Brawley blanks Mt. Carmel

Matthew Gutierrez winds up for a read downfield versus Mt. Carmel in Brawley Friday, November 4.

BRAWLEY – The Brawley High Wildcats football squad hosted the Mt. Carmel Sun Devils this past Friday night, in the first round of the CIF San Diego Section Division II playoffs. The seventh-ranked Wildcats continued their defensive dominance shutting out the Sun Devil offense while Brawley kicker Nathan Urbano took center stage, nailing two field goals to send Brawley to the second round of the playoffs with an 8-0 victory.
Early on the question was who would lead the way for the Wildcats with this “new look squad” and stepping up to the plate was sophomore Matthew Gutierrez who took snaps under center and ran Brawley’s offense while also playing a key role anchoring Brawley's defense.
The Sun Devils came closest to scoring on their first possession as they looked to catch the Brawley defense off guard going no huddle and speeding the tempo of a defense barely learning to handle in-game action together. But after getting as close as the five yard line, a twelve yard loss on a sack by Gutierrez and an offensive holding call would force the Sun Devils to try a field goal. In a theme that has continued throughout the season, Brawley's special teams stepped up to the plate as Brody Vandiver would give his first big contribution to the game, a blocked field goal.
From there, however, the Wildcats and Sun Devils were locked in a stalemate until near the end of the half as Brawley showed their grit by taking the ball from their own 33 yard line and going 67 yards on 15 plays to take the lead. The drive was highlighted by some exciting in-between-the-tackles running by running backs junior Zane Richards and sophomore Matthew Moreno. In the end Nathan Urbano stepped up to hit a 30 yard field goal on a hold by Daniel Camilo to give Brawley a 3-0 lead with less than a minute to play in the first half.
The Sun Devils again tried a hurry-up offense to try and get some points on the board before the half but again Brawley’s special teams came up big. This time it was Gilbert Corrales who blocked a field goal attempt as time expired in the half, keeping the Wildcats in the lead 3-0 going into the second half.
The third quarter was much of the same but the Sun Devils provided the biggest threat as a short field put their drive starting position deep in Brawley territory at the 36 yard line. They rushed twice for eleven yards putting them in the Wildcat red zone for the second time in the game but as the theme of the night persisted, a defensive big play kept Sun Devil scoreline empty, this one being a Gilbert Corrales interception that ended the drive.
The score held at 3-0 until the first play of the fourth quarter when a sack in the endzone by Wildcat senior Brody Vandiver gave the Wildcats a 5-0 lead with 11:48 to play in the game.
Brawley began their next drive at the Sun Devil 45-yard line and went nine plays, highlighted by a key fourth down keeper by Gutierrez keeping the drive alive, before Nathan Urbano again stepped up to plate this time kicking a 29 yard field goal to put the Wildcats up 8-0 with 5:29 left to play.
The Sun Devils had one last drive in them, getting within fifteen yards of the endzone before the Brawley defense again picked up a big play, this one a Gutierrez third down sack and a defensive coverage-led incompletion on fourth down to end the Sun Devil blitz attack and cruise their way to 8-0 final.
“When you get to playoffs it’s survive and advance, and that’s what we did tonight. That was great team effort and I’m proud of what they did out there tonight,” said Brawley Head Coach Jon Self regarding the Wildcats showing that night.
Up next for Brawley will be a familiar foe in the Central Spartans, this time at Central’s Cal Jones Field next Thursday, November 10, with kickoff slated for 7 p.m.

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