Ruiz runs roughshod over Central in Bell Game romp

November 13, 2001|By ERIC GALVAN, Sports Writer

For about 28 minutes, Brawley Union High School running back Mitchell Ruiz couldn't be stopped by Central Union defenders in the 58th annual Bell Game in El Centro on Friday.

Ruiz played one of the best games of his high school career as he racked up 147 yards on 10 carries and scored two touchdowns, leading Brawley to a 76-7 annihilation of its Imperial Valley League rival.

"We didn't take them lightly at all. But I don't think any of us expected to beat them by that much," said the 17-year-old senior. "We didn't go into the game thinking that we'd do what we did, but we all played hard and ended up beating them by a lot."

Saying that the Wildcats (9-1 overall, 4-0 IVL) beat the Spartans by a lot is an understatement, considering it was the most lopsided victory in Bell Game history and one of the highest-scoring outputs in Brawley High annals.


Early on it seemed like Brawley would be in for a dogfight as Central held it to only seven points in the first quarter.

"You know, that's the difference between us and them. They come out hard and play really hard that first quarter and that's it," said the 5-foot-9, 175-pounder. "And we play hard the whole game. Even though we only scored one touchdown in that first quarter we didn't panic at all. Our coaches just told us to keep playing hard and we did."

While Ruiz missed three games this season due to a dislocated elbow and only played a little over the half the game against Central because it was a blowout, he still managed to finish the regular season with more than 950 yards rushing in only seven games. He also put together two 200-yard rushing efforts earlier this year.

But Ruiz is not about his individual statistics, he's more about the success of the team. And he knows there's really only one reason the team has been as successful as it has been.

"It's all about the offensive line. They are a huge part of this team and they're the reason that we've been winning," said Ruiz. "They always stick together, they block hard and go all out on every single play. I've sat and watched game film and they never take a play off. Without them playing the way they are and sticking together like they do, we wouldn't be as good of a football team. They definitely deserve most, if not all, of the credit."

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