-0 for the first play in the second quarter. The clock read 11:55 until the half.
After another touchback on the kickoff, Brawley went three and out then punted to the Warhawk’s 23 yard line. In just three plays Madison was able to move the ball to the Wildcat 26 yard line. Fortunately for the Wildcats, its defense and the aid of a holding penalty pushed them back to the 39 yard line. A 55 yard field goal attempt failed and Brawley began at their 20 yard line again.
The Wildcats, now working on a positive defensive stance, put the ball and drive on the shoulders of Mohammed. Seven straight runs moved the ball generously to the Madison 16 yard line. Rubio gained a first down on a crucial 4th and 6 to the one yard line. With 2:45 left in the half Mohammed punched it in for a TD. The score was 14-6 after a blocked PAT.
Madison increased the lead before the half ended with a long kickoff return to the Brawley 49. Wildcats looked to have prevented a first down by five yards but a late hit penalty on the Wildcats gave Madison an automatic first. Two plays later Madison caught a touchdown pass in the dense fog at the Brawley end zone. It was only after the TD was announced on the PA system that the Warhawks fans knew the outcome and then cheered their score. The PAT was good and the half ended 21-6.
Brawley’s first drive of the second half was everything the Wildcats wanted with the exception of scoring. The drive lasted over six minutes, kept the Madison defense on the field, and they established some positive momentum and confidence against the Warhawks. The fourteen play drive stalled on a 4th and 3 at the four yard line with 5:57 left in the third quarter.
The Wildcats, after forcing Madison to punt, again sat in the driver’s seat with the ball on their 16. Senior Tanner Rollins stopped The Warhawks drive with a huge sack that put Madison on a 4th and 24 punting situation.
Seven plays with runs by Mohammed, Comparan and Rollins proved the Wildcats could move the ball at will on a defense that seemed to be tiring. Scoring would be a 7 yard run for Mohammed and the drive covered 84 yards. A failed two point conversion had the Wildcats trailing 21-12 with 11:10 left in the game.
Madison started again inside their ten yard line. One explosive QB run moved the ball to the opposite side of midfield. Five more runs culminated with a 19 yard TD run and a successful PAT, 28-12.
It was the Wildcats turn to begin inside their 10 yard line. Catastrophe occurred on a 2nd and 6 when a bad exchange on a hand off found a Warhawks defense player scooping up the ball and scoring with 7:27 left in the game. Madison now led 35-12.
The Wildcats began in better field position for the next drive at their 43 yard line. Five minutes and thirty two seconds later Brawley registered a TD on the scoreboard. Seven runs by Mohammed and six by Comparan moved the ball methodically down the field. The final score was a pitch to Comparan for a three yard TD run. Another failed two point conversion had the Wildcats trailing 35-18 with 1:55 left in the game.
An onside attempt was recovered by the Wildcats but time ran out before they could score, making the final score of Madison 35 Brawley 18.
Madison will now face St. Augustine in the Finals next week on Saturday. St. Augustine beat Valley Center 38-21 in the other Semi Final game.
There will be one more article in an overview of the 2012 Wildcat football season. This has been one of the most exciting seasons in Brawley Wildcat football since I can remember. I wish to “THANK” every player on this Wildcat team. “Thank You” for carrying on the Brawley Blue and Gold tradition. Your dedication makes each and every fan proud to be “WILDCATS” for life.
(Be sure to click on all three pages of photos)