WILDCATS praying

CALEXICO — The Brawley Wildcat varsity football team headed south to duel with the Bulldogs of Calexico at Ward Field Thursday, April 1. Ward Field saw plenty of one-sided action as the Wildcats cruised to a convincing victory after it exploded with 49 points in the first half. A running clock was utilized in the second half and drier, less stained uniforms added seven more points to the scoreboard, making the final score 56-0.

The game began with Brawley deferring to kick-off to the Bulldogs. Calexico achieved two first downs on their first possession. One was gifted by the Wildcats on a helmet-to-helmet personal foul, but the Bulldog’s offense sizzled to a halt, giving the Wildcats its first time with the ball.

Starting on its own 19-yard line after a Calexico punt, quarterback Ethan Gutierrez would have his best game of the season. Perfectly completing eight passes in eight attempts, no interceptions, three touchdown passes, and 190 yards was complemented with 74 yards on four carries and another two for a total of five touchdowns. 

The first drive took nine plays to complete and included five passes. It was 81 yards later that Gutierrez went to Isaiah Young for the first score of the game on a 19-yard toss. JJ Gutierrez ran in to convert a two-point try and Brawley led early 8-0 with 3:16 left in the first quarter.

Freshman Robert Platt grabbed a loose mishandled football during the ensuing kickoff where the Brawley offense was back on the field at the Bulldog 30-yard line. Gutierrez scored his first touchdown of the season, rushing by way of a 30-yard run and a Young two-point conversion had the scoreboard increasing. It showed 16-0 with 3:01 on the clock, just 15 seconds after the first touchdown.

Calexico had a three and out (punt) that soon became disastrous when a bad snap and roll gave the Wildcats possession of the football at the Bulldog 4-yard line. Young punched in a touchdown at the end zone for another one-play drive for Brawley, adding another two points. It increased the lead to 24-0 with 1:16 left in the opening quarter.

Calexico had another three-and-out that crossed over into the second quarter and the Wildcats again had the ball on its 43-yard line. The “Trifecta” of one-play drives was completed next when Gutierrez hit senior Nathan May for a 57-yard touchdown pass and the score was 30-0 after a failed two-point try.

The Bulldogs, for the third consecutive time, had a three-and-out, giving Brawley the rock again at their 24-yard line for a long 76 yards of real estate to the promise land.

A short pass of 10 yards to Ruben Abarca (three catches for 30 yards) was followed with a connection to Daniel Camillo for a 66-yard touchdown pass reception. Luis Frutos was good on the point after kick and the Wildcats led 37-0.

On the following kickoff, a loose rolling football was caught in stride after a perfect bounce and into the hands of Nathan May. He was in the end zone without being touched, but the ruling was that the kicking team could not advance or score. The only time it can be advanced is when the receiving team gains control of the ball by a fumble. It can then be advanced by either team recovering the ball. Brawley received the ball on the Bulldog’s 25-yard line and the offense took charge. 

It appeared that Nathan May would have his touchdown after all on a 25 TD pass completion, but it was negated on an illegal shift on the offense. Gutierrez provided another 30-yard touchdown run providing a fourth drive of one play and it was 43-0.

The following drive by the Calexico offense mustered up one first down where it began on their 31-yard line. The Bulldogs attempted a pass, but Jayden Figueroa had his radar honed and grabbed an interception for a 62-yard touchdown return. The kick was again not successful, and the lead increased to 49-0.

Calexico’s rare effectiveness during the game was being able to run the clock out as it counted down to the halftime rest. But that wasn’t accomplished until the timers on the field sprinklers cooled down the players. A rare pause in the action was taken for an official’s timeout to allow Calexico maintenance to turn the water off. Halftime immediately followed. 

Dryer jerseys were allowed to play the entire second half on both offense and defense for the Wildcats. The defense was just as stellar as the first team’s by preventing any scoring by any the Bulldog’s first team offense. Brawley offense generated a score after a few sputters and mishandled footballs. Running backs Robert Platt, Noah Gonzalez, and Richard Ramirez showed their talents with quarterback Dawson Figueroa. In the final quarter of the running clock, Ramirez got the last touchdown before the evening’s game ended. Nathan May kicked the point where the ball bounced and then crawled over the cross bar. Once signaled it was good by the referees, the entire team was cheering on the sidelines as it was May’s first attempt as a kicker.

The clock ran off to all zeros to end the game and the Wildcats improved its record to 4-0. It will look forward to another Thursday evening game when they travel to Coronado High School in San Diego. The game will begin at a different time and kickoff is scheduled for 6 p.m. instead of the usual 7 p.m. starts.

The Desert Review will livestream to The Desert Review Facebook page the Brawley v Coronado game, Thursday, April 8, with the pre-game starting at 5:45. 

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