David and Goliath – Brawley brings down a giant

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Brawley Wildcats have had games of epic proportions as long as I can remember. They lost a close game at home to Power House Servite Friars back in the early 80’s which later became reversed because Servite used an ineligible player. The Wildcats were given the “Win”.

In 2001, Brawley beat a Division I Rancho Buena Vista who beat #1 Carlsbad the week before. When Helix escaped with a 17-14 win in Brawley it was considered a moral victory for the Wildcats.

On Sept 28th, 2012 the Wildcats pulled off a victory over the visiting Chula Vista Spartans, a Division I school, that will be remembered for many years to come. Goliath (Spartans) completely dominated the Wildcats last year in Chula Vista that included a running clock.

This year the tides were turned and Chula Vista made the long trip to the heat of the desert to learn that, if given the chance, David could conquer Goliath.

The Wildcats were more successful on their first drive last year, as they had to punt after three plays and pinned the Spartans on their own eleven yard line. The bigger line paved their way down the field on nine plays with combination runs and passes as Chula Vista looked like they would be starting where they left off back home a year ago.

Play ten of the drive gave evidence that this game would have a different ending. The Spartans reached the Wildcats 33 yard line and made one of many mistakes, including a long pass interception caught by Josh Godinez and returned to the Wildcat 28 yard line.

The charged up Wildcats were impressive on their second drive. They moved the ball from their own 28 to the Chula Vista 44 in five plays. One play later, it was Bryce Alexander scoring one of his two TD’s of the evening. The point after was no good, it was the Wildcats 6-0.

Spartans answered back in nine plays, two pass plays and seven runs. The lead switched to the Spartans 7-6 after the PAT. It was a drive that wasn’t as explosive as the drives of last year, but it was affective. There was 11:45 left in the half and the Spartans had only managed a 1 point lead.

The Wildcats began their third drive of the game at the 18 and it wouldn’t take long for the next score. One run by Zach Krigbaum from the18 to the Chula Vista 34 was followed by a penalty that moved the ball back to the 44. One play later it was Bryce Alexander running for six points from 44 yards out. A two point try succeeded and the Wildcats led once again 14-7.

Momentum took an upswing when on the ensuing kickoff the Spartans muffed the catch which Brawley recovered at the Chula Vista 35 yard line. The only spark on the drive came with a Tanner Rollins first down run to the 10 yard line and the Wildcats were looking to take control of the game. The Spartan defense refused to allow more as they forced a fourth and six inside the ten. A loss of yardage transferred possession of the ball.

Chula Vista consumed seven minutes on a drive that tied the game at 14 points. It was sixteen plays of ball control for the Spartans starting from their own two yard line and completing the drive with a touchdown score to tie the game at 14-14 with 1:01 left in the game. The half ended with the tie.

It looked like Chula Vista had had enough. They came out of the halftime break with a long drive that began at their 29 yard line. Feeling the embarrassment of a tie at the half against a team they trounced the year before, the Spartans regained the lead at 21-14 with a beautiful post pass that resembled last year’s plays. There was 8:21 left in the third and it seemed that Chula Vista was taking control of the game.

 Not this year, not to this Wildcat team of 2012.

It appeared even more dismal on the next Brawley possession, after converting a couple of first downs with two good runs from Josh Godinez. They moved the ball into the red zone but the Spartans stopped the Wildcats short of a first down at the 7 yard line with 5:07 left in the third quarter.

The Wildcats, trailing by seven, moved the ball inside the 10 yard line twice without scoring.

The roller coaster ride went on an upswing for the Wildcats as the defense held again and the Spartans showed signs of slowing down in the warm humid evening. On this drive they were forced to punt immediately and the Wildcats again had an opportunity to tie the game with 2:59 left in the third quarter.

Using Jared Mohammed for the first time since the Hoover game, the Wildcats were both on the positive and negative side of gaining yardage. The 3rd quarter ended with the Wildcats having possession of the ball at the 42 yard line.

A questionable intentional grounding penalty opened the 4th quarter when Josh Godinez rolled out for a pass play and threw the ball out of bounds for the safe legal play. The next play turned the game around. It was 3rd down and 36 yards needed for a first down.

Brawley attempted a pass and a Spartan defender was flagged for a pass interference penalty. This gave the Wildcats a new set of downs at the Chula Vista 45 yard line. A big halfback option pass by Tanner Rollins to Donavan Buck got the Wildcats to the 17 yard line. Two plays later it was Josh Godinez with a long QB option run for the touchdown. They were unsuccessful at the two point conversion and trailed by one, 21-20.

Chula Vista had a short kickoff return but a clipping penalty restarted them at their 12 yard line. It was becoming evident that the heat and the Wildcat defense were affecting the San Diego based Spartans. A forced punt allowed Brawley the chance to take a lead as the Wildcats started at their 23 yard line with 6:30 left in the game.

The ‘Cats used runs by Mohammed, Godinez, Rollins, and Alexander to get to the Spartan 5. It was Josh Godinez handing off to Isaac Comparan for the score and up 26-21. Again, the Wildcats elected for and then denied a two point conversion.

The ensuing kickoff was the signature play of how things had been for the Chula Vista Spartans. A short and high kick was again mishandled by Chula Vista. The muff and mad scramble for the ball found Brawley recovering. It was up to the offense to get at least one first down after Chula Vista called its last timeout. They were successful and the Wildcats were able to hold on for the 26-21 win.

The Wildcats will face another undefeated team next week at Calexico and attempt to hand them their first loss to open up IVL League play. The untested Bulldogs will be looking to upset the Wildcats next Friday. Calexico wants to prove that their record is not a fluke. Bulldogs have pulled off big upsets versus Brawley, but only in Calexico. This game will be at Ward Field with a kickoff start of 7pm

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