BRAWLEY — The Brawley Union High School Wildcat football team hosted the Blythe Palo Verde High Yellowjackets Friday, October 11, under a beautiful moon “lighting” up the evening sky as homecoming was celebrated on Warne Field. The Wildcats lit up the scoreboard with 21 of its 38 points in the first quarter and cruised to a 38-7 win.
Pregame events highlighted Jim Skipper, former Brawley Hall of Fame player and NFL coach. At halftime, Christian Gonzalez and Cassandra Rubio were crowned homecoming king and queen for 2019.
The Wildcats began with almost recovering an opening kickoff fumble. The Jackets recovered the loose rock and began first possession at their 40-yard line with a totally different offense than Palo Verde had shown for 20-plus years. Structured to a smash-mouth running game, they showed success, but when gambling on a fourth-and-two, Blake Krigbaum stopped the attempt with a two-yard loss.
For the third time this season, the Wildcats struck quickly with Krigbaum (nine carries for 112 yards and four touchdowns) on offense. After an encroachment penalty, a first-and-five at the Jackets’ 49-yard line paved the way for him to go untouched as he zigged and zagged to the end zone for the first score. Xavier Perayda was again perfect with the point after kick putting the Wildcats ahead, 7-0.
Brawley was back on offense with a fumble recovery on the kickoff. It was followed by three runs and Adrian Chavez added points to the scoreboard on a six-yard run. The score was 14-0, and the quick lead would be extended once again before the quarter ended.
The next Palo Verde drive had only a pass interference penalty to gain a first down. It was followed by two short runs, an incomplete pass and a punt. The Wildcats began their third scoring drive deep in their territory at the 13-yard line.
It took seven plays to cover the 87-yard drive with the passing game opening up. Ethan Gutierrez (seven carries for 51 yards) had one rush of 32 yards and two passes gaining 33 yards. Krigbaum was in the end zone once again on a four-yard touchdown with 55 seconds left in the first quarter and a 21-0 lead.
Going into the second quarter, the Palo Verde Jackets had a bit of positivity by recovering a Wildcat fumble on Brawley’s next drive. It gave the Jackets possession at midfield. Even with the turnover boost of confidence, the offense managed only eight yards on four plays to return the ball to the Wildcats at the 42.
It took five running plays to get close as Brawley reached the Jackets’ 24-yard line. A pass into the end zone was snagged out of the air seven-yards deep by Aizak Gonzalez and returned for 34 yards to their 27-yard line in the middle of the second quarter. It would only prevent a current score by the Wildcats, as four plays later, Brawley was back on offense.
A rare but good 29-yard field goal was all the Wildcats could cash in on as Xavier Perayda achieved his attempt to put them up 24-0 as the second quarter clock ran out.
The Wildcats received the second-half kickoff and had a three-minute 54-yard scoring drive as Krigbaum scored his third touchdown run from two yards out. With 8:47, the Wildcats led 31-0.
Palo Verde’s adjustments did not provide much in the second half as they turned the ball over on downs. When it was Brawley’s turn on offense, it took seven plays to improve the score 38-0 with 2:53 left in the third quarter. Krigbaum ran it in from three yards out for his final scoring of the night.
The Yellowjackets scored in the final quarter after a running clock was implemented. A pass to senior Josiah Edwards-Love would be the last to light up the scoreboard with a touchdown reception of 27 yards.
The Brawley Wildcats will travel to El Centro and take on the Southwest High School Eagles THURSDAY, October 17, for another step toward the IVL title. The game is scheduled for 7 p.m.