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Wildcats surprise 'Horns 7-0

October 09, 2001|By ROBERT FULTON, Special to this newspaper

VISTA — In what has to be one the biggest upsets of this high school football season in the San Diego CIF Section, Brawley Union High shocked Rancho Buena Vista 7-0 here at Dick Haines Field on Saturday night.

"It's a great win," said Brawley head coach John Bishop, "the best win I've ever had. We beat a team twice as big as ours. We've got heart."

The game was an instant classic, one of those gripping battles that make football the gut-check sport it is. The squads battled back and forth for four quarters, yielding little.

That is until 39 seconds remained on the clock, when the Wildcats' Andy Buckner rumbled in from three yards and Dominic Aguirre added an extra point kick for the only scoring of the game.

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"The line opened up the holes," Buckner said. "You've got to give all the credit to the linemen. They opened up that hole and it's just my job to pump as hard as I can. That's all I tried to do."

The defense was the story of the game. In the first half, with Brawley shooting itself in the foot with seven penalties for 45 yards, the Wildcat defense kept the game in hand. Shaun Palacios scooped up a Longhorn fumble and Arturo Ayon picked off a pass.

"We played great defense," Bishop said. "We got the offense when we needed it. They made plays. At first we made a few mistakes and then played some great football."

In the third and fourth quarters, the defense stepped up when it counted. Late in the third quarter, the Longhorns were knocking on the Wildcats goal line, two yards away on a fourth down. The Brawley defense decided that Longhorn running back Delon Harris was going nowhere with the next carry, stuffing him at the line of scrimmage.

In the fourth quarter, the Wildcats had two defensive stands at midfield, including the Longhorns' final drive, which ended up going backward instead of forward.

The Wildcat trio of Buckner, Aguirre and Mitchell Ruiz wore down the Longhorn defense. Ruiz finished with 31 yards rushing, Aguirre with 45 yards on the ground and 25 in the air and Buckner had 71 yards rushing.

"They see us and we're small," Buckner said. "But we're strong and we play our hearts out every time. We know that if we come together and we play our hearts out, we have as a good a chance as anybody to win any game."

With every second that ticked off the clock and the game still scoreless, it became more and more apparent the Wildcats had a chance to pull off the upset.

"That pumped us up," Buckner said. "People saying we're the underdog, saying, ‘Why are we playing these guys?' We knew we could do this."

The win wraps up an impressive non-league stint for the Wildcats, whose record stands at 4-1.

"We're feeling very good," Buckner said "We're happy we had this win right now. It's a big game, obviously. Our confidence is here, but we're not big-headed. We know we have to build from here, and that just gives us that much confidence. We're most united as ever right now."

The Wildcats open Imperial Valley League action at Southwest in El Centro at 7:30 p.m. Friday.

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