Wildcats run over Clairemont

September 22, 2001|By ROBERT FULTON, Special to this newspaper

SAN DIEGO — The Brawley Union High School football team ran roughshod over Clairemont here Saturday, winning 41-7.

"I did not think we were going to beat them like that," said Wildcat head coach John Bishop. "Against Serra and Santana, they played them tough, and I thought they were a better ball club than us."

On the ground, the Wildcats were firing on all cylinders, with Mitchell Ruiz running for 193 yards and a score. Andy Buckner entered the end zone three times while running for 139 yards. Ruiz also caught two passes for 86 yards and another score.

"He's got speed," Bishop said. "When he gets out in the secondary, he's pretty hard to stop."

Ruiz added, "I made some mistakes, but I also did some good things."

The Wildcats started slowly, falling behind the Chieftains 7-0. After a scoreless first quarter, Clairemont quarterback Paul Himberger found receiver Ricky Hernandez for a 30-yard touchdown pass early in the second period, and with the extra point, the home team was ahead 7-0.


After that, it was all Brawley.

On the next play from scrimmage, Ruiz ran the ball 78 yards for a touchdown, and with the extra point, the game was knotted at 7. Later in the quarter, after a Ruiz 34-yard run, Buckner pounded the ball in from one-yard out to finish the deal, and with another kick, Brawley had a 14-7 advantage.

The Wildcats were not done. After Clairemont's Mike Coppa missed a field goal, Brawley had the ball on its own 20-yard line. That seemed close enough for Buckner, who scrambled in from 80 yards out for another touchdown, giving the visitors a 20-7 lead headed into the break.

The third quarter was a replay of the first, with neither scoring. Unfortunately for the Chieftains, the fourth period was a replay of the second, with the Wildcats releasing fury on their opponents. Partway through the fourth, it was again Buckner, this time from five yards away. Ruiz added on two points and the Wildcats were ahead 28-7.

Clairemont fumbled the ball on its second play after getting the ball back, and the Wildcats set up camp at their opponents 10-yard line. Joel Aguirre got in on the scoring action, rushing in from 10 yards away for a 34-7 Brawley lead.

For the Wildcats' last touchdown of the game, Dominic Aguirre found Ruiz on a short screen pass that resulted in an 89-yard scamper and another score. Aguirre's kick wrapped up the victory at 41-7.

The Wildcat defense was tough, allowing only 11 yards on the ground. The Chieftains had little success on the ground and limited success in the air with Himberger throwing for 110 yards. Brawley had a fine passing day to compliment all of the running as Dominic Aguirre threw for 167 yards.

Despite the big victory, the Wildcats did have problems, namely their six turnovers and at times lax pass defense.

"We just made mistakes," Bishop said. "That's what we're going to be working on. We're also going to be working on our defensive pass coverage, our secondary."

Ruiz added, "We need to work on holding the ball. Especially me. Our fumbling, our pass coverage; we need to work on it more.

This was a rare Saturday contest for the Wildcats.

"It was a little different to play on Saturday," Ruiz said. "We're not use to it, but we adapted to it pretty quick. We weren't as enthused. We get more pumped up when it's a night game. I don't know why; we just do. We're pretty use to that. We adapted to it and we did what we had to do."

Next up for Brawley (2-1) is a non-league showdown against rival Central at home on Friday at 7:30 p.m.

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