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Wildcats whip Palo Verde 62-3

October 21, 2001|By TOM RONCO, (Special to this newspaper)

BRAWLEY — Trailing 3-0 to the visiting Palo Verde High early in the second quarter, the Brawley Union High football team snapped out of its doldrums with a vengeance, posting a 62-3 Imperial Valley League victory here Friday.

"We started slow and made mistakes on offense and defense early," said Brawley coach John Bishop. "After they scored we woke up."

The Wildcats, who rolled up almost 600 yards in total offense, were led by running backs Bobby Myers and Andy Buckner, who ran for a combined 447 yards and seven touchdowns.

Myers scampered for 236 yards and four touchdowns while Buckner ran for 211 yards, three touchdowns and a two-point conversion.

It was a gratifying night for Myers, a junior who struggled when he replaced the injured Mitchell Ruiz in the first quarter of the Southwest game last week.

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"Practicing this week made a big difference and coach concentrated on me knowing the plays," said Myers. "I practiced a lot with (quarterback) Dominic (Aguirre) on our timing."

Palo Verde took the opening kickoff and picked up two first downs before the Wildcats forced the Yellowjackets to punt.

When Brawley went three and out on its first offensive procession, the Yellowjackets mounted their only scoring drive of the night.

Driving from their own 17-yard line to the Wildcat 8 on a combination of Giovanni Hernandez passes and Aaron Miller rushes, Palo Verde drew first blood with a Michael Heflin 25-yard field goal.

The Wildcats did not immediately respond and trailed at the end of the first quarter 3-0.

A fumble recovery by Adrian Vandiver at the Yellowjacket 47-yard line resulted in a drive that culminated with a 13-yard touchdown run by Myers to give Brawley a 7-3 lead.

Brawley's defense then forced Palo Verde into a short punt and a Buckner run of 42 yards coupled with a face-mask penalty gave Brawley a first and goal from the 9 yard line. Myers again scored

Palo Verde then was forced to punt, giving Brawley great field position at the Palo Verde 48-yard line. That drive ended with Myers scooting 32 yards to score.

Dominic Aguirre missed the PAT attempt after making his first two, and Brawley went into the locker at homecoming halftime up 20-3.

"We needed to check out whether we were going to show up or not," said Bishop. "We found out early that they had showed up and so we decided to show up."

The Wildcats took the second-half kickoff and marched 78 yards on 10 running plays, with Buckner going off tackle to score from eight yards.

"We had outstanding offensive line play," said Bishop. "Russell (Abubo) played well as did Tomas (Ibarra), Brandon (Wellcome), Mark (Martinez), Robert (Platt) and Steve (Duran) at tight end."

The offensove line was so dominant that Bishop mostly called dive plays in the second half.

"We started slow," said Platt. "We were trying to spread them out on defense but after they scored, we scored and then they got down and we just kept scoring."

Following the Buckner touchdown, David Martinez recovered a fumble at the Palo Verde 10-yard line and three plays later Aguirre kept the ball on the option and scored from seven yards to increase the Brawley lead to 35-3.

Palo Verde again failed to get a first down and the Wildcats once more on a short field, scored when Buckner ran 21 yards to increase Brawley's lead to 42-3 as the third quarter ended.

While the Jackets showed fatigue in the fourth quarter, Myers did not as he carried the ball five times for 41 yards and a touchdown on the Wildcats' next drive.

"We knew that Bobby was good," said Bishop. "Buckner opened up the middle and they had to honor Dominic on the option and Bobby on the pitch, so it became a matter of whomever was loose got the ball."

Brawley's defense then got on the scoreboard when free safety Brian Emanuelli picked off an errant pass and ran 60 yards for a touchdown.

"I saw it tipped and caught it with one hand," said Emanuelli. "Then I saw Tyler Sanders and Steve Duran in front of me to block and they did and I got the touchdown."

The Wildcat defense held Hernandez in check. He threw 37 times, completed just 12 passes and never threatened the end zone.

"We practiced our pass coverage and even had some tip drills this week, so we were well-prepared," said Emanuelli.

"We were ready for passes," said Bishop. "They made some yards but we didn't let them go long and we basically contained them."

Another interception, this one by homecoming king candidate Joel Aguirre, set up Brawley's last score, a 46-yard Myers run.

Palo Verde (1-6, 0-2 Imperial Valley League) host Central in Blythe Friday while the Wildcats (6-1, 2-0) take on the IVL's other undefeated team when they host Calexico at 7:30 p.m.

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