Wildcats see vindication at Cibola

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YUMA — The Cibola High School Raiders football team hosted the Brawley Union High Wildcats Friday evening in Yuma. With both teams coming off their first victory of the season, both looked to keep Mr. Mo Mentum on their side. Unfortunately for the Raiders, the third play from scrimmage and the first rushing attempt of the season by Wildcat George Mickle (two carries for 49 yards and one touchdown) was the first evidence of what the night of football would bring. The 47-yard touchdown for Mickle was one of five touchdowns by Brawley as they cruised to a 35-6 victory.

Trip number two in the trilogy of games in Arizona was much the same as the week before with a strong presence of the defensive game and pounding of the running game for the Wildcats as they improved their record to 2-1. Offensively, the Wildcats totaled 375 yards, unofficially, of which 340 was on the ground. The defense allowed just one score by limiting the Raiders to only 206 total yards (116 yards rushing and 90 passing), a drastic difference of last year’s meeting in Brawley.

After just over a minute into the game and a 7-0 Brawley lead, the Raiders’ first drive would begin with 10:44 remaining in the first quarter. Moving the ball from their 28 yard line in ten plays to the Brawley 43, they were forced to punt after a third down quarterback sack. The punt was blocked and recovered by Wildcat Westin Hale and gave the Wildcats possession at the Cibola 45-yard line.

Utilizing four different rushers of the nine Wildcats used during the game, the score was extended to 14-0 on a Michael Moreno three-yard run with 2:42 left in the first quarter. It completed the nine play drive. Ivan Jauregui was perfect on the evening with point after kicks, making all five of his attempts.

Brawley’s defense tightened up and forced a three and out with the Raiders punting just before the second quarter began. A nine-play Wildcat drive of 72 yards increased the lead to 21-0 with 9:14 remaining until halftime. Casey Kline (nine carries for 87 yards and three completions for 35 yards passing with one touchdown pass) had the big play on this drive with a huge 33-yard touchdown run.

Cibola’s best drive of the game followed when they were able to put points on the scoreboard. Using 17 plays and a bulk of the carries by Jesse Escott (27 carries for 130 yards). The drive accounted for 84 of the 206 yards of offense for Cibola. With 3:18 remaining until halftime, the score showed 21-6 after the extra point try bounced off the left upright for the failed attempt.

Brawley’s last drive before the half was marred by penalty flags after reaching a first and goal at the Cibola 9-yard line. A double penalty that resulted in a 30 yard loss had the Wildcats drive stalling at the Cibola 41-yard line as the clock struck 0:00 with a 21-6 halftime lead.

Brawley’s defense once again forced a three and out as they had Cibola punting early into the third quarter. This gave the Wildcat offense the opportunity to increase the lead. On eight plays and a majority of the carries by leading rusher Michael Moreno (26 carries and 139 yards). The last six yards went via a Moreno touchdown run and with 6:01 remaining in the third quarter, it was 28-6.

Cibola’s next drive had more success than its previous as they went seven plays before a turnover on downs resulted on a fourth down incomplete pass by Ethan Arvizo.

Brawley did not punt the entire game and scored on almost every possession. Their next possession was the last scoring of the evening. Extending from late in the third quarter and into the fourth, the Wildcats went on a 15-play drive that included five penalties. The score came on a pass from Casey Kline, his third of the season, to Fernando Razo (his first of the year) on a 29 yard slant where Razo went the distance untouched.

With 9:36 left, the scoreboard showed the same 35-6 score until the final seconds ticked off. Both teams exchanged possession with no points resulting from either team. Brawley got its first victory over Cibola and ended the streak of two losses to the Raiders.

The win improves the Wildcats’ record to 2-1, and they will travel to Yuma one more time to take on the Gila Ridge High Hawks next Friday. Gila Ridge lost a close game to their rival Cibola last week. The game is scheduled for a 7 p.m. kickoff.