Wildcats demolish Lions 49-12

November 03, 2001|By TOM RONCO, Special to this newspaper

BRAWLEY — With their eyes on the playoff rankings, the Brawley Union High football team used their trademark stifling defense and ground attack offense to bury Cathedral City 49-12 in an intersectional game here Friday night.

The game was a non-league affair for the Lions, who play in the CIF Southern Section and are assured a playoff spot that would not be affected by the result of the game.

Brawley, on the other hand, had just regained its ranking in the top four Division III schools in the CIF San Diego Section, and with the so-called "power rankings" determining if and where the team would be seeded in the playoffs, it was an important game for the Wildcats.

"Now the San Diego CIF can do what they want to do as far as ranking us," said Brawley coach John Bishop. "We did what we needed to."


"Our ranking and our respect were riding on this game," said Brawley senior Steve Duran.

"They just shot out of a cannon," Cathedral City coach Rich Baughman said. "If they play like they did tonight, no one in our league would have an easy time."

Defensively, Brawley forced the Lions' high-octane offense to go three and out on negative yardage following the opening kickoff.

The Wildcats then scored in only three plays.

Quarterback Dominic Aguirre ran for 12 yards and a first down, then a dive play to Andy Buckner netted three more yards.

Mitchell Ruiz, who was playing in his first game since being injured during the Southwest game three weeks ago, took a handoff straight up the middle, racing 39 yards to score and give Brawley a quick 7-0 lead.

"I'd been waiting three weeks to play," said Ruiz. "I was a little nervous, but the hole was wide open and the line must have done their jobs because I didn't have one negative yard all night."

Bishop said, "He looked like he'd never left. And he didn't favor his elbow."

Cathedral City then drove from their 32-yard line to the Wildcat 29 behind the passing of quarterback Nate Lewis and the running of David Angulo.

On a fourth down and four, the Wildcat defense held, stopping Angulo for a 1-yard gain.

Brawley took over on downs and began a drive that would take more than seven minutes off the clock, cover 73 yards and establish the pattern for the night.

Dominic Aguirre quickly hit Joel Aguirre with a 13-yard pass. Brawley then pounded the ball as Ruiz carried seven times for 38 yards, Buckner three times for 11 yards and Dominic Aguirre twice, including a touchdown on a 2-yard dive.

"I felt comfortable going into the game because we had a good week of practice," said Dominic Aguirre. "I was at ease because of their defense which was easy to read and it helps when you have good running backs and an excellent line."

"As far as I'm concerned, Dominic's the player of the game," said Bishop. "He was focused all week and showed leadership in the game."

The Lions' offense again could not gain a first-down as the Wildcats ran out the clock with a 14-play drive that featured five rushes by Dominic Aguirre and three passes, one of which was complete to Raul Encinas for 21 yards. However, Brawley could not score.

The half ended with the Wildcats up 14-0, but, more important, the Lions' offense was missing as the Lions rushed for only 1 yard and had only 58 yards total.

"We were practicing against all their formations all week," said Brawley defensive end Shaun Palacio, the games leading tackler.

Worse for the Lions was the play of Lewis, who was sacked three times for losses of 21 yards and had one pass play go for a 5-yard loss.

"He'd never been hit much before so we went after him," said Palacio. "We had good pressure from our line."

Brawley took the second half kickoff and wasted little time in adding to their lead in six plays, the big play being a Buckner 38-yard run that set up the Wildcats on the Lion 12-yard line. Ruiz scored from 3 yards out.

Cathedral City answered the Wildcat touchdown with one of their own, showcasing their speed as Angulo ran 59 yards to score and with 8:23 left in the third quarter. The Lions brought the score to 21-6.

On Brawley's next drive, Dominic Aguirre hit Raul Encinas for 10 yards and Ruiz had a rush of 31 yards.

The drive stalled at the Lion 4-yard line and the Wildcats looked to increase their lead with a field goal, but the attempt by Aguirre sailed wide right.

When Cathedral City could not move the ball on the ensuing possession, Brawley took over and appeared to put the game away with a 13-play drive — all rushes — that ended when Ruiz scored from a yard out.

Trailing 29-6, the Lions again struck in less than a minute as Lewis found wide receiver Jared Otteson for 38 yards and Lewis himself scrambled for gains of 9 and 13 yards, setting up a 1-yard run by Antonio Vega.

With their lead down to 17 points with more than seven minutes remaining, Aguirre engineered another touchdown drive, highlighted by his 26-yard run and a 9-yard pass to Palacio, both of which setup a 1-yard dive by Ruiz.

Imperial Valley Press Online Articles