Wildcat’s Drop Close One in Yuma



Nathan Suits makes a drive through a formidable opponent

 YUMA — The Brawley Union High Wildcat football team rode into Cibola High School looking to even up their record to 2-2 on Friday night. The Raiders themselves, already at the 2-2 record, were dedicated more than ever to not only score against the Wildcats, but to come out with the victory.

Cibola had not scored on a Brawley defense since 2012 but on this night the Raiders would come out on top 16-10 by controlling both the ball and time of possession the entire contest.

The Raiders dominated the first half with 274 total yards and over 17 minutes of possession time versus Brawley’s 106 yards and less than seven minutes of time with the ball on offense.

The unbalance of the stats didn’t reflect the score, though, as the Wildcats were the first to score with three plays of their opening drive.

The drive began at their 17-yard line after the Raiders moved from their 24-yard line, but had stalled on the opening drive of the game. The Wildcat score was the longest play from scrimmage this season when George Mickle ran around the left side Brawley sideline, broke a few tackles, and strode into the end zone for the game’s first points. The point after was kicked successfully by David Quintero and the Wildcats led 7-0 with 5:12 left in the first quarter.

The Raiders evened up the score with their next drive. Using a 15-play drive consisting of all runs for 68 yards and the score was knotted up at 7-7 with 9:55 remaining until the halfway point. Cibola, primarily a passing team, opened up the passing game later in the game that proved instrumental in the Raider victory.

Brawley’s next three drives generated only one first down in the second quarter. The Raiders attempted to take advantage of this, but one of their drives resulted in a bad snap that fumbled the ball to the Wildcats inside the Brawley’s 45-yard line.

The Wildcats didn’t take advantage of the free gift and were forced to punt. Cibola cashed in on this as they drove 74-yards on seven plays that ended with a Bailey Arvizo 20-yard touchdown run and a 13-7 lead going into the half.

The second half was more of a defensive struggle or lack of offense by both. Both teams were able to kick a field goal each in the fourth quarter.

The Wildcats were first when they drove from their 12-yard line midway through the third quarter and extended the drive into the fourth where it stalled on the Cibola eight yard line. With the attempt being only 25 yards, Quintero converted the field goal and Brawley trailed 13-10.

Cibola matched that with an almost six minute drive that began at their 31-yard line. Eleven plays and three penalties later the Raiders lined up for a field goal try of 34 yards. With 5:21 left in the game the score increased to 16-10 and the Wildcats now needed a touchdown not a field goal to tie or win.

The Wildcats final chance began at their 19-yard line. During this drive, some penalties resulted in big plays being nullified. The first was a huge half back incomplete pass by Austyn Gutierrez to Kevin Kastner where a defender crashed into the receiver. The other was a big pass play on a fourth and seven from A.J. Grijalva to Mickle reception. On the play, two penalties had been called. Brawley was flagged for holding and the Raiders were penalized for a roughing the passer which offset the play and the play was repeated. Brawley wasn’t able to make a first down and lost the ball on downs where Cibola ran out the clock giving them their first victory over Brawley.

The Wildcats (1-3, 0-0 IVL) will be in Yuma again next Friday when they face the Gila Ridge High School Hawks. The Hawks enter the game with a 4-1 record but also have never beaten the Wildcats. It should be an interesting game as it is the last game before the Imperial Valley League games begin on Oct. 9.

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