Wildcats win in a romp

October 29, 2001|By TOM RONCO, Special to this newspaper

BRAWLEY — Capitalizing on three interceptions in the first quarter to stake itself to a 21-0 lead, Brawley Union High School defeated Calexico 40-0 in an Imperial Valley League game here Friday.

"Overall, we knew we could not make mistakes and right off the bat we did," said Calexico coach Richard Gonzalez. "We gave them half a field to work with and they capitalized on it."

"The interceptions gave us momentum early in the game," said Brawley coach John Bishop, whose team recorded its third shut-out of the season. "But we got our biggest momentum from taking them seriously because they looked good on tape and they beat us last year."

Calexico's first drive started at their 22-yard line and on a third down and two yards to go the Bulldogs were called for a motion penalty.


That made it a third and seven play and when Calexico quarterback Odin Ayala threw over the middle Brawley's Brian Emanuelli picked off the pass and returned it to the Calexico 25-yard line.

A pass from quarterback Dominic Aguirre to Daniel Martinez gained 10 yards for the Wildcats, who then gave the ball to Andy Buckner on a fourth and two. Buckner broke two tackles to score.

Down 7-0, Calexico turned to the pass on the second play of its next possession but Emanuelli again picked it off and returned it to the Bulldog 48-yard line.

Brawley fumbled but recovered the ball on its first play, then sent Buckner outside for a 30-yard gain.

On first and 10 from the 22-yard line, Aguirre ran the option into the endzone and booted the PAT to extend Brawley's lead to 14-0.

On the Bulldog's next possession, Aaron Barrios had rushes of 11 and 5 yards but the Wildcat defense held.

With excellent field position following a short punt by Calexico's Chris Ramsey, Aguirre's first down pass was incomplete.

On second down from the Wildcat 41-yard line, Buckner bounced to the outside and raced 69 yards to score. With 1:16 to go in the first, Aguirre added the PAT to give Brawley a 21-0 lead.

"We had a good week of practice," said Gonzalez. "We knew they were quick on defensive and Buckner was everything we expected."

"Calexico's as tough as anyone we've played so we went outside and were successful," said Bishop. "We surprised them with our speed, especially our big backs outside."

Said Buckner of his second score: "The play was an option right to the weak side and I had only one guy to beat because the line had everyone else blocked."

Calexico tried to rally on their next drive as Ayala connected on two of three passes. But the Wildcat defense held the Bulldogs to short gains. Faced with third and long, Ayala's pass was tipped and Emanuelli again intercepted.

"The defensive line had good pressure on the him (Ayala) all night," said Emanuelli. "We weren't worried about their passing game because we were well prepared and as we get closer to CIF we'll see more passes from the other teams."

Emanuelli was pressed into service as the free safety when starter Mitchell Ruiz went down early in the Southwest game on Oct. 12.

In the past two games, Emanuelli has four interceptions and has stepped up his aggressiveness against the run.

"Every week I see and learn a little more and it gets a lot easier," said Emanuelli. "My job is to stay back, but once they break the line of scrimmage I know to come up."

"We were a little concerned when Brian went into the Southwest game because they knew he was new and we thought teams would try to pass on him," said Bishop. "But we aren't concerned any more."

Calexico's Gomez ran for 12 yards on a third and eight on the Bulldog's next drive to give them their only first down.

Regaining possession at their own 17-yard line with four minutes remaining in the half, Brawley used a ball-control offense to run out the clock and extend their lead.

Alternating Bobby Myers, Buckner and himself, Aguirre moved the Wildcats to the Calexico 35.

With time running out, Aguirre lifted a pass over two Bulldog defenders and into the arms of Richard Encinas at the Calexico 5-yard line.

Buckner pounded it in from the one and the Wildcats were leading 27-0 at the half.

"They stacked up the middle but we took care of that by going off tackle," said Buckner. "We are not confined by what they do because we can adjust."

The second half began with Calexico going three and out.

Aguirre then connected with Steve Duran on a tight end pop for 20 yards but the Bulldog defense forced a fumble on Brawley's next play and recovered it at their own 41-yard line.

Calexico's ensuing drive netted them the most yards, 25, and featured their only offensive appearance on the Wildcat side of the field as they drove to the Brawley 49-yard line.

Danny Lizarraga caught a 13-yard pass as the highlight of the drive and Ayala scrambled for seven more yards, but no points.

"They ran the Wing-T and we were well prepared for it and wanted revenge for last year," said linebacker and co-captain Chris Ramirez.

"We felt we weren't going to lose because we didn't work hard enough," Ramirez continued.

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